Choosing your HDTV is the fun part. The whole new television experience only gets stressful when it’s time to choose all the peripherals. For example, your antenna. There are so many HDTV antennas on the market today that the idea of choosing one can be a little intimidating. First, you must make sure that your HDTV is equipped with a built-in tuner. Then comes the part that’s most apt to confuse people – finding the HDTV antenna that’s the best fit not only for your TV, but also for your location.
That’s right, choosing an HDTV antenna is a matter of understanding your house and your locale in relation to the broadcast towers in your area, as well as the height, frequency, and power of those towers. Luckily you don’t have to become an expert in physics and broadcast technology, because the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the National Broadcast Association created a website (AntennaWeb.org) that will help you chose the HDTV antenna that will maximize your television reception.
At the website, all you have to do is enter your address to see a list of which HDTV antennas are the best fit for your home. An automatically generated color-coded list (Yellow, Green, Light Green, Red, Blue, Violet and Pink) simplifies the HDTV antenna choices even further by helping you understand the difference between different types of outdoor HDTV antennas, as well as the pros and cons of each.
Keep in mind that there is more than one kind of HDTV antenna, and what works for a friend or relative might not work as well for you. Directional HDTV antennas can pick up transmissions from towers much further away, but they need to be aimed directly at the broadcasting tower. If the towers belonging to the networks you want to watch are all in roughly the same location, a directional HDTV antenna can be a good choice. Multidirectional HDTV antennas (also called omnidirectional HDTV antennas), on the other hand, are probably the right choice if you’re closer to relevant broadcast towers that are all in different locations.
Another consideration many people have when it comes to HDTV antennas is indoor vs. outdoor. Almost exclusively, outdoor HDTV antennas will perform better than their indoor counterparts. This is especially true for anyone who does not live particularly close to a transmission tower. Also, anyone who lives near big reflective structures should consider augmenting HDTV antennas with a pre-amp to boost the signal and suppress ghosts.
Remember, though, that the recommendation you receive from AntennaWeb is just that – a recommendation. Typically, you will get better reception across channels by taking AntennaWeb’s recommendations and purchasing an HDTV antenna that rates one level up. Antenna performance is not always easy to predict, and AntennaWeb can’t account for every regional variation in conditions. Price differences between HDTV antennas are miniscule, and upgrading from small to medium or medium to large may be just what it takes to get the best possible reception on your HDTV.
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