Tower Locator Blog

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Over-the-Air Digital TV (OTA DTv)


TV Broadcast Tower

Get free TV with just an antenna. Pickup major networks, local stations, and a growing number of entertainment networks. Picture quality is better than cable / satellite. Your location and antenna are the main factors that determine the number of stations you can get. An indoor antenna will work when relatively close to a relatively large city. Rural areas will require a roof antenna. Knowing tower locations is critical when deciding on an antenna.

  • Over-the-Air TV is Free.
  • All you need is
    • an Antenna,
    • a Digital TV*.
  • Better resolution** than cable / satellite.
    • 4k -- Ultra High Definition
    • HD -- High Definition
    • SD -- Standard Definition
  • Get
    • Major Networks,
    • Local TV Stations,
    • A growing number of entertainment networks.

* Most televisions get over-the-air broadcast. The TV set will have in the specifications under TV Systems the acronym ATSC (Advanced Television System Committee). The set or shipping box may have the printing; DTV, HDTV, Digital Tuner, Digital Receiver, ATSC. Don't have any of these, the TV set is a monitor or an analog TV (NTSC - National Television System Committee ).

** Cable and satellite operators often compress local channels before re-broadcasting. The compression reduces picture quality compared to over-the-air broadcast. Compressing signals opens up more bandwidth and allows providers to squeeze in more channels nobody watches.

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Antenna's

There is no difference between a digital antenna and an analog antenna, except the name. Digital and analog TV signals both use the same carrier frequencies (VHF or UHF band), carrier modulation (digital or analog) does not effect antenna reception.

Antenna Typical Range
Indoor Antenna 20 miles
Outdoor Antenna
Attic mount
35 miles
Outdoor Antenna
Roof mount
50+ miles

Also see Antenna's and Signal Factors.


TV and RF channels
Digital TV Channels(s)

Digital TV channels have two numbers, the main channel, than a dot or dash, and the sub channel number.

Channel
Displayed
Main
Channel
Sub
Channel
14.2 14 2

The displayed main channel is usually, but not not always, different then the transmission or RF (Radio Frequency) channel. Digital TV can broadcast multiple sub channels in 1 RF channel. The RF channels 2 - 13 require a VHF antenna for reception. RF channels 14 and above require a UHF antenna. Most stations broadcast in the UHF band.

Sub channels can be in high or standard definition resolution. Audio can be in monotone, stereo, or surround sound. Most sub channels have program guides, closed caption, language, and other options.

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One of the first steps to getting free DTv is to find transmitter towers in your area. Then with a little planning, and understanding best reception practices (Getting Free TV) and signal factors, you can get the most stations possible. Antenna selection depends on frequency bands, coverage, and antenna gain needed. Signal loss from cabling depends on cable length(s), signal splitters and connections. Outside Antennas should be properly grounded for best reception and safety.

Over-the-Air Digital TV (OTA DTv)
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