How to Get Better Reception With Your Rabbit Ears

By Louise Lawson

Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Aluminum foil

  • Coaxial cable

  • Cable connector

Television has been a primary source of entertainment for people around the world since its invention in the early part of the 20th century. External antennas, also known as rabbit ears, are one of the most popular and easiest to use television accessories. Keep in mind, however, that in 2009, federal law required that all television channels convert from an analog to a digital signal, which could mean that even the best pair of rabbit ears may not work with digital broadcasting. The purchase of a digital converter box might be necessary to enjoy your television.

Attach your rabbit ears to the input area of your television. The coaxial input is normally in the back of your TV and looks like a small screw with a hole in the middle. Screw the cable from your rabbit ears into the input, tightening it down firmly. A tight connection will make for optimal reception.

Turn your television on, and change it to the channel you are trying to receive. Your picture may look snowy or blurry, which is completely normal. Some older televisions will roll the picture until they warm up, so allow your television to run for a few minutes before adjusting your ears.

Extend the antennas on your rabbit ears to their full length and slowly move them from left to right. Watch the picture as you move the antennas, as even the smallest adjustments can drastically change your picture.

Adjust the tuner knob on your rabbit ears if there is one. The knob will fine tune the picture on your television and can take any remaining grainy or fuzzy appearance out of your picture.

Wrap the ends of your antenna in aluminum foil if you are still getting poor reception. Aluminum foil acts as an extension of your antenna and gives them a better surface area to pick up and retain more signal. Extend the aluminum foil past the end of your antenna to maximize your reception.

Run an extra length of coaxial cable from your TV to your rabbit ears, joining the two with a cable connector, and hang them outside if your reception is still poor. Many items in your home, including motors, dimmer switches and even touch lamps can interfere with your signal, so hanging them outside eliminates these issues. Run them through a nearby window or doorway for best results.


Slow movements are important when adjusting your rabbit ears. Moving them in large, quick movements can make your picture even worse, so be patient and take your time.


Never plug anything into your television’s input that was not designed for it. People often insert wires or coat hangers into their televisions, but this is an electrical hazard and can damage your television.