TV Antennas - who has them and do you recommend them?

ritaweeda

I've seen posts where people use TV antennas. I've thought about getting one to try out. We have satellite here. We can't get cable, too remote for them to run their lines out. I thought I'd try it in one of the other rooms instead of the main one in the family room just to try it out. My questions are: do they work on the newer TV's? Do the ones that don't go outside work well? Do you have to get one for each TV? Are they easy to install and hook up? I thought maybe if they work well I could eventually go all antennas and still stream Netflix and Amazon Prime for extras.

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girlnamedgalez8a

We have the antenna that we put up 25 years ago when our house was built. It works great & we get all of the channels with our new 65" TV. You should give it a try. My DD has one in her attic & has no problem with reception on any of her TV's. We both got rid of cable & satellite a few years ago. We have a Roku & get Netflix, Prime, Hulu & Sling TV. I would never go back.

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bpath Oh Sophie

We have indoor antennas on our small kitchen tv and on the family room tv. Our kitchen tv is flat screen but analog, so we plug the antenna into the small digital converter. The family room tv is digital flat screen. It’s probably, 10 years old.

The antennas work great except when they don’t, which is rare. One nice thing is that most of our local channels have more than one programming option, so for example our PBS station broadcasts children’s programming, arts, news, and multilingual/other, on 11-1, 11-2, 11-3, 11-4, all at the same time.

Our local CBS affiliate, well, they’ve always been odd. “Back in the old days” of only roof-top antennas, they often had a “ghost”. They were the last local to switch to digital. Now, we often don’t get their signal, but when we do get it, it’s stellar. It seems to come in fine in the morning, but not later in the day or evening.

We used to get a local channel but recently it hasn’t been coming in well, then no signal at all. Dang, I miss my MASH reruns.

And here’s the thing: if the signal isn’t crystal clear, it’s almost impossible to watch.

Oddly, on windy days, certain channels don’t come in well.

We share a HULU and Netflix account with DS, so we aren’t total luddites lol. And I have to remember to use my Amazon Prime to watch stuff.

The other thing about the indoor antenna is appearance. We don’t have the stick, we have a flat panel that is about 8x10 inches. It doesn’t look great, if that kind of thing matters to you. Supposedly they are paintable but we haven’t done that. We have to move them around sometimes to get a good signal. They work best near a window, but our family room tv is on an interior wall, so the panel is currently propped on top of a shelf, leaning against a corner of a vase to maximize its surface exposure to signals.

When we have cable, though, like in hotels, we are amazed that there isn’t much we want to watch. We use our library a lot for videos (so we are watching Outlander on HULU and DVD and are now all caught up with Season 4). We don’t have an overwhelming need to watch every series concurrently with the rest of the population lol.

You are in an area too remote for cable, so i wonder if tv signals will come in well? If it’s mountainous where you are, the inside antenna might not be a good choice. We are in a city suburb.

We have one for each tv, they are not expensive. Easy to install, but you have to figure out where to put the antenna for best reception. And you might have to move it around from time to time.

In the end, we like our indoor antennas, used to miss HGTV (but i get my overdose when in hotels), and keep with the modern world with Netflix, HULU, and the library. We do NOT miss cable at all, especially the expense.

ETA: another nice thing is, we can easily move a tv to another room.

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bpath Oh Sophie

Gale, without cable or satellite, is your internet over the phone line?

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girlnamedgalez8a

It was but then a cable Co. ran lines in our neighborhood & we switched our internet to them. It is better service & speed then people around me that still have internet through their phone line.

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Mystical Manns

My area is very much hills and valleys. No dedicated cable or internet lines here, and in fact altho I've gone with DirecTV for television, they don't provide internet to my location and I've had to go with a different satellite company for that.

I moved here five years ago and the first thing I did was get a "window" antenna and it brought in three PBS channels. That's all. The nearest city that hosts local channel service is 120 miles, and I got none of them.

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Elmer J Fudd

There's a page on the FCC website that will tell you what over the air station signals can be received at your address using an antenna, if even a small indoor one. Search for DTV Reception Map.

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terilyn

We tried an antenna when everyone switched to digital. We’re too far away to get any signal.

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ritaweeda

Thanks, Elmer. According to the FCC site, all the stations that I am familiar with have either a strong or moderate signal for my zip. It's divided about half and half. The strong main channels that we watch are one PBS and one major national network. The Moderate category has one PBS and 3 major networks. Except for the local news and PBS, we never watch network prime time programming. Can't stand the drivel that's on there. Don't know if the moderate signal is a bad thing or not. We have satellite so that we can watch National Geographic, History channel, TCM, Food Network and cable national news, that's about it. We downgraded from a more expensive channel package about 3 years ago but there is still so little on for the expense I have a feeling we could easily adapt.

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murraysmom Zone 6a OH

I have had an outdoor antenna for about 3 years and it's great. I'm in a city so that might make a difference. I get the major and local channels, including a movie channel, old tv shows channels, things like that. I get my internet from my local phone company and keep it only because I don't want to change my email address.

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Marilyn_Sue

Yes, the antenna works fine for me. Some years back it was decided by the men we needed to get a new antenna since we had new televisions, well it did not work any better than the old antenna. The indoor ones do not work here too far away for them. Satellite does not work here so no use for that either and there is no cable. I connect to my internet from my cell phone to my laptop, by tethering. I seldom watch television in the day time. I do my watching at night.

Sue in central Indiana

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Elmer J Fudd

If you want to give it a test drive, rita, buy an indoor antenna someplace where returns are easy (like Home Depot or Walmart). Buy one of intermediate price with high user ratings, choose one from the info on the respective websites. Installation is a cinch, you just screw in a coax cable fitting to the back of your TV. That might involve temporarily disconnecting your sat signal if it uses a coax connection, but no problem to reconnect it.

See how it is, it'll give you an idea. You might decide to mount a stronger antenna in the attic or outdoors but often the small indoor types work just fine.

Good luck.

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Elmer J Fudd

"Satellite does not work here so no use for that "

marilyn sue, I'm surprised at your comment, I'm not sure you're correct in what you say. I'm pretty sure that the sat services (Dish or DirectTV) can provide service everywhere in the continental US and adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico.

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nicole___

Elmer's advice is spot on.

We have two antennas "and" signal boosters, brand NEW TV's. One is smart, the others are not. We had 1 analog TV @ our last house, the antenna worked fine there as well. One antenna is hooked to the side of our upper deck and shows. The other one is in the attic dormer. We get 34 stations.

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cherryfizz

I had cheap rabbit ears that plugged into the power outlet and I was getting 32 stations on my tv. When we got the new larger tv we had to move the tv across the room and with my brother's multi directional flat antenna I was lucky to get 13 stations. I got fed up and went out and bought a new antenna, thin as a piece of paper that can stick on a wall or window and I can now pick up 44 over the air stations. I love it and the cord that comes with it is long. https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/antennas-direct-clearstream-eclipse-amplified-indoor-multidirectional-tv-antenna/12393902

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Elmer J Fudd

Good to know that's a good performer, but the link shows that Best Buy is overcharging for it.

It's $40 US at Home Depot, equivalent to $52 Canadian instead of $90 Canadian at Best Buy shown in your link.

I try to avoid Best Buy, they do stuff like this consistently.

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patriciae_gw

You can have trouble with a Sat signal if you have heavy tree coverage at the appropriate angle. Or you can have a mountain ridge in the way. We have ridges and narrow valleys plus some very tall trees that cause some trouble. Not us. We can pull in some Canadian channels with an outdoor antenna but don't bother. Windstroms make the outdoor antenna problematic. I never tried an indoor.

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Elmer J Fudd

As with the website for over the air broadcasts by location, there is also website information available for the proper compass headings and elevations in degrees (above horizontal) for the different satellites of the different services. The elevation depends on location in this way - the farther south you are, the more "overhead" and upwards the sats are and for more northern locations, the elevation aim is lower and closer (relatively, not literally) to the horizon. An example might be one sat could be at an elevation of 50-something degrees in more southern locations but 30-something in the north (90 degrees is straight up). I've seen photos of people having arborists cut a natural looking and unobtrusive gap in a garden treeline to allow for proper sat connections. Most of the compass settings are southerly in my area.

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Marilyn_Sue

Yes, I live in a woods so have tried it and when the leaves come out, away goes the picture. I don't watch that much television so it is not missed.

Sue

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marilyn_c

I'm surprised, Terilyn that it didn't work for you. We live about 45 min. from Houston, and get approximately 100 channels with an indoor antennae. Getting ready to move to the real boondocks and probably will have to have Dish or something. I could easily live without TV, but my husband loves TV.

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Lars

Antennas are getting cheaper (and probably better). This one says it has up to a 120 mile range. I bought a more expensive one at Best Buy a couple of weeks ago for our house in Cathedral City because I don't want to put cable there, although I will be hooking up internet service there on Wednesday. We got more than enough channels, and the Palm Springs metro area only has a population of about 350,00 (Coachella Valley).

We have both cable and antennas in Los Angeles, and most of the channels we get from antennas are not even available on cable, although less than half of them are in English. I had to set up my TV so that only the channels I like are shown on the menu, but that still amounts to over 40 channels. We can get about 200 channels with an antenna, but as I said, most of them are not in English. In Palm Springs, most of them are in English with only a handful of Spanish channels. In L.A., they are in multiple Chinese languages (including Taiwanese), Tagalog, Armenian (about 8), Vietnamese, Cambodian, Japanese, etc. Unfortunately we don't get them in European languages that I can actually understand (besides Spanish), such as German, Italian, and French, but I do think we get a Russian channel, of which I can understand only a portion.

I'm thinking of getting rid of cable here, as it would save me $60 a month, and that seems like an expense I can do without. Kevin has agreed to this. I'll probably cut the cord later this month.

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Jasdip

We haven't had cable for years. I would never pay for the crap that's on TV. We bought an indoor antenna, a little flat piece of plastic about 8x12" that sits on the end table. $50

My geographical area is poor for pulling in a lot of stations. The Niagara Escarpment stops a lot of signals, apparently. CherryFizz lives near the US border so she's able to pull in a lot of US stations.

I get CTV, TVO, Global, YesTV, and sometimes CHCH. It's good for local news and for watching something that I want to see live. The picture is excellent, HD quality. People don't believe me when they see the pic that it's not cable. It's incredible.

I stream 99.9% of shows I watch, so the ability to do that, and my indoor antenna gives me all the tv shows I want to watch.

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Michael

I have 4 TV's connected to one Cable Cutter by HD Frequency, connected to a Channel Master distribution amplifier. The antenna is mounted in the sunroom (SE) and positioned SE to receive local channels broadcast from Columbus, OH. It provides crystal clear reception of all DTV channels.


DTV reception maps


Antenna WEB

Remember to scan for channels. Some reviewers forget that step and write negative reviews about a product that works fine when following auto program instructions.

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PRO
Anglophilia

There was a TV antenna when we bought this house 35 years ago. We live in an area that is subject to strong winds and it was constantly being disconnected by high winds. My late husband would tackle nearly anything, but was deathly afraid of heights, so he could not go up there to fix it (roof/chimney) and we had to hire someone each time. It finally became clear to him (after about 15 years!) that it would be cheaper to get cable and we did and had the antenna removed when the roof was re-done. If high winds are not a problem in your area, you'll be fine with an antenna.

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Elmer J Fudd

anglo, that was an analog antenna so many years ago and would be of little use now that TV signals are broadcast in digital form and digital antennae are used. In places where more elevation is needed for clear reception, an attic mounting (unaffected by weather) should be satisfactory in most cases so long as any attic or gable end walls in the directions signals come from aren't brick. That same FTC website i mentioned before shows where signals come from for any given address.

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jemdandy

40 yrs ago when we had a house built and moved out to our small town, I had planned to have an attic aerial. During construction while the walls were open, I stung aerial cable to a number of locations for future use. We moved in and found we were on thunderbolt rise. There were a number of lightening strikes nearby. That gave me 2nd thoughts about placing an aerial in the attic and then to have a hole blown through the roof from a strike to it. I canceled that idea.

The next thing to try would have been an outdoor antenna with rotator on a tower in the back yard. I was busy and never carried through on that idea. We made do on what we could receive with 'rabbit ears' and that's the way it has been for 40 years.

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Alisande

I live out in the country too. Cable wasn't available here until recently, but by then I was more than happy with the reception I was getting with my outdoor antenna. I get more channels than I watch--most of the time. Reception does vary with atmospheric conditions, and in summer, with the leaves on the trees and storms popping up frequently, I occasionally run a scan to bring stations in better. I use one antenna for two TVs. My bedroom TV, which I hardly ever turn on, isn't hooked up to it and just gets streaming.

I recommend antenna TV highly, but qualify that by saying I'm not devoted to TV watching (except for Jeopardy!). I like certain shows, but if they don't come in clearly that night I go do something else, or watch something on Amazon Prime.

I have to disagree with the FCC. I was interested to check out the DTV Coverage Map Elmer suggested, but surprised at the results. The FCC says I should receive three channels, all with weak signals. Huh? My antenna brings in 14 channels, not all with excellent reception at the same time, but enough of the time to be counted. Our local NBC affiliate, one of the "weak" channels listed by the FCC, is usually great.

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Elmer J Fudd

That's better for you than had it been the opposite. .

I looked at the site and there's a caveat that the results were produced with a software model rather than site measurements and that actual results may vary. And so they do.

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bob_cville

Actually there is no such thing as a "digital" antenna. Antenna is a piece of metal designed to resonate at a specific frequency and to be responsive over a certain range of frequencies. It is true that the signal that are being sent over the air encodes the TV signal digitally and that if that signal is fed into an old analog TV it won't work, but there is no need for a new antenna to pick up the digital TV signals just as there was no need to install new phone lines for your computer to send and receive data via a modem.

The descriptor "digital" as applied to antennas is purely a marketing buzzword. It is akin to back in the 60's when color TV first came out, some TV shops would advertise "color TV antennas" and try to convince customers they needed a new-fangled antenna to go with their new color television.

Caveat: TV Antennas are designed to receive signals in the VHF band or the UHF band or both bands, and in some locations when the stations moved to digital signals they also switched from VHF to UHF. In those specific locations if you had a VHF-only antenna and the channel moved to a new UHF frequency, you would have needed a new antenna to receive the station's signal after they moved to the UHF band.

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Elmer J Fudd

Thanks for the knowledge improving info.

I hope you don't suggest that you can watch a color TV program while sitting on a black couch in a room with white walls.

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