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                      Get Your Off-air Antenna Installed Now Before the transition to DTV in June.
  We Install Antennas Throughout Southern California Call Now Before it is to late.

To request your Free Home Theater Instant Quote. Click Here              

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Over-the-air HDTV signals are the best you can get

The switch to digital TV broadcasting has eliminated the most annoying picture distortions — snow and ghosting — that made analog off-air reception so hit-or-miss. With digital TV signals (both standard-definition and high-definition), you'll either see a crisp, ghost-free picture or no picture at all. Because most local and syndicated programming is not high-definition, it's typical for local stations to broadcast their digital signals in standard-definition during the day, then switch to full widescreen HDTV during primetime.

Even if you've never used an off-air antenna before, there are several good reasons to consider adding one to your other TV signal sources:

  • Local digital TV broadcasts are everywhere: Although the widest selection of digital TV broadcasts are found in large metropolitan TV markets, over 99% of U.S. TV households have access to at least one local digital station; 89% can get five or more stations. You can learn which stations in your area are providing digital broadcasts by visiting the Antennaweb site listed below.
  • Over-the-air digital reception provides the best picture quality: Cable and satellite providers offer tons of channels, but to do this they use data compression or other techniques that compromise picture quality, resulting in a "soft" image, distracting video "artifacts" (distortion), or both. Off-air antenna reception is the best way to enjoy HDTV programs at the full resolution the TV networks intended.
  • Access to all your local channels: Bandwidth limitations also mean that cable and satellite providers may not carry all the local channels in your area, or may not offer them in high definition. Also, contract disagreements between local cable operators and local broadcasters can mean that major networks may not be available via cable TV in your area.
  • Access to out-of-town channels: With the right equipment and reception conditions, some viewers may even be able to receive out-of-town channels, some of which may carry sports programs that are locally blacked out.
  • Over-the-air signals are free: Aside from the costs to purchase and install an antenna, receiving over-the-air HDTV is free.

Of course, in addition to an antenna you'll need some type of HDTV tuner to receive digital TV programs. If you own an "integrated" HDTV, the tuner is already built into the TV. If you have an HDTV-ready TV, you'll need to connect it to a separate HDTV tuner. If you're currently subscribed to the HDTV package from satellite providers DIRECTV® or DISH®, your HD satellite receiver probably includes an over-the-air HD tuner.

Finding over-the-air digital TV signals

TV signal transmission is considered to be "line of sight." Getting reliable DTV reception beyond the curvature of the earth (approximately 70 miles) is difficult. And if mountains or tall buildings lie between the transmitter tower(s) and your home, they can cause reception problems. So, the first step is to locate the transmitters for your local stations.

The quick, easy way to get information that's specific to your address is to visit the Consumer Electronics Association's excellent Antennaweb TV antenna selector website. You can look at a list of both analog and digital TV stations, or digital only. Each station has a color-coded indicator showing which type of antenna is recommended for best reception. (We'll cover the different antenna types on page 2.)

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The Antennaweb site is great for locating the TV stations nearest to your home. However, some viewers, especially those living in rural areas or small towns, may want to use an antenna to receive stations in another city. A properly-installed high-quality antenna can often pull in digital stations that are over 50 miles away. With the help of some very cool Internet tools, you can quickly get detailed information on out-of-town stations.

Start at this site, and enter your full address; the site calculates your precise latitude and longitude. Jot down the decimal values and be sure to note direction (North or South for latitude, East or West for longitude). Then, go to this page and enter your latitude and longitude values to determine your magnetic declination. Now comes the fun part: Point your browser to the payoff page and enter your latitude, longitude, and declination values. Then, just plug in an appropriate distance range (no more than 80 miles), and view your results. You can choose to have the stations organized by their distance or direction in relation to your address, or by channel.

Types of Antennas

Following is a description of different types of TV antennas, both indoor and outdoor. Information provided includes the type of antenna, a general description of how the category of antenna performs, a general description of the physical appearance of the antennas, and where they may optimally perform in relation to the color code of the station you want to receive.

Indoor Antennas

Due to multiple variables in determining good reception in a specific location with indoor antennas, these antennas are not included in this mapping system. This mark, however, assures that an indoor antenna meets or exceeds CEA performance specifications for indoor antennas in households that can use indoor antennas.

Outdoor Antennas

Look for this mark on outdoor antennas, based on the colors of the stations you want to receive:

 Small Multi-directional
The smallest of TV antennas, they receive equally well from all directions.
APPEARANCE Good looking designs including novel shaped disk and patch antennas, and antennas that attach to satellite systems.
USE In yellow color code areas where signal strength is highest and away from reflecting structures or low areas.

Indoor Antenna Mark

Outdoor Antenna Mark

 Medium Multi-directional
Somewhat larger and slightly more powerful
APPEARANCE These antennas include novel stick, wing shaped or disk antennas with long elements.
USE Green color code areas. An amplified antenna is recommended in the green area anytime a long (20 feet or more) cable run from the antenna is required, or when more than one device (TV or VCR) is to be used with an antenna. They work best away from reflecting structures or low areas.

 Large Multi-directional
Bigger in size, these antennas receive more signal power. Better for greater distances from signal source and areas with low signal strength.
APPEARANCE Styles include element antennas. These antennas can be used to reject simple ghost situations.
USE When mounted at rooftop heights (30 feet or higher) outdoors, amplified antennas can be used in light green color code areas away from reflecting structures or low areas.

 Small Directional
Antennas that act like large multidirectional on channels 2-6 but on higher channels these antennas start to have useful ghost reducing effects. Picture quality is excellent when no signal reflecting structures are around.
APPEARANCE Multi-element rooftop antennas.
USE Suitable for far edge of light green color code areas. Amplified antennas with rooftop mounting can be used in these areas if the area is free of signal reflecting structures and is not in a low area.

 Medium Directional
Most popular rooftop antenna because of its modest size and ghost reducing characteristics.
APPEARANCE Multi-element rooftop antennas.
USE If there are ghost producing reflective structures near TV receiver antenna location, this kind of antenna is best for yellow, green, light green and red color code areas. Amplified antennas with rooftop mounting can be used with the blue color code.

 Large Directional
Large antennas used in weak signal areas for maximum possible TV reception.
APPEARANCE Multi-element rooftop antennas.
USE Can be used in any color code area, but requires an amplifier and roof mounting for blue and violet color codes. Amplifiers are not recommended for yellow color codes.

Guide to Antenna Box Labeling

When purchasing an antenna, look for the CEA-certified antenna mark for outdoor antennas (which corresponds to the colors on your stations list). There is also a CEA-certified indoor antenna mark, which does not apply to this mapping system, but certifies that your indoor antenna will work in geographic areas that are appropriate for indoor antennas.

CEA-certified Antenna Mark for Outdoor Antennas

Antenna color codes are broken into six different zones. These zones identify the different types of antennas that are required for a consumer to receive optimal reception. Typically, the closer consumers live to the signal tower, the better reception they will receive. They may also be able to use an indoor antenna versus an outdoor. The farther away a consumer lives, the opposite is true. However, there are many variables that impact exactly which antenna a consumer will need.

Outdoor Antenna Mark

HDTV: Turn It On!
Congress has set a final deadline for the DTV transition of June 12, 2009. Most television stations will continue broadcasting both analog and digital programming until June 12, 2009, when all analog broadcasting will stop.
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To learn more about the DTV transition, go to:

Watch a comprehensive video on the DTV transition. Check out DTV 101.



The Signal Analysis Report lists the broadcasters in your area, ranked from strongest to weakest, according to 3D propagation modeling of the location and height (optional) that you entered.  The background color of each transmitter in the table is color coded as follows:

Background color

Estimated signal strength


An indoor "set-top" antenna is probably sufficient to pick up these channels


An attic-mounted antenna is probably needed to pick up channels at this level and above


A roof-mounted antenna is probably needed to pick up channels at this level and above


These channels are very weak and will most likely require extreme measures to try and pick them up

Please understand that this is a simulation and can only be treated as a rough approximation.  Reception at your location is affected by many factors such as multipath, antenna gain, receiver sensitivity, buildings, and trees - which are not taken into account.  Your mileage may vary.

For additional details, go here.

To start over, click here.

Since it's common for several TV stations to have transmitters located on the same tower or location, many viewers can aim an antenna in one direction and receive most or all of the major network channels (in the graphic above, ABC, CBS, and two PBS stations are clustered together).

Now that you know the precise direction and distance of the stations you want to receive, let's see which type of antenna will work best for you.

  Custom Remote Control solutions Available , To View Our Selection Click Here  
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