A relic from the past is enjoying a strong revival in the U.S. as more and more people are switching back to antennas to watch TV. The switch not only eliminates those costly monthly cable bills, but also provides much higher quality HDTV pictures. Here we discuss TV antennas: which perform best and information on table top, attic, or roof top installations.
Better HDTV Pictures Than Cable or Satellite
While cable and satellite connections will provide more channel selections, they must first compress the digital signals to allow them to pass through their distribution system. The end result a softer picture and distortion that compromises picture quality. True HDTV is captured with an antenna with the full resolution the TV broadcaster intended.
Get All the TV Channels in Your Area
Cable and satellite companies may not carry all the local channels or sub-channels in your area or, in some cases, those not in high definition. Bad weather, operational problems, and from time to time, industry contract disputes can completely disrupt service and signals. Currently in our area, there are around 70 HDTV channels available for free after installing and using an antenna.
Cable or Satellite Programming on the Internet
Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, PS3, and similar devices through the internet provide an abundant source of programming for a small monthly fee as many have discovered. Watching what you want when you want has become a very popular way of getting the information and entertainment you desire. The popularity of smart TV sets continues to increase.
Which antenna is best?
Distance and direction from your home to the TV station are foremost. In some cases, TV signals can reach as far as 60 miles. HDTV digital signals are direct "line of sight." If an obstruction such as a building or land terrain feature is blocking the signal path, you will not get reception. The proper antenna selection and installation are critical as well as finding a dealer that will offer exchanges and/or returns.
Directional or Non-directional Antennas?
Directional antennas work best when pointing directly at the TV station you wish to receive. Depending on your locale, directional antennas may not be the best choice if multiple stations are found in similar directions. A non-directional antenna will pick up TV stations in all directions but may not have the strength to pull in distant signals
Indoor Desktop Antennas
Small and the most affordable, desk top antennas perform well in most cases. They can be easily adjusted to pick up signals of local TV stations. Many have a designer look to fit in with your decor.
Attic and Rooftop Antennas
Placing your antenna at a higher elevation may be necessary to avoid obstruction and to reach distant TV stations. A special mounting device may be required and, in rooftop situations, it is advisable to hire a professional installer to do the work.
A television set, according to Wikipedia, is a device that contains a tuner, display and speakers for viewing television. It is not to be confused with a video monitor which is simply a display item used in conjunction with another device such as a camera or cable TV modem. The tuner, being the critical difference, allows for the processing of RF (radio frequency) signals from an antenna into pictures and sound.
Various display technologies are available today like LCD, Plasma, DLP and OLED. Cathode ray tube (CRT) has been replaced by the previous methods and is no longer commercially available. The most common are LCD and Plasma.
LCD vs Plasma
LCD displays are usually found in sets ranging from 19”- 84” in size. The size is a diagonal measurement across the screen from a top corner to a bottom. Plasma screens range from 42”– 65” in size. The viewing angle, what the screen looks like when viewed from the side is typically better in plasma as well as offering better picture contrast, or the ability to show true black colors without obscuring detail. LCD models with backlight dimming can rival plasma for contrast. For displaying fast motion, such as sports programming, plasma also holds an advantage, but may also be offset with a LED set with 120Hz or 240Hz refresh rate to smooth out motion. Finally although plasma may less pricier they are heavier, less energy efficient and generate more heat.
What size display?
Typically the viewing distance from you to the screen is a good judge of what size of television to use. If you will be sitting close to the television, usually about 6’, a medium size screen (32” to 40”) is appropriate. Smaller if closer and larger if farther away is a common rule of thumb.
When wall mounting a TV the mounting bracket must match the VESA guidelines. This means the holes must match up and the bracket capable of carrying the weight of the TV. Check your owner’s manual to get the right information. Do you want the TV to be able to swivel from side to side or up and down to get the best viewing angle? Consider where in the room you place the TV to avoid back lighting or glare from other sources such as a window. Finally the TV should be placed at seated viewing height, not too low or too high to avoid uncomfortable neck strain.
Most modern televisions come with multiple input and output connections. To connect to your antenna select the threaded input (F connector) and tighten securely.
An antenna amplifier boosts the RF radio signal from a television station, and is used primarily to pick up distant radio waves. However the increase in signal also comes with an increase in ambient back ground noise, electric environmental noise such as high voltage sources, and noise from the amplifier circuitry itself. In theory it is best to amplify a clean signal rather than a noise one.
The RF radio signal is directed from the antenna through a coaxial cable. The amount of signal loss depends upon the length and type of cable. Cable type RG-6 is best recommended for television reception.
Your television might be connected to a DVD player or audio system, resulting in a tangle of wires. This unsightly situation can be remedied by using a cable raceway, but more important is the need to keep signal cables away from power wires. Electrical signals from power (60Hz) can and will affect the signals to and from your television set.
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