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How to Improve HDTV Reception

written by: Jennifer Claerr•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 3/15/2011

Unlike analog TV, HDTV doesn't suffer from reception problems such as snow or ghosting. However, that doesn't mean that your HDTV reception will always be perfect. Learn how to increase the strength of your HDTV reception to improve picture quality.

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    HDTV Signal Reception Problems

    The transition to digital television has brought along many improvements. One of them is the ability to receive free-to-air digital high definition television (HDTV) signals, which are a type of digital signal. HDTV signals don't suffer from the same reception problems as analog signals. For example, there is no snow or ghosting in HDTV. However, that doesn't mean that your HDTV reception will always be strong and clear. When HDTV signals are too weak, they will either pixelate or disappear altogether. This can much more disruptive to your television viewing than analog signal problems, and in some cases may prevent you from watching your HDTV at all.

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    Tips for Improving Digital HDTV Signal Strength

    There are many things you can do to improve your digital HDTV reception strength and get better picture and sound quality. The most important step is to get the right antenna for your area. In some cases, an ordinary indoor antenna with rabbit ears may be sufficient to receive an HDTV signal. However, in other cases a regular antenna may be too weak to amplify the digital signal. Using an amplified indoor antenna with an adapter may help make a digital HDTV signal stronger, especially if you live in a large city where the television stations are nearby. However, if you live out in the country, the digital signal may be too weak to be received by your HDTV. Also, if there is a source of interference such as a radio tower nearby, this may cause disruptions with your HDTV reception. In this case, you should purchase an outdoor antenna to install on the roof of your home. Whichever type of antenna you choose, your antenna should be installed as high up in the air as possible. Make sure that there are no obstructions preventing the antenna from receiving HDTV signals.

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    Choosing an Antenna for HDTV

    Although many antennas are marketed as HDTV antennas, the truth is that all television antennas are capable of receiving both analog and digital signals, including HDTV signals. In most cases, a multidirectional amplified antenna with a power adapter will get the best range of channels. However, in some circumstances you might need a directional antenna. If you're having serious reception problems, choose an outdoor antenna, which gets stronger signals than an indoor antenna. Although many digital stations transmit signals on the UHF band, there are still some that broadcast on high band VHF. For best reception, choose an antenna that can receive both VHF and UHF signals. However, take caution, because many HDTV antennas can only receive a UHF signal. For more information about the HDTV television stations in your area and the different types of antennas, check AntennaWeb.org.

    Sources:

    "Frequently Asked Questions," http://www.dtv.gov/topfaqs.html