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HDTV Antennas: Why They Work

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Why would you pay for something that you could be getting for free? HDTV antennas bring large broadcasting networks into your home, without satellite and cable fees. Think it’s not possible? Think again.

There are three ways you can watch your favorite programs. One is by using cables, either analog or digital, that run from a cable company and into your home. The cable company owns these cables, and charges you a fee each month for using their signals.

The second is by way of satellite. Satellites submit their digital signals from orbit in the atmosphere and require special receivers to enable you to pick up the signal. In order to decode the signal from the satellite, the company charges you a monthly fee.

The third way is by a broadcast signal. This is a signal that is sent through the airwaves. You need an antenna to receive this signal. You don’t need special help or equipment outside an antenna to recieve broadcast signals through the air. This is free. And legal.

Do you listen to the radio? Can you pick up all kinds of stations, from your local hometown news radio to the classic rock stations coming from the neighbouring cities? Of-course you can. Now, aside from your radio, stereo or reciever, how much do you pay each month to listen to the radio? Absolutely nothing.

Broadcast tv signals are the same as your radio signals, but on a higher bandwidth (frequency). Band I is extremely short in both strength and ability to hold information. This band might be good for making your remote control work, or to hook up a wireless printer, but not much else.

Band II is used for radio stations to submit audio signals through the air to your home or vehicle. Bands III, IV and V are all television bandwidths. They are strong enough to carry both audio and video signals, which allows you to pick up the programs sent out by television broadcasters.

Essentially, HDTV antenna’s are catching the signals that are sent out by the broadcasting towers of television stations. They don’t just catch the bandwidth (channel assigned to each television station), they pick up the VHF and UHF frequencies of each station.

VHF means very high frequency, while UHF means ultra high frequency. This is important because these are the ones that can travel a great distance, and pass through obstacles that would otherwise disrupt the signal (walls, trees and so on).

So again, why would you pay for something you could be getting for free? As a matter of broadcasting, the signals are already out there. All you have to do is catch them. Yes, your tv is already set up to use an HDTV antenna.

Take a look at the back, you’ll likely find a spot marked cable and another marked antenna. Or, if you check your tv’s settings with your remote control, aside from cable you might see: antenna, broadcast or even a setting marked off-air. Any of these setting will allow your television to pick up a signal from an antenna, rather than cable or satellite.

Is an HDTV antenna low tech? In comparison to a satellite hovering about the earth and radiating signals to your living room, then yes, it’s low tech. Is an HDTV antenna low quality? No. In fact, many people are quite surprised that picture quality often appears better with an antenna for hdtv reception.

The National Television Standards Committee has very strict rules about the strength, quality and resolution of signals being broadcast over the airwaves. So you be assured a good quality signal is coming to your antenna. So why not catch your piece of the airwaves and start using an antenna for hdtv reception? The only thing you have to lose is your monthly programming bill.


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  • Posted On July 20, 2012
  • Published articles 2

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