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TV antenna reception questions and answers.
Posted by Denny Duplessis


Here are the TV antenna reception questions we are ask the most. 


What is the best TV antenna for free TV?

There isn't one single antenna that's the best TV antenna. The TV antenna that's best for one location isn't necessarily the best choice at another location. In most location you'll need a TV antenna designed to receive both VHF and UHF TV signals > . A large number of TV antennas on the market are designed for the reception of UHF TV signals but not VHF. Be aware that many of these antennas falsely claim to be for both VHF and UHF TV signal reception.  Many of the major network channels now broadcast a VHF TV signal. Make sure the antenna you choose receives all digital TV channels. Learn how to recognize the difference between a VHF and UHF TV antenna >. The best TV antennas will perform equally well for the reception of VHF and UHF TV signals.


Is there a difference in TV antennas?


Yes, no doubt there is a big difference in TV antennas. Marketing departments would have you believe that tiny antennas work as well as large antennas. That omnidirectional antennas work as well as directional TV antennas. Indoor antennas work as well as outdoor antennas >. None of this is true. The difference between one TV antenna and another will determine the end result. Everyday we have to tell people something no one wants to hear, you have the wrong TV antenna


How high should a TV antenna be mounted?

TV signals are received best when the signal path from the TV station transmitting antenna to the viewers receiving antenna is unobstructed. The more obstruction in the signal path the weaker the TV signal becomes. At many locations it will be difficult to obtain a totally unobstructed signal path using any reasonable means. How high should a TV antenna be mounted is determined by signal path obstruction more than any other factor. The first 20 to 30 feet is usually critical. A height of 20 to 30 feet will usually get the antenna above most ground clutter obstructions.  Signal obstruction is one of reasons why indoor antennas struggle > to maintain a strong signal even when the location is near to the TV station transmitting tower. TV station transmitting towers are very high in the air. Some TV towers are over 2,000 feet high.  Most towers are around 1,000 feet tall give or take a few hundred feet. The further the viewer location is from the transmitting antenna tower the higher the receiving TV antenna must be to maintain a good signal.  


Do you need a TV antenna for each TV?

No, TVs can share the signal from the same TV antenna. To supply multiple TVs from the same antenna requires a signal splitter and usually a signal amplifier. Setting up the signal distribution system properly > is very important. Done correctly one TV antenna can supply dozens of TVs with a signal just as good as when the antenna supplies only one TV.


What is the longest range TV antenna?

I think a better question is, how far do TV signals travel? On average a TV signal will travel 60 to 80 miles and still provide a reliable and usable signal. The factors that will affect TV antenna range are, distance to the transmitter, obstructions in the signal path, the output power and the broadcast antenna height of the TV station and the TV antenna in use to receive the signal.  The more honest I am about antenna range the fewer antennas I sell. I would be willing to go out of business before I lie to you about TV antenna range >.  


What's the best amplifier for a TV antenna?

When it comes to TV antenna signal amplifiers > more isn't always better. To much signal strength or to little signal strength always equals poor TV reception.  This is one reason why I hesitate to recommend a TV antenna with a built-in amplifier. One size amplifier doesn't fit all and you will be forced to use the amplifier that's built into the antenna. Sometimes reception is best if you have no amplifier at all. 


What's the best antenna cable for digital TV? 

The best all around cable for a TV antenna is RG 6 cable > with a solid copper core center.  Good quality antenna cable costs a little more but it's well worth it. Quality cable will lasts longer, it will carry the TV signal better and it will be flexible. You can use a magnet to determine if your antenna cable has a solid copper core or has a steel wire core coated with a thin layer of copper.  Copper clad antenna cable has a steel wire coated with a thin layer of copper and the steel will be attracted to the magnet. Solid copper antenna cable will not be attracted to the magnet.  


Can you hook up multiple TVs to one antenna? 

Yes, it requires a signal splitter to hook up multiple TVs to one TV  antenna. The signal splitter > will have one coax cable input connection and multiple output connections.  A signal splitter does cause the signal to become weaker. The more times the signal is divided by the signal splitter the greater the signal loss becomes. The signal loss created by the splitter can be overcome without affecting the quality of the reception. See below. 


Does splitting a TV signal weaken the signal? 

A signal splitter does weaken the TV signal. The more times the splitter divides the signal the greater the signal loss becomes. This signal loss is called "insertion loss". The proper signal amplifier > installed in line on the antenna side of the signal splitter will compensate for the insertion loss of the splitter and the quality of the TV reception will not be affected. Splitting the TV signal is not a bad thing as long as it;s done properly using the correct signal amplifier. 


Does the length of coaxial cable affect signal?

Yes, the longer the coaxial cable length is the greater the signal loss becomes. This loss can be overcome with the use of a pre-amplifier.  A pre-amplifier is a two part unit >.  The amplifier portion of the pre-amplifier installs near the antenna. The second part is called the power inserter. The power inserter installs indoors and requires an electrical outlet.  The power inserter doesn't amplify the signal it provides low voltage operating power to the pre-amplifier near the antenna via the coaxial cable. Both the pre-amplifier and power inserter have coaxial cable input and output connections.  When the signal is amplified using a pre-amplifier near the antenna the signal loss of the coaxial cable will not affect the quality of the reception reception.  


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