Broadcast TV stations in the U.S. have switched from analog to digital transmissions.
To receive digital TV signals from all stations, it is important that your antenna be able to receive both VHF channels (channels 2-13) and UHF channels (channels 14-51).
Receiving over-the-air TV Broadcast with a TV antenna
Some antennas only provide good reception of VHF or UHF channels, but not both. For example, indoor "rabbit ears" usually need to be augmented with an additional "wire loop" or "bowtie" antenna in order to pick up signals on UHF channels.
You can check our Converter Box Comparison Chart to see which boxes have that feature.
Smart Antenna Update: The smart antennas were being sold for a short period of time, now they are not being manufactured and are very hard to find. We have a couple listed on our Antennas Page.
Before making any changes to your current antenna or antenna system, you should check, using your digital-to-analog converter box or digital TV, to see if your antenna will receive the digital signals being broadcast in your area.
Once you have connected your digital-to-analog converter box to your analog TV and to your antenna, you should perform a "channel scan."
You should also perform a channel scan if your antenna is connected to a digital TV. Digital-to-analog converter boxes and digital TVs have a button, usually on the remote control, that is labeled "set-up" or "menu" or some similar term. Press that button to access the set-up menu.
Using the directional arrow buttons on your remote, scroll to the option that allows you to search for digital broadcast channels that are available in your area. Consult the owner’s manual of your digital-to-analog converter box or digital TV for detailed instructions on how to perform a channel scan for your device.
You should perform a channel scan periodically to check whether additional digital channels have become available. In many cases, this is all you will need to do to watch digital television broadcasts.
There is a difference between Digital and Analog reception. With Analog reception even a partial signal can be viewable even though you may see "snow" or other flaws.
With Digital reception, it’s all or nothing. In other words, you either see a perfectly clear, beautiful picture, or nothing at all.
If you live far away from a broadcast tower and are currently receiving a marginal picture on an analog TV set, you may have trouble getting digital broadcasts.
A lot will depend on the reception capability of your area. Depending on your area and the type of antenna you have now, you may find that a better antenna (or going to an outdoor roof mount) will be needed to ensure reliable digital TV reception.
Even in urban areas close to broadcast stations, you may have interference caused by buildings, hills or trees.
If your digital reception is inconsistent, it may be frustrating and hard to deal with. At certain times (probably during your favorite TV show) if the signal is weak, you will lose the picture and sound all together.
EZ Tip: Try to point your antenna toward the TV station’s tower. In urban areas where broadcast stations are close, you may need to install a rotor that will rotate your antenna depending on which channel you are viewing.