Yesterday, we published an article on the six ways you can continue watching local channels if you subscribe to DIRECTV in a market where Nexstar owns a network affiliate. (DIRECTV, DIRECTV Stream and U-verse nine days ago lost 159 Nexstar-owned local stations in a fight over carriage fees.) The TV antenna, the first option on our list, is the most intriguing because the channels are free once you buy the antenna and install it.
It’s relatively easy and cheap to buy the antenna with many indoor models available for under $30. But what about installation? Do you need to be a handyman to set one up? Depending upon your skill set, it could be a challenge, even an indoor antenna for some.
So we present these step-by-step guides to installing both an indoor and outdoor antenna.
How to Install an Indoor Antenna
Step 1: Determine the Type of Antenna You Need
The first step in installing an indoor TV antenna is to determine the type of antenna you need. There are several types of indoor antennas available, including flat antennas, amplified antennas, and directional antennas. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to choose the one that is best suited for your needs.
Flat antennas are thin and can be mounted on a wall or window. They are easy to install and are best suited for areas with strong signal reception. Amplified antennas, on the other hand, come with a built-in amplifier that boosts the signal strength, making them ideal for areas with weak signal reception. Directional antennas are designed to pick up signals from a specific direction and are best suited for areas where the broadcast towers are located in a single direction.
Step 2: Find the Best Location for Your Antenna
Once you have determined the type of antenna you need, the next step is to find the best location for it. The location of your antenna is crucial, as it can affect the quality of the signal you receive. Ideally, you should place your antenna near a window or on an outside wall, as this can help improve signal reception.
It is also important to avoid placing your antenna near any electronic devices, as they can interfere with the signal. Additionally, make sure your antenna is not blocked by any obstacles such as trees or buildings, as this can also affect signal reception.
Step 3: Connect the Antenna to Your TV
Once you have found the best location for your antenna, the next step is to connect it to your TV. Most indoor antennas come with a coaxial cable that you can use to connect the antenna to your TV.
To do this, simply connect one end of the coaxial cable to the antenna and the other end to the TV’s antenna input. Once the antenna is connected, turn on your TV and scan for available channels. Your TV should automatically detect any channels that are available in your area.
Step 4: Adjust the Antenna for Optimal Reception
After you have connected your antenna to your TV, you may need to adjust it to get the best possible reception. Start by moving the antenna to different locations to see if you can improve the signal quality. You can also adjust the antenna’s angle to see if this helps improve reception.
If you are still having trouble getting a good signal, you may need to consider purchasing a signal amplifier or a higher-quality antenna.
How to Install an Outdoor Antenna
1. Determine the direction of your local broadcast towers
The first step in installing an outdoor TV antenna is to determine where your local broadcast towers are located. This information can be found online through websites such as antennaweb.org. You will need to enter your zip code and it will provide you with the direction and distance of the broadcast towers in your area.
2. Choose the right antenna
Once you know where the broadcast towers are located, you can choose the right antenna. There are many different types of antennas available on the market, so make sure to choose one that is designed to receive signals from the direction of your local broadcast towers. If you are unsure, consult with a professional or ask for recommendations at your local electronics store.
3. Gather your tools and equipment
Before you start installing your outdoor TV antenna, you will need to gather all the necessary tools and equipment. These may include a ladder, mounting hardware, coaxial cable, grounding wire, and a grounding rod.
4. Mount the antenna
Once you have your tools and equipment ready, it’s time to mount the antenna. Choose a spot on your roof or in your yard where you can get the best signal. The antenna should be mounted as high as possible and in a clear line of sight to the broadcast towers. Make sure to use sturdy mounting hardware to secure the antenna in place.
5. Connect the coaxial cable
Once the antenna is securely mounted, you will need to connect the coaxial cable to the antenna and run it into your home. It is recommended to use a grounded coaxial cable to reduce the risk of electrical damage.
6. Ground the antenna
In order to protect your home and TV equipment from lightning strikes, it is important to ground the antenna. To do this, connect a grounding wire from the antenna to a grounding rod that is at least eight feet long and buried in the ground.
7. Test the signal
Once the antenna is installed and grounded, it’s time to test the signal. Connect the coaxial cable to your TV and use the TV’s built-in signal strength meter to determine if the signal is strong enough. If the signal is weak, try adjusting the antenna’s direction or height until you get a better signal.
Editor’s note: Use caution when installing an outdoor antenna, particularly if you are not particularly handy. You might want to consult a professional before proceeding.
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