9 Common Common Types Of Digital TV Antennas

When doing research and trying to decide which TV antenna to purchase the first and most important step is to educate yourself on the different types available. Without having an idea of whats out there there is no way anyone could possibly be able to pick the one that best suits their needs. It is not until you do this that you should even begin to look at TV antenna reviews and think about purchasing one.

There are a bunch of different types to choose from and each type has different features and characteristics that make it better for certain situations. There are different subsets of features that come with antennas including the type of signal they pick up, where they can be placed, and their signal gain strength. As far as signaling goes antennas can be made to pick up UHF, VHF, or digital signals. For placement you can get either an indoor or outdoor antenna. Finally, you can choose between a standard non-amplified or amplified antenna with the amplified one having better signal gain. There are also smart antennas, which we will be going over below. Below we have provide a short explanation of a bunch of different types in order to give you an idea of which one will best suits your needs.

Our suggestion is that you purchase a digital VHF/UHF dual band antenna no matter what. It is nearly a given that you need it to have these three functions. Beyond that you will need to research your needs regarding the amount of signal gain you will need in dB or miles. This will tell you whether you will need an indoor or outdoor antenna and whether you need the extra power of an amplifier or not. As far as signal strength gains go an indoor non-amplified usually gives you the least gain and an outdoor amplified usually gives you the most gain.

It is very important to note that the majority of antennas encompass at least several of these different types into one design. If you can find one that meets the standards for all or nearly all different types then that is the way to go.
The letters UHF stand for ultra high frequency and was first used for television in 1952. When the FCC made UHF signals available for television channels they first dedicated 70 different channels to it but eventually switch 13 of these channels from television to cell phone use. Within the next several years more of the UHF band is going to be switched over from TV to cell phone use. At this time the UHF band will consist of channels 14-51. Most TV channels use the UHF band so it is important to get one that can pick up UHF signals. It is also important to note that a lot of HD broadcasts are on the UHF band so it is good to get an antenna that picks up UHF signals if you are interested in HDTV.

The letters VHF stand for very high frequency and these types are what we all know as rabbit ear antennas. Standard ones are very basic and serve little purpose in today's digital only television world. Thy usually only work if you are very close to the TV tower because they lack signal gain power. VHF are generally separated into different channels frequencies (2-6 and 7-13) so you need to be sure to get one that can pick up the channels you need. You can get powerful VHF antennas but they are generally very large, cost a lot, and are difficult to install. VHF are still of use today because VHF signals are still used by local stations, you just have to be sure to get one that isn't so basic that it doesn't help at all.. It is usually a good idea to get one that has some sort of VHF capabilities but VHF isn't as important as UHF. Often times you can get a UHF antenna that comes with weak yet present VHF capabilities too.

Digital antennas are designed for today's post digital transition television environment that we are all becoming accustomed to. Most digital channels broadcast in the UHF band but there are some that broadcast in VHF. This one is a must since there are very few channels that are still broadcasting in analog. A converter box coupled with a digital VHF/UHF dual band antenna has been working very well for people who were suffering signal loss after the digital transition.

There are tons of antennas out there that are advertised as HD but there isn't really an HDTV antenna. You get HDTV by having an HDTV tuner, not from having an HDTV antenna. There are some characteristics that make them a little better at picking up HDTV signals but in general any high powered UHF type will do a very good job. Companies began using the word HDTV in order to make their product sound spiced up and better but it really doesn't mean much at all.

Smart Antennas
All smart antennas are digital. The special thing about smart antennas is that they can remember your antenna location for each specific channel and then automatically move when you switch channels. This allows you to get the best reception without having to manually adjust whenever you change the channel. They are specifically designed to work with smart antenna compatible converter boxes.

Non-Amplified generally provide less signal gain. They are good in situations where you only need a minimal amount of gain in order to get the channels you want/need. There is no need to get a high powered amplified antenna if you are just barely out of the stations signal range.

Amplified provide a higher amount of signal gain than non-amplified ones and they are specifically designed for areas where you are further away from the signaling tower. When you purchase an antenna usually retailers provide a description including the amount of signal gain in dB and miles so that you can see if it will be strong enough to pull in a signal from your location.

Indoor antennas are a lot like non-amplified in that they do not provide as much gain as their opposite, outdoor ones do. They are generally better for someone that only needs minimal signal gain. They would be good for someone that doesn't need the extra power of an outdoor antenna and can almost get all the channels they need as is.

Outdoor antennas very much like amplified in that they provide a lot more signal gain than indoor ones. They are a good option for someone that needs more signal gain because they are extremely far away from the signaling tower. When purchasing one of these you can check each product description and see how much signal gain (in dB and miles) each one has.

1 comment:

  1. I bought a 9-inch portable TV with a built in antenna but I never got a channel in the basement where I stay. Do I need to buy like an amplified antenna? I don't know if I live within the range of a TV station antenna but my zip code is 11421. Thank you for any recommendation.


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