The Tokyo Sky Tree is the tallest television antenna in the world. In a city of skyscrapers and obstructions, it needs to be, as many of these objects can interfere with the television signals it puts out. But for those of us in the rest of the world, how can we get the best signal possible?
The key lies in the placement of your antenna. Read on as we discuss how to get the best TV antenna reception.
What Impacts TV Antenna Reception?
To improve your TV reception, it first helps to know what can impact it. There are a number of factors that can weaken the signal, and often more than one at a time will affect your viewing. The most probable causes are listed below.
TV antenna strength weakens when it hits physical obstacles. This includes items used in construction like buildings, metal roofs, aluminum siding, and solar panels. Natural features like hills and forests can also have an impact.
In the days of analog signals, the distance between the transmitter and aerial could result in a fading of the signal. Even if you are quite far off, you can still watch channels a long way off with bad image and audio quality.
With digital transmissions, this does not happen. Either you get the channel or you get nothing at all. Instead, you reach a distance where the channel will suddenly drop off or become pixelated.
Channels that arrive at your aerial will not be from the same location. One could be sent from a location close by to the north of your location, while one could be way off south. Some antennas are directional, meaning they only pick up signals from certain directions.
Solving this involves getting a multidirectional or omnidirectional antenna. The payoff is that these often result in more interference. You just need to try them both to see which works best.
The number of people using one antenna also weakens the signal. This can be done by using a signal splitter.
1. Know Your Broadcast Towers
Before you even put up or adjust your antenna, find out where your local broadcast towers are located. Think about what channels are most important to you. Find out where their nearest broadcast location is, then use this to inform your decisions.
If you are just buying an antenna, then you can do this ahead of time. That way, you will know if you can get away with a directional antenna or you will require an omnidirectional one. Do a check on Google Maps and see if any major obstacles are in the way that could compromise the signal strength.
You can also visit our antenna broadcast towers page to calculate this for you. All you put in is your address and it will give you a map to the nearest broadcast tower. Some may even give predicated signal strengths and any major obstacles.
2. Reset a Digital Tuner
A digital tuner converts the analog signals into a digital format. Even when it is set up, it can stop working as broadcasters change data within the signal itself. If you experience problems, your convertor may be using older data and not getting the correct channel information.
Start by turning off the television and removing the coaxial cable from the back. Turn the television back on and run a channel scan. Turn off the television again and unplug the digital convertor device.
Reattach all of the connections then do another channel scan. This should hopefully update the information and allow you to receive better quality signals.
3. Move to a Window
We covered obstructions at the start of the article, but make no mistake about how walls can have a detrimental impact. The thicker they are, the worse this becomes. Thus, moving your antenna closer to a window can yield big improvements.
Choose a window that does not have other obstructions outside, such as large trees or other buildings. If possible, you don’t want it to be in direct sunlight as this can overheat the antenna. Try to place it in the shade if you can or ensure that it does not get direct sun all day.
4. Raise the Antenna
In an ideal world, the antenna should have a clean line of sight to the broadcast tower. However, for most people this is impossible. If you live in an apartment, then raising your antenna won’t be an option.
This is why most apartment antennas are mounted outside. If you are having problems, you may be able to ask the person who manages your building or HOA to move the aerial. Around 20 feet is the ideal height to have an antenna off the ground.
For others, particularly people in a house, it is a viable solution. The higher it goes, the easier it becomes to eliminate obstacles in its path. You may be able to tower over buildings, trees, and hills in the way.
Housing the antenna in an attic space is not the best solution, though many people choose it for ease of access. The tiles and insulation in your roof will act as an obstacle, though it should not be as bad as a standard wall.
5. Boost the Signal
Even with the clearest line of sight to the broadcast tower, you may still not get a good signal. The distance may just be too far. In this instance, you can try a signal booster.
This article discusses antenna boosters and amplifiers. When you get one, it will require a proper installation. Often, this is required even if they are advertised as plug-and-play devices.
Incorrectly installing a booster can cause excessive distortion as the signal becomes too powerful. Very rarely, it can even impact mobile phone reception in the immediate vicinity. When it is set up properly, you should find a much stronger signal with less interference.
6. Aim the Antenna
When you move the antenna to a better position, it still needs to be aimed. Even omnidirectional antennas can benefit from facing the correct source of their frequencies. Just a centimeter or two can have a huge impact.
One way to fix TV antenna reception is to ensure it is level. It needs to be perfectly vertical from top to bottom. You can use a carpentry tool to check this and adjust accordingly.
Of course, there could be some distance between you on the antenna and the television. Make sure you have someone at the other end with a mobile phone or radio device so you have two-way communication.
Once you do get better TV antenna reception, you want it to stay that way. Storms, rains, wind, and even direct sunlight can all wear down your equipment. At the worst, they may even remove it from its placement.
It is not just the antenna you need to look out for, either. Cables, connectors, and screws that are made from cheap quality materials will fail quickly.
Start by ensuring your antenna is secure and well held in position. Replace any broken or eroded parts as soon as you see them. After this, check the cables, remove the coaxial cable, and clean them.
You can weatherproof your cables using moisture-proofing tape around connections. There are a number of other products on the market that can protect the rest of the systems.
8. Add a Second Antenna
If you have a directional antenna with a great signal for one station, but you want them from another direction, you can fit an omnidirectional. The problem is that this can lead to a weaker signal and interference. Luckily, you have another option that won’t impact your crisp directional signal at all.
This is to add a second directional antenna. You will get the best signals from multiple directions and the television will choose the one with the best strength. Make sure you add a second antenna around two meters apart from the first, as they can interfere with each other.
After this, you just need to link them up using a coaxial signal combiner. Install and check each one individually before you hook them up to the combiner. You should also use the same length of cable between both antennas and the combiner to maintain consistency.
Your television will then get both signals at the same time. It will select which of these is the best to use, giving you much better TV antenna strength.
TV Antenna Reception
All of these tips should solve any problems with TV antenna reception. If they don’t, your signal may just be too far away.
For all of your audiovisual help and reviews, be sure to check back with Antenna Junkies. From Firesticks to local stations, we have everything to get you the best TV reception possible. Click here to see all our free giveaways, and you can have a chance to win awesome prizes.