In a world that is ditching cable service in favor of streaming mediums fast, one would think TV antennas have become relics of an ancient time. However, that might be the case in the future but as of today, TV Antennas are still thriving in the homes of users who only indulge themselves in Local TV networks.
Either way, antennas remain finicky to work with as it all matters on location. So how do you get a better indoor antenna signal? The answer isn’t always to throw money into the problem and get a better/more expensive antenna.
Welcome to our guide on how to boost indoor TV antenna signals. Let’s jump write in:
Boosting Indoor TV Antenna Signal
Since the 90s, TV broadcasting technology has shifted to full digital and thus antennas have become better at picking up cleaner signals with less noise. So you really should not do what your parents did back in the day to get better signals (tinfoils and whatnot).
Nevertheless, the key to great signal remains somewhat the same, position. And this position means both your actual geographical location and the location of your antenna inside/outside of your home.
In this article, we will first try to solve your signal problem for free. Meaning we will only work with what most people normally have and fine-tune the existing setup for a better result. However, if that fails, towards the end of the article, we will list a couple of methods where you can buy accessories to fix the problem for you.
Positioning Your Antenna Correctly
For this, it would really help if you knew the local broadcasting stations in the range from your home. Usually, a quick google search can help you with the exact location and the direction the broadcasting towers are sending signals. If you live in the USA, the FCC has a fantastic online tool that will help you pinpoint the location of nearby towers and see how good the signal will be from each of these stations at your home.
Now if you own an omnidirectional antenna, you will be able to pick up some signal from all the towers around you. The tradeoff here is the fact that you will not get proper signals that are a bit too far away from the location of your antenna. Think of it as the “Jack of all trades, master of none”.
Unidirectional antennas can only catch signals from one particular direction. So once you have tracked down the map of every broadcasting network tower in your vicinity, you need to choose which channels you want to watch the most and align your antenna towards the direction that particular signal is coming from.
That does not mean you will only receive one signal with these antennas. If you are lucky and you live in a town where all the broadcasting towers are situated in a cluster in the same general location, your unidirectional antenna will give you all of these channels. You still, however, need to select one and fine-tune the positioning of your antenna toward its direction.
Fine-tuning is really the name of the game here. Unless you are really lucky, you will not get the positioning right on the first try. So keep playing with it until you receive a signal that you are happy with.
Minimal Interference is the Key
Objects that are in between your antenna and the broadcasting tower are classed as one kind of interference. These can be anything from large buildings in the way to even your home wall.
To get rid of these types of interferences, you need to place your antenna near a window or a wall with a clear view of the outside. That means, there should not be any trees, car, wall, shed, or any other large object blocking the line of sight.
Realistically, you can not really do much when there’s a huge building blocking the line of sight from the tower. So experiment with different antenna positions and just try your best.
Another kind of interference can be when other electronic devices that emit Radio waves inside your home are interfering with the signal traveling to your antenna from the tower. This might not be the case for a large number of users, but you can always double-check.
First, disconnect or turn off every electronic device in your house that emits RF, computers, laptops, mobile phones, gaming consoles, radios, and speakers, all fall under this category. Now only connect your TV and antenna to see if the signal strength is better or the picture is clearer. If it is, start reconnecting all your devices one by one to find out exactly which one is causing this interference.
Once the culprit is known, you can try moving that particular device to a farther corner of the house or just not use it at all. Or, alternatively, you can change the placement of your antenna to a different location but pointed in the same direction to minimize interference.
The Higher your Antenna, the Better your Signal
The theory is simple here, there is more interference at the ground level so rising your antenna up high will give it a clearer line of sight to the nearest broadcast tower. Regardless, it is easier said than done.
If you already own a roof-mounted antenna, you should use it as intended and mount it to your rooftop. If you don’t, try changing the location of your existing antenna to the 2nd floor of your house or near a window that’s a bit higher than the ground level.
Unfortunately, positioning the antenna farther away from the TV also means you will need to buy longer RF cables or adapters as most setups only come with a 10-feet cable.
Do a Channel Rescan
This is the last method you can try if you want to boost your antenna signal for “free”. At the same time, this method is only so-so and most of the time will not really work. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
Usually, this option will be in the settings of your TV. Depending on the brand, the name of the function might be different. For example, on Samsung TVs, it is under the Broadcast section while on LGs, the option is called Live TV. Regardless, you need to locate the scan automatically.
With a bit of good luck and fortune, your TV can show you a few new channels after a rescan. Or it can do nothing at all. Won’t hurt to try!
Invest in a Signal-Level Meter
Repositioning the antenna as we suggested earlier can be a really time-consuming process and require way too much fine-tuning. A signal level meter will make this job easy for you. Bringing this meter to the position you are willing to try will give you a signal strength reading within a couple of minutes and you can just move it around to find the perfect place.
Some newer TV antennas will have this meter built-in. So just check your antenna to see if you have this function available and do not forget to use it.
An Amplifier can Help
An amplifier’s job is to amplify signals that are coming from distances that are farther than 20 miles or 30 kilometers. If all the broadcasting stations are farther than that distance from your house, you should really consider investing in a good-quality amp.
However, an antenna will actually degrade the quality if it is set to amplify signals that are already coming from a close distance. For this reason, amplifiers are not the correct choice for everyone.
Buy a Better Antenna
If you have tried everything on this list to no avail, and are kind at your wit’s end, this is the last thing you can try. Your antenna might not be the right one for you and you can always try switching to a unidirectional one if your existing omnidirectional antenna is not giving you good results. Another option is to ditch your indoor antenna in favor of a rooftop one. This is almost guaranteed to give you a boost in picture quality.
You should also check to see if your antenna has both VHF and UHF band support.
Since popular channels use both of these bands, ensuring your antenna can accept both types of signals will mean a better experience for you as well.
However, the most important thing to remember while buying a new antenna is that “More expensive is not always Better”. A lot of cheap antennas can go tow-to-tow with expensive offerings in terms of law quality. What you really need to do is to read the fine print and be sure of all the features a particular antenna offers before pulling the trigger.
Even in 2023, antennas remain a fantastic way to watch local channels without paying a monthly fee. As long as you put some effort into the positioning of your antenna, you are sure to get a fantastic viewing experience. Hopefully, our guide on how to boost indoor TV antenna signal has helped you achieve a better viewing experience!
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