When most people first think about cutting the cord, they focus on options like streaming services. Yet, all too often, they overlook that major networks still broadcast free TV channels over the air. All you need to pick an OTA television broadcast is a TV and an antenna.
If you own an older TV, you might also need a digital tuner. Newer TVs typically have a digital tuner built right into the device.
Of course, there are several types of antennas out there that you can choose from for your home. Keep reading for a quick breakdown of the main options.
For people living in urban areas, indoor antennas are often the only option available. If you live in an apartment or condo, for example, you can’t typically go out onto the roof and put up an antenna.
Most OTA signals fall into either the very high frequency or ultra high frequency ranges. As a general rule, VHF signals travel farther but UHF signals offer more bandwidth. To pick up local or semi-local television stations, you’ll want one of the residential antennas that can pick up both the VHF and UHF signals.
You can find these antennas online at major e-tailer and retailer websites, as well as big-box stores.
For those who live in rural areas, outdoor antennas are the go-to choice of antenna. Outdoor antennas come in both direction and omnidirectional models.
If you don’t know where your TV signals are coming from, an omnidirectional antenna makes the most sense. It increases the odds of picking up signals. If you know the direction of nearby broadcast towers, a directional antenna can help you improve reception.
Again, you’ll want to look for a digital antenna that picks up VHF and UFH signals. If you have trouble with your antenna, you should look for an antenna repair company to handle the work. They’re better equipped to deal with a roof-mounted antenna safely.
Depending on your location and signal strength, you may want an amplified antenna. You can find both indoor and outdoor antennas that offer amplification. That amplification can help provide you with better reception or cleaner images.
However, if the signal is particularly poor, the amplification can just make the image and sound quality on your television even worse. If you get an amplified antenna, you should try it with the amplification turned on and turned off to see what gets you the best results.
Picking Between Types of Antennas
If you have an open choice in terms of types of antennas, always opt for an outdoor antenna. Those antennas pick up signals better because they’re typically larger and face less interference.
If you must go with an indoor residential antenna, look for one that covers both UHF and VHF signals. That will give you access to the widest number of channels. Amplified antennas can help in some situations.
Looking for more tips on household tech? Check out the posts in our Technology section.