Monday, November 10, 2014

How a TV Antenna Works

Although many people have a digital TV antenna at home, a lot of us have no idea how it works. This article discusses the how a digital TV antenna works in simple, basic terms.
In order to understand how a digital antenna works, it's important that you understand how a television transmission signal works. A television station transmits its signal containing its programming in a straight line. This line is called the 'line of sight'. Because the earth is not flat, televisions aren't usually able to pick up that signal. A digital antenna helps the television to pick that signal up as long as it falls within the range of the source.

Unlike a digital cable which sends television programming directly to your home, local TV stations will send out a broadcast allowing any digital TV antenna within the range to pick that up. Usually, 80% of all households are able to pick up at least five digital stations free of charge. The television signal is then converted into audio and video information which is displayed later on.

TV antennaTelevision signal transmissionSignals and Reception

HD signals are sent primarily along the ultra-high frequency or UHF band. The range within which the antenna can pick up the signal is usually 60 to 75 miles. If, however, an obstacle is present such as a tree or a building, a signal bounce known as a 'multipath' can occur, which may cause the signal to arrive at your antenna multiple times, causing cancellation. Correctly installing your HD antennas to receive all channels broadcasted by local antennas is a must, so make sure you get proper installation or repair done to fix your TV reception problems.


HD antenna types include the common mast-mounted, aluminium array antennas seen on numerous roof tops. Modern HD TV antennas are made to receive UHF signals primarily, compared to the more dated models, which received very high frequency or VHF signals only. There were other types which included powered "V"-shaped units for equipment rack or table-top mounting. The last one requires an AC outlet to work properly. Outdoor designs have an aesthetically pleasing square-shaped antenna that mounts similarly to satellite dishes.


Over-the-air broadcasts, which are received by the antenna, are actually of a higher picture quality compared to a satellite television or cable. Most people think the opposite is true, reasoning their belief on the notion that since the signals are sent over the air, the quality deteriorates as the signals reach the antenna. When a television station broadcasts over-the-air, the information is sent completely uncompressed which results in a better looking and sounding picture than a high quality cable box.

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