How to Receive Better Television Reception Without Cable or Satellite
By James Werning
If your television reception is poor and you are not hooked up to cable, satellite or Internet TV, you have just one option: maximizing the reception you receive through your antenna. If you live in a low-lying valley or in an out-of-the-way place that broadcast signals barely reach, your television quality will always be limited by the strength of the signal that reaches your antenna. Still you can try a few simple remedies to improve your reception.
TVs with Indoor Antennas
Rotate the antenna or relocate the arms while watching TV to see if the reception improves. Move the antenna away from computers, media equipment and other electronics that might interfere with the broadcast signal.
Detach the antenna’s coaxial cable from the back of the TV and attach a longer coaxial cable to allow you to position the antenna higher up and further away from the TV. Try setting the antenna next to a window.
Detach the antenna’s coaxial cable and install an antenna signal amplifier between the antenna and the TV to strengthen the signal, particularly if the coaxial cable is more then a few feet long.
Hit the “Menu” button on your television or your digital converter box. Select “Channel Scan” or “Auto Scan” to automatically locate all stations with the best reception.
Consider installing a rooftop antenna if your reception is still poor.
TVs with Rooftop Antennas
Turn on the television. Ask an assistant to go on the roof and rotate the antenna until you locate the position that gives you the best reception.
Inspect all antenna cables and connections. Replace defective cables with new ones, if necessary.
Disconnect the cable from the antenna on the roof. Attach an antenna signal amplifier between the antenna and the cable.
- Check the specifications for your antenna to see what kind of signals it is capable of receiving. If your antenna does not receive both VHF (very-high frequency) and UHF (ultra-high frequency), replace it with an antenna that does. This will ensure you are getting the best reception for all stations.
- If you have an older analog television, make sure you have a digital television converter box since television signals today are broadcast digitally.
- When attaching an antenna signal amplifier, labels on the amplifier will indicate where to attach the cables that go to the antenna and the television. Always attach the antenna signal amplifier as close to the antenna as possible.
- If you have the older twin-lead (flat) cable running from your rooftop antenna to your television, consider replacing it with RG 6 coaxial cable for a better signal.
- Signal splitters that split an antenna’s reception to send it to multiple TVs can sometimes negatively effect reception. If you have a signal splitter, try removing it and see if your reception improves.
- Different types of rooftop antennas are designed to maximize reception for different types of television signals. Determine what type of rooftop antenna is most effective for receiving the television stations that are available at your address by visiting a station-locating website such as AntennaWeb.org (link in resources).
- Because of the dangers, hire professionals to work on rooftop antennas whenever possible.
James Werning has authored books and articles on various websites. His scripts have aired for more than 15 years on radio stations across North America. He is a small business owner and a world traveler with a master's degree in communications from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.