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HDTV over the air – What do you need?

There seems to be a lot of interest these days in getting high-definition television and movies over-the-air. This article will tell you what you need to get started receiving HD programming and movies in your home or office using just an antenna — no cable or satellite service required.

The first thing you need is a high-definition television. Most HDTVs these days have built-in digital tuners, so you probably don’t need a digital converter box. However, there are many HDTV displays and monitors that may need a digital converter box to tune-in to the over-the-air signals.

The second thing you need to get HD programming over-the-air is an antenna. There are many types of antennas for inside or outside your home. A rooftop antenna is usually the most powerful type of antenna (some even rotate to point towards broadcast facilities), but some indoor antennas may work just as well. There are various types including simple rabbit ear antennas, wing shaped, disk antennas, picture frame wall antennas and other types.

You can first hook up the antenna to the HDTV or digital converter box via coaxial cable, and position the antenna where it has the least amount of interference. If using a digital converter, you then hook up it up to your HDTV display (usually via coaxial cable). You’ll probably have to change the input on your TV to “Antenna” or “TV” (wherever the coaxial cable connects) to see the converter box interface.

Once you’re interfacing with the converter box or your TV’s built-in antenna tuner, you can choose “Auto Scan” to find all the available digital channels. The HDTV or digital converter will store those channels into memory and create a channel guide. If you find that the reception is bad, try moving the antenna to a different location and scan again. Some people find moving the antenna into a different room or near a window will help.

Although cable, fiber-optic & satellite providers offer a much wider range of HD channels at different prices, getting HDTV over-the-air is an option for those of us who don’t watch much TV or only watch the major networks. ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS and other channels are available for free over-the-air so why not take advantage?

Read more about digital converters.
Read more about antennas.
Read more about over-the-air digital television (OTA).

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