How many people today remember what is was like to have over the air television? When was the last time you went to someones house that didn’t have cable, satellite or a streaming service? Most of todays entertainment is offered on so many different platforms its hard to believe that not long ago antennas were at the top of the game. While forgotten or unknown to most, antennas are still a great way for anyone to recieve free entertainment. However, there are still a few factors that one might want to be informed on before taking the plunge. Location, Height and Amplification are the three biggest factors to take into consideration.
One of the most common speculations received by potential customers is the fact that the channels are all free. Yes the channels are free, it just depends on which ones you can receive. One of the first factors to look into before getting an antenna installed by a pro or installing yourself is your location. If you have alot of trees at your location, then you know that getting a signal will be much harder than if you were say in an open field. Your distance from the broadcast towers play a huge role as well. Fortunately, there are many free websites you can go to which will help you out. The biggest most reliable one of which is the FCC. By simply typing in the address that you are interested in getting service, the website will generate a map with the closest broadcast towers to the input location. Depending on the website used, this map may show anything from: how many potential channels are available, the distance and direction of the nearest towers, recommended types of equipment needed. Not all sites will try to sell equipment so don’t feel pressured to make a purchase. I would also like to stress the fact that just because it says you should receive X amount of channels doesn’t mean you will get them all. In some situations depending on amplification which I will touch on later, you may actually receive more or less than what is presented on the website. The map is more to get an idea of the possible station locations and distance to receive the best signal strength.
How many times have you noticed antennas on the houses in your neighborhood? How many of these are just not being utilized? Another factor commonly overlooked is that antennas are quite resilient. In many situations, unless the antenna has been damaged heavily, they can still be operational. Without damage, these antennas have quite a long life span and can even be hooked back up and potentially used without replacement. Some of our customers have even had their antennas for over 30 years and have had to do almost no upkeep. Most commonly for older systems, the issues are related to corrosion, electrical, water or other outside factors that usually affect cabling, connectors, splitters, amplifiers, antennas etc.
Amplification and Height are two of the hardest factors to take into consideration. Depending on the amplifier used, the decibel increase will vary. If you are close to many local towers amplification may not be for you. However, if you overamplify, the antenna will shoot past the local towers in the attempt to gather a farther signal resulting in the local channels dropping off. This goes hand in hand with height and location. Depending on equipment purchased, sometimes small amplifiers provided are not actually needed and can hurt signal strength. If trees are around, you may need to address how high your outdoor antenna is. Simply raising an antennas height can do wonders for signal strength especially if outside factors are an issue.
While not everyone will get the same number of channels as everyone else, antenna is a great way to cut costs while still keeping up with local broadcasts specific to your area. The upfront cost of installing a brand new antenna system in your home may be a hard pill to swallow for most, but if you realized the people who have had theirs installed for over 30 years or even just a few, you would be very surprised. Due to the amount of and type of components needed to make the system work, repairs are able to be done less frequently and with minimal cost to keep the system thriving. Antennas are great for anyone looking to cut costs from cable and satellite companies.