The analog to digital transition has come and gone, and now all TVs that receive broadcasts over the air must have a built-in digital converter or be attached to a digital converter box. So, what does this mean to the few holdouts who haven’t switched over to cable or satellite yet? It means that you can get many more channels at near HD quality for free. But unlike cable and satellite, the reception and coverage for local digital television broadcasts is spotty and unpredictable in some areas.
If you have already ensured that you have a digital TV compliant television or a properly configured converter box and you still do not get reception, try some of these tips.
Purchase a VHF/UHF Antenna
Standard antennas work with digital TV broadcasts, but you’ll need an antenna that picks up both bands. That’s because digital TV channels 2 through 12 are picked up by a VHF antenna (looks like bunny ears) and channels 14 through 51 are picked up by UHF antennas (loop, circle or bow-tie shaped). If your antenna only does one or the other, you’re missing out on half or more of the channels you can potentially get.
Adjust Your Antenna Rods
Given the above, you’ll get better reception on channels 2 through 6 if you extend the rods all the way out. For channels 7 through 13, your reception may improve if you collapse the rods to about 12 to 18 inches.
Position Your Antenna
Placing your antenna on top of the TV will not always give you the best reception. For best results, your antenna should be near a window, as high up as possible and away from any other electronic equipment that may cause interference (such as VCRs, DVD players, convertor boxes and yes, even the TV itself). You may also need to change the direction that the antenna is facing. If all else fails, a rooftop antenna may help.
Each time you move the antenna, run the scan function to check for new channels you may have picked up.
Although scanning your channels again should help you find channels, sometimes, the TV keeps channels in its memory and skips those that it thinks aren’t there. If you feel like you should be getting more channels, try disconnecting your converter box or antenna and then wait for a full minute. Run the scan with no antenna or converter box attached. Reconnect the antenna or converter box and run another scan.
Note that, due to your terrain or location, you may not be able to receive all digital TV channels in your area. DTV reception can also be affected by moving vehicles, weather, trees and other issues. In most of these cases, an outdoor antenna with a rotor may help.