Cord-Cutting 101: Best Amplified Antenna

Many cord-cutters without an amplified TV antenna begin to wonder if they need one. Some do and some don’t, and where you fall upon this spectrum depends upon many factors.

In theory, a TV antenna amplifier makes perfect sense. The amplifier turns weak, faraway signals into strong ones. This lets you enjoy more channels than you do with your non-amplified antenna. This is a common misunderstanding. As with most things in life, the reality is more complex. In truth, an amplifier is ideal for certain situations, and terrible for other scenarios. Solid Signal is here to set you straight at the 101 level to ensure a great cord-cutting experience.

Amplified TV Antenna: Myth Vs. Reality

Many cord-cutters believe that amplifiers help you pull in distant digital signals. This is a myth. It’s not hard to see why some Generally speaking, amplifiers make electronic devices more powerful. Given that, it’s natural to assume amplifiers make it easy for your TV to receive weak signals This was certainly true for analog signals. Sometimes this is true for digital ones as well, but it’s hard to know if it does work without expensive measurement equipment.

With the antenna amplifier myth out of the way, we can take a look at what these units really do. TV antenna amplifiers are used in two most common antenna applications. The first is for people with a long cable run between their antenna and their TV set. The second is for those who are distributing signal to multiple TV sets. In both cases, the amplifier compensates for signal loss.

There’s a third way to use amplifiers – mounting an outdoor TV antenna in your attic. Even in this situation, the TV signals must be strong outside your home for the amplifier to work. We don’t recommend mounting TV antennas in your attic when you have other options. If you insist upon it, at least make sure that you place the amplifier close to the antenna, not your TV. This prevents degradation of signal due to long cable runs.

TV Antenna Amplifier Problems

If you live close enough to get some strong signals, an amplifier can be a disaster. These devices can’t distinguish between strong and weak signals. An amplifier will strengthen already-strong signal, which scrambles the weaker signals. The result is one big mess. The same goes for distorted signals caused by reflection. What’s the benefit in amplifying a distorted signal?

We don’t recommend using amplifiers with indoor TV antennas. All the above problems will be present if you try this. In most cases, a non-amplified indoor antenna is your best option. If you live in the city and struggle to get signal, we have a variety of solutions to help.

Overview: To Amplify or Not to Amplify

Still confused about whether you should use an amplified or non-amplified antenna? Here’s what we recommend:

  • If you have a long cable run from your antenna to your TV, you might need an amplifier.
  • If you’re distributing signal to multiple TV sets, you might need an amplifier.
  • If you plan on mounting your outdoor TV antenna in the attic, you might need an amplifier. (Note: We do not recommend this practice.)
  • If your TV antenna receives strong and weak signals, you should not use an amplifier. (Solid Signal has other solutions.)
  • If you use an indoor TV antenna, you should not use an amplifier. (Solid Signal has other solutions.)

Solid Signal Has Your Solution

If you need to improve your TV antenna reception, we can help. If you need an amplified antenna, we have you covered. Our high-quality Televes, Winegard, and Xtreme Signal antennas feature built-in amplification. We also have standalone amplifiers you can use with your antenna. If you can’t use an amplifier but still need to improve signal, call us at 888-233-7563. Our experts are here to offer cord-cutters the best solutions for TV antenna reception.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.