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If you’re one of the estimated 2.11 million Americans who has decided to cut the cord and live without cable TV, you probably rely on an antenna to watch your local TV channels. While services like YouTube TV and Hulu now offer live local network TV channels, those bundled packages come at a price that, while typically less than a cable package, is not exactly cheap. The streaming services also are not all-inclusive yet and might leave out local channels that are independently owned or not part of a major broadcast network.
So to stay on top of live local programming without having to shell out additional cash or lose any of your favorite local TV channels, quality reception is a must-have. Here are five tips to help you get the best reception from an indoor TV antenna:
1. Location, Location, Location
Like real estate, high-quality TV antenna reception is all about the location. Before you consider purchasing a new antenna, type your address into AntennaWeb’s free tool. This will tell you not only what local TV channels are available to you but also what type of an antenna you’ll need to receive them. Basically, the further away the broadcast towers are, the more range your antenna will need to have. So if your current antenna is not working as well as you’d like, this could be the issue.
2. Shop For The Perfect Antenna For You
Indoor TV antennas are a lot like diets; what works for one person may not work at all for another. So in addition to signal strength, you should consider what type of home and area you live in. For instance, multi-directional antennae might be best for urban apartment dwellers, who have several broadcast towers around their home. However, since this type of antenna doesn’t pick up distant signals, people who reside in more rural places may be better served with a unidirectional one.
3. Find The Sweet Spot In Your Home
It’s universally acknowledged that the higher up your antenna is, the better reception you’re likely to get. This is because items in your home or even roofing materials can interfere with the signal. So if you have an attic or a second floor room, it could be the ideal spot in which to install your receiver. If not, experiment with different locations around your home, and mount it as high up as you can on an outward facing wall and near a window. You’ll also want to make sure your antenna is facing the direction of the nearest broadcast tower in order to receive the strongest signal possible.
4. Try An Amplifier
Still seeing a spotty picture? If you find that your TV signal is weak, or that you are more than 30 miles from a broadcast tower, you may want to consider using an amplified antenna that can help boost signal levels and increase your reception. These are also good to have if you’re planning to use one antenna for multiple TVs.
5. Upgrade To The Latest Technology
If you’re holding onto a pair rabbit ears, listen up: antennae have gotten significantly better over the years and are now designed in the shape of flat boxes that can be mounted in spots that rabbit ears couldn’t be mounted. So if you’ve tried all of the other tips and are still struggling to get your old antenna to work, it might be time to invest in an upgrade.
[h/t: Consumer Reports]