Last updated: September 26, 2020

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Television is one of the most common household appliances, with at least one in virtually every home in the United States. However, the number of TVs without a broadcast signal is impressive. This is why indoor TV antennas have almost become a default device to go with your TV; they allow you to increase the signal and, therefore, the number of channels you have access to.

But choosing the right indoor TV antenna isn’t necessarily a walk in the park. Just like any other product on the market, you have to know the main characteristics and features of the antenna to make an informed decision. In our shopping guide, we will tell you everything you need to know to get it right.

Key Facts

  • The first aspect you should consider is the location. Look at the needs or requirements of where you want to set up your indoor TV antenna. This will help you determine the type of antenna you need.
  • You should also know the quality of the radiofrequency signal you receive at home. You won’t need the same antenna for a place with a stable signal or taking its signal from a mobile station.
  • Don’t forget to have a look at the installation process of your indoor TV antenna. Nowadays, most models don’t require the help of a technician. All you have to do is follow the instructions to the letter, and you’ll be good to go.
  • A nice, cheap antenna isn’t necessarily all you have to look for. You should also check the technical requirements of the product. Analyze aspects such as polarity or gain, which define the efficiency of the antenna, as well as impedance and size. The more you know, the better your decision will be.

Our Selection: The Best Indoor TV Antennas on the U.S. Market

In the following section, you will discover our very own selection of the best indoor TV antennas on the American market. You can also learn more about the features and functionalities of each device. More information will help you make the right purchase decision. We hope that you find the antenna that you’ve been looking for all along:

Best Flat Indoor TV Antenna

The Eclipse TV antenna by Antennas Direct is an Amazon’s Choice and a popular model on the market, particularly standing out for its discreet design and ability to blend in your home decor. Built to grip to any smooth surface, this TV antenna has a range of 35 miles with a greater range of frequencies thanks to its patented loop design. If that’s not enough to convince you, know that this product comes with a lifetime warranty.

Best-Selling Indoor TV Antenna

This indoor TV antenna is an Amazon Best Seller in great part thanks to its incredible value for money. It can receive the best Full HD channels out there, and its range of 120 miles is incredible for this price. In addition, you can place this TV antenna virtually anywhere in your home. Are you ready to enjoy the best channels anywhere you are?

Best Eco-Friendly Indoor TV Antenna

We know just how important it is to care for our planet, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up on the little things in life. Mohu’s ReLeaf indoor TV antenna is made from 100% recycled plastic, so you’re giving a second life to the material while enjoying HDTV. You can place it anywhere in your home, and it offers a range of 30 miles.

Best Budget-Friendly Indoor TV Antenna

This is, quite simply, the most affordable indoor TV antenna of our selection. Its advanced coaxial cable allows you to pick up high-quality channels to make the most of your television. Its design makes it easy to move around until you find the perfect spot for the reception, and it blends well into any home decor. What are you waiting for?

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Indoor TV Antennas

If you want to learn about the most important aspects of indoor TV antennas, you will find everything you need to know in the section below. We have gathered relevant information that will help you choose the right model, and we have answered the most frequently asked questions regarding these devices.

Hand holding HDMI cable in the back of an HDTV box.

The first aspect you should consider is the location. Look at the needs or requirements of where you want to set up your indoor TV antenna.
(Source: Patrizio Martorana: 92569719/ 123rf.com)

What is an indoor TV antenna exactly?

Found in transmitting or receiving equipment, this device is designed to send electromagnetic waves. In short, an antenna receives the waves transmitted in VHF and UHF band frequencies that are guided by a cable that converts them. Nowadays, indoor TV antennas integrate a signal amplifier that allows them to cover ranges of up to 80 miles.

Before the advent of cable and satellite technology, they were the only way to pick up signals. However, they have evolved, and the models found on the market are much more sophisticated. They come in elegant, lightweight shapes for easy installation and are your best solution when your TV isn’t powerful enough.

How does an indoor TV antenna work?

An antenna consists of a central part through which passes a series of metal rods. This primary element contains signal receivers that should point towards the transmission tower. They have been designed to pick up VHF or UHF signals only, which means they cannot receive radio or cell phone signals.

Once received, the signal travels through the cable connected to the TV and is turned into audio and video channels, letting the viewer see images and hear sounds. Ideally, the rod must be aimed towards the transmitter. However, the size of the antenna and the number of rods also influence its capacity; some models can reach more distant signals than others.

White internal antenna for digital television in Thailand.

Before the advent of cable and satellite technology, TV antennas were the only way to pick up a signal.
(Source: Pongsak Polbubpha: 47924509/ 123rf.com)

What types of indoor TV antenna are there?

There are two main options you can choose from, depending on certain factors. As its name suggests, the unidirectional antenna is designed to receive signals from one direction only.
These are popular for their low interference because they point in a single, fixed direction.

The second option you can opt for is the omnidirectional antenna, which picks up transmissions from various directions. Its main advantage is, therefore, that it gives you access to more signals. On the downside, it can also present more interference or distortions. This is generally the best option if you don’t know where the source of the signal is located.

What should I consider before installing my indoor TV antenna?

There are various factors to take into account before you set up your new TV antenna in your home or office. Start by checking the number of power outlets you have available, as well as their condition. You are also recommended to check the status of other devices that broadcast signals in your building or area.

The location and use of your indoor TV antenna are also important to consider. Where will you place the device? In addition, you may want to check local legislation regarding the topic. Finally, look for the source of your primary signal to determine its distance from your home. This is the only way to determine the type of antenna you will need.

What are the advantages of indoor TV antennas?

While these devices offer many perks, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are perfectly suited to your needs. In the following table, you can compare their pros and cons and decide whether you need an indoor TV antenna or not:

Advantages
  • Very affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Ergonomic design
  • Portable devices
Disadvantages
  • They need to be close to the station
  • Potential exposure to interference

How can I improve the signal of my TV antenna?

While this device is highly efficient and even vital in certain areas, it cannot work miracles. This means that you may have to take specific measures to solve problems regarding the signal or definition of the image. In the following list, you will discover a series of tips we have prepared for you:

Location of the antenna

In most cases, the best signal coverage will depend on the placement of your antenna. You will have to choose a strategic point where it is safe and can pick up signals better. Whether you opt for an analog or a digital antenna, it will be more efficient when placed near a window.

Know the distance to your TV repeater

Nowadays, you no longer have to walk to find out how far away the nearest TV repeater is in your area. This is essential if you don’t want to spend hours trying to get a signal with a device that simply can’t. You can find out on official websites, as well as by contacting a local antenna provider to choose the model you need.

If your signal is overly optimal, you can end up having an overload.
(Source: Dotshock: 13270821/ 123rf.com)

The position is key

Your indoor TV antenna has to be pointing towards the TV repeater. In that regard, find out where the signal you need to pick up is coming from. A more empirical and practical technique is to simply look at your neighbors’ antennas to see in which direction the signal transmitter is located.

Horizontal is better

Repeaters use a horizontally or vertically polarized system to transmit the TV signal. However, keep in mind that most countries – including the U.S. – commonly use horizontal polarization. This is why you will have to place your indoor TV antenna in the same position as the repeater.

Beware of metal objects

Are you having issues getting your new indoor TV antenna to work? If you’ve tried to install it in different spots and positions but nothing will do, some object is likely interfering with the device. Check the area where you want to place the antenna to make sure that there is no flaw in the signal reception.

Repeaters use a horizontally or vertically polarized system to transmit the TV signal.
(Source: Bruno Glätsch: 3645118/ pixabay.com)

Strong signal areas

You may have an optimal signal in your area. In fact, you can end up with a signal overload if it is excessively strong. In areas with a strong signal, TVs tend to lose that signal. If you want to avoid this, you can reduce the power level of the amplifier by turning the gain control knob.

Can exposure to an indoor TV antenna cause health problems?

Concerns about prolonged exposure to radiofrequency signals have been raised in the user community and even in some scientific circles. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there has only been one case where body temperature rose by one degree (1°C). However, note that the exposure originated from an industrial area with abnormal radiation levels.

World Health Organization (WHO)
“The levels of RF exposure from base stations and wireless networks are so low that the temperature increases are insignificant and do not affect human health.”

Buyer’s Guide

Knowing more about the main characteristics and functionalities of these devices will help you choose the most suitable model for your needs. This is why we have detailed these criteria in the following section. If you take them into account during your decision-making process, we guarantee they will lead you in the right direction:

Size

The size and type of and indoor TV antenna are closely linked to its maximum frequency. The latter is related to the wavelength and determines the size of the antenna. In other words, a higher frequency equals a shorter wavelength and, therefore, a smaller antenna. The lower the frequency, the longer the wavelength, which leads to a larger antenna.

To choose the indoor TV antenna that’s just right for your home or office, start by defining the frequency. This first step is vital if you want to avoid all sorts of signal problems that could ruin your entertainment. We strongly encourage you to make an informed decision so you can be satisfied with your purchase.

The size and type of and indoor TV antenna are closely linked to its maximum frequency.
(Source: Auremar: 11382584/ 123rf.com)

Impedance

A resistance is created when electronic equipment is connected to other devices. There is a hindrance to the passage of electrical current, which will vary with frequency. This means that the acoustic box doesn’t remain constant, but instead changes during playback as the frequency evolves.

The impedance is important because the signal amplifier has to keep working with the variations. When the impedance drops, the amplifier has to deliver more current to send power to the speakers. In terms of values, impedance is usually measured at a frequency of 1 kHz, and its resistance is around four, six, or eight ohms.

SWR

This is another factor you can’t overlook. We use this term when the impedance of the cable isn’t adjusted correctly. Standing Wave Ratio (SWR) is the ratio of the amount of energy the device emits to the energy reflected by the coaxial cable, antenna, or any other device.

It is essential that you factor in this criterion to ensure the optimal lifetime of your indoor TV antenna. The reason is simple: if your device doesn’t have the proper resistance, it will tend to wear out. This energy will build up and lead to overheating of the equipment since it cannot be transmitted.

CCTV cable RG6 RGB TV coaxial type to recording device blue color tone

Standing Wave Ratio (SWR) is the ratio of the amount of energy the device emits to the energy reflected by the coaxial cable, antenna, or any other device.
(Source: Photochicken: 84053142/ 123rf.com)

Polarity

The polarity is linked to the way the antenna signal is transmitted, as well as the reception of the transmitter. Electromagnetic waves have two fields. One is electrical with vertical transmission, while the other is magnetic and travels horizontally. They are determined by taking the electric field (which refers to the power and the charge value) as a reference.

So, why is this so important? When the signal travels between the transmission and the receiver, a radio link is in charge of translating the wave. For communication to occur positively and without losses, the antennas on both devices must be similarly polarized. Note that circular polarization is becoming increasingly common.

Summary

Choosing an indoor TV antenna might not be as straightforward as you originally thought, and this decision will have a direct impact on your home life. We have provided you with a solid base to stand on when you’re out scouting the market for your own device.

We have given you relevant information regarding antennas and how they work, and we hope we solved any possible doubts that you may have during your purchasing process. Size isn’t all that matters; you also have to evaluate other aspects like frequency or gain.

If you found our guide on indoor TV antennas helpful, feel free to share it with your friends and family on your social media. You can also leave us a comment in the section below; we would love to hear your feedback!

(Source of featured image: Elio Reyes/ flickr.com)

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