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Off-air antennas are quite popular these days, largely due to the cost savings over subscription cable and satellite services. Although some homes can receive adequate television programming off-the-air with mere rabbit ears, others require complex installations by a professional. The fact is, it is unusual NOT to get ANY digital channels over the air. If you can't, here are several things to consider and check:
1) Make sure your television set is in Broadcast/Off-air mode,
2) Make sure that your TV has a digital tuner (does not require an external converter box),
3) Look for active devices (some hybrid antennas/splitters) in your TV system that are not getting the required (12v) power, and
4) Look for satellite splitters being used as a TV splitters in your distribution system. And, of course, the location of your home may allow NO line of sight to any television broadcast tower due to elevation or other topographical issues. Try a very basic antenna antenna (no power) on a 2nd floor TV; this will usually tell you where your at with your signal quality.
Whole home antenna installation by a professional generally ranges from $500-700, depending on many factors. These include roof type, roof height, antenna model/reception range, complexities of the required wiring, and whether additional cabling or services inside the home are requested. Most installations include an antenna, mast, mounting brackets, cable, and signal distribution devices.
Our most popular antenna is the Stellar Labs 30-2426 High Gain UHF because its size makes it usable for both outdoor and attic installations. UHF Antennas are available for purchase from our online store and in our showroom.
There are many brands and models of TV antennas available, but choosing the right one becomes easier if you are aware of a few basic reception and TV antenna characteristics.
To deliver an adequate signal level to the receiver, the antenna requires a certain antenna gain. The gain of an antenna indicates the relative strength of signal it can deliver to a receiver. Most manufacturers list the gain of their antennas in decibels (abbreviated "dB"). The higher the antenna gain, the stronger the signal at the antenna output terminals. ln most cases the larger the antenna, the higher the gain. The amount of gain required is dependent on the distance between the station's transmitting antenna and the receiving antenna. The required type of antenna therefore depends on the channels to be received and the distance and direction of your home from the transmitting antennas. These facts are readily available for any area but be sure your information is accurate and complete. Call a local TV station if you have questions. Most TV stations are willing to help TV antenna installers because they also benefit from the improved reception to the station's viewers.
Be sure to determine the number and types of channels that are receivable. This may sound basic, but it is important to understand the difference between VHF/FM and UHF. With the right equipment, you may be able to receive out-of-town channels, some of which may carry sports programs that are locally blacked out. The most important points to remember when selecting an antenna are its gain, sensitivity classification, directivity, and front-to-back ratio.
If your home is in an area in close proximity to the local television towers, an indoor antenna may provide adequate reception. Indoor “rabbit ears” usually need to be augmented with an additional “wire loop” or “bowtie” antenna in order to pick up signals on UHF channels. You should be aware that even if you use a digital-to-analog converter box, you will still need to use an antenna to receive DTV signals.
Broadband VHF/UHF Antenna
UHF High Gain Antenna
An outdoor antenna system is the best solution for providing a whole home high definition programming to all televisions in your system.
Guide to Antenna Selection
Antenna color codes are broken into six different zones. These zones identify the different types of antennas that are required for a consumer to receive optimal reception. Typically, the closer consumers live to the signal tower, the better reception they will receive. They may also be able to use an indoor antenna versus an outdoor. The farther away a consumer lives, the opposite is true. However, there are many variables that impact exactly which antenna you will need.
The smallest of TV antennas, they receive equally well from all directions. Good looking designs including novel shaped disk and patch antennas, and antennas that attach to satellite systems.
Somewhat larger and slightly more powerful. These antennas include novel stick, wing shaped or disk antennas with long elements. An amplified antenna is recommended anytime a long (20 feet or more) cable run from the antenna is required, or when more than one device (TV or VCR) is to be used with an antenna. They work best away from reflecting structures or low areas.
Bigger in size, these antennas receive more signal power. Better for greater distances from signal source and areas with low signal strength. Styles include element antennas. These antennas can be used to reject simple ghost situations. When mounted at rooftop heights (30 feet or higher) outdoors, amplified antennas can be used in light green color code areas away from reflecting structures or low areas.
Antennas that act like large multidirectional on channels 2-6 but on higher channels these antennas start to have useful ghost reducing effects. Picture quality is excellent when no signal reflecting structures are around. Multi-element rooftop antennas. Amplified antennas with rooftop mounting can be used in these areas if the area is free of signal reflecting structures and is not in a low area.
Most popular rooftop antenna because of its modest size and ghost reducing characteristics. Multi-element rooftop antennas. If there are ghost producing reflective structures near TV receiver antenna location, this kind of antenna is best for yellow, green, light green and red color code areas. Amplified antennas with rooftop mounting can be used with the blue color code.
Large antennas are used in weak signal areas for maximum possible TV reception. Multi-element rooftop antennas. Can be used in any color code area, but requires an amplifier and roof mounting for blue and violet color codes. Amplifiers are not recommended for yellow color codes.
UHF (Ultra High Frequency) Stellar Labs 30-2426 antennas are designed to receive TV channels 14 through 69, the UHF TV band. (Most of the New off air HDTV channels will be on UHF band) The UHF TV band originally extended from channel 14 to channel 83. However, the FCC now has reassigned channels 70 through 83 (also known as the translator band) to mobile communications use. Although there still are many antennas capable of receiving all 82 channels, Stellar Labs the translator band (former TV channels 70-83) is useless to the TV viewer. UHF TV antennas come in a wider variety of shapes and sizes than VHF/FM antennas. The wider variety of UHF designs is possible because they don't require the long elements that VHF/FM antennas do.