Tuesday, January 10, 2023

How to shop for a TV antenna

If you are thinking about cutting the cord, or just putting up a TV antenna for any reason, it's not really a simple process.

It should be, of course. After all, that used to be the way everybody got TV signals. In the days before cable and satellite TV, that was how you got TV. People in the 1940s and 1950s could watch TV by putting up an antenna. Why can't people in the 2020s do the same thing?

Well, people can. But many people face a couple of drawbacks on this.

One, people are lazy. Technology has made so many things easy, that anything that requires work or some thought is often ignored by an easier way to accomplish the same thing. But with that convenience comes expense. To save money, you have to put in some effort. Keep reading for tips on how to accomplish this.

Two, there are more liars and cheats than there used to be. Part of that is because there are a lot more people overall. We're at 8 billion today. In 1950, there were around 2½ billion, less than ⅓ of today's total. More people, more liars and cheats.

What do liars and cheats have to do with anything? Well, they're the ones that will sell you a piece of trash for you use to watch TV. Or not watch TV, as it often turns out.

So, what's a body to do? Well, one good thing would be to find a reputable source for information. I'm not claiming to be one that can answer all your questions, but I can point you in the right direction.

Let me tell you about Tablo. That's an over the air DVR system that only works properly if you have a good antenna. If your antenna is trash, their system doesn't work worth a darn. They want you to watch TV using their equipment. Part of that is having a good antenna.

Here's the secret: you don't need to purchase a Tablo in order to get good information about TV antennae. Tablo regularly posts tips on finding a good antenna. They put out a good article around three years ago that covered shopping for a TV antenna. Actually, about how to NOT shop for an antenna. It's good information:

  1. DON'T Just Buy the First TV Antenna You Saw Advertised
  2. DON'T Just Buy the Same TV Antenna Your Brother/Cousin/Coworker Bought
  3. DON'T Just Ask for a Basic Recommendation
  4. DON'T Just Google 'Best TV Antenna'
  5. DON'T Just Search for 'TV Antenna' on Amazon

Those are actually the titles of sections of a large article, and they give the reasons they make those suggestions. They're good suggestions. And they list three different antenna manufacturers that make quality antennae and provide good online tools to research things.

Let me offer you two reasons -- well, two versions of the same reason -- that you need to do some research.

A good friend lives a few miles away from me -- different county, in fact -- and she has a difficult time picking up TV signals. Simply getting the same antenna I got wouldn't work for her. Her setup, based on her location and terrain, would mean she would need a much higher antenna. Even then, she wouldn't pick up the same stations I get.

My mother's residence is only a couple of miles from mine, but even at that close distance, terrain means reception at her house is than reception at my house.

It's a little bit of work to find the right antenna, but the savings could really add up to make it worthwhile. I'm glad I did it. It's made my Streaming Life so much easier.

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