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Guide to TV antenna installation

Amplified TV Antenna

What is an amplified TV antenna?

How do amplified TV antennas work and what are the advantages of an amplified TV antenna?


Any TV antenna can be amplified.

There are basically two types of amplified TV antennas. The first type most referred to as an amplified TV antenna are those antennas with the antenna amplifier built into the antenna housing. Usually the built-in preamplifier is hidden inside of the antenna plastic housing and you can't see it. The disadvantage of a built-in preamplifier is you are forced to use the preamplifier that comes built into the antenna. Also, if the preamplifier quits working you have to replace the entire antenna. Preamplifier's are not a "one size fits all". The proper preamplifier is primarily determined by the strength of the incoming TV signals and what is installed between the TV antenna and the TV. For an example, long coax cable runs and signal splitters between the antenna and TV require the preamplifier have more signal boost. If the antenna location is near to the TV towers and the incoming TV signals are strong you may not need an amplified TV antenna at all. In fact strong signals can overdrive the signals from an amplified TV antenna causing it to malfunction resulting in poor TV reception.

   The second type of amplified TV antenna are those antennas that don't come with an amplifier. The proper amplifier is chosen to match the reception conditions and is purchased separately from the antenna. These signal amplifiers are designed to be mounted near the antenna onto the mast pipe. This type of amplifier is called a mast mounted amplifier. There are definite advantages to a mast mount amplifier. You can choose the proper amplifier to fit your needs. If the amplifier quits working it can be easily changed. In strong signal areas an amplifier may not be recommended and a signal amplifier may actually make the TV reception worse. In most cases mast mounted signal amplifiers sold separately from the antenna are of higher quality.

   Signal amplifiers that are located near to the antenna or built into the antenna housing are called preamplifier's. These amplifiers located near to the TV antenna amplify the signal directly off of the antenna. This is why they're called preamplifier's because they amplify the TV signal (Prue) prior to the signal traveling through the coax cable, signal splitter, etc...  Pre amplification can be benefit or a disadvantage. In moderate or weaker TV signal areas quality preamplifier's can be very beneficial. In strong TV signal areas preamplifier's are rarely used successfully and should likely be avoided.

All amplified TV antennas require an electrical power source.

The amplified TV antenna with the amplifier built into the antenna housing and the amplified TV antenna with the amplifier separate from the antenna mounted to the antenna mast have one thing in common. They both need a power supply/injector to operate. The power supply/injector is usually installed indoors near an electrical outlet on the coax cable down lead coming from the TV antenna amplifier. The function of the power supply/injector is to convert the household electricity into low voltage electricity and inject the low voltage electricity into the coax cable leading to the amplifier at the TV antenna. In other words,  TV antenna amplifiers are powered via the coax cable from the remotely located power supply/injector. The power supply injector many times is mistaken for the amplifier. Power supply/injector do not amplify the TV signal they simply provide the electricity via the coax cable to power the TV antenna amplifier at the antenna.

   If the TV antenna amplifier power supply/injector is not plugged into an electrical outlet or the electricity running through the coax cable from the power injector to the TV antenna amplifier is interrupted the TV antenna amplifier will shut down and not work. A non working TV antenna amplifier makes reception worse than if there were no preamplifier at all. A non working TV antenna signal amplifier actually weakens the signal as it tries to pass through the non working TV antenna amplifier.

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