I Have Used An Antenna For 10 Years – Here Are My 5 Pro Tips for Getting The Most From Your Antenna For The Best Free OTA TV





Girl watching TV

I have now been a cord cutter for over 10 years, and an antenna has been an important part of that journey. Even before I cut the cord, I grew up with the old rabbit ear antennas to watch TV as a kid.

Now antennas have come a long way and offer a lot more. As a kid, we got a handful of channels. Now I can get almost 50 channels with my antenna.

Now the number of channels you can get will vary depending on where you live. A site like AntennaWeb will be able to tell you what stations are nearby and give you an idea of what type of antenna will work best for you.

Over the last 10 years, I have learned a lot about how to get the most out of my antenna. Here are my 5 pro tips on how you could get the most out of your antenna.

#1 Positioning

Most antennas receive their best signal if they’re placed up high in a room. Higher is better since the higher up they are the more likely it is that they’ll avoid obstacles that cause poor reception. 

The only thing better than high placement inside of a room is to place your antenna near a window. If nothing is obstructing your antenna from the broadcast tower then placing it near a window should give you the best signal. However, if you place it in the window then there are a few things to be mindful about. Some antennas can be damaged if it gets too hot due to sunlight. Also, make sure your antenna is secured properly on the window, if not over time it may become bent or distorted which will affect reception.

If you’re still not picking up good reception, be patient, sometimes you have to find the right spot in the room to get the clearest picture. Simply, move the antenna to another location inside the room and that should yield better results.

#2 Avoid things that may cause signal interference

If moving it to a different location does not work then there may be something interfering with the signal. Simple household items like a microwave can block your over-the-air signals. A good rule of thumb is to not place the antenna behind your TV or near other electronics because they can interfere with the signal and often lead to a choppy reception or at worst, completely block it. Hiding your antenna behind your TV may be a discreet place to place it, but it’ll make it harder to pick up some of the weaker stations in your area.

Metal is also infamously notorious as a known signal blocker. The metal lining in chimneys can hinder your reception so do not hang your antenna near one. If possible, keep your antenna far away from metal objects as possible.

If certain TV stations are perfectly picking up, but you have a few that you cannot get at all or have poor receptions, then something is most likely blocking the signal and causing interference with your antenna.

#3 Amplify for a better signal

If those tips do not solve your issues, then getting an amplifier should help. An amplifier can boost those weaker signals to give you a clearer picture. Those that live close to their local stations probably will not need an amplifier. However, if your local stations are far away from you then an amplifier can be the difference between watching a couple of boring channels to enjoying your most-watched shows. Most of the best indoor antennas are equipped with an amplifier, with some being powered by the USB slot on your TV.

Also if you want to connect one antenna to multiple TVs you may want to think about using an antenna amplifier made to just do that. Here is one example from Antennas Direct.

#4  Go As High As You Can

An antenna going up is always your best option. This helps your antenna get over any obstacles that could be blocking reception like cars, refrigerators, and more. Putting your antenna as high up in your room as possible will help.

Yup I’m putting this here twice but really it is that important.

You can also put your antenna in a different higher room and use something like a Tablo DVR or HDHomeRun to stream it to your TV. (They also work as great DVRs!)

#5 Make sure you have the right antenna

All antennas aren’t made the same, so there is no one-size-fits-all method. On top of that, if you’re not getting the reception you want with an indoor antenna then you may have to go with an outdoor antenna.

If at all possible an outdoor antenna even if it is placed in your attic will give you the best reception.

Bonus Tip Get a DVR!

To help you get the most out of your antenna maybe consider getting a DVR. Something like a Tablo DVR or HDHomeRun to stream your antenna to multiple devices at once. They can also record your favorite shows helping you build up a catalog of movies and TV shows for you to enjoy.

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