This page provides information about over-the-air antennas, the CTA’s color-coded labeling standard for classifying antennas, and how AntennaWeb may be used to determine the outdoor antenna type that matches your viewing interests.
Optimum reception relies on a clear, unobstructed line of sight between the antenna and the local towers. The quality of broadcast TV reception is determined by your location in relation to the broadcasters' transmitters, the intervening terrain, the size and type of antenna being used, its height above ground level and, if it is a directional antenna, which direction it is aimed.
AntennaWeb was designed to allow you to explore your viewing options beyond a cable or satellite subscription. The site is designed to help you make more informed decisions about finding the antenna type that best matches your location and viewing needs.
By entering your address into AntennaWeb, the site will help you:
To simplify choosing the correct outdoor antenna, the CTA (Consumers Technology Association) has created a color-coded labeling standard for classifying antennas by type. Within each color code, the features, designs and prices of antennas will vary greatly between models and manufacturers, but the standard ensures that all models within a given color will have similar reception qualities.
Antennas fall into two general classes.
The Yellow, Green and Light Green codes refer to non-directional or multi-directional antennas. Each successive color has a greater effective range. This type of antenna will receive signals equally well from all directions. This design feature limits their effective ranges because they are also susceptible to noise from weak, distant signals and they can interfere with the reception of local stations.
The Red, Blue and Purple codes are directional antennas. These antennas are designed to receive distant signals from the direction they are pointed. Due to their relatively focused field of view, directional antennas will have a much greater effective range in the direction they are aimed; however, they may be incapable of receiving relatively close stations from other directions around the compass.
Television antennas have always been designed to perform just one task: receive signals from within a specific range of frequencies within the electromagnetic spectrum. If you currently have an antenna that is providing satisfactory service, a new antenna is NOT needed to receive a specific type of television signal (HD, 4K, NEXTGEN TV, etc.).
While the underlying technology in the data transmitted within those frequencies has changed dramatically as television broadcasting has evolved, the role of the antenna in receiving those signals has not. The antenna receives the signal and passes it through the downlead to the TV, where the specialized tuners within the set will ingest the incoming signal, process the data within it, then present it as the picture, sound, and program/episodic info onscreen.
When making its reception predictions, AntennaWeb assumes the use of an outdoor antenna installed at 20’ above ground level to put it above interference from surrounding structures. A checkbox is available that directs AntennaWeb to alternately use an installed height of 30’ in its calculations.
AntennaWeb does not make recommendations about indoor antennas. In addition to all the physical and environmental factors that can affect TV reception through an outdoor antenna, indoor antennas introduce a wide range of factors within each home that can further impact the reception.
These factors include the structure's sheathing, roofing, siding and other building materials, the presence of gas, water, and electrical lines, HVAC systems, masonry and/or stonework, and so on.
Due to this combination of real world factors, an indoor antenna’s actual effective range may be a fraction of those claimed by its manufacturer. Like an outdoor antenna, an indoor antenna also requires a clear line of sight toward the transmitter for the best reception.
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