Digital TV Antenna

Decoding digital satellite antenna mounts

In 2009, television broadcasting across the United States went 100 percent digital. The change left many viewers scrambling to update their televisions and antennas to ensure they wouldn't experience any service interruptions.

It's a common misconception that digital antennas are fundamentally different from models designed to receive and decode analog signals. In fact, they are not; consumer advocate groups stress that retailers and manufacturers are just trying to appeal to public desire for all things "digital." The truth is, TV antennas make no discrimination between analog and digital/high-definition digital signals.

Advertiser Links for Digital TV Antenna

However, you will need a special HD receiver if you want to receive your digital broadcast signal in high definition. The HDTV antenna you'll need will be available from your service provider, usually for either a flat fee or a monthly charge.

Things to Know About Digital TV Antennas

The Consumer Electronics Association's website offers a helpful guide that can help you select the right digital TV antenna. They have a color-coded chart indicating the different broadcast zones across the country, so you can purchase the antenna that's best-suited for receiving signals in your region.

Television antennas also have two basic reception functionalities: directional and multidirectional. Directional receivers have a narrower reception range, while multidirectional antennas can receive a wider range of signals. However, directional antennas generally have superior ghost-reducing capabilities. Both directional and multidirectional antennas are available in small, medium and large sizes.

Digital TV Antenna Setup Tips

Before you get started, you need to know the basic components of a typical television antenna. There are three: the boom, the phasing lines and the down-lead.

The boom is your main central section, usually comprised of a wide-gauge aluminum tube. Phasing lines connect your driver elements with your down-lead, and the down-lead itself carries the signal from your antenna to your receiver through coaxial cable.

When you're setting up a digital satellite antenna, it's vital that you avoid doing so if there's even the slightest chance of a lightning storm. TV antennas are perfect electrical conductors, and you could be seriously injured or killed if lightning strikes one while you're installing it.

Orienting your digital satellite antenna mount to avoid obstructions like hills, high buildings and water towers is an excellent idea; however, if you have so many of these around you that they're impossible to avoid altogether, you should get a large multidirectional antenna that offers a wide reception range.