All posts by Joseph Geizen

ANTOP Smart Boost Review

When it comes to people’s opinions on amplifiers, you’ll find that they’re actually quite a mixed bag. While some swear by them, others refuse to believe they actually work, dismissing them completely. The thing is, if you’re using an outdoor TV antenna, or any OTA-ready streaming device or projector, you must’ve given thought to the idea.

antop smart boost review

Now, the “mixed bag” is actually quite understandable, especially considering the market. You will find a host of bad amplifiers that do nothing, or very little, and a few that are actually great and do the job as advertised. These are the ones that are worth taking a look at, and the ANTOP Smart Boost Amplifier is one of them. It’s an excellent amplifier that works with a variety of devices, so you can definitely take advantage of it. Let’s take a look at our ANTOP Smart Boost review, and see whether it’s worth buying.

What is the ANTOP Smart Boost Amplifier?

On the outside, it looks like a small box with three screws poking out of it, and an adjuster. It’s not large, and you can put it just about anywhere. The adjustment dial, is what lets you set up the amplifier strength. It uses a smart system that gives you just the right balance between long-range reception, and short-range reception. The dial itself is smooth and easy to adjust.

antop smart boost review

Those three screws aren’t screws – they’re connectors. One of them, the one on the side is the input, and is where you’ll connect your outdoor TV antenna. The other two, at the bottom, are the outputs. You’ll notice they’re labeled differently. Now, the ANTOP has two outputs, unlike other options that only come with one. The first one, to the left, is used to connect your primary TV. If you’re only using it for a single device, this is the one you should connect it to. However, if you have a second TV set you’d like to amplify the signal for, the connector on the right is the one you should use. To make things even better, it also works with things such as an FM radio or other similar devices.

Does it have any other functionality?

While regular amplifiers are just that – amplifiers, the ANTOP has a few more tricks up its sleeve. The key one is the built-in 4G LTE filter. The issue with wireless devices is that they often interfere with each other, which isn’t helpful and messes with everything’s signal. That’s often the cause of a bad signal with an antenna. However, the built-in filter will block 3G and 4G signals from things such as a smartphone or tablet, as well as signals from a wireless network and mobile phone transmitters. The end result? A digital TV reception that’s as noise-free as it gets.

How does it compare to other devices on the market?

Granted, there’s no shortage of TV antenna amplifiers on the market today. However, as we mentioned in the beginning, some of them don’t work at all, while others work, but barely. Fortunately, neither of those is the case with the ANTOP. We’re happy to say that it works admirably. Even when you’re nearing the edge of your TV antenna’s range, we found that the signal is excellent, with no drops and a clear image. ANTOP claims compatibility with everything from HD to 4K, and we had no issues whatsoever.

antop smart boost review

The best advantage the ANTOP has over other devices on the market is the additional functionality. Other amplifiers will merely give you an input and an output, and that’s about it. You have to trust them that they’ll do the job, and that’s not always the case. Here, the additional device output can save you the money you’d spend on a second amplifier. The adjustable dial will ensure that you’re getting just the right signal, whether it’s a long range one, or a short range one.

Wrapping things up

At the end of the day, if you’re an outdoor TV antenna user, chances are you’ve had issues with signal reception at some point. If the issue is with bad weather, an amplifier can’t really do much. However, if the issue is with your antenna’s range, or the signal quality itself, the ANTOP Smart Boost can actually give you a significant advantage. The reception will be much better, the image quality will improve, and you’ll be able to enjoy your TV experience as intended!

Will a TV antenna work in rural areas?

When it comes to the TV antenna
market, it’s no secret that the majority of users who buy one live in rural
areas. This is where you’ll notice most of the benefits of an antenna, and
there’s also the fact that an antenna may be the only way to get a signal in
some rural areas.

However, with many users who are
about to buy one, but aren’t sure about their investment, there’s a dose of
skepticism. There’s always one question popping up – if no cable provider can
get TV to my home, how can a single device do that instead? Will a TV antenna
work in rural areas? Or is it a waste of money.

Well, the short answer is that
yes, a TV antenna will work in rural areas, but there’s a bit more to it.
Therefore, read on as we discuss a few main types of TV antennas and how you
can expect each to perform in rural areas. If you haven’t already check out our best rural tv antenna here.

What kind of antennas are there?

To begin with, we’ll touch on the
most apparent division – indoor antennas and outdoor antennas. Once we’re done
with that, we’ll move on to the three main types of outdoor antennas –
omnidirectional, multidirectional and directional antennas. Without wasting any
more time, let’s dive in.

Indoor vs outdoor TV antennas – which ones work better in rural areas?

When you first need to buy a TV
antenna, you’ll be faced with the challenge of choosing between an indoors one
and an outdoor one. An indoor TV antenna is much more simple to set up – all
you have to do is plug it in and connect it to your TV set. Then, just point it
towards the broadcast tower, and you’re good to go. However, with an outdoor TV
antenna, you’ll need to assemble it, have cables run through your house, and
set it up on the roof for optimal performance. And, every adjustment you’ll
need to make should be done on the roof as well.

This sound simple, right? An
indoor antenna is better. Well, no. With any kind of antenna, the broadcast
tower’s signal should be able to reach the antenna itself. With an outdoor
antenna, you place it high on the rooftop, and you may even have a clear line
of sight to the tower, depending on your surroundings. On the other hand, with
an indoor antenna, you have walls the signal needs to go through, and that’s
the least of your issues.  The signal is
highly susceptible to interference from other wireless devices, so anything else
in your room that’s wireless will negatively impact your signal.

Therefore, the conclusion is that
an
outdoor antenna is often the better choice
. Less issues with signal interference,
and a much stronger signal result in a better viewing experience. With that out
of the way, let’s take a look at the different types of outdoor antennas, and
which one you should go for, depending on your specific situation.

What kind of outdoor TV antennas work best in rural areas?

As we mentioned earlier, there
are three main types of outdoor antennas – omnidirectional, multidirectional
and directional. There isn’t a “best” type, all of them have advantages in
certain situations, and all of them come with disadvantages as well.

Let’s start with omnidirectional
antennas. As their name suggests, they can receive signals from all around
them, a full 360 degrees. This makes them ideal for two scenarios: you’re
either living in a densely populated area with a lot of towers, or you live in
a rural area that also has a lot of towers in multiple directions. An
omnidirectional antenna doesn’t have a range that’s too strong, but it can pick
up multiple signals, giving you a lot of channels, provided you have towers
nearby.

Next, we have multidirectional antennas. They’re similar to directional ones, but usually have a wider range coverage and can cover multiple directions at once. If you live in a rural area where you have multiple towers, but they’re all in the same general direction, this might be the one to go for. Compared to an omnidirectional antenna, their range is significantly better, but it’s not as good as a directional antenna’s. However, if you know you have multiple towers nearby, all in the same general direction, chances are they’re close enough and you don’t really need all that much range.

Last but not least, we’ve got
directional antennas. They’re the favorites of people who live in rural areas
where the broadcast towers are far away from them. They do have quite a lot of
range, often up to 150 miles, and even when bad weather does impact signal
reception, you still have quite a bit to spare. The downside is that you must
have them pointing in the exact direction of the broadcast tower for them to
work well. This can be a finnicky thing to set up, but once you’ve got it up
and running, you should be good to go. If you have a single broadcast tower, or
two, that are in the same line of sight, a directional antenna is definitely
the best antenna for you, even though it’s difficult to set up.

Wrapping things up

At the end of the day, the answer
to our initial question on will a TV antenna work in rural areas is definitely
yes, but different antennas will give you different performance. Depending on
your location, your surroundings, and your expectations, you can choose one of
the types we discussed earlier. If your home can accommodate it, by all means
go for an outdoor antenna, and which one you go for depends on your specific
situation with the broadcast towers. 

Benefits of a long range TV antenna

When it comes to TV antennas, there’s often a few dilemmas. Do you go for a cheaper one, with less range, or do you spend a bit more but get something that has quite a lot of range? Do you get an omnidirectional antenna that gets a lot of different signals at the cost of range, or do you get a directional one that has a lot of range but can only receive a signal from one tower?

The answers to all of these questions often depend on your specific situation, but there’s one thing that’s often more common than you’d think – the love for a long range TV antenna. It’s particularly a favorite of users who live in rural areas, where the broadcast towers are often far away and you do need the range.

But why so much love for that particular type of TV antenna? Well, there are a lot of benefits to it, and little to no downsides, so let’s take a look at some of the benefits of a long range TV antenna, and see why people favor it over the other types.

It does have a lot of range

The first benefit is very obvious – it’s the range itself. There are a lot more users who live in rural areas than you’d think, and not all of them have a broadcast tower in their near vicinity. Some even live as much as 120 miles far from their nearest tower. In
these kinds of situations, unless you have a long range TV antenna, you’re practically getting no signal at all.

When it comes to long range TV antennas, there’s somewhat of a standard for the good ones, where the range is usually 150 miles. Take this with a grain of salt, though, as you’ll only get those 150 miles in absolutely perfect conditions with no interference at all. Since this is seldom the case, the more realistic number you can expect is usually around 110 to 130 miles, which is still outright impressive.

The signal strength is another advantage

Let’s say you aren’t one of those users who lives 120 miles away from their nearest tower. Let’s say you’re receiving the signal from 60 miles away. If this is you, you might be thinking “I’ll save some money and get a 75 mile range antenna – it still has 15 miles to spare for bad weather and interference”, and to some extent, you’d be right.

However, what happens when there’s really bad weather, or there’s truly a lot of interference? You’ll be pushing your antenna to the limits, and chances are you’ll have a less than stellar TV watching experience. Enter the long range TV antenna. With a 150 mile range, even truly bad weather or plenty of interference can take out no
more than 50 miles of range from the maximum, which still leaves you with 100
miles. If your broadcast tower is 60 miles away from you, you’ll be receiving
the full signal quality with absolutely no losses. Wouldn’t you prefer this, to
having a wobbly connection that might drop any minute?

With the small price difference, it’s usually a no-brainer on whether
the benefits of a long range TV antenna are worth it

When you’re looking at the good, higher-end TV antennas, the price difference between a short-range antenna and a long-range TV antenna is often fairly small. With the benefits we just discussed above, it’s actually not a tough choice to make.

Even if you don’t really need the range, and the broadcast tower is close to you, you still get the peace of mind of knowing that even if the weather is disastrously bad, you won’t notice a difference when you’re watching TV. This makes the price difference very well worth it.

And even if you aren’t looking at the high-end models, you can still find good long range TV antennas that don’t cost too much. They may not have 150 miles of range – they’ll top out at 100, for example, and they may not have additional features such as a built-in amplifier or a motorized, rotating base. But they’ll still perform admirably
and you’ll get the benefits we just discussed.

Final thoughts

While debating whether to get a short range or a long range TV antenna, there aren’t actually hundreds of benefits. There are two main ones, but both of them are a very compelling reason to spend the extra money. If you want your peace of mind, and think you may use the extra range once in a while, the benefits of a long range TV
antenna far outweigh the minimal price difference.  

ClearStream 4 Outdoor Long Range TV antenna review

When you’re looking to get a long-range TV antenna, the options are seemingly endless. You’ll come across various options, from different brands – you’ll even come across DIY options that you could try yourself. One thing those DIY options do? They copy the design of ClearStream’s antennas. This speaks volumes to how good the ClearStream actually is. You can also see our guide on the best long range tv antenna here.

This is why we have decided to make our ClearStream 4 Outdoor Long-Range TV antenna review, because this is one of the best long-range antennas you can get. Even though it’s fairly expensive, it’s actually pretty much worth it. Without wasting any more of your time, let’s take a look at why is it so good.

The antenna’s design

The first thing you’ll notice with the ClearStream 4 is the design. You may be surprised, but the unique loop design is actually patented. It has a 180-degree reception angle, which results in a very broad reception of UHF frequencies. With a multidirectional reception, the need to have it facing exactly at the antenna is somewhat negated.

It’s not just the distinctive loops – the mesh wiring behind the loops are actually signal-enhancing reflectors. They focus the receptive power of the antenna, which doesn’t only minimize signal multipath interference, but helps with the power and range quite a bit.

One interesting things that should be mentioned, is that the ClearStream 4 can be painted if you want it to match your home’s exterior. This isn’t too much in terms of functionality, but for aesthetics, it goes a long way.

Let’s discuss the features

When you get the ClearStream 4, you’ll find that it advertises a 70-mile range. With most outdoor (and some indoor) antennas, the advertised range can be achieved only in perfect, near laboratory-level environments. Even a single tree, or a single building, can have a massive impact. That’s why almost none of those 150-mile antennas actually give you 150 miles. With the ClearStream, things such as obstructions do have an impact, but it is actually much less noticeable. In great
conditions, you have 70 miles. In sub-par, that may drop to 55 or 60, which is
truly a small difference. As we mentioned with the design, the multi-directional elements help quite a bit with the reception.

In terms of the signal, 12.25dB is plenty, and you’ll be able to receive UHF channels. The output to your TV will come in 1080p, full HD, which should be pretty good – but you should also have good signal reception for that.

The last thing isn’t that much of a feature, but it’s important. ClearStream give you a lifetime warranty on the antenna, which is one of the reasons why it’s so expensive. If anything goes bad, they’ll replace it for you and you’re good to go.

Assembly and installation

The ClearStream 4, for obvious reasons, does not come preassembled. However, assembling the frame, reflectors and loop elements is very easy. All you need is a Philips screwdriver, as well as an adjustable wrench, and you should be done in no more than half an hour. This is a lightweight antenna, so mounting it on a mast afterwards shouldn’t be an issue.

An interesting thing to note is that the antenna is also reported to work indoors – whether it’s in a room, or in the attic. If you can’t mount it outdoors, this is another option. Note, though, that because of the construction of your home, the thick walls and metal roofs, you may actually end up losing up to 40 or even 50% of your signal.

Once you’ve got it installed, you’ll want the front end to be aimed towards transmission towers. The two panels are actually rigid, so you’ll need to aim it yourself when you’re installing it on the mast. Setting it up shouldn’t be too difficult, and something like TVFool can help you quite a bit, too.

Wrapping things up – do we
recommend the ClearStream 4?

The ClearStream 4 is a very interesting proposition. On one hand, it costs a lot. On the other hand, you’re getting excellent range, a 180-degree design, all packaged in a lightweight antenna that works admirably.

If you’re going to be using the ClearStream 4 indoors, there are better options. You’re pretty much halving your range, and you’ll almost never see all the benefits of the antenna. If, however, you need it for outdoor applications, few can do better than the
ClearStream, and even fewer with all the extra features. It’s certainly a great buy.

How to make a TV antenna amplifier

Users of TV antennas have, for the longest time, bothered with one major issue – range. Range can significantly impact the availability of TV channels, as well as how well you’re receiving them, so the implications are pretty big. Sure, nowadays there
are some really good outdoor TV antennas with great range, but if you’d rather
save some money, that’s not your best choice.

To help you out, we’ve made a DIY guide on how to make a TV antenna booster. It works for both indoor and outdoor antennas, and you can make it out of very basic materials. It also doesn’t require too much skills, so you should be set to go regardless of how much DIY experience you have.

How do you know you need one?

Before we get into the how, let’s take a look at who actually needs one. You may think you do, but your problem may stem from something else.

To begin with, if you’ve got a directional antenna, you should first check how well it’s adjusted. Maybe a wind or bad weather moved it and it’s no longer receiving the full signal? In this case, a mere readjustment will do.

If you’re using an outdoor antenna, you should also inspect it, physically. It may be damaged, or there might be something on it that’s blocking it, or preventing it from receiving the full range.

If you’re struggling with your TV watching experience, and none of these things is true, then yes, you should consider the best amplifier. So, let’s take a look at how to make a TV antenna amplifier. Oh, and one important thing. Make sure you read through the entire guide before you begin, so you know exactly what you need and what you’re getting into.

What do you need?

First things first, materials. All you’ll need is cardboard and some aluminum foil. If you’re using it outdoor, you might want to grab something to cover it as well, since neither of these materials is waterproof. In terms of tools, a pen or marker, and a sharp utility knife or scissors are all you’ll need. There’s no specific knowledge
required here – all you’ll need is to be careful and follow the instructions word for word.

Let’s begin

The first thing you’ll want to do is take your marker, or pen, and your piece of cardboard. Draw a circle on the piece of cardboard. Once you’re done with this, also draw a pair of semi-circular projections. There should be two of these, on either side of the circle. They should be located just above, and just below the midpoint of the
circle. When compared to the circle, they shouldn’t be too large.


The next step is to grab some more cardboard, and cut another piece of it into a rectangle. The length should be a bit longer than the circle’s diameter. The width, however, should be a bit less than the circle, but it should extend further than the projections you drew at either end of the circle. With this, you’ll be making a reflector, so consider it when you’re thinking about the sizes and how they relate to your
antenna.

Grab the two pieces of cardboard, and cover one side of each with the aluminum foil you have. Next, you’ll want to fold the long piece of carboard around the circular piece. Then, fold the circle in half. You should cut slots in the rectangular piece, and the projections on the circular piece should fit in those slots like tabs. Once
you’re done with everything, the entire “contraption” should remind of a semicircle.

The next step is to fold the circle’s outside edge. You should form a lip, one that extends through the entire length of the piece. You’ll have the foil-covered circle suspended in the other piece. Grab what used to be the circle, and is now a semicircle, and cut a small hole in the middle. Don’t make it too large – just the antenna should fit inside. Attach the amplifier over your antenna, and you’re good to
go!

Does it actually work?

We know – cardboard and aluminum foil sound more like a conspiracy theory than something that has an actual effect. However, knowing how to make a TV antenna amplifier like this is actually a pretty useful thing, and you’ll notice that signal reception is quite a bit better. You will get a bit more range, but more importantly, you’ll get a much higher quality out of your TV channels.

Why an omnidirectional TV antenna is better than a normal one

When shopping for a new antenna, there are a lot of questions that you’ll need to answer before you choose. However, one of the first ones you’ll come across, and the one that will potentially make the most difference, is whether to get an omnidirectional TV antenna, or a regular, directional one. There’s also the middle of the road – a multidirectional antenna.

Before we get into the details, we should clarify one thing. There is no one solution as to which is the best TV antenna. Some will be better for one type of situations, while others excel in a completely different environment.

An omnidirectional antenna can be better than a regular one, so let’s take a look at the situations where this is true, and why.

An omnidirectional antenna
picks up signals from any direction

This is obvious from the name, but we still feel we should mention it. An omnidirectional antenna has a 360 degree reception, which ensures that you can pick up a signal, regardless of where it’s coming from. This is also the most notable advantage it has over a directional antenna.

So, where is this important? Well, if you live in a rural area, you don’t really need this. Chances are you have on or two broadcast towers nearby, and a directional antenna can cover you quite easily. However, things change significantly when you live in an
urban area. By urban, we mean a city, or another location that has quite a lot of buildings and other objects surrounding you. These locations tend to have a couple of broadcast towers scattered around, and you can pick the signal up from any of them.

Omnidirectional antennas are very useful in such a situation because of the way it works. It doesn’t just receive the signal straight up from the broadcast tower, it also receives it when it’s bouncing from some of the surrounding buildings. This helps significantly with signal reception and quality, and often results in excellent image at the users’ end. This is also why in a rural area, a regular, directional antenna is the better option – there are no buildings the signal can bounce off of.

There’s usually an amplifier
built-in

Receiving signal from multiple directions is significantly more difficult than receiving it from a single direction. This is why omnidirectional antennas often have less  effective range than their directional competitors.

Nowadays, though, most (if not all) manufacturers of omnidirectional antennas will include some kind of amplifier with the antenna. It’s usually built-in, so you won’t even notice it, but it does make quite the difference when it comes to the signal.

It helps with two things – range and signal quality. If a tower is slightly out of range, the amplifier may just boost the signal enough for it to be into range – so you’ve got an extra broadcast tower to receive a signal from. Also, if you have a tower that’s
within range, but the signal does lose quality every once in a while, with an amplifier that won’t be an issue for too long. The signal will be amplified when received, and you’ll be able to enjoy full image quality once again.

Wrapping things up – is an
omnidirectional TV antenna always the better choice?

The simple answer here is “No”, because there are situations where an  omnidirectional antenna is actually the worse choice. If you need a lot of range, or you aren’t surrounded by towers, you don’t need it and you’re better off with a directional antenna.

However, for everyone that lives in an urban area, such as a densely populated city, an omnidirectional antenna will almost always be better. The first advantage is the fact that it’s omnidirectional – you’re surrounded by broadcast towers, you should want to receive signal from as many of them as possible. The second is the built-in
amplifier, because whatever tower you’re receiving from, this will help you get a better signal and a better image.

At the end of the day, even though not for everyone, an omnidirectional antenna does have quite a lot of advantages over a regular one. Rural users may not see the benefits, but if you live in a city, using one can be an excellent first step towards cutting your TV watching costs down to a minimum.

Lava Omnidirectional TV Antenna OmniPro HD 8008 Review

Almost every time you mention buying an omnidirectional antenna, you’ll get comments along the lines of “you’ll never get good reception” or “you don’t have broadcast towers surrounding you”. And while these may be right for some folks, there are others, that live in densely populated areas, that could very much use an
omnidirectional antenna.

If you’re one of those folks, we’ve got an excellent suggestion for you – the Lava OmniPro HD8008 review. We’re taking a look at one of the best omnidirectional antennas you’ll come across on the market nowadays, and it’s one that doesn’t cost too much either. Without wasting any more of your time, let’s take a look at the details of the OmniPro HD8008, and see whether this should be your next investment.

The HD8008’s design

Kicking things off with the outside, we have to be honest – the design isn’t really impressive. It looks very simple, and yes, we don’t want to use “ugly”. When you mount it, you have a circular antenna with two metal pieces sticking out. However, the design of the OmniPro isn’t meant to look good. Instead, it’s meant to be functional, and be able to receive signals from all directions. There’s one more thing here – the antenna has anti-UV coating and is completely waterproof. If you’re worried about the weather damaging it, you shouldn’t be. And, it’s also shielded, to
reduce interference as much as possible. 

Inside the box, it will also come with a mounting pole. The pole has an adjustable angle for the base pivot, which lets you set it up for flat, vertical or angled use. There are also wall mounts and brackets, if that’s the route you want to take with your antenna. It’s one of those options that let you set it up basically any way you want it.
Oh, you can also rotate it 60 degrees to get even better reception.

Now, we’re talking about an “omnidirectional” design all the time. But what is that, anyways? Well, with a regular antenna, you’d have to point it towards the direction of the broadcast tower. However, if you have an omnidirectional one, it is able to receive
channels from any direction. This makes it much better for densely populated
areas, where there are a lot of surrounding towers, and plenty of objects for
the signal to bounce from.

And while this design does come with one big loss – range, the HD8008 actually deals with this quite well. The ideal distance is anywhere between 40 and 80 miles, depending on the conditions, as well as the signal and the surrounding objects. If you give it ideal conditions, though, it can easily reach over 100 miles of range. For an
omnidirectional antenna, this is truly impressive. What helps quite a bit here,
actually, is the built-in amplifier. It has high gain, but very low noise, which allows it to function very well.

Features and functionality

A functional design and excellent specs “on paper” don’t make an outdoor antenna great – the functionality does. The antenna has a built-in dipole that allows you to receive both UHF and VHF signals, as well as FM, making for a very versatile option. There’s also DVB-T, DMB-T/H, ATSC and ISDB-T. With this, you can expect both 1080p, Full HD image, as well as 4K images on your TV set.

Mounting and using the HD8008

Just like with most large items you could order online, the HD8008 doesn’t come preassembled. However, assembling it and setting it up on the pole should be a piece of cake. All the components are included, so you can get things up and running in no time.

A huge benefit is that you don’t have to aim for the broadcast towers. With an omnidirectional design, you should be able to receive channels regardless of how you set it up.

Wrapping things up – is it any
good?

As we mentioned in the beginning of our Lava omnidirectional TV antenna OmniPri HD 8008 review, an omnidirectional antenna isn’t good for everyone. If you live in a rural area, and find that you don’t have many towers around you, a directional antenna may do a better job.

However, if you live in a city, or other urban area with a lot of tall buildings the signal could bounce off of, and you have a couple of towers surrounding you, you’re actually pretty much set to go with the HD8008. You’ll get a lot of free channels, and chances are you’ll be able to completely cut the cord!

Benefits of a TV antenna for rural areas

A TV antenna can be a great thing to have. However, while many think that the main reason to use one is cutting costs on cable subscriptions and other similar services, that’s actually not really the case.

Sure, if you live in the city, you could very well get an omnidirectional antenna and grab a few free TV channels. But the real use of a TV antenna is for users who live in rural areas. Not a lot of subscriptions and cable services are available there, which makes watching TV more or less impossible.

And this is where the main benefits of a TV antenna for rural areas come in – you’ll be able to watch some of your favorite channels, often for free. Let’s take a look at this and other benefits of TV antennas for people who live in rural areas.

You can actually watch TV

This is the first and most important benefit of a TV antenna if you live in rural areas. As we mentioned, depending on the specific place you live in, watching TV can be an impossible task. There are many cable providers, as well as other TV watching services, that simply don’t have any kind of coverage in many rural areas. Therefore,
without an alternative, you’re stuck with no TV.

Fortunately, the alternative is a TV antenna. Whether it’s an indoor TV antenna, or an outdoor TV antenna (an outdoor one is the better option), you’ll be able to receive signals from nearby broadcast towers. All you have to do is choose one, which may or may not be tricky depending on where you live. If, for example, you have plenty of
broadcast towers surrounding you in your nearby vicinity, you could get an
omnidirectional antenna that would receive signals from most, if not all of
them. Oh the other hand, if you only have a single tower, you’ll be much better
off with a directional antenna, pointed straight towards the broadcast tower in
question.

Even if you do have other options, you’ll save some money

I know – you’re buying an antenna – how does that save you money? Well, a subscription service does add up over time in terms of pricing, and that can cost quite a bit more than a good outdoor TV antenna. One of the benefits of a TV antenna for rural areas is that you’re receiving free TV. Those broadcast towers broadcast their signals for free – why would you pay someone to get them to you otherwise?

You’ll be able to watch TV even when the weather is bad

One of the most common issues that satellite subscribers face is their signal going bad, or completely disappearing, when the weather is bad. Thunderstorms and rain can significantly impact the signal, and you may be stuck in your home while it’s pouring rain outside, with nothing to watch. Oh, and we won’t even discuss what happens when the satellite dish gets covered with snow in the winter.

Even though bad weather does impact TV antennas as well, the actual impact is actually nowhere as bad as it is with satellite TV. And most good outdoor TV antennas actually have weather-resistant coatings that help them keep the signal strong in these situations. If you do want to maintain your signal during bad weather, yes, an outdoor antenna is the way to go, and that’s another one of the benefits of a
TV antenna for rural areas.

A TV antenna lets you watch channels that your cable and satellite providers won’t give you

Let’s get one thing out of the way. In the discussion between the number of channels between a paid TV service, and a free one, the paid one will win by a huge margin. However, those paid TV services do keep one big secret from you. Many, if not all, broadcast stations will offer at least one sub-channel, and these sub-channels aren’t
offered with your satellite or cable service. If you want them, you’ll need an antenna.

These may not be too important for you as an end user, and they do depend on your location and the specific broadcast towers you have in your vicinity. However, if you want things such as an all-weather channel, as well as some public TV channels, you’ll want to get an antenna.

Those high definition signals will be uncompressed

It actually isn’t a secret that both cable and satellite providers will compress their signals. A broadcast tower doesn’t do this, and if you use an antenna to receive the channels, you’ll be getting the full channel quality.

There’s one thing that you must note here, and that is that you may, or may not notice the difference between a compressed and uncompressed channel. Yes, the difference is there, and if you have a sharp eye, you will notice it. And if you can, then an antenna will definitely give you a huge benefit in this regard.

Wrapping things up

At the end of the day, there’s no denying that there are certainly benefits of a TV antenna for rural areas. And anyone can benefit, whether you’re receiving no signals at all, or you want a better choice, or higher quality TV, there’s something for everyone.

If you think that some, or all of the benefits we spoke about above apply to you, by all means get yourself a TV antenna. It’s an investment, and you’ll need to be careful installing it, but at the end of the day, you’ll be saving quite a bit of money, and you’ll get a much better viewing experience.

rural areas featured image

Best Outdoor TV Antenna for Rural Areas

Published March 28th 2019
Written By: Joseph Geizen (Electrician) 

When you live in a rural area, TV reception can be tricky. There are even situations where local cable service providers won’t offer their services where you live, making it difficult for you to watch TV. This is where an outdoor TV antenna comes in, and that’s what will enable you to watch TV, without even paying for subscription services.


But before you get an outdoor TV antenna, you’ll want to take a look at your options. Do you get an outdoor one, or an indoor one? What are the important considerations that you should keep in mind? To help, we’ve got a list of some of the best outdoor TV antenna for rural areas options on the market today. We’ll also talk about a few specifications and considerations that will make your buying decision easier.

The best outdoor TV antennas for rural areas

Low on time? Heres a quick roundup of our top 3 picks and why you need them!

Product

Photo

Cost

Range

Rate

Pros

Link

#1. Tree New Bee Amplified

*Best Overall

$$$

150 Mile

​Best overall antenna for rural areas with 360 degree rotaton

#2. Channel master cm-4228hd

*Simplest to set up

$$$

80 Mile

A good alternative to our top pick with a simple installation

#3.

1byone amplified

*Most versatile

$$$

60 Mile

Excellent when you're surrounded by towers

1. Tree New Bee Amplified 

The Best Overall Outdoor TV Antenna

The Tree New Bee amplified antenna is great for just about everyone.

Quick Summary

  • Excellent for people who really need a long range

  • 150 mile range

  • Price: $$$

This antenna by Tree New Bee is an interesting proposition. To begin with, it works with both UHF and VHF signals, and it also receives FM radio ones, too. The reception range is an excellent 150 miles, and it has high sensitivity.

The interesting thing about it is that even though it is a directional antenna and comes with all the benefits of one, it has a motor that allows the entire antenna to rotate 360 degrees. This way, you also get all the benefits of an omnidirectional antenna, without the downsides. The rotation is controlled with a remote, making things as simple as possible.

The antenna supports 720p, 1080i and 1080p signals, which is great. You can connect two TV sets to it, and there’s a built-in amplifier with super low noise. An excellent choice for the best outdoor TV antenna for rural areas.

Pros

  • Long actual range, up to 150 miles

  • Bad weather such as wind and rain doesn't impact performance a lot

  • 360 degrees rotation

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive

2. Channel Master CM-4228HD

The best multidirectional option

The CM-4228HD is a great pick if you've got a few towers in a similar direction

Quick Summary

  • Great if you want to receive signal from multiple towers in the same general direction

  • 80 mile range

  • Price: $$$

Our runner-up comes from Channel Master, and is another great pick for people who have a broadcast tower nearby. It performs great, and has also been proven to last a good while as well.

This is a multidirectional antenna which receives signals from up to 180 degrees. There’s a 12dB gain on the antenna which results in up to 80 miles of range. It’s not as good as our top pick’s 150 miles, but if you have a broadcast tower nearby, that won’t be an issue.

Installation is simple, as it comes almost completely preassembled. This is another antenna that works with both VHF and UHF signals, and you’ll receive channels in uncompressed HD.

Pros

  • Decent, 80-mile range

  • Reception for both UHF and VHF signals

  • Uncompressed HD reception

Cons

  • 12dB gain could've been better

  • Performance isn't up to par with the top pick

3. 1byone Amplified Omnidirectional

The most versatile option

The 1byone is simply perfect if you have multiple towers in your vicinity 

Quick Summary

  • An extremely versatile antenna that receives signals from all directions

  • 60 mile range

  • Price: $$$

Even though an omnidirectional antenna isn’t the best choice in all rural areas, it actually works really well if you have a few towers nearby but in different directions. This is a very compact design, one which isn’t impacted as much by things such as rain or thunderstorms. There’s also the anti-UV coating which adds some shielding and reduces interference.

Install it outdoors, and you’re getting 60 miles of range. That’s not really impressive, but as we said, if you’re surrounded by towers, it’s great. You’ll be able to get UHF and VHF channels, as well as FM radio ones, and reception is possible with up to full HD video quality.

Pros

  • Omnidirectional design

  • Reception for both UHF and VHF signals

  • Built-in amplifier

Cons

  • Range is somewhat average at 60 miles

  • Pricey

4. Antennas Direct 8 Element Bowtie

A timeless design that works great, but only with UHF channels

Quick Summary

  • A great option, but no VHF support

  • 60 mile range

  • Price: $$$$

The 8 Element Bowtie is one of the most popular outdoor TV antennas nowadays. If you come across a guide on making your own antenna, chances are this is the inspiration for the guide. It comes with a 70 mile range and really easy installation.

Even though the antenna works great and can receive full HD, 1080p signal, it only works with UHF channels. For some, this may actually be enough, but we would’ve liked to see VHF, and potentially FM radio support.

In terms of construction and durability, the Bowtie is a champ. It’s made to last, and the lifetime warranty on parts only confirms that. If you’re after the best outdoor TV antenna for rural areas and want one made by a reputable manufacturer, this is a great option.

Pros

  • Excellent when there are no obstructions

  • Very durable design

  • Lifetime warranty on parts

Cons

  • Range is average at 70 miles

  • No VHF channel support

5. RCA Yagi

A very popular model with a great reputation

Quick Summary

  • A great antenna with with excellent reception

  • 70 mile range

  • Price: $$$

Another extremely popular option is RCA’s Yagi outdoor antenna. It’s a directional antenna that boasts over 70 miles of range, and has a really great reputation anywhere you look.

The antenna supports 1080i HDTV signals, and it has support for both UHF and VHF channels. The multi-element, cross-phase design gives you better reception, so you can have a better viewing experience.

In terms of build quality, the Yagi is excellent. It comes almost fully pre-assembled, and there’s a fold-out UHF reflector which easy-locks, as well as other elements that all snap-lock into place. Add to that the included mast, all the mounting hardware, and the transformer, and you’ll have the Yagi up and running in no time.

.

Pros

  • Excellent in any weather

  • Extremely reliable

  • Build quality is excellent

Cons

  • A bit on the pricier side

6. Xtreme Signal Long Range HDB91X

An attractive option with a signal that isn't impacted by the weather

Quick Summary

  • Good all-round solution

  • 70 mile range

  • Price: $$$

Xtreme Signal’s HDB91X is a similar design to the RCA Yagi, making it a great alternative. The high-gain design allows the antenna to receive signals from over 70 miles away if you’re dealing with UHF signals, as well as from over 25 miles away if you have high band VHF signals.

It’s a completely weatherproof design which won’t be impacted as much from rain and thunderstorms, and you’ll still get the full range. It also has a 60 degree beam width, and you’re getting all the mounting hardware in the box.

Pros

  • High gain results in great reception

  • Very reliable

  • Weatherproof design that's easy to install

Cons

  • Range is bad for VHF signals, at only 25 miles

7. Winegard HD8220U Platinum

An expensive antenna which performs excellent

Quick Summary

  • One of the best options if you don't mind the price

  • 65+ mile range

  • Price: $$$$

Last but not least, we have a truly premium option by Winegard. It’s their HD8220U antenna from their Platinum series, a long range antenna which is 4K UHD ready. The range is over 65 miles, and you can receive both UHF and VHF signals. It’s also capable of ATSC 3.0, which will eventually add higher frame rates and 3D.

Make no mistake, this is a large antenna. However, it performs admirably, and is one of the best options if you want the best outdoor TV antenna for rural areas that can receive a 4K signal – none of the other competitors on our list can do that.

Even though the price may be a bit too high for some, make no mistake that you’re getting a very durable and high quality product. If you can afford it, it is more than worth it.

Pros

  • Little to no range drop in heavily populated areas

  • 4K UHD ready

  • ATSC 3.0 compatible

Cons

  • Very expensive

Our buying guide 

You took a look at what the best antennas are, but you still don’t know which one you should pick for your needs. Some of them have a longer rhttps://www.seriftv.com/will-a-tv-antenna-work-in-rural-areas/​tv antenna work in rural areas​​​ange, some of them don’t. Some have extra features, others cover just the basics. What should you buy? And will a tv antenna work in rural areas?

Do you really need an outdoor antenna, or will an indoors one do the job?

Many people may make the argument that an indoor TV antenna will do the job just fine. And that would only be true for one or two situations, but generally, an outdoor TV antenna is a much better choice.

To begin with, you have the interference issue. An indoor antenna needs the signal to pass through your walls. That does interfere with the signal, and may impact your viewing experience quite a bit. Then you have interference from other wireless devices – your router, for example, may interfere with the reception. Even though you may think that this won’t have that much of an impact, if the broadcasting tower is far from you, that little bit of interference may mean the difference between watching TV and not getting any signal. An outdoor antenna, on the other hand, is placed further away from other wireless devices, and doesn’t need to go through walls in order to get a signal.

Then, there’s the signal strength thing. With an indoor antenna, you’re often limited with size, and a smaller antenna can’t have the same strength as a larger one. Larger antennas aren’t limited, because they’re often out in the open. This means that you’ll have a much more powerful antenna, especially if it’s amplified. You’ll be able to get signal from much further away, which gives you more options in terms of which broadcasting tower you’re getting your signal from.

To conclude, an outdoor antenna will work much better. The only downside is the installation, which is trickier outside, but that’s a one time thing, and you can always hire a professional to do this for you.

Do you get a directional antenna, or an omnidirectional one?

This greatly depends on your specific location and use case scenario. A directional antenna should be pointed in the direction of the broadcast tower you’ll be relying on for your TV signal. You’ll be limited to that tower only, as well as maybe another tower or two that are in the same line of sight, provided they’re in range. However, a directional outdoor TV antenna generally has a better range, which may make a significand difference.

On the other hand, you have omnidirectional antennas. They have a 360 degree coverage, meaning that they’ll receive signals regardless of which side the broadcast tower is located on. Even though this makes them much more versatile, they’re often limited in terms of range.

At the end of the day, it’s no secret that omnidirectional antennas are much better suited for densely populated areas, such as cities, where you’ll be surrounded by broadcast towers. If you’re looking for the best outdoor TV antenna for rural areas, though, you’re usually much better off with a directional antenna.

While we’re discussing this, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll want your directional antenna to point towards the right direction. For this, something like Antennas Direct’s transmitter locator service will show you where your nearest broadcast tower is, depending on your location. Just install the directional antenna so it points this way, and you should be good to go.

Frequency coverage - UHF or VHF?

UHF and VHF are two terms that you’ll find with just about any antenna. These are used to explain the frequency of the antenna. VHF, or Very High Frequency, means the channel is transmitted on channels two to 13. UHF, or Ultra High Frequency, means that the channels are transmitted at channels 14 to 83.

Generally, today’s TV transmission is done in the UHF channel range. VHF is generally used for FM radio and similar applications. However, if you want to be sure, you’ll want to inquire about your specific local situation, so you’re sure you’re getting the right antenna.

One thing to note, however. Oftentimes, an antenna will advertise that it works with both UHF and VHF signals. This is certainly possible, and many antennas do this fairly well, but the optimal design for both types of frequencies is different.

VHF wavelengths are relatively long, and therefore a VHF antenna will require longer elements to work well. However, VHF frequencies are generally more efficient in inducing current, so they require fewer elements.

As a comparison, UHF wavelengths are usually much shorter, so the elements are shorter as well. On the other hand, they do require a lot more elements in order to provide a sufficient amount of signal amplification.

To sum things up, yes, an antenna that works with both types of signals is certainly something you can get. However, judging by the design, you can easily see which type will work better with it.

Range and gain

Arguably the most important parameter when it comes to buying an outdoor TV antenna is the gain, which somewhat directly translates into the range. Gain is basically the sensitivity of an antenna in a particular direction. An antenna with higher gain has a better ability to pick up weak signals.

Also, increasing an antenna’s gain makes the antenna more directive, and it requires that it is more accurately directed towards the broadcasting tower you’d be picking up the signal from. As a benefit, a higher gain will mean that less interference can affect the signal from other directions.

Obviously, this affects the antenna’s range. If you’re in a rural area, you’ll want to get an antenna that can pick signals up from the broadcast tower that you want to use, and that’s not always very near. Therefore, a longer range is usually beneficial.

Now, when it comes to range, you should know that you won’t always get the advertised range. It’s not just a case of manufacturers advertising a longer range than an antenna realistically has, but even something that has the slightest impact on the signal can generally reduce the range by quite a bit. Then there’s the case of weather – bad weather such as rain and thunderstorms can have a significant impact on the range of an antenna. Fortunately, there are manufacturers lately that have found ways to combat this, so many antennas actually work just as well even in bad weather.

Amplified or non-amplified

If you know what an amplifier is, this should be clear. An amplifier will basically boost the strength of the antenna, impacting both the range at which it can receive signals, as well as the strength and quality of the signals it will receive. If you live in a rural area, It may be a good choice to get an antenna with an amplifier – they usually have a longer range and work much better. This is something you’ll definitely appreciate if you aren’t completely surrounded by broadcast towers.

Wrapping things up

With all that out of the way, we hope to have given you a few options as to what is the best outdoor TV antenna for rural areas. There truly are a lot of options, but we made sure to only include the best on our list – whichever one you get from the list, you can’t go wrong.

Also, our buying guide should answer any questions you may have about antennas and their specifications, and you should be well informed as to where your money should be spent.

tv antenna amplifier in a banner

Best TV Antenna Amplifier

Published March 28th 2019
Written By: Joseph Geizen (Electrician) 

When you’re using a TV antenna, yet aren’t really satisfied with the quality of your experience, chances are you need an antenna amplifier. An amplifier will increase the strength of the signal, making things much better.

However, in your quest for the best TV antenna amplifier, there are a multitude of factors to consider. Do you need a preamplifier, or a distribution amplifier? How powerful should the amplifier be? Do you get an internal, or an external one?


To make things even more difficult, even if you do answer all of these questions, you’re left with a huge number of options that you’ll need to pick and choose from. Not all of them are made equal, and some may not make the difference you expect, thus making your investment less worthy than you might’ve thought.

Well, we’re here to help. For starters, we’ve got a couple of options that you’ll want to take a look at. They’re all great amplifiers from respectable manufacturers, and all of them will make quite the difference. However, they do have some differences, so you should choose one that works for you. Then, we have a buying guide, one that will explain some key features and differences, so you can make an informed buying decision. Without wasting any more time, let’s take a look at our options.

Best TV Antenna Amplifiers

Before you choose an amplifier, you should consider some of the options. We've got 7 for you that have all performed admirably, and they're all great for some specific scenario.

Low on time? Heres a quick roundup of our top 3 picks and why you need them!

Product

Photo

Cost

Gain

Pros

Link

*Best Overall

$$$

16dB

​Great all-round pick with a high gain and very low noise figure

*Best for indoor antennas

$$$$

20dB

If you're only using an indoors antenna, this is the best choice for you

*Best budget option

$

20dB

A great pick for the budget-oriented users

1. ANTOP Smartpass Amplifier

The best overall antenna amplifier

The 1byone HDTV antenna is perfect for just about anyone, with an excellent range and great bad weather performance. 

Quick Summary

  • Great for just about any situation

  • 16dB gain

  • Price: $$$

Our top pick is a bit surprising, as it’s one of the cheaper options on our list, yet performs admirably. It’s made by ANTOP, and it comes with their Smartpass technology that lets you switch on the amplifier for better reception, or switch it off to avoid overloading your tuner. The clear circuit technology will reduce signal dropout and give you a longer range and cleaner picture. Note, however, that this amplifier only works with a non-amplified antenna.

To add to the features, there’s a built-in 4G LTE filter which blocks both 3G and 4G wireless signals. They’re known to interfere quite a bit with TV antennas, but you won’t have that problem here. It has a maximum gain of 16dB, which is plenty, and a noise figure of less than 2dB, which is excellent. It’s also compatible with both VHF and UHF antennas, so you won’t be missing out.

The amplifier comes with all the hardware and cables you’ll need to get it up and running, and it’s really simple to set up. Considering all the features you’re getting, and of course the price, this is one that’s very hard to beat.

Pros

  • High gain at 16dB

  • Noise figure is very low, less than 2dB

  • Built-in LTE filter

Cons

  • Budget oriented users may find it a bit pricier than other options

2. Winegard LNA-100

The best indoor antenna amplifier

If you need an amplifier for your indoor antenna, the Winegard LNA-100 is hard to beat

Quick Summary

  • Excellent for individuals own a non-amplified indoor antenna

  • 20dB gain

  • Price: $$$$

Our runner up comes courtesy of Winegard, and it’s their LNA-100 TV antenna amplifier. It’s a great alternative to our top pick, and it’s made to enhance the signal of just about any non-amplified antenna. One thing to know, though, is that it is made for indoor antennas.

It has Winegard’s amplified clear circuit technology with an extremely low noise figure of around 1dB, which is miles ahead of most of the competition. The typical gain is also 20dB, which means that it can get signals that you could barely receive, and make them into a great viewing experience.

If you have a non-amplified indoor antenna, this is one of the best options. Even though it’s a bit pricier, it has good gain and an incredibly low noise figure, making it definitely worth its asking price.

Pros

  • Extremely low noise figure at around 1dB

  • Great typical gain of 20dB

Cons

  • Not really cheap, so not ideal for everyone

  • Doesn't work with outdoor antennas

3. 1byone High Gain Low Noise HDTV Amplifier

The budget-oriented top pick

Even though the price differences aren't that big, the 1byone is definitely our budget winner 

Quick Summary

  • A decent option for people who are limited with their budget

  • 20dB gain

  • Price: $

1byone is a very reputable player in the antenna game, and they also have some excellent amplifiers as well. This specific model is extremely easy to set up and allows you to significantly boost your antenna’s signal.

It has a 20dB gain, which is fairly high. This is why 1byone don’t recommend using the amplifier if you live close to a broadcast tower – it can easily overpower your tuner and cause damage. The downside to it, and the reason why its third on our list and not higher, is the fact that it comes with a noise figure of around 4dB. This is far from low, and may cause more interference than you’d like.

On the other hand, the clear circuit technology will give you more channels and a better range than you’d get with just your antenna, and you’re also getting a power saving USB power supply. All things considered, it’s a great option for the budget oriented users that want 10 to 15 miles of extra range and a few more channels.

Pros

  • Very budget friendly

  • High gain at 20dB

Cons

  • High noise figure at 4dB

  • Could overpower your tuner if you live near a tower

4. Channel Master CM3414 4-port

The best distribution amplifier for people who have more than a single TV set

Quick Summary

  • An ideal option for multiple TVs

  • 4 outputs

  • Price: $$$

We’ll talk about distribution amplifiers in a bit, but the CM3414 is a great example. It has four output ports, with 7.5dB gain per output. If you live in a household with multiple TV sets, this can mean that you have a significant quality loss. The CM3414 can help with this. It won’t only counter the effects, but also make things even better.

It has a forward frequency range of -54 to 1002 MHz, and a return path frequency range of -5 to 42 MHz. You can use it in CATV, HDTV, off-air, analog and digital RF distribution, making it a fairly versatile option. If you’re in need of a distribution amplifiers, this is the one to get, and it doesn’t cost too much.

Pros

  • Excellent if your current splitter is causing too much signal loss

  • 7.5dB gain per output

  • Very versatile

Cons

  • Unused outputs may still cause quality loss

5. Channel Master LTE Filter

Ideal if you have plenty of 3G/4G/LTE interference

Quick Summary

  • An LTE filter that reduces interference

  • /

  • Price: $$

Many TV antennas suffer from a popular issue lately – mobile broadcast towers interfere with their 3G and LTE signals. The Channel Master LTE Filter is meant to combat this, especially when you have pixilation or channel loss.

This is a highly effective filter, especially for US users, where frequencies above UHF channel 51 are used for services other than TV broadcasting. Note that this won’t really amplify any of the signals you are receiving – you may still need a preamplifier or an amplifier for that. However, you can connect it between the antenna and the amplifier, and it will filter the problematic signals, making the amplifier more effective.

Pros

  • Significantly reduces interference from mobile broadcast towers

  • Extremely reliable

Cons

  • Doesn't amplify the signal

6. EEEKit Amplifier (2-pack)

If you're on a really really tight budget and have two antennas and TV sets, this might be ideal for you

Quick Summary

  • Great budget option if you have two antennas

  • 25dB gain

  • Price: $

Antenna users on a budget will love this 2-pack from EEEKit, as you get two amplifiers for less than the price of one higher quality one. If you have multiple antennas and want to amp the signal on both, without spending a lot, this could be a good option.

The amplifiers have a very high gain of 25dB, but unfortunately, that also comes with a noise figure of around 4dB. This is less than impressive, but it will get the job done. They’re powered via USB, so they won’t take up outlets, and they’re pretty small. If you’re on a budget, they’re a great pick.

Pros

  • Extremely budget-oriented

  • 25dB gain is very high

  • Power-saving USB powered

Cons

  • Noise figure is high at around 4dB

7. PCT 1-port Bi-Directional Amplifier

The PCT 1-Port amplifier is great if you want to reduce pixilation and snow, and doesn't cost too much

Quick Summary

  • Ideal for users that have a lot of pixilation when watching TV

  • 15dB gain

  • Price: $$

Last but not least, we have a somewhat expensive, yet very good amplifier – the PCT 1-port amplifier. It significantly reduces pixilation and snow when you’re watching a channel with a weak TV signal, and it’s compatible with just about any over-the-air antenna signal.

You’ll be getting 15dB of signal boost, which is plenty, but still not too much so it overpowers your tuner. One thing to note though – this isn’t compatible with satellite TV, and it will cause more harm than good if used with one.

If you’re using splitters or long cable runs, you’ll want to install the PCT before them, as this is what gets you the best results.

Pros

  • No chance of damaging your tuner

  • Works very well

Cons

  • 15dB of gain isn't too much

  • Not comapatible with satellite TV

The buying guide 

If you took a look at our options, you’re noticing that they vary greatly, and this may make choosing one a bit difficult. Let’s take a look at the key things to know, so you can choose the right amplifier for you.

Amplifiers vs. distribution amplifiers vs. preamplifiers

This is the first question you’ll want to ask yourself. There are three types of amplifiers, and they’re all made for a different scenario. An amplifier generally amplifies the signal in general, but preamplifiers and distribution amplifiers are made for specific situations.

Preamplifiers are used to compensate for the loss of a signal due to a long cable run. These situations often happen in large houses, or areas where you have quite a lot of cable going from the antenna to the TV set. When you have a signal that is weak, a long cable can make watching TV impossible. If this is the type of issue you have, a preamplifier is the device you need. They’re commonly placed outdoors, right next to the antenna itself. 

A distribution amplifier is used in a completely different scenario. When you’ve got multiple TVs or receivers that all get their signal from a single antenna, you’re losing quite a bit. For example, a two-way splitter results in a loss of around 4dB of signal, whereas a three or four-way splitter will result in losses of around 8dB. You’re in a hotel? An 8-way splitter loses around 14-15dB. A distribution amplifier will increase the signal to overcome any losses that may come out due to the use of splitters.

Even though the two types are distinctly different and choosing which one you need shouldn’t be difficult, there’s always the scenario where you actually need both. Imagine this – your antenna is on a 100-feet tall tower. You’re 30 feet away from the house, and you have four TVs inside your house that all need a signal from the antenna. Only if you get both will you be able to watch TV on all of them, without noticeable quality drops.

The gain is very important

When you’re looking at amplifier specifications, you’ll come across a variety of numbers. Yet, none of them are as important as the gain. We already spoke about signal loss due to cable length or splitters, and you’ll want enough gain to compensate for that.

For example, if you have 100 feet of cable, with an RG6 cable, that’s more or less 8dB of loss. To compensate for that, you’ll want an amp that is at least 8dB, or stronger. They usually range from 12 to 30dB, so get what’s most appropriate for you.

One thing to know, though, is that a higher-gain amp isn’t always better. If you have a 15dB loss, and you use a 30dB amp, that can be counterproductive and can overdrive your tuner with too much signal. Your safest bet would be to get a rough estimate on your signal loss (or an exact number, which is even better), and  get an amp that has 2-3dB more than that.

Consider the noise figure

When you have a digital signal, the noise figure is just as important as the gain is. Whenever you add any kind of amplifier to a system, you’re introducing a certain amount of noise. The higher the noise figure is, the lower the tuners sensitivity to picking up the signal is. Therefore, you’ll want to get something with a low noise figure, for example 2dB. Something with a noise figure that’s 4-6dB is something you should  definitely stay away from if possible.

Make sure to match the signal type

With your antenna, it’s either receiving UHF or VHF signals, or both. When you’re buying the best TV antenna amplifier, you’ll want to match your antenna. For example, if your antenna receives both, you’ll want an amplifier that passes both as well. Using such an antenna with an amp that’s only UHF or only VHF will result in the other frequency being blocked. Most of the amplifiers on the market actually pass all frequencies, but make sure you read the specs well.

Consider an amplifier with auto gain control

We spoke about gain, and how too much can actually overdrive your tuner. An amplifier with auto gain control will reduce the gain of a signal that is too strong. You have some amplifiers that have advanced auto gain control that amplifies weak signals as much as possible, yet limits the strong ones to prevent any potential damage. Also can be adapted to omnidirectional tv antennas.

Final Verdict

At the end of the day, it's the ANTOP Smartpass Amplifier that takes the win. 

Even with a decent 16dB gain, it won't overpower your tuner, and there's a low noise figure of less than 2dB. 

If you want the best overall amplifier, this is the one to go for.

Wrapping things up

At the end of the day, if you have weak signal, it is more than likely that you can solve it with an amplifier. We hope to have cleared all the terminology that you’ll come across when looking for the best TV antenna amplifier. All that’s left for you to do is to choose the one from our list that is most suitable for you, and set it up. Voila, no more weak signal issues! If your still not sold on these models check out a guide on how to make a amplifier.