A lot of people have asked me about how to set up an HD Antenna, especially after me boasting about the quality, and no monthly fees. It’s a very simple process, however; many fail and give up due to not having the knowledge or patience to do it right. Here are the core ingredients you will need:
An HD antenna (the one on the left is a 4-bay. I use a 2-bay, but it depends no how much room you have)
An HDTV with an ATSC tuner OR a CRT tv with a digital decoder box (quality will suffer but you will get channels)
Basic setup: attach a coax cable from the antenna to the antenna input on your TV. Position the antenna where you want… Here is where you have options. This all comes down to what you have available. For best results – mount the antenna as high as possible (rooftop) and be prepared to adjust the position based on scanning results. Multi directional antennas can aid this process or if you have a premium antenna that allows for remote adjustment, that’s even better. On a much more simplistic level, I personally use a 2-bay antenna that I have just outside of a window on a ledge where it fits perfectly. There are indoor antennas you can use too but the results may not be as good.
Once the antenna is attached and positioned, go to your TV and select the channel feature in the menu (it will differ from one tv to another) and then select ‘scan’. Wait until this process finishes and then you can go through the channels to see which ones you get and how clear they are. The following factors will affect how many channels and the clarity: positioning of antenna, quality of antenna, weather, line of sight, strength of over the air signals (positioning of your residence in terms of whether it is up on a hill which is better or in a gully, and how far away it is from the signal, as well as whether you are surrounded by large buildings).
The most important thing about setting up a HDTV antenna is to keep in mind that there are many factors that affect results in terms of stations and quality. The bottom line is “you will get, what you get!” If you want more stations or better quality, then get the antenna up higher, position it better (you must rescan each time you reposition the antenna if you want to check to see if it picked up more stations), or failing all of that… move!
You will not get as many stations as you will get with cable or satellite, however; the HD stations you should get will come in very clear in most likely 1080i video and HD audio. The quality in my experience is amazing! I use it to watch football and primetime specials mostly. The internet is the optimal choice for anything else in my opinion. The cost is very minimal. My antenna was roughly $20. They can get quite expensive. I have found in general that I’ve had the best luck with the wired antennas as you see pictured above. Results will, of course, differ from person to person as there are many variables. Some say they can get about 40-50 stations including many HD. I personally get about 20 including about 6 or 7 HD stations. I am very content with that. I am also quite content with not spending $80 or more for a bunch of stations I never watch and I feel good about not giving money to unsavoury companies.