Many people find that they can "cut the cord", give up their cable TV subscription and still get plenty of entertainment from antenna TV. Since the advent of digital television (DTV), stations have used its additional sub-channels to provide specialized programming, modern and classic movies, constantly updated weather forecasts and other programming which makes cable channels somewhat redundant. Some people can receive a good selection of broadcast TV with an indoor antenna located near their TV, but others may need to install an outdoor TV antenna for best results. Amplified antennas can help boost and refine the antenna TV signal when it’s a bit weak or when it’s a lower quality from bouncing off of urban obstacles such as tall buildings.
There are a variety of antennas for television reception, many now designed for optimum reception of high-definition TV (HDTV). Some antennas provide directionality and with it a bit of gain, the increase in signal strength from the antenna design, expressed in dB (decibels) in the specifications.
Whether you can get good reception with an indoor HDTV antenna or need an outdoor HDTV antenna is a matter of distance and geography. If you use an antenna mounted some distance away, on the roof or in the attic, the quality of your coaxial cable will also affect the signal strength delivered to the TV. Differences in cable can be found in the insulation, shielding and durability, especially in challenging weather conditions. Though a quality antenna and cabling are the best ways to get good reception, an amplifier located near the antenna can help send a stronger signal through the cable.
For many people, indoor or outdoor antenna placement is governed by local rules and practical limitations. In those cases, the signal received may not be as good as it could be. To enhance the quality of the TV stations received and boost weaker signals, you can use a TV amplifier. These are often built into indoor TV antenna designs, where a multidirectional antenna pulls in a wide range of signal qualities. Simple amplifiers boost interference along with weak signals, providing a less-than-idea result in some cases. More advanced amplifiers incorporate filters to enhance the digital signal, which can provide a better TV-viewing experience, especially for HDTV.
With an outdoor TV antenna, TV coaxial cabling can carry spikes of electricity from nearby lighting strikes. There are solutions, however. Inline lightning arrestors help divert surges to the earth rather than to your TV equipment. It's a simple, inexpensive investment in the protection of expensive media equipment.
Digital television is a stream of data much like Wi-Fi and mobile phone connections but broadcast in a single direction. From this stream of data transmitted by the broadcaster, antenna TV signals must be processed into sub-channels and then to the video and audio signals presented by your TV. This processing is performed as part of modern TV sets, but older equipment sold before the advent of digital TV may need a converter box — sometimes referred to as a tuner, though it does much more than tune in the signal. This DTV box allows reception of specific channels and displays a list of channels and programs currently being transmitted, gathered by the unit as it scans available signals.