You unpacked your new indoor antenna, set everything up and scanned for channels. The only problem? Your antenna only found 10 channels. Maybe you have a faulty TV antenna. Or maybe you just have your antenna in the wrong place.
I’ve talked about antenna placement before, but I want to take a closer look at the issue and how you can maximize the number of channels you receive with your indoor antenna. There have been times when I’ve moved my antenna’s location, and I received a completely new set of channels.
We’re going to look at a few different ways to get as many channels as possible with your indoor antenna.
The higher you can place the antenna, the greater the reception will be.
Maybe you have a tall window in your home that would be the perfect spot to place your antenna. It’s worth buying a longer cord or using an extension cord to reach that spot. It may be an eyesore, but you can find creative ways to hide or blend in your new setup.
A longer cord length may allow you to finally place your antenna on the window that’s facing the transmitter tower – and get more channels as a result.
One thing I will caution: don’t use an overly long coax cable. An excessively long cord length can also reduce your signal.
When we first got our antenna, we thought we had found a good spot – until our neighbor told us they had twice the number of channels we did.
That’s when we started experimenting with different locations in the house. Even if you think you’ve found the perfect spot, try out different ones. You may find that one obscure spot in the house that gets more channels than you ever had before.
If you want to be a little more strategic with your placement experiment, you can use the FCC’s reception maps to see which signals are available in your area.
Windows are usually the best places to put antennas, so choose one that’s facing a broadcast tower.
As I said previously, you want to get your antenna as high as possible. If you live in a home with two floors, you may want to place your antenna on the second floor to get better reception. You can’t put an indoor antenna on the roof (which would have the best reception), but the second floor may be the next-best location.
If you have a skylight, you may get even more channels if you place your antenna there. Placing the antenna on or near the skylight is almost as good as having an outdoor antenna.
It may sound crazy, but your cable may actually be stopping you from getting more channels. Are you using a regular RG59 coaxial cable? If so, you’re not alone. That’s the cable that most of us when we first start using an indoor antenna.
But a simple upgrade to a RG-6/U cable may help you get more channels without you having to do anything extra. Why? The RG-6/U cable has a thicker conductor, better shielding and better insulation. It’s also designed for higher frequencies.
If you have other electronics near your TV and antenna, you may be sabotaging your signal without even realizing it.
Try unplugging all nearby electronics, including other televisions, computers, stereo equipment, Wi-Fi routers, DVD players and any other electronic device. Unplug all of the connections to your TV aside from the power and antenna. Re-test to see if you get more channels.
If you get more channels, try turning on other equipment one at a time to pinpoint the source of the interference.
If you have a lot of electronic devices near your television, it may be worth getting a longer cable to move your antenna farther away from the interference. You can also try HDMI cables with ferrite cores to block the interference.
I’m a fan of amplifiers, or boosters, which are designed to strengthen your signal. You may only be getting a handful of channels because you’re far away from broadcast towers. In this case, a booster would strengthen your signal and allow you to pick up more channels as a result.
If you’re using an amplifier (or booster), try removing it from your setup. This may sound counterintuitive, but it works for many people, especially if they already have a few strong stations.
The amplifier may be faulty, or it may be amplifying your strong stations to a point where those signals drown out the weaker ones.
Many people make the mistake of scanning for channels once, and then never scanning again. Make it a point to rescan for new channels every few months.
Sometimes, TV channels change broadcast towers and locations. You may find a few new channels each time you perform a new scan.
It may be possible that electronic noise is coupling onto the coaxial cable’s shield. That noise can interfere with your signal and cause you to get fewer channels or channel freezes.
Grounding the cable can help eliminate this noise so that you can enjoy all of your channels again.
If you’re not getting as many channels as you’d like, try these tips to see if you can pick up more. Keep in mind that your location will ultimately affect the number of channels you receive. If you live far away from a transmitter tower, you may be really limited in the channels you get no matter what you do. I would recommend using streaming services to compensate for the lack of content.
Even if you don’t get a huge range of channels, you should still be able to pick up at least a few local news and sports channels. But the tips I’ve listed above should help you get as many channels as possible in your location.