While cable and satellite program providers will continue to serve the great majority of homes as the primary signal source, missing HD local reception, compression issues, higher costs, billing add-ons, service outages, contact difficulties, in-home service waits and no shows have left many of these subscribers looking to off-air antennas as good additions and alternatives.
Most TV consumers think of antennas as low-tech devices, but there is more behind some of the newer antenna designs than just bent metal and plastic. Many of the TV antenna designs on the market today such as the Yagi and rabbit ears have technology roots going back 30 to 50 years or more. The switch to digital broadcasts however is bringing consumers back to Off-Air reception and the increasing sales are providing the motivation and investments necessary to develop new models and new technology.
The fact that most designs on the market now were developed prior to the advent of much of the computer technology, software and algorithms in common use today has left open numerous avenues to improve upon tried and true designs and develop new ones. Additionally, recent regulations and standards are opening new doors for antenna manufacturers to develop smaller antennas with improved performance and aesthetics.
The correct antenna, installed and aimed properly, unimpeded by obstacles such as building, hills, trees, etc. will receive desired local stations in range it’s aimed at. And the new antennas, working with the newer generation ATSC chips will mitigate Multi-path for viewers in Metro/Urban locations (bounced signals), including multi-cast programming adding several additional local off-air programs and several in HD almost completely uncompressed, not available from cable or satellite.
As to obstructions such as tall buildings in metro/urban areas, viewers will have to deal with Multi-path. Multi-path is caused by these buildings and any other hard object in the line-of-sight to the broadcast towers. They cause signals to reach the antenna out of phase, confusing the ATSC (Digital) chip set in the converter box or tuner (for analog or digital TV sets).
If the signal reaching the front of the antenna is not 2 to 3 times stronger than a bounced signal from the same station reaching the back of the antenna, the ATSC chip doesn’t know which signal to use, so it just keeps searching. The answer again is to up-grade to a new digital antenna, tuned to receive digital signals that help reject Multi-path signals.
Some viewers may even be able to receive out-of-town channels, carrying blacked out sports programs or network broadcasts not available in their home town. As an added benefit, an OTA antenna provides reception for second sets in homes not wired for whole-house signal distribution.
Depending on the level of desire to receive an excellent free picture and multiple broadcast signals, considering the investment in TV entertainment already made by many viewers, shouldn’t they consider up-grading to a new Digital Off-Air Antenna?