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. 

About the Author Joseph Geizen

Joseph is an electrician with 10 years of experience he moonlights as a writer and works for Serif TV on some key articles.

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