In this century, communication is one of the major sectors that have experienced an exponential revolution. It all started way before the advent of the current 4K superior cameras for HD videos. Back then, all TVs broadcasted in black and white. Now, things have changed and people can enjoy better quality TV shows. One of those major changes was the introduction of the outdoor HDTV antenna. This is the highest form of digital TV. It boasts of a crazy high aspect ratio and resolution. No wonder it has become such a hit.
Antennas help the television receiver intercept signal broadcast from television stations. They tap radio signals from the radio transmitters because Television stations do not give out uniform signal strength broadcast. Natural or man-made features block broadcasted signals. Areas with such interferences experience difficulties in accessing television or radio signals. Thus, blocking your favorite channels. When you want a higher gain in suburban or fringe reception areas, you use an outdoor HDTV antenna.
In addition, when enthralled on roofs or facials, they provide long-range signals. If you are looking for an outdoor HDTV antenna for your TV, you are on the right page. We have compiled a list of the best antennae in the market and other related information.
What Are The Different Types Of TV Antennae?
In your search for a TV antenna, you’ll come across two major categories. Your choice is entirely dependent on various factors we’ll discuss later. The following are the types of TV antennae;
Indoor TV antenna
As the name suggests, indoor antennae are used inside rooms. They are either placed on or next to the television or connected to the TV set by a short feed line. They are naturally small in size to enable them to fit in limited spaces. Indoor TV antennae are only suitable in urban and suburban areas where signal radiation is strongest. Good examples of indoor antennas include rabbit ears, whip antenna, and flat antenna.
Outdoor TV antenna
Outdoor antennas are stationed outside the house. They are made of strong and sturdy materials resistant to rust and adverse weather factors. Whether in the suburb or remote areas, these antennas give the best signal quality. These are the antennas we vouch for if you are looking for HD quality signal.
How Does An Outdoor HDTV Antenna Work?
An outdoor HDTV antenna accepts both VHF and UHF signals. VHF is in the frequencies between 54 and 216 MHZ. On the other hand, UHF television bands occupy the frequency signals between 470 and 890 MHZ. The VHF channels between 2 and 13 while the UHF from 14 to 51.
Television stations use transmitters that give out varied frequencies. The Antenna taps the broadcasted signal from the transmitter. When the signal from the transmitter reaches the television, it is translated into audio and video. Therefore, the Antennae does not translate the signals.
How to Pick Up Outdoor HDTV Antenna
You don’t just wake up, head to the shop and grab an outdoor HDTV antenna for your TV. Proper analysis of various factors is critical to ensure you get the best model. With the market already saturated with plethora of antennae, extra care is important. The factors below will not only point you in the right direction but will also lead you to the best deals;
1. Location and the structure of the building
The location of your home is an important factor when buying your outdoor HDTV antenna. It is even trickier if you live in a remote area. Unlike in towns, the remote areas can be on open land which is far from the broadcast transmitter. So, you’ll need to do a variety of customizations to ensure signal reception. For instance, if you live on low ground, you’ll need a tall post for the antennae. This will help to establish a line of sight with the transmitter thus strengthening the signal.
When you live in a city you need not worry about the reception. You may consider looking for an outdoor antenna that can be mounted indoors. This is because, in cities, the service providers do not need the antennae to be visible.
2. The size and height of the antenna
The size and height of an outdoor HDTV antenna play a key role in its efficiency. Outdoor TV antennas get a good signal when raised higher. The reason is that obstructions like mountains and buildings tend to block signals. You should consider getting an outdoor antenna with a long post and which is large if you live in a valley. This will increase the tapping surface. It makes the antennae easily visible to the broadcasting tower. The size shouldn’t however fool you. Some aerials are bigger but have very poor tapping strength. So, as you consider the size, you need to be sure the strength isn’t also poor.
3. Distance from the broadcast tower
If you live near the broadcast tower, you will need an outdoor HDTV antenna of at least 70 miles radius. This will be enough and efficient. If you live far away from the broadcast tower, you will need an antenna of range between 150 to 200 miles. This will increase the optimal broadcast quality. You should know that the signal amplifier does not increase the signal reception. Its function is to improve the signal quality and reduces its loss between the antennae and TV.
4. Definition Capability
There are controversies when it comes to the HD capability in the TV quality. Even though most manufacturers state that their antennae products have HD capability it’s worth checking. All TV broadcasting has migrated to digital bands. This means that the TV only receives digital signals. Therefore, without digital signals or poor quality, they do not display any image. That translates to ensuring that you get an outdoor HDTV antenna for clear images.
5. An omnidirectional Outdoor HDTV antenna reception
These are types of antennae that do not need you to point them to the broadcasting tower to receive a signal. An outdoor HDTV antenna with this quality is round like a dish. It has elements of an antenna in the disc. These elements enable it to get signals without them facing a specific direction.
The disadvantage of the omnidirectional antenna is that they have a very short range. The short-range quality works well when you are near the broadcasting tower. The decision of whether to acquire this antenna depends on your proximity to the tower. If you live far away, you better avoid these types of antennas.
6. The connectivity
The connectivity of the outdoor HDTV antenna to more than one TV set is an advantage. You should consider if the outdoor antenna is a dual or single TV antenna. When you buy a single TV antenna, you will have to buy a splitter. It will help you divert signals to connect to two TVs. If the antenna does not support dual connectivity, it is hard to divert the signals to different TVs.
You will buy a coaxial splitter if it is not included in the antenna you buy. This is the only way you can take advantage of the dual connectivity. The dual connectivity is not only restricted to two sets of TVs, but you can split to more than two TV sets.
The cables used contribute much when it comes to signal strength. All TV signals are transmitted from the source to the TV through coaxial cables. The quality of the coaxial cable determines the signal quality. These cables have different grades starting with the RG-6 which is for standard TV reception and RG-11 best for HD signals.
The use of HD coaxial cable gives a better pathway of broadcasted signal to the TV set compared to RG-6 grade cable. You can add a signal amplifier to improve the quality of the signals transmitted.
8. The ease of installation
The cost of installation is high even compared to the cost of the antenna. The reason is that some models are complex and so is their installation. Others are very easy to install. The outdoor HDTV antenna package includes the necessary hardware required to bolt your antenna to a pole. Not every antenna comes with a pole. Some packages require you to buy your own pole. Choosing a model that you can install on your own may save you a couple of dollars. However, you should ensure that you are technically conversant with the process so that you don’t end up messing with your entire package.
Best Outdoor HDTV Antenna That Picks Up Cable Channels
1. McDuory Outdoor 150 Miles Digital HDTV Antenna
This is an antenna among the recommended by people who have gotten its services. It has a range of 150 miles and supports dual TV outputs. The antennae do not need a splitter or any special adapter to give the signals. It has an easy user manual which you can use to do the installation. It comes with a pole cutting the cost of buying one. The antenna comes with a coaxial cable which is 40ft long. The cable is easy to replace to get the best reception. It is durable and comes with one year and 45 days warranty. It is resistant to weather conditions like lightning.
- It supports two TV outputs at the same time
- HDTV supports 720p and 1080p outputs
- It is resistant to weather condition e.g., lightning
- It has a working VHF frequency of 40300 MHZ and a UHF frequency of 470890 MHZ. This enables it to receive digital signals at HD.
- Gives free digital broadcast high HDTV signals
- Customers have a complaint the range is between 30-70 miles
- It does not pick VHF signals well
- Some customers have complained that the remote rattles.
2. Antennas Direct 8-Element Bowtie HDTV antenna
The antenna has a 70+ miles range. It receives free TV signals from big networks like ABC, CBS, NBS, Fox, CW, PBS, Univision MeTV. The broadcast is in full HD 1080, where signals are strong. The multipurpose arrangement of the antenna provides flexibility in the installation. This is an advantage where the stations are in different directions. It is inclusive of DB8e antenna all-weather mounting hardware. The beam angle is 24 5 degrees at 470 MHZ to 16 3 degrees at 698 MHZ.
- It is multi-directional.
- It can range up to 70+ miles.
- Has broadcasts Full HD at 1080p.
- It comes with all-weather mounting hardware.
- It has an adjustable clamp
- It has poor reception in remote areas
- Some customers complain that there are not good signals even when you use an amplifier.
3. Pingbingding PBD WA-2608 Digital Amplified Outdoor HDTV Antenna
This antenna has a range of 150 miles. It supports dual TV outputs with Full HD 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and 4K. This brings high-definition imaging. The working frequency ranges from 170 – 230MHz for the VHF and 470 – 860 MHz and the UHF. The antenna receives signals which are HD. It can also support two TVs without a splitter or any special adapter. One of its major strengths is the easy-to-follow installation manual. It is weather-resistant and it is not prone to lightning strikes. Unlike some models that require you to spent extra coins purchasing a mounting pole, Pingbingding PBD WA-2608 comes with its own. In addition, the package has a 40ft coaxial cable.
- It supports two TVs without the help of a splitter.
- It is easy to install.
- Has a wireless remote controller.
- It is resistant to weather.
- Does not support signals from a distance more than 60 miles
- It has poor reception
- It has a poor-quality cable.
4. RCA Outdoor Yagi Satellite HDTV Antenna
Do you want to enjoy free top-rated network programming channels like CBS, NBS, ABC, and many more? RCA outdoor Yagi Satellite HD antenna is here to sort you. There are no monthly bills when you use this antenna. It receives broadcasts including 4K, 8K, and 1080 HDTV. This enables it to give a high-quality picture and sound. The antennae are very simple to install.
- It has a free RCA signal finder app that guides you in getting HD channels.
- The RCA app helps in aligning the antenna
- Supports both UHF and VHF stations
- It is easy to install
- It has a 70+ mile range from the transmitter tower
- It has poor reception.
- It has a low range of 40 miles.
5. Winegard Elite Outdoor VHF and UHF HDTV Antenna
Every antenna varies with the reception of the antenna placement. Other factors are a distance from the transmitting towers, scans run by the user. This antenna has 70+ mile range access from the broadcasting tower. It has free access to HD channels from ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox, Univision, and more. It has an inline 5V power inverter, 3’ USB power cable with a 110V adapter. You connect too many TVs at once.
- It has a 1db digital amplifier.
- Supports both VHF and UHF bands
- It supports dual connections
- It is easy to install
- It receives signals at a range of 30 miles
- It has a poor design coaxial connector which can destroy the antennae.
6. Winegard HD8200U Platinum VHF/UHF HDTV Antenna
This antenna receives both low and high VHF digital TV signals. It also receives a UHF digital TV signal. The antenna has zinc material which makes it resistant to corrosion. It has a range of 65+ miles range from the broadcasting tower. It receives free TV programming signals. Free OTA has more options and more local channels than before. The antenna can receive 4K UHD signals.
- It has an electric corded power source.
- It supports both VHF and UHF bands.
- Has Winegard Boost XT LNA-200 option of signal amplification.
- It has durable hardware materials that are free from corrosion.
- It is easy to assemble and install.
- It has frequent failures.
- It has a few channel receptions.
7. Winegard Platinum Series HD7694P Long Range HDTV Antenna
The antennae receive both high VHF and high UHF digital TV signals. It has a range of 45 miles range. The antennae allow for the addition of an amplifier. The amplifier boosts the signal reception. It has free OTA programming which has got more options and more channels. You can watch local news, weather, live sports, and other top-rated shows.
- It has a good design.
- It supports both UHF and VHF bands
- Easy to assemble and install
- It has free OTA programming which gives room for more channels.
- It can receive 4K Ultra HD where available.
- The package is not inclusive of all parts for smooth working
- It has poor reception.
8. Antennas Direct ClearStream 2V HDTV antenna
It has the best performance amongst all the antennas which are on a range of 60 miles. You can also get free TV signals from networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, and more. It has more channels which in Full HD 1080. It has multi-directional elements which make it deliver in less-than-ideal directions. Also, it comes with all-weather mounting hardware. The biggest of all is that it comes with a lifetime warranty on the parts.
- It a lifetime warranty on parts
- Has a dedicated UHF and VHF multi-directional.
- It has the best performance among all antennas rated in 60 miles range.
- It receives signals in UHD 1080.
- Coaxial cable is not sold with the antennae.
- It loses the signal fast.
How to Install an Outdoor HDTV Antenna?
If you decide to follow the DIY route, there are steps you should follow to ensure your antenna’s proper installation. These include;
Identify the mounting location of the antennae: The antenna should be placed in a location free from any obstruction. Buildings, mountains and even large trees are common forms of signal obstruction. The position you place your antenna will determine the number of free channels that you can get. You can also look at the direction your friends have positioned theirs. That can help to guide you in locating the adjacent transmission tower.
Install mounting bracket: When you unpackage your antenna, there is a user manual. Read the instructions in the mounting kit. Secure a bracket on the rooftop before you install your antenna. You can use screws to secure the bracket. To protect the screws from rust, use silicone caulk.
Assembling the outdoor HDTV antenna:
know that you should assemble the antenna parts before mounting. Different manufactures bring their products to different states. Some will bring the antennae when it is already assembled. Others will provide a manual that guides you in assembling the parts. Follow the provided user manual well when you are assembling the antennae.
Mounting the antennae: The time of placing your antenna to a pole and mount it. You can choose the place you are going to place it. It may be in the chimney, wall, or rooftop. Slide the pole on the sleeve of the antennae and secure the position. Adjust the antennae towards the broadcast tower. You do not need to make the bolts so tight. You may want to adjust it later.
Test the cable and tune: Run the coaxial cable to your TV or converter box. You should ensure that there are no sharp bends when running the cable. You should also make sure that the cable is long enough to reach the destination. After connecting, run the test whether the signal is being tapped. You can inquire from your friend inside the house to switch the TV on as you are adjusting. Position it to a point where you get a good reception.
Secure the wires which you are in place: A professional will need to have the cable which has been used in the installation all secured. The cables can be placed inside trunks or can be run over the roof using screws and bolts. This will show that the job was done by a professional.
Grounding the antenna: After you have positioned your antenna into a good position, the next step is to take safety measures. Antennas are pointed and this can be used in tapping the static charges during lightning. You use the grounding block connected to the building ground. This is so that the charges discharge during thunderstorms and lightning.
Tips For Using An Outdoor HDTv Antenna
Before you install an outdoor HDTV antenna, there are things you will need to consider to increase the reception. Top of these are;
- Locating where the transmitter tower is located. When you are aware of where the transmitter tower is, you will have a good knowledge of which antennae you will buy.
- Mounting the antennae to a place that does not have any obstructions. This will make sure that there are no obstructions to the transmitted waves. This increases the signal quality given by the antennae.
- Positioning the antennae, a higher. When you use a tall pole, the signals will be tapped in good quality. This will increase the number of channels you can receive.
- Keeping your antennae away from any metal obstruction. Metals interfere with the quality and reception of signals. Taking away your antennae from any metal obstruction will increase your reception.
- Testing different locations in mounting. When you are mounting your antennae, you will test the different positions. Some locations are direct to the transmitter tower. This will increase your reception.
FAQ About Outdoor HDTV Antennas
How do I get the best reception on my outdoor HDTV antenna?
To locate the best reception, you will consider two aspects. One is the location of your area and the location of the nearest transmitter. When you want to get the strongest signal, you should point it in the direction of your area transmitter. You will need to raise your antennae very high to get a strong signal if you stay in valleys. Natural and human resources hinder signals from reaching the aerials and other receivers. Such features may be buildings, mountains, etc.
Does aluminum foil boost the antenna signal?
Aluminum foil increases the conductivity surface area. This allows the antennae to capture more signals. The aluminum channels or mirrors the signals to the antenna.
How does an HDTV antenna cost?
The pricing of an antenna depends on the type and the channels it supports. Antennae that support a single TV range from $10 to $40. The attic and outdoor antenna range from $60 to $150. It is advisable to look at different retailers and the quality of the antennae you want.
Can I install an outdoor HDTV antenna myself?
Yes. You can install the outdoor TV antenna as long as you are not phobic to heights. When you are installing an antenna, you will need to have a ladder to climb to the roofs to install. It is an advantage to live near mountain tops or hills facing the broadcast transmitter.
How much should a HDTV aerial installation cost?
Labor, installation, and the cost of supplying determine the installation cost. The signal level in your home also determines the cost of supplying. The duration of the installation process also determines the cost of installation. To install a TV aerial system will cost an average of $200. When you are doing a replacement installation, it may cost $80 to $100. This is when you have cables, poles, and sockets.
Can a satellite dish be used as a HDTV antenna?
Yes. A satellite and TV antenna can replace each other in their functionality. The antenna captures radio frequencies from the broadcast transmitter. It then transmits them to the TV for viewing purposes. The satellite taps digital signals. Both satellite and aerial tap digital and analog signals.
Will an indoor TV antenna work outside?
Yes. However, there are challenges with the indoor TV antenna working outside. These include prone to water and environmental changes. The indoor antennae have a high affinity for rust and corroding. Therefore, it will short out fast when installed outside.
If you have been using cable or satellite TV consider an outdoor HDTV antenna. One major advantage is that it pulls the free signals from all the free service broadcasters. The subscription services on satellite do have free channels. The challenge is that you cannot access the services when the subscription is not paid for.
The antennae come with many free signals. With it, you won’t be able to access the paid programming or the pay-per-view services and you get to save a lot.