While nearly all US homes now access television programming through either satellite or cable TV, there are still some areas that can only receive it over-the-air.
An outside antenna that is able to receive both VHF and UHF bands is a good choice for yielding the best reception.
The switch to digital TV (DTV) in 2008 does not affect the selection of outdoor antennas. In most cases older analog ones work perfectly well with new DTV broadcasts.
If you used an older analog antenna before and received good reception, the FCC recommends that you try it first before purchasing a new digital or HDTV one. The agency says that you should connect a DTV converter box and perform a "channel scan" in order to best gauge your antenna's reception. This will give you the best idea if your old antenna is capable of receiving the best quality digital signals.
Assuming that you either require a new TV antenna or have never had one, you'll need to position it properly for the best signal. "Ghosting" is a thing of the past with DTV...instead, poor quality reception will either give you a "pixelated" picture (tiny squares and blurriness)...or worse yet, a simple blue or blank screen.
The higher in elevation and more distant your home is from other buildings, mountains, etc., generally speaking the better your reception. Fortunately, the good news is that even the worst location is capable of a good signal.
Assembling the antenna and mast is simple enough--instructions are included. Traditionally, a fireplace chimney or rooftop eave are good locations.
The mast is attached to a chimney with metal straps, which are available at places like Home Depot or Radio Shack.
A special bracket is required to attach the mast to a roof eave,again, instructions and mounting hardware are included.
Use care in connecting the wires found within the coax cable to the antenna--ensure that the individual wires don't come in contact with the foil shielding, or reception will suffer. Always use good quality electrical tape to secure the cable to the antenna mast...cut the tape, don't pull or tear it.
The use of a signal filter may or may not be required. The antenna box should indicate if one is necessary.
Once everything is installed, but before finalizing the antenna and mast position, the FCC suggests that you check the signal strength at the TV. By having a helper inside the home to utilize the signal strength meter, found through the "Menu" options on the DTV converter box, you can position the antenna for optimum reception.
You may find that adding a motorized rotor greatly improves your signal. This device rotates the antenna mast with an indoor controller to locate the best available position.
A final word regarding caution: it's always a good idea to have an assistant on the rooftop with you to provide any assistance you might need. While this work doesn't require any physical assistance, as with any rooftop work you should never be by yourself.