In June 2009, all full-power television broadcast stations began transmitting signals exclusively in digital format. Consumers without a digital-ready television had to obtain a converter box to view free broadcast stations. With a digital signal, network channels can broadcast in high-definition format with enhanced digital sound. The best picture possible for a high-definition television broadcast comes from the free, over-the-air version, because it's pure signal. The quality of the same broadcast over cable TV or satellite might be reduced if the provider compresses signals to fit more stations on each transmission.
Enter your address into the DTV Reception Maps tool (link in Resources) provided by the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, and choose "Go!" Review the list of stations that broadcast in your area and the estimated strength of each station's signal.
Use Titan TV to review the television listings for each channel (see link in Resources). Decide which channels you want to receive with your antenna.
Select the link on a station's call sign to display detailed information about the signal. Note the station band, either UHF or VHF, which is sometimes indicated as Lo-V for the lower channels and Hi-V for the higher channels.
Verify that your antenna receives signals for the stations you selected. For example, if some stations are UHF and some are VHF, you need an antenna that receives both frequencies.
Locate the line that the tool displays on the map after you selected a station. Follow the line to locate the position of the tower closest to you that broadcasts the station you selected. Use the "+" and "-" buttons to zoom in and out of the map until you can see where the tower is located. Point your antenna in the direction of the tower.
Identify the compass direction of the tower, which is displayed after you select the link on the station's call sign. For example, NNW (332) indicates a north-northwest direction of 332 degrees. Use a compass to more precisely point your antenna at the tower that broadcasts the signal you want to receive.
Consider adding an amplifier to an indoor antenna or using a large outdoor antenna, such as an antenna mounted on your roof, if you can't pick up the stations you want to receive. Install a mechanical device that allows you to change the position of an outdoor antenna from inside if the channels you want to receive are relatively weak and in opposite directions.
- Unlike an analog signal, a digital television signal is all or nothing - either you get the station in full HD, or you don't get it at all.