Digital Antennas for my flat screen TV?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by HappyDude20, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. HappyDude20 macrumors 68030


    Jul 13, 2008
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Hi all,

    I moved to a new place and have three flat screen TVs. The only cable service provider is Time Warner Cable, which sucks since I foolishly am paying $30 a month for their basic TV package which only includes the same regular channel attainable with an antenna. Obviously since here in the US we've moved to digital format we have to acquire and connect an antenna...

    Which leads to my focus re: this thread

    Are all digital antennas made the same? Will the lowest price radio shack version work as well as the $60 name brand version?

    Unless it was easy, I'm not entertaining the thought of installing a huge antenna outside on the roof of my home. Ideally I would love to just buy three antennas and hook up each one to each TV.

    Anyone with any advice on the matter, I'm eager to hear your advice and am all ears.

    Thank you!
  2. rigormortis, Dec 24, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014

    rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    what you should do is go to and you enter your address or just your zip code and it will tell you what antenna you need and what direction you should point at to get the most channels. antennas are supposed to have colored stickers on them , like violet , to tell you what the range you should expect

    I've found those flat antennas are only good for like 25 miles or so or less

    the antenna doesn't have to be "digital". also most broadcast areas are nearly all uhf, so a lot of digital tv antennas don't even have vhf elements anymore.

    the read out from antenna web should give you a general idea of what kind of antenna you will need for your location and what channels you should expect to receive

    HDTV / Digital Television only needs a 5' mast on the roof for an outdoor antenna, and its not like 10 to 15 feet like it used to be in the analog tv days

    don't go overboard on amplifiers. amplifiers only really boost the signal for long cable runs. if the signal at the antenna ( the source ) is junk, the amplifier isn't going to help , and it will just introduce noise into your junk signal.

    a real swell device is the hd home run (dual or plus) . don't get the "prime" one because its for cable tv only

    eye tv sells them

    hd home runs sell for around 80 to 120 eye tv sells for 75

    you connect your hd home run to your tv antenna, and your ethernet network. it has 2 tuners per device. and the computers on your network can talk to the box and record live tv shows off the antenna.

    with over the air tv antennas you get a perfect picture . you get a high quality uncompressed signal from the broadcast tower. no cable company or satellite company can deliver you that local hd tv channel at the same quality level that you can get over the air, as long as your antenna installation is good

    for example. ktvu fox 2 sends out 7-15 mega bits per second uncompressed for nascar races.

    those people who have AT&T uverse, they only get 7 megabits for 4 standard tv channels or 2 hi def channels.

    i heard the only cable company that sends out tv that is totally unprocessed , not re-encoded or compressed to fit is verizon fios
  3. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    Being in LA you should have good coverage at most all of the OTA's. The higher up you are would help as you would have a good line of site with the transmitters.
  4. Cpt. Gilgamesh macrumors regular

    Cpt. Gilgamesh

    Jun 8, 2013
    I have a flat antenna that can catch one station miles away yet can not pick up the one that's right down the road. I haven't tried any others.
  5. AllieNeko macrumors 65816

    Sep 25, 2003
    Is the station right down the road VHF?

    And there's no such thing as a "digital antenna" - radio waves don't care what is encoded on them.
  6. Cpt. Gilgamesh macrumors regular

    Cpt. Gilgamesh

    Jun 8, 2013
    It is actually. Doesn't that require line of sight? I know nothing about antennas lol.
  7. AllieNeko, Dec 31, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014

    AllieNeko macrumors 65816

    Sep 25, 2003
    No, VHF requires less line of site than UHF. In theory, VHF is far better spectrum. The problem is that the frequency is so low that an ideal antenna is freaking huge. Thus, most people use antennas really designed for UHF. At best, they might have a pair of "rabbit ears" to pick up VHF, but those aren't great.

    With a good antenna for VHF, VHF is better spectrum. Those antennas are freaking enormous, though.

    In marketing speak "digital antenna" usually means UHF-only since most stations used the digital conversion to move to the UHF band, since few people were willing to use proper VHF antennas, most people find their UHF reception is better.
  8. BlueSpruce macrumors member


    Sep 15, 2014
    Rigormortis gave very good advice.

    We ditched cable last year and picked up a Mohu leaf antenna. It picks up stations within a 50 mile radius, but worked better on one side of the house. Last week Amazon had their flat antenna on a lightning deal and I picked one up. It gets better reception than the mohu leaf in our house.

    Where we live is pretty rural so we do find ourselves moving it around at various times of the day for better reception. We don't care that much since we know we're saving $100/month. We used blue tack to put them up on the wall. HTH!

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