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Why are most TV antennas designed wrong?

Posted by Denny Duplessis


To explain why most TV antennas are designed wrong we have to go back to the year 2003 when the U.S. over the air TV industry began to physical switch from broadcasting an analog TV signal to broadcasting a digital TV signal. It was called the "digital transition".  The digital transition was completed in 2009.  It was truly a massive undertaking converting over 2,000 TV stations from analog TV signal to TV digital signal.  It was a very confusing time for all of us. 

The first step in the transition for the TV stations was begin broadcasting a digital TV signal while maintaining the broadcast of the stations analog signal.

TV stations had to broadcast two TV signals at the same time. A TV station can't broadcast both analog and digital signals on the same channel. At that time nearly all of the VHF (2-13) channels were already in use broadcasting the analog TV signals. The only option was to broadcast the new digital TV signal on vacant UHF (14-69) channel.

For several years the TV stations were required to broadcast both an analog signal and a UHF digital TV signal.

This started a massive nationwide rumor that all digital TV signals were UHF and would remain UHF. A handful of us new that wasn't true. We knew that the digital transition would be completed, the old analog signals would be shut down, and many of the TV stations would return to the VHF channels with the new digital TV signal. 

During the digital transition TV antennas began to fly off the shelve.

Antenna manufactures in the U.S, were working 24/7 trying to keep up with demand. Of course this didn't go unnoticed by U.S importers. The import companies that feed off of the success of U'S. companies by importing inferior cheap products claiming to do the same thing only better. 

Unfortunately, no one told the importers or they didn't care that many of the TV stations would return to broadcasting a VHF TV signal once the digital transition was completed. 

Importers scurried to find overseas TV antenna manufacturers $$$.

This is where the issue began, Nobody told the overseas manufacturers, or they didn't care, that many of the TV stations would return to the VHF channels once the digital transition was completed in 2009. Oops, out of nowhere imported antennas began to flood the market. Companies that never sold a TV antenna and new nothing about TV reception began to import and sell TV antennas.

And here's the rest of the story.
You've probably guessed by now. Nearly all of the imports were designed to receive UHF TV signals but not VHF TV signals. We tried to warn everyone who would listen. We told them, VHF signals are coming back and you'll need an antenna for both VHF and UHF TV reception. But for many people the hype of "so-called, breakthrough technology" and the chance to save a buck was too much for them to resist. 

In 2009 when the analog signals shutdown many TV stations returned to VHF and that's when the TV went blank for those using the wrong TV antenna.  There were tens of thousands of viewers from all over the Country using the wrong TV antenna. They suddenly (overnight) lost TV reception. It took tremendous effort helping everyone who contacted us.

The problem still exists today.  
Most of these imported UHF antennas are still on the market. Re-designing and re-tooling requires a lot of money. So rather than spend the money on re-design they decided to falsely claim, these antennas are designed for VHF and UHF TV reception, when in fact they're not!


THE FCC has created a webpage warning consumers. Here is a quote from the FCC webpage called DTV Antennas for Receiving DTV.  

"To receive DTV signals from all stations in the area, your antenna needs to be able to receive both VHF channels and UHF channels. Many of the antennas being sold as "HDTV Antennas" perform best at receiving UHF signals, but perform less well receiving VHF channels. make sure that any antenna you choose provides good reception of both VHF and UHF channels".


Make yourself aware of this. If you decide to invest in a TV antenna you need the antenna to receive all channels equally well. Make sure the antenna is truly is capable of receiving all channels. 

No one tests antennas anymore.
The fact is, most online retailers have never seen the antenna their selling out of the box. Do you think Amazon® tests antennas? How many antennas do you think Amazon® installed in the last year? Do you think there's anyone at Amazon® that knows the slightest thing about TV antennas and how thay work? Take a moment and Google search HD Stacke antenna > . Right there on the first page is Amazon® and Walmart® both claiming to have our HD Stacker antenna. You click on their link only to find you've been decieved. 

Additional resources:

What's the difference between a VHF TV antenna and a UHF TV antenna? > 

Field tested and test range certified antennas >

VHF TV Stations in the U.S. > 

https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/antennas-and-digital-television