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.