Digital TV Transition – How to Select an Antenna

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 59,199 discusses the digital TV transition and how to select an antenna.

    Joel Topcik: Hi I am Joel Topcik from Broadcasting & Cable magazine. We are talking about how you can prepare for the digital TV transition. In this segment we will hear again from Jason Oxman of the Consumer Electronic Association, as he demonstrates how to choose and use an Over-the-air antenna to pick up digital television signals. Jason Oxman: If you received your television signal today over the air from Broadcasters meaning you dont subscribe to cable or satellite or any other multi channel pay TV service, you need to know that you can continue to receive free Over-the-air television once the nation transitions to digital television in February of 2009. But of course in order to enjoy the best possible image for free over-the-air digital television you are going to need to use an antenna. Now the good news is if you use an antenna today to receive free over-the-air television in the analog world, chances are you can use the same antenna to receive a signal in the digital world. In the digital world most stations will be broadcasting a what you call the UHF frequency, Ultra High Frequency. Some will be broadcasting in VHF. If you have an antenna that is capable of receiving both UHF and VHF you are all set. That antenna that works in the analog world to receive UHF and VHF stations will continue to work in the digital world. Here is an example behind me of a traditional antenna, you may have heard referred to as Rabbit Ears. These antennas are very common in over-the-air households using analog televisions and they will work in the digital world as well. Another type of antenna that you may see on retail store shows is an amplified antenna. Now you may not need an amplify antenna, again if you can receive a fairly robust signal in the analog world chances are that in a digital world you will receive a good signal as well. It is actually better not to use an amplified antenna unless you absolutely need one because amplified antenna amplify noise in the signal as well as the broadcast signal itself. If you dont need an amplified antenna you might actually be making your picture worse then it would be without an amplified antenna. Another question often asked indoor antennas is where should I place it? It is better to be higher up and it is better to be closer to a window. Interior rooms in the house blocked by a number of walls may have a little bit more difficulty receiving those television signals. If you are relatively close to a television broadcast tower, you may receive a very good signal using an indoor antenna. But generally speaking if you want to receive the most possible television signals, an outdoor antenna will work best. Outdoor antennas can receive more distant signals that will probably give you access to more digital television stations than would an indoor antenna.

    In addition to the traditional Rabbit Ears antenna that we have seen in the analog world, you will see a small outdoor antenna one that could be attached to the outside of the house to receive digital signals using an outdoor antenna. But what if you want to know right now what digital television stations you can access from your home and what the best type of antenna you can use will be, can give you all of the information you need about the signals you can receive right at your home, is a website that allows you to type in your address and will provide you information with pinpoint accuracy about the digital over-the-air signals that are available at your house. More importantly will tell you what type of antenna you need. A good news that if you enjoy free over-the-air television today in the analog world the digital television transition will allow you to enjoy even more robust television programming including multiple streams of audio and video from the same broadcast station that send only one signal today. And using an antenna correctly is the easiest way to ensure that you continue to enjoy free over-the-air broadcasting.