Directional Vs Omnidirectional
Directional TV antennas are antennas designed to pick up signals in the direction you point them. Omni-directional antennas are designed to pick up channels in all directions. This tradeoff off is done by focusing the antenna gain, which is different from amplifier gain. Visit our website at Aerials Wigan.
With a directional TV antenna, the gain is built into the TV antenna to focus reception in the direction. This gain is measured by adding the gain value of the antenna to the noise margin (NM db). For example, a channel with a noise margin of 30 in the TV Fool report can be read as 45 if you point a directional antenna with 15 dB gain toward it.
Omni directional antennas balance their gain to pick up channels in all directions.
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The Best TV Antenna for You
Now that we have a general idea about the things that matter when it comes to antenna reception, we can get into the best antennas to consider for given situations. Of course, if you want to know more about concepts like noise margin, I go a bit more in depth later in this article.
UHF channels with NM above 40 dB
In this situation; you should be fine with an Omni-Directional indoor antenna. My favorite is the recently released Mohu Leaf Glide. It does a great job of pulling these channels. Antennas like the Mohu Curve older Mohu Leaf and the Winegard Flatwave are also good options. The Curve and Leaf are very similar in function. The choice here comes down to aesthetics. It’s possible for these solutions to work for VHF-Hi channels as well, given they are with no more than 10-15 miles away. They are both available to purchase directly from Mohu.
UHF channels with a NM below 40 dB
In these situations, I recommend an outdoor antenna. The type of antenna really depends on the channel locations and the noise margin. If the UHF channels have noise margins are above 15, but are in multiple directions you can use an omnidirectional antenna like the Mohu Sky. It’s the one we use and it’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It’s also very easy to install and we get a couple of VHF-Hi channels with it.
The noise margin also has to account for noise in the line (which I cover later in the article). A noise margin of 15 should be more than enough, but it’s possible you may need a bit more signal power.
If you do need a bit more signal power and your channels are roughly in an 180-degree arc of one another, then the Channel Master ULTRATenna 60 (CM4221HD). It’s multidirectional as is casts a wide arc and even adds about 9 dB of gain to your noise margin. If you need a bit more gain you can get the ULTRATenna 80 which provides 12 dB gain.
If you need a bit more gain you can give the Antennas Direct DB4e Ultra a try. While the arc on this antenna is about 60 degrees it packs a bit more gain at 15.8 dB. You can even get a bit more gain with the DB4e Extreme. It provides 17.4 dB of gain, but it’s reception arc is 28 degrees. This one is also a bit of a bear to install.
UHF and VHF-Hi Channels
While I was able to get VHF-Hi channels with my Mohu Sky, not everyone will have the same experience due to interference patterns varying by location. If you are having issues receiving VHF-Hi channels there are antennas designed to do a decent job with both UHF and Hi-VHF channels.
For an indoor antenna, I would go with the Mohu Leaf Glide. Check out my review of the Mohu Leaf Glide for more information.
As for outdoor, the Antennas Direct Clearstream 2V is a good option. It pulls channels within a 70 degree arc and adds about 8 dB of gain to the noise margin. While Antennas Direct considers this an indoor/outdoor antenna, it’s a bit too bulky for me to consider this an indoor antenna. IF you need a bit more power then try the upgraded Clearstream 4V.
If you need a bit more antenna gain you can try the Winegard HD7694P. It requires more precise aiming than other antennas but will pull channels at long distances in the VHF-Hi spectrum. It offers a gain between 10-13 dB depending on the channel you are trying to receive.
Channels in Lo-VHF, VHF-Hi, and UHF
Some areas of the country have digital channels in the VHF-Lo range. These are channels 2-6 in the “Real” column. If all the channels you want are within 45 miles then go with the Channel Master CM3016. For longer distance channels, I’d try the Winegard HD8200U.