antenna-selector

Provided by the Consumer Technology Association The Consumer Technology Association helped develop standards for outdoor antennas that give consumers an idea of how effective a TV antenna is. Yellows and greens are for homes with great reception. Reds, blues and violets mean you’re going to need a more powerful and probably expensive antenna. See more at AntennaWeb.org

CTA, which helped develop antenna technical standards, sponsors AntennaWeb.org to show people what over-the-air channels they can get at their address. Color codes indicate the antenna’s strength. Yellows and greens are for homes with great reception. Reds, blues and violets mean you’re going to need a more powerful — and probably expensive — antenna. But the colors are just for outdoor antennas. Indoor antennas get a check mark for certification, but research is DIY.

“There is a lot of education that needs to happen for some people who want to give Comcast a call and say goodbye,” said Renata Scorsone, vice president of marketing for Nuvyyo, which makes the Tablo digital video recorder that records live over-the-air HDTV shows.

“Even though we’re not selling antennas, we’re doing a lot of education. What kind of antenna do you need? Do you need an indoor or outdoor? We have a bunch of tools on our site, like a signal locator,” Scorsone said. “Because at the end of the day, we can’t help you with reception, we can only help you record TV.”

Growing at about 9 percent this year, TV antennas are no longer just bunny ears. Some of the most popular indoor antennas are the newer flat ones that are multidirectional and don’t need extra adjustment. Terk, which employs radio-frequency engineers and patented technology, has an antenna called the TrinityXTN that looks like a Wi-Fi router but boosts TV and wireless signals. Roof-top antennas get the reception because the higher they are, the better they can grab signals. In the Denver area, many local TV networks transmit from Lookout Mountain, about 20 miles west of Denver.

After a steady decline at the beginning of the century, antenna sales picked up after the U.S. government ordered TV broadcasters to move to a digital signal. Sales this year are estimated to hit 7.6 million, or 63 percent higher than 2009, according to CTA. HomeAdvisor, the Golden company that connects contractors like Leyba to homeowners, reports that TV-antenna installation requests have grown 28 percent nationally this year from last year.

“Nine percent growth is pretty good if you look at everything in general,” Markwalter said. “It’s not double digits, like fitness trackers and other new technologies, but it’s steady. We have members working for a number of companies that are innovating in this area — old reliable names like RCA and Terk.”

He also suggests talking to local retailers, installers and neighbors about what works in certain neighborhoods.

“It can’t hurt to talk to a retailer to see what they know and are seeing,” he said. “You want local advice.”

At the Best Buy store in Aurora, general manager James Robinson offers a service that online stores like Amazon just can’t. He recommends different antennas for people depending on where they live.

“Denver is tricky because of the buildings downtown, the mountains and valleys,” said Robinson, whose store carries about 25 different antennas. “It does vary drastically because of all the weird factors.”

Aurora, for example, is so far east of Lookout Mountain that most residents need a better antenna with a powerful amplifier, he said. In Arvada, where he lives, he’s OK with most any antenna.

“In Arvada, I’m higher, and I’m almost directly looking at Lookout Mountain,” he said.

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-26-02-amTalk to an employee in the home-theater department and ask for local advice, he advised. Best Buy also has a special TV-antenna guide online.

Leyba, the installer, said customers often call him not knowing what to get. He recommends the ClearStream 4 for the best signal.

“Usually, they just go off my expertise. Through trial and error, I’ve been through several different types of antennas. It just depends on the range from Lookout Mountain and how many TVs they want to set up,” he said, noting that Denver-area consumers can get up to 50 channels. “And usually it’s people who have indoor antennas that aren’t working well. Really, the outdoor ones are better for consistent reliability, dependability and the picture not pixelating.”