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Antennas Buying Guide

Important Considerations for Buying an Antenna
Whether indoor or outdoor, TV antennas provide a way to receive over-the-air digital signals, so you can watch digital programming without being hooked up to a cable or satellite box. Although there is not a difference between traditional antennas and the antennas used to receive high-definition signals, most manufacturers call their current antennas either digital antennas or high-definition antennas.

When looking at TV antennas, there are considerations before making your purchase. The most important are type, TV compatibility and frequency range.
Helpful Hints
  Outdoor is usually better than indoor
  Locate your antenna up high
  Size matters
One of the first decisions you will need to make is where the antenna is going to be placed. Antennas are available in indoor, outdoor and indoor/outdoor versions. Whether you choose indoor or outdoor may affect your ability to receive a strong enough signal from your local broadcast stations.
  Indoor antennas
  Outdoor antennas
  Indoor/outdoor antennas
  Directional or multidirectional
  Deciding which type of antenna you need
TV compatibility
In order to receive over-the-air HDTV signals, your TV must have a digital or ATSC tuner connected or be connected to an external digital tuner. Product Guide Image
  ATSC/digital tuner built in
  NTSC/analog tuner built in - converter box or external ATSC tuner required
  No tuner built in - external ATSC tuner required
Frequency Range - VHF versus UHF
Digital signals can be broadcast over two different frequency ranges: VHF (very high frequency) and UHF (ultra high frequency). Most of the high-definition TV broadcasts are currently in the UHF band which makes UHF coverage a must for any antenna purchase. However, a dual-band UHF/VHF antenna will let you receive both bands for added convenience.

The difference between UHF and VHF antennas is mainly size because antenna elements are built based on the size of the waves they receive. VHF frequencies are lower so a large antenna surface is needed to receive them.
Other features
  Hardware and installation
  Signal amplifier
Quick Checklist for Shopping for an Antenna
  • Indoor versus outdoor placement?

  • Is your TV compatible with high-definition signals?

  • Signal strength at your location will help to determine the type and location of antenna

  • Outdoors is usually better than indoors

  • Higher placement is better

  • Size matters