How Do Antennas Work? Everything You Need To Know

Many people have grappled with cutting cable. Cable TV services are expensive and seem to be less popular as TV technology changes.

Streaming services are a nice companion, but what about TV channels? This is a common fear that crosses many minds. If you move on from cable, how can you access live TV?

The answer is a TV antenna. TV antennas are an easy, affordable alternative to cable contracts.

Have you wondered how do antennas work? This guide can help. Read on to learn exactly what they do and the different types available.

How Do Antennas Work?

An antenna is a hub that receives signals cast out from television stations. Picture an antenna as a fishing net. The fish scooped up in the net are the broadcast signals. The bigger your net and the more fish in the water, the more you will catch.

When driving through cities, do you ever notice the FOX, NBC, or CBS TV towers? This is the local TV station base of operation. More often than not, this is where the radio waves are broadcast for your digital antenna.

The TV antenna catches these radio waves which are cast out as electromagnetic energy. Through the antenna, the waves are converted into a signal for your television set. The result is the news, a football game, or whatever else is being transmitted.

I realize it can sound a little space-age, but antenna technology has utilized since the 1940s.

Antenna Reception

Okay, so you understand the process, now you are wondering how well do TV antennas work?

Remember, those TV station hubs? Sticking with the analogy, those stations are the fish. The closer your net is to those stations, the better reception you will get.

Traditionally, the stations set up their operations near major cities to reach the largest population. The closer you live to them, the cleaner your antenna signal will be.

However, you don’t have to live in the station’s backyard to pick up the waves. Indoor TV antennas can pick up a signal anywhere from 20-60 miles. More powerful models work up to 150 miles from a broadcast.

It is all about location. Determine where you live in relation to the stations. This will help you decide on the right antenna type.

Antenna Types

There are many different brands and styles of home antennas on the market. RCA, Mohu, and Skylink antenna all offer their own versions. The thing to remember is digital antennas all work the same way.

The important difference is distance ratings. Below are the two main styles of TV antennas.

Indoor Antenna

Indoor antennas are small unobtrusive devices with no installation. These small plastic squares sit on a shelf or window.

Indoor antennas have an average distance of 35 miles. Tinker with the location of an indoor antenna to find the best reception. You can expect about 25-50 channels.

Outdoor Antenna

Outdoor antennas are much larger. Installed on the roof, these antennas can be an eyesore compared to the indoor models.

However, the trade-off is a much better reception. Depending on the model, you can expect a 100-mile distance rating.

Outdoor antennas can receive more than 100 channels.

Start Receiving

You no longer need to wonder “how do antennas work?” Use this guide as a jumping-off point. Consider your location, choose an antenna, and start receiving channels.

If you enjoyed this article, stick around the blog for more worthwhile technology tips.

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