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Smart Antennas - The Key to Better DTV Reception

What is a DTV Smart Antenna?
Antennas have come a long way. The SMART Antenna for digital TV is a newer version of a powered and amplified TV antenna. These newer versions have digital chips inside that use signal-processing algorithms to track, enhance and locate TV signals. They locate the best signal, lock in on it, amplify it and then send that signal to your DTV converter box or digital TV - hence the name Smart Antenna. These are also called adaptive array antennas. They can be used with DTV converter boxes or digital televisions with SMART TV support (EIA/CEA-909 compliant).

Do I Need a SMART Antenna?
They are best suited for areas that have weak TV signals. The conversion to DTV has caused some confusion regarding wether or not you even need an antenna in the first place. However, you will still need an antenna regardless of whether you have a TV with a digital tuner or have purchased the DTV convertor box. Whether or not you need a SMART antenna may depend on your locality to TV signal stations. In many cases, a standard digital antenna will work, but if you can't lock in on a good signal or the signal strength varies, you may want to explore the benefits and features of a Smart Antenna.

I Want One, Where Can I Get a SMART Antenna?
Unfortunately, SMART antenna availability has not kept pace with the rest of the market. Possibly due to higher cost, lack of consumer information, or confusion about the benefits... Whatever the reason, there are only a couple of models currently on the market worth looking at. Both these antennas are getting great reviews by industry experts and more importantly, the consumer. Here's a couple you should consider when in the market for a DTV Smart Antenna.

image of channel master 3000a smart antenna

Channel Master 3000A Omnidirectional Antenna
This Channel-Master Smart Digital Antenna is made for outdoor use but small enough to use indoors. It's the latest in smart antenna technology. The built in amplifier can maximize any weak TV signals for all of your region’s VHF and UHF channels.

image of rca digital amplified antenna wall mount model ant1550

The RCA ANT1550 Smart Antenna is designed especially for DTV converter boxes. It is optimized for HDTV reception for both VHF and UHF channels. The design allows you to lay it flat or hang it on a wall. It can even be painted to let it blend in with its surroundings.

Who Makes the Best HD DTV Antennas

Now that the switch to digital television broadcasts has happened, what can you do to improve your reception?

It's really pretty easy. The
Antenna is where it's at. Think of your antenna as the eyes and ears to your system. What the antenna sees, you see. If it can't see a signal, neither will you see a picture or hear a sound.

To help make some buying decisions, I've put together a new page on this site. This page will help guide you to locate the HD antenna that will work best for you. The
Smart Antenna Choices page has antennas from a whole host of manufactures. Folks like RCA, Terk, Winegard, and Channel Master.

You'll find many DTV Antenna models to choose from and each of them is listed with all the specifications and buying information. In addition to the previous manufacturers, look too for those indoor and outdoor antennas from Sharp, Phillips, and Antennas Direct.

Lots of choices - you're sure to find the perfect solution.

Antennas Direct DB2 HDTV Antenna Review

This antenna was originally designed for outdoor use and it looks that way. However, there's no reason why this can't be placed in an attic or behind the television set. You may even want to place it in open view if your decor has that retro industrial look.

image antennas direct db2 multi directional hdtv antenna
The range of this puppy is up to 30 miles and is considered a multi-directional unit. That means that it can pull in signals for different directions at the same time. It's nominal size means it doesn't require a special site. However, as with all antennas, the higher the better - and the fewer obstacles around is better yet.

One final note, due to it's design, this antenna is best suited for receiving UHF channels (14-69). If a good share of the channels in your area are VHF, you might want to consider the Winegard Platinum Series High Definition Antenna. But be aware that the Winegard is strictly an outdoor model.

Antennas Direct DB-2 Multi Directional HDTV Antenna

Finding the Best DTV Antenna Picks

Now that most of America has their converter boxes in hand, I'll bet there's a good number of you that would like to improve your DTV reception. As I talked about numerous times, digital signals tend to travel in straight lines and are more susceptible to interference. A good (great) antenna is crucial in order to overcome these issues.

Solid Signal Antenna Superstore

Make no mistake, an antenna is THE MOST IMPORTANT component of your setup. Without a good antenna to catch those signals, it doesn't matter how good your converter box or TV is. They need a good signal in order for them to do their part. It all starts at the antenna.

Antenna cost in not necessarily the best indicator of quality. Many factors determine how an antenna works and unfortunately, there are no BEST units for all circumstances. You need to study your particular situation and determine what features will be required to meet your needs.

If you live in a rural area, antenna design is critical. You'll want one with numerous elements to capture as much signal as possible. I wouldn't even consider a "rabbit ear" type for this application. I would also consider a rotor and amplifier to hone in on a signal and boost it as much as possible.

Living in an urban location is much different. Other buildings and obstacles must be taken into account. Are there large power lines close by? Are the TV stations close by or in another town? In this situation, you may be able to use rabbit ears or an omni-directional antenna.

My point is that you need to do a bit of homework here. I know that may not be what you want to hear but it's the truth. Every situation and location is different and you will have to figure out your needs in order to select the best product.

One other bit of advice I'd like to pass on... Don't scrimp on this piece of equipment. Buy the best antenna you can possibly afford. You are going to have to live with this purchase for some time so make sure that it's an INVESTMENT and not an expense.

Find the best DTV Antennas and HDTV Antenna accessories by visiting the Smart Antenna Choices page.

Here is just a sampling of antennas available. You can select any one of these to view them in more detail, or click this link to find the BEST DTV ANTENNA PICKS available.

Superior Outdoor Performance Optimal Indoor Design Good Middle Ground
image antennas direct clearstream4 antenna image terk indoor amplified antenna image antennas direct uni-directional antenna
Quad-Loop Design
Range up to 65 Miles
Works Great w/Rotor
Dual Drive Amplifier
Optimized for Channels 2-69
Horizontal or Vertical Orientation
High Wind Resistance
Range of 10-50 Miles
Integrated Ohm Converter

Why your antenna sucks for HD reception

I've written here before, on the front page, the FAQ page, and numerous other blog sites talking about how the biggest part of your OTA digital television experience is dependent on the type and quality of your antenna.

I won't go into all the detail here again but it's important to emphasize (repeatedly) that the single most important part of you television setup is the ANTENNA. Digital broadcasts are much more demanding on antenna reception. Don't - I repeat, DON'T scrimp here. Try to buy the best antenna you can possibly afford.

Which antenna is the best? That depends on your particular circumstances and will vary with each user. Read reviews and look for specifications that coincide with the terrain and topography of your area. Don't buy the first thing shoved under your nose. Do some homework and you won't be disappointed. You are going to have to live with your antenna for quite a while so be sure to get what works for you.

Also keep in mind that price is not necessarily an indicator of an antenna's quality or feature set. Here is a complete HDTV Antenna List. Read the reviews and find yourself the best HD TV antenna.

Does Your TV Antenna Suck? Don't Blame Your TV Converter Box

image of rca ant2000 smart antenna
Maybe you're not too happy with the reception you're getting with your new converter box. I've been seeing a lot of comments about this all over the web. Almost everyone is blaming the converter box for this situation...

While this may be partly true, I'm gonna bet the more likely culprit is your sucky antenna.

You see, digital broadcasts are a line of sight type technology. In other words, the signal travels in a straight line - unlike the the old fashioned analog signal that could bounce off of buildings and other objects.

Before you scorn that new converter box, better check the age, condition, and location of your old antenna.

RCA ANT2000 Auto Adjusting Smart Flat Indoor Antenna