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Issues to consider when setting up your antenna:
1. Your distance from the stations: for stations that are within 30mi from the source, an indoor antenna will work. But if your source is 50mi or more, a powerful outdoor antenna would ensure your signal strength stays high throughout the day.
When living in a high-rise, your distance from station transmitters increase significantly. However for distance stations you’d have to aim your antenna more precisely to get a signal if you’re using a directional antenna.
2. Cost: a good outdoor antenna is usually more cost effective because they pick up more stations and the ones they pick up is less likely to drop-off due to bad weather. Indoor antennas especially low-profile ones looks attractive but you can be paying just as much.
3. Convenience: for an outdoor antenna you must run your cable back into your house either through a window or by drilling a hole into the wall.
Indoor antennas can be hooked up easily to the back of your TV. However, in many cases hanging one on a wall or placing one on top of your TV like what people did with rabbit-ears is not the best reception.
4. Design: omnidirectional antennas that look like a rectangular box or a round disk may look attractive, but they can also pick up interference or bounced signals. Even with strong signals from nearby stations, if you get signals bouncing in a room, buildings or hills near by, your digital converter may get confused and drop certain station. An indoor omnidirectional antenna isn’t what they seem. Some stations would require adjustments to avoid bounced signals than put it on the table and it’ll do its job.
Usually the ones that look like an arrow works best whether you use an indoor or outdoor antenna. They pick up more from the front end and reject signals coming from the sides and the back. This is useful if you have obstructions in your way causing bounced signals.
5. Location: for an outdoor antenna as long as you are facing the station high-enough you should get good reception of locals and distant stations available. For stations from the same general direction you can normally point your directional antenna toward the most distant station and get the rest.
Indoor antennas especially omnidirectional ones can be a bit tricky. Using 1 on the the 2nd floor of a house will give you much better reception than in the basement where you may receive some stations or none at all. You may wish to run cables from 1 room with the strongest reception to the one where the TV is placed.
In an apartment, any floor above the third by default you will be higher than someone living in a house because very few people mount their antenna above the 3rd floor. However, you must be in a room directly facing the transmitters to get the best results. With an indoor antenna, the concrete walls would guarantee that you get many stations in 1 room but virtually none in another. On the balcony you get some protection from rain like the attic and good line-of-sight to your stations.
6. Amplified power: they work in some cases but for distant stations you need a strong outdoor antenna. Otherwise an amplifier attached to an indoor antenna may not work.
Note: in the above video the outdoor antenna was Nippon AU-14 and the indoor antenna was Terk FDTV2A. This video does not endorse any company or its products.
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