You either get a perfect picture or you don't get a picture at all. There is a small area of reception where the signal is not quite strong enough to maintain reception and the signals may go in and out a small blocks may appear within the picture and sound may be interrupted. When this happens it usually means the signal is weak or there is interference present. You won't see double images or snow on digital TV reception.
In many ways the only difference between digital TV reception and analog reception is the tuner itself. Digital and analog signals are both sent from broadcast towers to a receiving antenna. In simple terms the difference between the two signals is what each signal is carrying. The digital signal carries data (digital). The analog signal does not. Mixed in with both analog and digital signals is interference both man made and natural. The old analog tuner can’t tell the difference between the TV signal and the interference within the signal so it provides both to the TV possibly resulting into what is called snow, grain or double imaging. On the other hand the digital tuner receives data that can be separate from interference delivering a near perfect picture to your TV. However, if too much interference is accompanying the digital signal the tuner may not be able to clearly read the data and you may lose the signal altogether leaving you with a blank screen. For this reason digital TV reception more then analog TV requires more attention to detail and the proper TV antenna and accessories.
Digital TV reception is free to the air, signals anyone can receive at most locations in the United States when using the proper equipment. The antenna and equipment you choose along with employing the proper installation methods will play a big role in determining your reception results.
The biggest mistake people can make is to choose the TV antenna they want to work and not the one that will work.
Everyone wants the smaller, simpler more compact antenna to work and many times it will. Do your homework, determine the distance and direction of the TV stations you want to receive. Examine your surrounding terrain for a couple of miles in the direction to the TV station transmitters. Look for hills, dense trees or structures that can obstruct TV signal. Consider the elevation you can install the TV antenna above ground and the elevation of the ground itself at your location. Quality digital TV reception can be obtained in about 98% of the United States so chances are good that you can enjoy free TV at your location.
Besides transmitter distances and terrain, the actual channel frequencies that the local broadcasters use to transmit the signal will also be a factor in determining what type of antenna you will need. There are basically 3 types of antennas, VHF antennas for channels 2 through 13, UHF antennas for channels 14 and up and combination VHF/UHF antennas designed for all channels. With introduction of digital TV reception some antennas are now designed to receive all channels. With a few exceptions most digital TV signals will broadcast using channel 7 and higher. To the best of my knowledge no locations in the U.S. will broadcast all of the local digital channels on VHF 2-13. A very few locations are and will continue to broadcast all of the local channels on UHF. Most locations however are or will broadcast on both VHF and UHF channels.
In a nutshell, to receive over the air digital TV reception, you must have a digital tuner. Either a set top digital tuner or a tuner that’s built into your TV.
When choosing your TV antenna and equipment always consider distance and direction of the stations. Examine the terrain for possible signal obstructions. Evaluate the elevation where the TV antenna is to be installed. Determine what channel frequencies your local broadcaster use to transmit the signal on and choose your TV antenna and equipment accordingly. We offer a free antenna recommendation service here >.
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