Over The Air HD Antenna Scams

All over the air antennas have a particular range that they can receive broadcast channels. Generally, the larger and higher you mount the antenna the more likely it can obtain broadcast signals from a greater distance. Lately, I have noticed some antenna manufacturers are claiming they can obtain signals from 100 – 150 miles away with OTA antennas the size of a standard indoor flat window or wall-mounted antenna. These claims are false and misleading to consumers.

OTA Antenna Scams

4K

Many of these antennas are also claiming they will broadcast your images in 4K and improve your image quality. Over the air broadcasters have not made the switch to 4K and there is still no date on when it will be implemented. Television manufacturers have not even started installing (ATSC 3.0) 4K tuners in any televisions in the US, Canada or the UK. You may have a television that can display 4K, but it’s OTA tuner can only display signals as high as 1080p. You can see the false imagery below.

Distance Clams

These antenna manufacturers are claiming that their antennas can receive a broadcast signal from 100 – 150 miles away using a special signal boosting technology. The images below suggest all you have to do is mount this small antenna on a wall or window to receive OTA signals from that distance. This is completely false and misleading consumers. See images below.

Channels

Some of these antenna makers are also claiming you can receive cable channels like ESPN, TBS, A&E, Fox News, Discovery Channel, and History Channel. These channels are not part of any OTA broadcast lineup and are false advertising. Examples of these images and claims are pictured below.

 

All images provided by the manufacturer.

Here are examples of some of these OTA antennas for sale. Many of these antennas are popping up on Amazon and eBay.


Broadcast Signals

These antennas will still work as a standard OTA antenna and are capable of pulling in broadcast signals, just not at the mile range and stations, they are claiming. Generally, indoor antennas of this size are limited to about a 50-mile range. If you want to obtain broadcast signals further then this, you will need a larger antenna mounted in the attic or on the roof.

Conclusion

Most reputable antenna companies don’t have these types of claims. So if you are buying an over the air antenna, do some research. Make sure it is the right size and type for the distance you are from the broadcast towers. If it looks to good to be true, it probably is. You can find antennas from credible companies on this website using our antenna locator tool. Please share this post so we can prevent scammers from misleading consumers. Thank you.

July 1, 2019 0

Installing an Over The Air Antenna on a Boat

Last updated: Monday, July 1, 2019If you own a boat having a television can be a luxury. If you live on your boat it could be a necessity. In general, boats do not have cable TV and installing a satellite dish can be very expensive. The best option would be to install an over the air antenna to get free terrestrial broadcast television. There are many different types of marine over the air antennas each vary a bit. In this article, we will discuss the best mounting position and which antenna is the correct option for your type of boat. Over The Air Antenna on a Boat There are several choices to consider when buying an OTA antenna for a boat. The three most important things to consider are the size of the antenna, where [...]
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About Johan
I started this site to educate the public on alternative ways you can watch television besides subscribing to cable. I have been in the audio-visual business for over 20 years. I also have an extensive computer networking background. I am a Microsoft Certified Professional and CompTIA Network+ Certified Technician. I hope you will find my articles and reviews helpful in conscious uncabling.

6 Comments

  1. True that Johan,
    Also true that a TV antenna is a TV antenna. The old style outdoor antennas work just as well as newer ones. TV antennas meant to pick up at long range are large. They also are somewhat directional. So if you have distant channels in different directions you will need to be able to turn it. I’ve have left a set of vice grips attached to the antenna pole to turn but that gets old especially in bad weather but for a few more bucks a rotor will fix that. By the way we ditched the cable and satellite and we survived. Not sure we could ditch the internet though as that’s how I shop for most non-grocery most things I buy and I still communitate with some through email. But we at least save a lot on TV programming and I think we enjoy living real life more as a consequence.

    • You are right about a rotating antenna. It can help in obtaining stations broadcasted from different directions. I would have a hard time ditching the internet as well. It has become a necessity.

  2. In addition to the issues that you mentioned, many of these antennas are using RG174 coax cables; even bragging, “Military Level RG-174”. “RG” is an abbreviation for “Radio Guide” (US Military: circa 1930).

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but a quick look at some online cable loss calculators indicates that 10 feet of RG174 will reduce the signal of the upper UHF channels by almost 50 percent (3dB) and 20 feet of that cable will double that loss.
    470MHz (ch14) about 2dB loss
    806MHz (ch69) about 2.5dB loss
    Addin connectors to each end of the cable puts the loss closer to 3dB.

    RG174 has an impedance of 50 ohms. TV coax input connectors have an impedance of 75 ohms. That mismatch will cause about a 5% loss. A few of these TV antennas ship with RG58, RG59, or RG6; all of which have the correct impedance of 75 ohms for TVs.

    10 feet of:
    RG58 at 806MHz is about 1.4dB loss
    RG59 at 806MHz is about 1.0dB loss
    RG6 at 806MHz is about 0.9dB loss

    Several antennas offer amplifiers, but many amps are near the TV. Hopefully, any noise picked up in the 10+ feet of RG174 will be filtered out before the amplifier stage. A better design is to place the filters and amplifiers near the antenna.

    RG174 usually has 1 layer of shielding. RG6 usually has 2 or 4 layers of shielding. More shielding is generally better (if it is constructed correctly and grounded). Proper shielding/grounding can help around some types of LED lights and dimmer switches.

    A few of these antennas mention needing a battery; even models that do not have amplifiers. Sometimes the battery claims to be included. Perhaps this is just a copy/paste error in the product’s specs.

    The caveat to all of the info above is: I could be wrong 🙂

  3. *Adding* connectors to each end of the cable puts the loss closer to 3dB.

  4. Sadly, another correction:
    RG58 has an impedance of 50 ohms

    …too many browser tabs 🙁

    • All very great points. You are right, most of these cheap antennas do not come with very good cabling and are poorly shielded. Thanks for sharing your advice.

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