Will an amplified antenna improve OTA HD reception?

Guy Martin

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 29, 1998
Messages
347
I've finally moved to HD in the past few months having picked up a Sony 40" Bravia. I'm thrilled with PQ on upscaled DVDs with my Oppo and with the off-the-air HD I'm getting. I'm not thrilled though, with the dropouts which seem to plaque OTA reception in my apartment. I'm using an old antenna that came with my previous non-HD television. I have neither cable nor satelite nor do I intend to get either any time soon (most of my viewing is movies on DVD and what little TV I like is all on the major networks). I was at Best Buy the other day and saw several "High Definition"/"Amplified" antennae for prices ranging from $30-$60. Would getting one of those improve my reception significantly? I'm getting a bit tired of adjusting the old rabbit ears.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
- Guy
 

JeremyErwin

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2001
Messages
3,218
The standard advice is to either get a large antenna, or if you live in an apartment to get a double bow tie.

The DB2.

And place it in the best possible spot. This may involve a long rg6 coaxial cable, which aside from not being decorator friendly, will probably attenuate the signal. To avoid that, a low noise preamplifier such as the Channelmaster Titan may be required. (Most preamps, such as those sold by radioshack,, are very noisy)

Titan 7775 Essentially, this amplifies what the antenna brings in, so it doesn't degrade further.

Of course, if the stations broadcast on the vhf band, you'll probably want an antenna, and possibly a preamp that can handle those. Check with antennaweb.

vhf= 2--13
uhf=14--69 (or thereabouts, the FCC has been selling off the high uhf for some time)

A uhf only antenna is not very good at receiving vhf signals, and is particlarly insensitive to channels 2--6

The Zenith Silver Sensor is a pretty decent antenna if you can stand the occasional breakup.

There are others, but indoor antennas are often advertised in a way that is less than truthful... Many amplified antennas, for example, neglect to mention the antenna gain, and instead boast of raw amplifier gain.
 

JeremyErwin

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2001
Messages
3,218
"rabbit ears" are vhf. the "wire loop" is uhf. but perhaps you were using figurative language.
 

Guy Martin

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 29, 1998
Messages
347
Jeremy -
Yup I was being figurative.

Thanks everyone for all the great links and advice! Looks like I'll be doing a bit of research on this one, but it sounds like in general a more modern antenna will help.

- Guy
 

Philip Hamm

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 23, 1999
Messages
6,874
NO!!!!! Terk is the Bose of antennas. Their stuff is horrid.

A new antenna may help a lot if the one you have is weak. For a set-top antenna, the Zenith "Silver Sensor" antenna is very popular and very inexpensive. Avoid Terk at all costs.

"Modern" antennas that have some kind of gimmick are to be avoided. Antenna technology for picking up UHF is very simple and was 100% mature in 1940. No new "gimmick" is going to magically change the physics behind how radio waves work or give you better reception than a good ol' conventional UHF antenna.

"Amplifiers" do nothing but add noise. Don't use any amplifier or preamp unless either (1) you are running a very long run of cable which would require the signal to be boosted slightly to avoid loss, or (2) you are distributing the signal to many devices.

I use a Channel Master CM4221A and highly recommend it. It's a rooftop antenna that I have mounted in my attic.
 

JeremyErwin

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2001
Messages
3,218
Guy, go to antennaweb and see what kind of antenna they recommend. While the website is most useful for selecting the right kind of outdoor antenna, it might be helpful for determining whether, for instance, a unidirectional or a multidirectional antenna is required.

I have a silver sensor, and with careful aiming, can receive red and some blue stations--but perhaps I'm exceptionally lucky. I have a DB2 on order, because I'm tired of precision aiming and occasional breakup.
 

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