Best antenna for digital terrestrial 2019: Buying guide

Few things are as annoying as being out of signal during your favorite program, are they? After a long day at work, it’s finally time to jump on the couch and relax for a few hours in front of the TV, but nothing! Your antenna continues to have a tantrum: is it time to buy a better antenna for digital terrestrial?

If you’ve never heard of this type of antenna, don’t worry, because you’re on the right site. In this article, you will learn everything there is to know about these devices, essential to enjoy your television properly. Whether you have an old TV or a Smart TV, it’s time to forget once and for all what it means to have bad reception.

The antennas for digital terrestrial are the components that allow the reception of digital terrestrial, which in Italy is the application of digital technology to the signal of television. Antennas are extremely useful if you live in places where the signal is not very strong or even does not arrive.
There are various types of antennas capable of offering good reception to digital terrestrial, even in places relatively far from large cities. Usually, antennas are classified into indoor antennas (easier to install and configure) and outdoor antennas.
If you want to increase your television signal, a digital terrestrial antenna can be very useful. Before choosing a model, there are some purchase criteria that should not be ignored: we talk about the reception range, design, materials of manufacture and how to install and configure.

Digital terrestrial antennas have started to be in particular demand, especially when various types of signals, such as 3G or 4G, are introduced, which seriously compromises the signal that reaches many televisions. If you do not have a good reception at home, you may have to consider the information contained in this section, where we will go to dispel any possible doubt about the antennas.A digital terrestrial antenna is a device designed specifically for receiving digital signal.

Best antenna for digital terrestrial 2019: Buying guide

What exactly is a digital terrestrial antenna?

A digital terrestrial antenna is a device designed specifically for the reception of the digital signal, which is the result of applying digital technology to the television signal, to then transmit it through waves (in Hertz) transmitted from the atmosphere without the need for cables or satellites.

The digital signal considerably improves the quality of reception, and expands the available range of channels and the versatility of the system:

How does the use of a digital terrestrial antenna work in Italy?

In Italy as in the rest of Europe, the standard DVD-T (Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial) is the technology for the emission of the digital terrestrial signal. This is done through the UHF (Ultra-High Frequency) band in MFN (Multiple-Frequency Network) frequencies; modulation, on the other hand, is achieved through 64 QAM (quadrature width) and a bandwidth of each channel of 8 megahertz. The carrier wave is 8K.

Thanks to the many advantages offered, the digital terrestrial signal has gradually replaced the analog terrestrial signal: until 2012 (the year of the final switch-off in Italy) this was the signal that was in most homes in the country. In that year, in fact, following multiple requests from the European Union, on July 4 was made the cessation of this signal to give way to the newborn analog technology.

Why is it better to use a digital terrestrial antenna than analogue technology?

Analogue television technology only allows one TV programme to be broadcast per UHF channel (whether 6 MHz, 7 MHz or 8 MHz bandwidth). In addition, the channels adjacent to what you are seeing must remain free to avoid any kind of interference.

When using a digital terrestrial antenna, you have access to digital program encoding, which allows the bandwidth available in a single UHF channel to transmit multiple channels in a quality similar to that of a DVD and one or two in HD resolution.

What should I do to make a digital terrestrial antenna work in my home?
To make sure that the signal arrives and then make sure that the antenna works, you must follow three simple steps: check if there is coverage in the area where you live, adapt the antenna and arrange the equipment for receiving the digital signal. Let’s go and see what we can do:

Check if there is coverage in the area where you live: The digital signal coverage has been gradually increased, to exceed 90% for both private and public broadcasters. To verify that your area is covered, you can consult the dedicated page on the DTT website by entering your postcode.
Adapt the antenna, whether individual or collective: To receive the digital terrestrial signal, you can continue to use the conventional UHF antenna, individual or collective, that you already owned for the analog terrestrial signal. However, adjustments need to be made in the installation to be made by a registered telecommunications installer.
Owning a receiver tool for digital terrestrial: This tuner allows you to receive the digital signal at home, either through an external device connected directly to the television, or through a television with an integrated receiver.
The digital signal allows you to enjoy better reception quality and expands the offer of the number of channels.

Best antenna for digital terrestrial 2019: Buying guide

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an indoor and an outdoor digital terrestrial antenna?

Digital terrestrial antennas are usually outdoor antennas, especially in buildings where it is not possible to have an antenna in the living room. However, you will still need an indoor antenna if you need more power. In the table below, we can see some of the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of antennas.

What types of indoor digital terrestrial antennas exist?

Usually, digital terrestrial antennas are divided into unidirectional and omnidirectional: the former take the signal from only one direction and, therefore, do not suffer interference; the latter, however, take the signal from each direction, which can cause distortions. If you don’t know where the signal comes from, omnidirectional antennas are the best option.

Digital terrestrial antennas are usually outdoor antennas, especially in buildings where it is not possible to have an antenna in the living room.

Is the power and range of a digital terrestrial antenna the same?

No, but they are still two very important factors. The power of an antenna for digital terrestrial is the ability to amplify the signal, and is usually expressed as gain. The higher the gain, the greater the antenna’s ability to offer a more powerful signal: this is especially important if you want to access HD transmissions, which require a much stronger signal.

The range, on the other hand, is the maximum distance from which the antenna can receive a signal. It is measured in kilometers and sets the maximum distance that there can be from the center of transmission of the signal. This value should be taken with caution, however, because the measurement refers to an open field while, usually, there are obstacles (such as mountains or buildings) between the center of transmission and the house where the antenna is located.

What happens if the digital terrestrial antenna does not find channels?
To find channels, the antenna must receive sufficient signal, so if it finds nothing, it is probably due to an inadequate location. It is therefore necessary to check the signal strength in various areas of the room in which you are going to place it, but without finalizing the installation.

Best antenna for digital terrestrial 2019: Buying guideWhat additional advantages can a digital terrestrial antenna with 4G filter bring?

The main advantage of a digital terrestrial antenna that includes this type of filter is the ability to eliminate interference from mobile phone antennas or WiFi networks. Since all these signals travel by air, the power of the 4G signals could compromise the quality of the digital terrestrial signal; if the interference is continuous, a solution must be found.

How do I set up a digital terrestrial antenna to start searching for channels?
As we have already said, one of the advantages of indoor digital terrestrial antennas is that they are easier to install and configure; moreover, they are easy to reach because they are not on the roof, and can be adjusted without any problems. To start looking for channels, you need to follow these four simple steps:

Connect the end of the coaxial cable (female) to the ANT/IN connector on the back of the TV or decoder.
In the TV setup menu, set the tuning mode to “antenna”. Refer to your instruction manual for more information.
Place the antenna in a good position, preferably near a window or wall.
In the TV setup menu, choose the “search” option to find channels.

Purchase criteria

If you are tired of being without a signal every time you turn on the television, you should buy a digital terrestrial antenna: you may need an indoor or outdoor one. In any case, you should take into account some purchase criteria that will help you to better enjoy your favorite shows and shows. Let’s go and see what they are.

Signal strength and range
Installation modes
Materials
4G filters
Coaxial cable length
Signal strength and range

As we have seen before, power and range are not the same thing: both must be high enough to make sure that the antenna does not give problems. When you look at the product description, make sure that the antenna has a high gain and that the reception capacity exceeds at least 50 km: in many cases, the transmission center is well beyond that distance.

Installation modes

Today, no one likes to waste time with complex installation processes. If you’ve decided to buy an outdoor digital terrestrial antenna, you’ll probably have to go to a professional to mount it (there’s only a few cases where you can do it all yourself). If you have chosen an indoor antenna, check that the assembly can be done in a few steps and that there is a manual to explain everything.

Installation modes
Today, no one likes to waste time with complex installation processes. If you’ve decided to buy an outdoor digital terrestrial antenna, you’ll probably have to go to a professional to mount it (there’s only a few cases where you can do it all yourself). If you have chosen an indoor antenna, check that the assembly can be done in a few steps and that there is a manual to explain everything.

Materials

Especially if you’re thinking of buying an outdoor digital terrestrial antenna, you need to make sure that it’s made of materials such as aluminium, that it’s resistant to water and corrosion, UV rays and other adverse weather conditions: in this way, the useful life of the object will be longer. As far as indoor antennas are concerned, however, a plastic structure is also fine.

4G filters

Since today there are many types of antennas that emit all kinds of signals, especially for mobile phones and for internet reception, interference and alterations are almost the order of the day. For this reason, a digital terrestrial antenna with a 4G filter can be very useful, especially if you live in buildings where there is a large number of users.

Coaxial cable length

Coaxial cables are usually included with the purchase of an indoor digital terrestrial antenna, but the length can vary significantly. Since it is very common to change the location of the antenna to get a better signal or simply for logistical reasons, it is better that the cable is at least 1.5 meters long.

Buy outdoor tdt antennas

The antennas for tv designed for TDT (Digital Terrestrial Television) incorporate in their design the most modern technology that gives you the best possible reception to be able to watch television without problems. Among the characteristics to emphasize are that they are compact and resistant to the water. In addition the antennas TDT televisions are cheap and can be installed both on walls and on a mast thanks to the kit of screws and plugs.

They have an adjustable base to ensure better signal reception. They are resistant to weather and ultraviolet rays and have a built-in amplifier.

In addition to all these features, TV antenna prices are cheap and affordable for all budgets.

Best antenna for digital terrestrial 2019: Buying guideOutdoor DTT Antennas

Low gain or low pickup antennas (less than 13dB): These are suitable antennas in areas close to the signal repeater, where the signal arriving at the antenna site is very good and with an antenna of this type you can pick up perfectly at appropriate levels.

Average gain or average pickup antennas (14dB to 16dB): These are antennas that are installed in areas away from the repeater but the signal that arrives at the place is still a good signal, there are no obstacles or interference with other repeaters.

High gain or high pickup antennas (more than 17dB): These are antennas specially designed to be installed in areas of bad signal, bad coverage, which usually coincide with areas where several repeaters interfere or that the distance to the repeater signal arrives very degraded.

DTT antennas are traditionally outdoor, especially in neighboring buildings where having one antenna per house would be crazy. So in case you need extra power, it is probably better to have an indoor DTT antenna. But if you have a separate house or you can just do it, the idea of the outdoor DTT antenna is not disposable either. Let’s see their differences.

In general, outdoor DTT antennas usually have a high range capacity, so they are suitable in case the transmitting centers are very far away. In addition, they can be equipped with amplifiers with which to reach even better signal if necessary. On the other hand, we have the installation process, which usually requires professional help, as well as a greater risk of deterioration due to exposure to the outside.

These two problems do not affect the current indoor antennas, which are as easy to install as gluing them to a wall, being also very resistant. The problem we have is that its range is somewhat tighter, although if the emitting centers are not far away can achieve more than enough power to work. All this without forgetting that these antennas are the most interesting solution when you have to add one more TV to your home and you do not want to pull cable or if the signal from the collective antenna is not as good as it should be.

Antenna power and range

The next aspect that we are going to treat in our guide to buy the best DTT antenna is its power and range. Two different concepts that should not be confused and also have a lot of influence on how much one of these antennas costs, as well as the final quality of signal that can generate.

When we talk about power, we refer to the capacity of the product to amplify the signal. This capacity is usually shown among the characteristics of the antenna in the form of antenna gain. The higher this gain, the greater the capacity of the antenna to provide a more powerful signal. This is especially important if we want to access high-definition broadcasts, which require higher signal quality.

Regarding the range, this would be the maximum distance at which the antenna will be able to receive signal. Generally, it is measured in kilometres and establishes the maximum distance at which the signal emitting centre can be in order for the antenna to work. However, this measure must be taken with caution given that the distance in kilometers is in open field and, generally, there are usually obstacles between the emitting center and our home, such as mountains, buildings or even electromagnetic fields such as telecommunication antennas. So if you overdo the selection, so much the better.

Digital terrestrial antennas can provide good reception for your home television. It is now ten years since the introduction of the first generation of this technology and, since then, many people have been able to watch their favorite programs despite living in relatively “remote” places. In addition, an antenna also allows access to HD channels that otherwise would not be available.

Digital terrestrial antennas can be grouped into two large groups: outdoor and indoor. The former give a more intense signal, but are more complicated to install; the latter are instead more compact, easy to use and even portable, but the reception is not the best. In any case, the main aspects to take into account are the signal strength and range compared to the transmission center.

Best antenna for digital terrestrial 2019: Buying guideInstall the TDT antenna

After having made the purchase of the DTT antenna of your choice, you should verify that the product purchased is for indoor or outdoor. Considering this factor, the installation process will vary a little.

If your DVB-T antenna is indoor, follow these steps:
First, locate a high, flat, stationary surface to prevent the product from falling and damaging itself; the height will help capture more signals. Then, connect the coaxial cable to the corresponding port on the TV and to the DVB-T antenna.

If the model of DVB-T antenna is outdoor, the steps to follow are as follows:
If the antenna is disassembled, assemble it following the steps in the user guide. Then go somewhere high and spacious where other people can’t move it, preferably the ceiling. Place a sturdy metal beam to make the supporting paper and secure it with thick wires; if clamps are available, so much the better.

 

Set the antenna orientation

Once the antenna is installed, it is time to position the correct angle in order to display the channels more effectively. If you don’t have a range meter, you should adjust the angle to the percent eye. That is, move the antenna vertically and horizontally while another person is visualizing the quality of the TV channels.

On the other hand, if you have a range meter, the process will be even easier. Since you can easily direct the antenna to the satellite of your choice, first connect the other end of the coaxial cable from the OUT port from the antenna to the range meter and move the antenna at different angles until it receives an optimal signal on the electronics.

Additionally, one of the satellites most used to orientate the DTT antennas and receive channels with a high standard of image quality is the Astra. However, you will be able to choose the satellite of your preference since depending on the zone in which you are, there may be another satellite with a better signal range.

Configure your TV

After having completed the previous steps it is time to configure the TV so that it can read all the available channels that the antenna can receive. First switch on the TV with the remote control and press the “Menu” key and select options > channels > automatic search or auto-tuning. Wait for the automated process to finish and display the channels you like.

General recommendations
If there are small children at home and you want them not to watch a channel that may have violent content, if your TV has the parental lock or child lock function you can activate it and select the channels that they will be able to access, even if you are not present. This detail will prevent children from watching programmes with sexual and violent content that are not suitable for them.

On the other hand, when you see interference in the channels verify that the coaxial cable is not bent or stepped on by an object. Unscrew it from the TV and visualize that its tip is straight. Also, check all the cable until you reach the DTT antenna. If you don’t find the reason for the interference you can try to move the antenna, maybe the wind has moved it and you will need to position it again.

 

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