How to Install an HDTV Antenna

By Techwalla Contributor

Cable and satellite companies would like to make you think you need their expensive subscriptions to receive HDTV broadcasting. The truth is, you don't. You can get an amazing number of HDTV channels for free over the air by installing an HDTV antenna on your rooftop or in your attic.

Things You'll Need

  • Coaxial cable
  • Socket wrench set or pliers

Step 1

Visit The AntennaWeb website displays.

Step 2

Click the "Choose an antenna" button, complete the form and click "Submit." A chart displays that shows the type of antenna needed to pick up the television stations broadcasting HDTV in your area. The HDTV antenna type is denoted by color coding -- e.g., yellow for small multidirectional and blue for medium directional with preamp. Also shown is the compass heading and the miles from the HDTV broadcast signal.

Step 3

Purchase an outdoor or indoor/outdoor HDTV antenna based on the recommendations you received from AntennaWeb. HDTV antennas don't necessarily look like the old large metal arrays; they may be very compact, made of plastic or even flat.

Step 4

Choose a location for the new HDTV antenna. Try to get the HDTV antenna as high as possible -- on the rooftop, in an attic or mounted on the highest side of the house.

Step 5

Open the antenna mounting kit and take out the parts.

Step 6

Follow the instructions provided in the box to mount the HDTV antenna, then attach coaxial cable to the back of the HDTV antenna. Do not tighten the mount yet; you will have to do some adjusting to properly receive HDTV signals.

Step 7

Run the coaxial cable down to your HDTV. Attach the coaxial cable to the back of the HDTV.

Step 8

Turn your HDTV on and adjust the HDTV antenna to optimize the HDTV broadcast reception. For this step, it's best to have two people -- one on the roof making adjustments and one inside scanning the HDTV to ensure signal strength.

Step 9

Select the option on the HDTV setup menu to set the antenna to Air.

Step 10

Scan the airwaves for HDTV channels. From your HDTV's main menu, select the option to automatically scan for HDTV channels; this may be called "Auto Program."

Step 11

Use your television set's signal strength meter for each channel or adjust the antenna for greater signal strength.

Step 12

Point the antenna in a different direction until the picture is totally clear if you're having trouble getting HDTV channels. You may need to dismount the antenna and remount it in a different location, or place the antenna up higher.

Step 13

Tighten the antenna mount securely when you have finished adjusting the antenna and are receiving many HDTV stations clearly. Enjoy your free HDTV channels.

Tips & Warnings

  • HDTV broadcast signals are either/or -- if the signal strength is low, you will receive a blue screen. But if the strength is high, you will receive the full picture. What you won't receive is snow, shadows or ghosting.
  • If you live in a valley where large mountains may deflect HDTV signals, you may need a cable or satellite subscription to receive HDTV broadcasting.
  • Although you can place your HDTV antenna in an attic or crawlspace with fairly good reception, it is best to place the antenna outdoors, raised as high as possible.
  • This procedure is only required for an HDTV. If you do not have an HDTV but rather an HDTV converter box sitting atop an old analog TV, an HDTV antenna is not required.