How to Hook Up a TV Antenna

By Jerel Jacobs

If you choose not to subscribe to cable or satellite TV, you can still enjoy great antenna-based TV programming. In major metropolitan areas, you can receive full high-definition Dolby Digital 5.1 content over the air via a digital TV antenna. In fact, as of June 2009 TV stations are doing away with analog signals. Over-the-air content via a digital TV antenna may be your only option if you live in a rural area and do not subscribe to satellite or cable.

Things You'll Need

  • Digital antenna
  • A level area to place the antenna

How To Hook Up A TV Antenna

Step 1

Inspect the antenna for any signs of damage. Identify and examine the power adapter cord and the coaxial antenna cable for any rips tears or other defects.

Step 2

Plug the adapter into the antenna's power adapter socket. It will be labeled "12V DC/Adapter". If you are using an antenna that does not require power, such as rabbit ears, you may skip this step.

Step 3

Next connect the antenna cable to the television using the TV's "Antenna In/75 Ohm" input jack. Make sure the antenna connector is twisted tightly into place. Place the antenna on a sturdy surface such as the top of an entertainment center. If you have an older analog TV that is a non high definition ready/capable display and are using a digital to analog converter box, generally, the antenna will plug into the input of the converter and the output of the converter will plug into the antenna input of your TV. Consult your owners manual for details.

Step 4

Plug the antenna's power supply into a 120V AC wall outlet. This will turn the antenna on. If you are using the "rabbit ears" style antenna, make sure that the each section of the antenna is fully extended. This will give you the best reception.

Step 5

Turn on the TV and check for digital reception. You will know that you are receiving digital signals because the picture will be clear and free of any analog "snow" or other artifacts. Digital TV channels have DVD quality picture and sound.

Tips & Warnings

  • More expensive antennas often have a "gain" control. Adjusting this knob will improve reception when the signal is weak. Powered antennas are a good choice for those who live in rural areas or other places where television reception is poor.
  • Things such as concrete walls, tin roofs and metal framing, block radio signals and can make it hard for the antenna to pick up channels.
  • If you are using your antenna with an HDTV, you can pick up free over-the-air digital, high-definition content if your television is equipped with an ATSC tuner.
  • All HDTVs built since 2006 have a built-in ATSC tuner for antenna-based digital/HD reception. ATSC stands for Advanced Televisions System Committee, and is the governing body for the new digital standard.

References & Resources