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What's the Best HDTV Antenna ?

The One That works!


Best HDTV Antenna        √ Do I need an HDTV antenna?       √ Indoor TV Antennas      

√ Outdoor TV Antennas                       √ Digital Tuners            √ UHF Antenna or VHF/UHF antenna?


 Update to this page is below.

If you read nothing else on this page read this section.

Selecting the best TV antenna for digital/HDTV reception.

I wrote the page below "Best HDTV Antenna" in early 2007 about 2 years prior to the analog shutdown. Many have said, it's the best page on the Internet pertaining to the subject. I warned "beware of all the new tiny antennas that are flooding the market they won't perform well on the VHF frequency coming after the digital transition is complete". At the time most digital TV signals were broadcasting on the UHF signal band and unethical retailers were taking advantage of the consumer and selling what the consumer wanted a small tiny UHF antenna. UHF antennas can be much smaller than VHF/UHF antennas so they left the VHF portion of the antenna out of the design. 

The biggest problem in post digital transition is the reception of VHF digital channels.  If you want to see for yourself just search google using the term "vhf digital reception problems"

Unfortunately many manufacturers and retailers are continuing to sell antennas that are primarily UHF and are calling them VHF/UHF antennas.

Below is a a section from this page "Best HDTV Antenna" called "Buyer Beware".  I copied it and brought to the top of the page so you don't miss it. The information is as true today as it was in 2007.


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Buyer Beware!

According to the FCC when the digital transition is all said and done there will be 1324 full powered TV stations broadcasting on the UHF frequency band channels 14 through 51. 450 stations will broadcasting on the high band VHF frequencies channels 7-13 and only 37 stations using the low band VHF channels 2-6. Most TV markets in the US will have at least 1 TV station broadcasting on VHF many areas will have 2 or 3 VHF channels. In most case the antenna of choice will need to be VHF and UHF capable.

Don't be fooled!
It seems in today's antenna industry any antenna that can receive VHF signals ...no matter how poorly... can be called a VHF/UHF antenna

_____________________________________________________________________

The smallest antenna on the market today that provides strong uniform reception across the entire high band VHF and UHF frequencies is the EZ HD at 35.16 inches long and 34.43 inches wide. As the designer I'm proud to say it has become one of the best selling antennas in America.

Bottom line, don't get stuck with a UHF antenna when you need a VHF/UHF antenna. 

Try our digital antenna selector and be sure to get the right HDTV antenna recommendation for your geographical location.


The original page "Best HDTV Antenna" written in 2007 begins here  

TV Antenna, HDTV Antenna or Digital TV Antenna. It doesn't matter what you call it, it's still a TV antenna and it's important you choose the right one.

The number one question people ask me is "What is the best HDTV antenna?" and I answer, the best HDTV antenna is the one that works. That may seem like a sarcastic answer but it's true. All any antenna has to do is be capable of locking onto the digital signal and maintaining it even when the reception conditions change. If the antenna system can do this you'll enjoy a perfect picture and have the best HDTV antenna for your location.

Fair weather antennas is what I call many of the new compact antennas that claim to be HDTV antennas. Many of these new antennas have been designed to look good but compromise performance in the process. They may provide reception much of the time but when reception conditions worsen they drop the signal and you end up staring at a screen that says "no signal".

So what is the best HDTV antenna?  That's what I asked myself and frankly I couldn't find an antenna that would work in over 90% of the locations in the U.S. without being big and gaudy looking. No one seemed to be manufacturing an antenna for the majority of the consumers. They were either really small and compact and would only work in very strong signals areas under the right conditions or huge giant antennas for those in extremely difficult reception areas.

I decided to design my own antenna and I call it the EZ-HD Antenna. What's so special about this antenna? It performs better then any compact antenna on the market and yet it's small enough to go relatively unnoticed. Unlike compact fair weather antennas it performs equally well on both the VHF and UHF signals. Nearly every TV market in the United States has both VHF and UHF digital signals. It will work in all but the hardest of reception areas. It is constructed of super strong lightweight aluminum so it will last for years and years. According to Federal law the EZ-HD antenna is of a size that cannot be restricted by HOA's, deed restrictions or even landlords. It can usually be installed in a location that is relatively out of site. The antenna is only 35.16" long and 34.43" maximum width. Best of all the EZ-HD antenna is 100% manufactured and assembled in the USA.

For most locations in the U.S. the EZ-HD antenna is the best HDTV antenna on the market. If you would like to view the EZ-HD TV antenna click here.

If you are located in a weak signal area the HD Stacker antenna is the best performing VHF/UHF HDTV antenna on the market. The HD Stacker outperforms every VHF/UHF antenna on the market. If you would like to view the HD Stacker antenna click here.


In the past couple of years a flood of new TV antennas have hit the market place, claiming to be HDTV antennas, digital TV antennas Etc... These small compact antennas look high tech in design and are very appealing to the consumer, but the fact is HDTV antennas don't even exist.

1. But do these new little so called HDTV antennas really work?

2. Which TV antenna is best for you?

3. What's really going on with this whole digital transition?

4. What do I have to do to be prepared?

5. Do I need a digital/HDTV to continue to receive my free over the air TV?



Buyer Beware!

According to the FCC when it's all said and done there will be 1324 full powered TV stations broadcasting on the UHF frequency band. 450 stations broadcasting on the high band VHF frequencies channels 7-13 and only 37 stations using the low band VHF channels 2-6. Most TV markets in the US have at least 1 TV station broadcasting on VHF many areas have 2 or 3 VHF channels. In most case the antenna of choice will need to be VHF and UHF capable.

Don't be fooled!
It seems in today's world any antenna that can receive VHF signals "no matter how poorly" can be called a VHF/UHF antenna

Fact: Any TV antenna that its width is less then approximately 35" will produce poor high band VHF performance. The narrower the antenna becomes the worse the VHF performance will be. A simple rule of thumb is this. The width of the antenna determines the channel frequency (number) it will receive and the length will generally improve performance on those frequencies.
 


Getting the Best HDTV TV Antenna.

This is the tricky part, where consumer's have and will make the most mistakes.

VHF channels 2 - 13     UHF channels 14 - 69
 

FACT: Not all digital/HDTV stations will be broadcast on the UHF frequency band, channels 14 through 69, many will broadcast on the VHF frequency band channels 2 through 13.

   Many TV markets across the United States currently have VHF digital/HDTV stations and even more stations will broadcast on the VHF band after the analog shutdown in February of 2009. The VHF broadcast band is channels 2 through 13 and the UHF band is channels 14 through 69. 

What is the best HDTV antenna ?  is the question most asked by our visitors 

   If your looking for the best performing digital/HDTV antenna system for the very weakest signal areas then that's simple. The HD Stacker antenna along with the proper preamplifier is best. This antenna inch for inch will provide the best possible VHF/UHF digital/HDTV reception for weak signal areas.

   Most of the new compact antennas claiming to be digital/HDTV antennas are UHF antennas or at least they perform very poorly on VHF and should only be used in areas where the VHF digital/HD signals are very strong and where the UHF signals are reasonably strong.  VHF channel signals are lower frequencies and UHF channel frequencies are higher frequencies. The lower the channel number the lower the frequency. The wave length of the VHF band is much longer than the UHF band, the waves are much farther apart, less frequent. To maximize the reception performance of these longer wave length of the VHF channels requires a larger TV antenna. The longer wave lengths of the VHF band go right past compact antennas with very little signal captured.

   This is where many of the problems will begin. The consumer goes to their favorite Internet search engine and types in the words Best HDTV Antenna or Digital TV antenna. The search engine does its job and brings up the results of the web pages that use the terms HDTV antenna or digital TV antenna within the page and are relevant to the search phrase you requested. I know and you know that there is no difference between a TV antenna and an HDTV or digital TV antenna but the search engine doesn't. Ethical retailers who know the difference hesitate to call their antennas HDTV or digital TV antennas, so the search engine ignores the ethical websites because the term HDTV or digital TV antenna is not used on their pages frequently and only brings up those retailers who do use these terms. 

FACT: Small compact antennas, no matter what kind, can't perform as well as larger antennas can, especially on the VHF channels "not even close" no matter what marketing hype is used to convince you, the physics of TV reception won't allow for it.

   Everyone wants the smallest, most inconspicuous TV antenna they can get and all TV antenna manufactures and retailers know this. Some retailers take advantage of this by misleading the consumer. Currently about 85% of all digital/HDTV signals in the U.S. are  broadcast on the UHF band. Remember, UHF antennas can be much smaller and still perform reasonable well on the UHF band because of the shorter wave length of UHF. With this in mind some dealers imported small UHF antennas with a futuristic look, called them HDTV antennas or digital TV antennas, added some well written marketing hype and put them on the market. Now we all know these importers won't have any trouble finding retailers to carry and market these so called digital/HD TV antennas as long as there's a buck to be made. 

   Don't get me wrong, there a few locations where a small compact TV antenna will provide good quality reliable digital/HDTV reception. You better make sure you are in one of those areas and here's why. Unlike our departing analog TV reception where the viewer could watch TV even when the TV antenna wasn't producing the best possible signal/picture, HDTV/digital reception is different. In the past you could purchase a TV antenna for analog TV reception, install it and if some of the pictures were snowy because you bought the wrong antenna, you could say good enough, it's better than what we had. HDTV/digital reception requires that you get the TV signals at a signal strength level strong enough so the digital tuner can lock onto the data stream. In other words, there's no such thing is a snowy or poor picture when you are using a HD/digital tuner. You either get a picture perfect picture or you get nothing at all. There is a small area of signal strength where the picture will be there for a moment disappear or break up into squares and then comes back again and is very annoying. The new term for this interruption in the picture and sound is called pixelation.

   Pixellation occurs when the TV signal is not quite strong enough or some kind of interference is present. As you probably know, reception conditions vary from good to poor in accordance with atmosphere conditions. A TV antenna that can work well in good reception conditions may cause the TV picture to pixelate or not come in at all during poor reception conditions. It's very important that you choose a TV antenna that can produce a strong signal even during times of poor reception conditions.

   Indoor antennas are much more susceptible to pixelation and complete loss of signal then outdoor antennas. Smaller, compact designed antennas are much more susceptible than larger antennas. When I recommend a TV antenna for one of our visitors I make certain it is capable of providing quality reception even during poor reception conditions. If an error is to be made choosing the antenna make sure it's an antenna that's a little to large/powerful versus one that's too small. No one has ever contacted me and said, "Denny I get great reception from the antenna you recommended but I'm really upset, I think it's a little to big and powerful", it doesn't happen.


How to Choose the Best HDTV Antenna.

   Choosing the proper TV antenna can be time consuming, confusing and frustrating for some. If you would like me to provide you with a recommendation using TV reception data gathered from your particular location.

   The first thing you need to know is what channels are available in your area and  how strong the signals are. You can find this out by visiting the TV Antenna Selector link at the bottom of this page.

  FACT: Just because someone claims a compact modern looking TV antenna is an HDTV antenna or a Digital TV antenna doesn't mean it works any better then any other TV antenna for digital/HD reception.  As a matter of fact, the best performing antennas available are still the directional "Yagi" style TV antennas and probably always will be.


Do I Need an HDTV  to get Over the Air Digital Reception with a TV Antenna ?

Fact: You don't need a HDTV to get over the air digital reception after the analog shutdown in June 2009

   Contrary to what some would have you believe, you don't need an HDTV to get digital signals with a TV antenna. High Definition TV is a format, it provides a more vivid picture than standard definition pictures and it's wider in size, but that's it. What really determines whether you can receive over the air digital signals with a TV antenna is the TV tuner itself.  Although HDTV's are nice, the fact that they are HDTV's has nothing to do with receiving over the air digital TV signals. Most HDTV's sold today do have the digital tuner built-in to the set that is required to receive digital signals. The second way you can receive over the air digital TV with a TV antenna is with a digital set top tuner. These tuners receives over the air digital signals and convert them to an analog signal, one that your current analog TV can receive.

   If you want an HDTV that's great, but don't let anyone tell you that you have to have one to get over the air digital TV with a TV antenna, it's simply not true.


HDTV Antenna or Digital TV Antenna Summary

FACT: All analog TV signals, the ones we have been using for years to receive over the air TV, will be turned off at midnight February 18th  2009. Update June 12th, 09.

FACT
:
Not all digital/HDTV stations will be broadcast on the UHF frequency band
, channels 14 through 69, many will broadcast on the VHF frequency band channels 2 through 13.

FACT: Small compact antennas, no matter what kind, can't perform as well as larger antennas, especially on the VHF channels "not even close" no matter what marketing hype is used to convince you, the physics of TV reception won't allow for it.

FACT: Just because someone claims a compact modern looking TV antenna is an HDTV antenna or a Digital TV antenna doesn't mean it works any better then any other TV antenna for digital/HD reception.  As a matter of fact, the best performing antennas available are still the large directional "Yagi" style TV antennas and probably always will be.

FACT: You don't need an HDTV to receive free over the air TV after the analog shutdown in 2009. A TV with a built-in digital tuner (DTV) or a digital set top tuner can be used to receive TV after the shutdown,

   Choose your antenna carefully, be sure to choose one that can provide quality digital/HDTV reception even during poor reception conditions. A TV antenna that's a little to large/powerful is always better then one that is too small/weak.

   If your current TV antenna gets good analog TV reception then it's likely that the same antenna will provide good digital/HD reception.

   Purchase a TV by February 17th 2009 with a built-in digital tuner. It doesn't matter if it's an HDTV or a standard digital TV (DTV) as long as it has a digital tuner, or purchase a set top digital tuner for your current analog TV.

   Don't wait until the last minute, the analog shutdown is coming and if you depend on a TV antenna for reception, you could be watching a blank screen on February 18th 2009.

   If you have any questions pertaining to over the air TV reception using a TV antenna please don't hesitate to contact me.

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