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.
|DIGITAL vs ANALOG BROADCAST|
Over-the-Air (OTA) digital television (DTv) requires a stronger signal than analog TV. Additionally, most DTv broadcast are in the UHF frequency band instead of the VHF band. UHF signals are higher in frequency and do not pass through or around objects as well as VHF signals. Also, over-the-air transmission and cable losses are greater at UHF frequencies. Antennas that picked up analog TV signals will also pick up digital TV signals, if the signal is strong enough.
A digital television's picture quality is either 100%, or nothing. There is not a gradual degradation of picture for weaker signals, it's a steep cutoff. In contrast analog pictures degrade gradually, weaker signals have more noise or snow in the picture.
Analog TV broadcast in the United States ended June 12th (Friday), 2009. Since the introduction of digital TV, the number of over-the-air network channels has dramatically increased.
|DIGITAL TV CHANNEL(s)|
The old analog TV channels were the same as their broadcast Radio Frequency (RF) channel, one network per channel.
Digital TV can broadcast multiple channels in 1 RF channel, and uses 2 types of channels;
|Analog TV||Digital TV|
| TV = RF
|1.||TV Channel . Sub-channels|
|2.||RF Broadcast Channel|
A stations's TV channel could be the same as it's RF channel, but in most cases they are different.
In 2009 most analog stations changed their RF channel (and most VHF stations moved to UHF) for the DTv transition, but were allowed to keep their old analog channel identification as their TV or Virtual channel. The 2017 spectrum reallocation has over 10% of stations changing their RF broadcast channel, but not their virtual TV channel.
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.
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.
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 video) does not effect antenna reception.
|Antenna Type||Typical Range||Notes|
|Indoor||15 - 20 miles||Works best near a window.|
|25 - 40+ miles||Avoid pointing through metal
backed insulation, duct work, etc.
|Outdoor||35 - 50+ miles||
Must be properly grounded
for best reception and safety.
Also see Antenna's and Signal Factors.
SOME STATION'S CHANGING RF CHANNELS BETWEEN 2017-2020+
Some DTv stations will be changing RF channels over a 3+ year period, until about 2020 and probably longer. The FCC, at the direction of Congress in 2012, is re-allocating spectrum, forcing around 1000 TV stations to change RF Broadcast Channels. There are about 8000 TV stations in the U.S. and its' territories. See FCC Spectrum Auction Results, April 2017.
|13||0.2%||Move to VHF-Hi|
|17||0.2%||Move to VHF-Lo|
|1000(1)||12.5%||Change UHF Channel|
When a TV Station Changes Broadcast (RF) Channels;
Over-the-Air Digital TV (OTA DTv)
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