How to Troubleshoot a HDTV Antenna

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High Definition Television (HDTV) has brought great picture improvements over the old analog system. However, analog was a bit more forgiving on reception. Marginal analog reception could look a bit snowy or fuzzy. HDTV, on the other hand, is very precise in its requirements. If you have an HDTV indoor antenna that's giving you problems, follow this troubleshooting guide.

  • Move the antenna to a different position. Try to get it away from any other components and to a higher placement. Some new-model antennas can be mounted on a wall, are flat and can be barely noticeable. Close to a window can be a good position. Aluminum siding and concrete with rebar can hinder performance.

  • Check that the antenna isn't sitting on a metal stand. The metal could interfere with reception.

  • Rescan for channels.

  • Try using the antenna with and without the amplifier. Rescan. Try setting and disabling the FM Trap. FM signals can interfere with the TV and a trap can help that condition. Rescan.

  • Complain to your favorite TV station. The digital transition is undergoing teething problems. The last thing your TV station wants is for you not to be able to see its programming. It will lobby for power output improvements if it sees large numbers of its customers having problems. Increasing power output at the mast will improve your signal, but is heavily regulated.

  • Install an outdoor antenna. If you are 25 miles or more from the mast, or if you live in a hilly area, you may need an outdoor antenna. Speak to a contractor.

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