For nearly a century, television has been one of the most prominent sources of entertainment for families around the world. TV sets first became commercially available in the 1920s, and manufacturers have worked diligently to improve the technology ever since. Likewise, the broadcasting industry has made sure that more programming is available to as many people in as many places as possible. TV viewers used to turn knobs on monstrous television consoles until they found their favorite of the few black-and-white channels that were available. After years of advancements and the introduction of cable television networks, viewers now choose from hundreds of high-quality channels on their HDTVs. However, there are many people who do not have access to cable television in their local area. Fortunately, there are other ways to pick up TV programming. In fact, with certain TV antennas and dishes, they can have their favorite television shows beamed directly into their living rooms.
Why Choose TV Antennas and Dishes?
TV antennas and dishes are used to receive television broadcast signals directly through the air. They receive the signal and transmit it to the accompanying TV set. In some places, especially rural areas, TV antennas and dishes are the only ways to get quality television programming. In some cases, it is actually the prefered method. Satellite TV companies have become major competitors for cable TV networks. Satellite TV uses satellites in orbit to beam programming signals to customers' homes all over the world. The signal is then received by a small exterior dish, transmitted to a set-top box, and displayed on the TV. The programming offered by satellite networks is known to be on par with the programming offered through cable networks.
For families with no interest in viewing either of these types of television networks, there is an easy way to pick up locally broadcasted channels. This can be done by installing one of the various types of TV antennas. These antennas receive the raw television signal straight from the air, so there is no need for miles of cable or for satellites orbiting the Earth. One excellent benefit of using an antenna versus a satellite dish or cable network is that it is almost entirely free. While cable and satellite networks charge customers a monthly service premium, using TV antennas costs virtually nothing beyond the initial purchase and installation. The low cost, along with a change to all-digital broadcasting in 2009 and the addition of more quality channels, has sold many viewers on the idea of using an antenna.
Versatility is another major selling point for TV antennas and dishes. There are few places where these components cannot go or cannot be installed. While cable is grounded to a single location, antennas can pick up television programs wherever signals are broadcasted. Dishes can receive their network programming at any place where they have a clear shot of the sky. This makes TV antennas and dishes just as ideal for a traveling recreational vehicle (RV) as they are for permanent homes. Specialty antennas exist for locations where signals are too weak or suffer from heavy interference. Shoppers have many other options as well: antennas that mount to the roof of a house, mobile ones that can be taken anywhere, and ones that are made strictly for indoor use, among several other types. No matter where a viewer is located, he or she can receive multiple high-quality channels with the right TV antenna or dish.
Which TV Antennas and Dishes Are the Right Ones?
TV antennas and dishes are available for every type of location and situation. The particular one that a person would find most useful relies entirely on his or her location, surroundings, and desired reception quality. A person living in the suburbs who wants to pick up the local news stations would not need the same device as someone vacationing in the mountains and hoping for a crystal clear HD picture. The following is a list of seven different types of TV antennas and dishes that can improve the television viewing experience as well as descriptions of their intended uses.
1. Indoor Antennas
Indoor TV antennas are among the most common. Because they only require the user to plug them into the TV and do some minor tuning, they are the easiest type to set up. Indoor TV antennas can be placed on top of the TV, a shelf, an entertainment center, or anywhere the user likes. Some of them can even be mounted to the wall. A person living in a suburban or urban area can typically do quite well with this type of antenna. However, indoor antennas are more susceptible to interference caused by other radio signals inside the home as well as by the walls and ceiling of the home itself.
2. Outdoor Antennas
Outdoor TV antennas are intended to pick up more signals from farther away. They are typically much larger than the indoor type and take much more effort to install. These antennas require various screws, mounting hardware, and a length of cable that will reach from the antenna to the television or signal distributor inside the home. To improve reception and avoid a lot of interference, it is best to mount the antenna as high up as possible. The farther into the open air the antenna is, the greater the quality and quantity of the incoming signals. This is why people tend to mount their outdoor antenna on the roof of their house or on a large pole.
3. Multi-Directional Antennas
This type of antenna is well suited for heavily populated areas that receive multiple broadcast signals from all directions. If there are signals coming from east and west simultaneously, a multi - directional antenna will be able to pick them both up equally. The majority of indoor antennas are multidirectional, and many of the ones seen mounted to the rooftops of suburban homes are, too. Multi-directional antennas are also ideal for vacationers traveling in an RV. The RV's multi-directional antenna will be able to pick up every signal it comes in contact with, even as the driver zigs and zags across the map. However, because they are not concentrated on one direction or another, multi-directional antennas have fairly limited range.
4. Directional Antennas
Unlike multi-directional antennas, directional antennas are made to focus on all the signals coming from one direction. Families living in rural areas would benefit most from this type of TV antenna because it would allow them to pick up all the broadcasts available in the nearest town. If there are a dozen broadcast stations in a neighboring city and nothing nearby in any other direction, it is wise to concentrate entirely on that city and the broadcasts it has to offer. Directional antennas have the longest range and are capable of the highest clarity. Rural dwellers can use them to receive the same quality reception as a multi-directional TV antenna positioned right at the city's center.
5. Digital HD Antennas
High-definition television has become commonplace, and many TV viewers own high-definition television sets. So that viewers may get the most out of their HDTVs, many broadcast stations broadcast HD signals that offer the image quality that does an HDTV justice. However, these signals cannot be picked up by a basic UHF(ultrahigh frequency) or VHF (very high frequency) antenna. The viewer will instead require a digital HD antenna that is designed solely to take advantage of HD television signals. They can still pick up the standard signals anytime there is no HD signal available. Anyone with an HDTV may want to consider owning one of these antennas.
6. Amplified Antennas
If a signal is too weak to pick up clearly, it can always be enhanced to improve its quality. To enhance a broadcast signal, it must be amplified. Amplifiers electronically reinforce and strengthen signals without altering them. An amplified antenna takes a weak TV signal, adds external power to the frequency, and outputs the same signal with more clarity and intensity. There are amplified versions of each of the antenna types mentioned previously.
7. Satellite Dishes
Unlike the TV antennas mentioned above, satellite dishes receive dedicated signals that typically require a monthly paid subscription. Because they require a clear shot at the satellite in space, they can only be mounted outdoors. TV dishes can be installed by the homeowner, but the installation is usually performed by a technician who works for the satellite service provider. Regardless, those interested in this type of service could purchase and install the equipment themselves and simply call the service provider to have it activated when they are ready to receive a signal.
Buying TV Antennas and Dishes Online through eBay
There are many brick-and-mortar locations that offer various types of TV antennas and dishes, but for the greatest selection, it is always a good idea to check for what you need online. Websites like eBay will give you access to a massive stock of antenna parts and devices, both new and old, and allow you the opportunity to get what you need at the most competitive prices. The category and search functions available on eBay make the website simple to navigate. By checking a few category boxes and searching for the words or phrase most relevant to your needs, you can narrow your search down a great deal. Even people who are new to eBay and Internet shopping can learn to use these features in no time.
Another eBay feature that many shoppers find incredibly helpful is the way the site allows you to narrow your search based on pricing and shipping options. You can easily eliminate listings that are out of your price range or are unable to be shipped to your geographic area. While performing a product search on eBay, you simply have to indicate your desired price range in the small boxes to the side of the page. You may also limit your search to items that ship to your area, listings that provide free shipping, products that can be bought immediately instead of bid on in an auction, and more. With the massive selection of products and all the search options on eBay, you are unlikely to have trouble finding the TV antennas and dishes you need.
Television has been around for a long time, and people of all ages like to watch it. Many families have invested much of their time and money into increasing the ways they can enjoy it. People work hard to build up and enhance their television viewing experiences as much as they can. If people do not have access to or simply do not want cable television, there is no reason for them to forgo this beloved form of entertainment. By investing in TV antennas and dishes, homeowners can receive all the high-quality television programming in their area, with crystal clear reception and unlimited viewing opportunity. Whether someone selects a multi-directional indoor antenna, an amplified directional outdoor antenna, or even a satellite dish is up to that person's preferences and the broadcasting signals available where he or she lives. However, as long as that individual chooses the right one, he or she can stop fighting with weak reception and heavy interference and simply sit back and enjoy the show.