An outdoor TV antenna is a great alternative to costly cable TV or spotty satellite television subscriptions. If you are ready to make the switch and save yourself some money, then a quality outdoor TV antenna can be a great option for you.
We have reviewed countless outdoor TV antennas of all types and styles and found that the RCA Compact Outdoor Yagi HDTV Antenna is the best overall product out there if you want quality HD video on everything from local channels to major TV networks.
Outdoor TV Antenna Product Buying Guide
Television antennas are not a relic from the past, but instead a modern way to start receiving all of your favorite channels without the expensive cable or satellite subscriptions. The benefit of using an outdoor antenna for your home television, as opposed to an indoor option is that they allow you to pick up channels even if you are dozens of miles away from your local broadcast center. An outdoor TV antenna can be a great way to make sure you are still getting the television stations that you need. However, not all TV antennas are created equal. This is why we have not only detailed the best of the best when it comes to outdoor television antennas but a detailed buying guides on how to choose the right antenna for your home.
Benefits of Using Outdoor TV Antenna
Before you invest in a new outdoor TV antenna, it is important to understand why you would invest in one of these antennas and the perks of adding one to your home. The more you understand about these benefits, the easier it is to find a product that meets your specific needs.
The first and most common reason to use an outdoor TV antenna is because it allows you to save on subscription costs. With outdoor TV antennas, you no longer need to worry about paying for cable or satellite subscriptions. These TV antennas make accessing certain channels free.
Another benefit is that outdoor TV antennas can deliver excellent picture quality. If you want to make the most of your HDTV’s image and sound capabilities, then an antenna is a great option. What many consumers don’t realize is that when you use cable and satellite providers, they often use data compression techniques that can compromise picture quality.
Key Considerations to Look For
When it comes to looking for a new outdoor TV antenna, there are a few different things to look for in order to make sure that your new antenna will actually work for you and in your home. Here are some of the most important key considerations to look for when investing in a new outdoor TV antenna.
Longevity of Signal Strength
One of the first things you should do when you are looking for a new outdoor TV antenna is to figure out how far away your home is away from the local transmitter. In addition to actual distance, you need to keep a few other considerations in mind. Terrain, waterways and mountains can all make it more difficult for a signal to reach your home’s HD antenna.
Once you have this information, you can make sure that you choose a TV antenna with the right signal strength to meet your needs. The average outdoor antennas have a strength of between 60-70 miles, while some of the other long range signal antennas allow you to pick up signals as far as 150 miles away from the local transmitter.
If you live in an area with rough terrain, it may also be wise to invest in an antenna with motorized capabilities. This allows you to meticulously turn the antenna to face the exact right direction of your TV antenna and work around difficult terrain that may impact your signal strength.
Video and Audio Capabilities
When searching for a new outdoor antenna, it is important to look for a product that delivers the type of audio and video strength that you come to expect with your home television. Most outdoor TV antennas will deliver high-quality Dolby Digital Sound. However, you also need to be on the lookout for antennas that will deliver the video capabilities that your TV has.
Most standard outdoor antennas have HDTV capabilities. However, if you have a 3D or 4K TV, you will want to make sure that you invest in an outdoor antenna that also has these capabilities so that you can take advantage of the unique technology that your home television has to offer.
VHF and UHF Features
When shopping for a TV antenna, make sure that you pay close attention to the frequency ranges. There are two main features to look for, VHF (Very High Frequency) or UHF (Ultra High Frequency). These are the two main frequency ranges you will find with outdoor TV antennas.
If you have a VHF product on your hands, there are three different options when it comes to frequency, “low band” channels which are between 2-6 and “high-band” which are 7-13. If you have a VHF antenna on your hands, 7-13 is typically the better option. With UHF antennas, the channel range is between 14-51.
The main difference between these two types of antennas is size. If you have a VHF, the frequencies are lower, so the waves are longer, which means you need a larger antenna in order to receive signals. While you can still enjoy clear quality with these larger antennas, they can be cumbersome, more difficult to install and require much more square footage on your roof, which can be difficult to manage for some individuals.
Directional vs. Multi-Directional TV Antennas
Most outdoor TV antennas are described as either “directional,” or “multi-directional.” Directional antennas can pull in TV signals from greater distances, this is because they are only pointed at or “see” in one direction. They are also resistant to noise and can ensure a better, more clear signal. This is great if you know exactly where the closest antenna is. Multi-directional antennas can “see” in many directions, but they are much more likely to be distorted or to pick up noise or interference. Multi-directional antennas, also known as omni-directional antennas may come with a rotating base that lets you better adjust the position of the signal—therefore eliminating potential interference.
You can finally get rid of costly satellites and cable packages and start accessing your favorite television channels for free, all with the right outdoor TV antenna. Take advantage of our detailed buying guide to learn more about the best way to find an antenna that works for you and your home. By taking the time to really research your options, you can add a reliable, lasting addition to your home and to your home’s entertainment system.