It can be challenging but you can do different things to add more channels to your viewing with your antenna. How to get more channels with antenna depends on your location, your home layout, where you place your antenna, and the type of antenna you use.
Some options to get more channels and improve your reception include placing your antenna higher, laying it flat, eliminating electronics, aiming it toward stations, adding some items like metal or reflectors, using amplifiers or rotors, or even using two antennas.
The article below explains different ways how to get more channels with antenna.
How Antennas Work
Anyone over the age of 50 remembers when every TV required an antenna to pick up the three or four channels available in the area. Then, cable came along allowing you to get more channels and making antennas an unsightly distraction.
Antennas are finding favor again now that many want to ditch cable and get more channels over the air. However, there are far more channels to search for with the sleeker, new design of antennas so there are new ways how to get more channels with antenna.
Any antenna is designed to intercept television frequencies that come through the air and send those signals and get more channels to your television. The best thing about picking up on TV signals to get more channels is that they are free. You are literally pulling them out of the air.
You will first need to make sure you have the right antenna that meets your needs and get more channels.
Picture from Andre Moura
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly About Antennas
Antennas, whether they are the outside variety on indoor antennas, are great for cutting the cable cord and saving money. They give you free television and some can get more channels than others. They don't cost much, anywhere from $25 to $100, so it's a good investment when compared to a cable bill.
However, signals come through the air so any number of things can affect your reception. That can include how good the tuner in your television is, how your home is constructed including material sand layout, the room where the antenna will be, how you mount it, and whether there are mountains, trees, or anything that can block reception
It can also be affected if you live near an airport or cell tower, tall buildings or large bodies of water. An area that has bad weather regularly, like numerous storms or snowfalls, can have trouble getting reception and you may have challenges to get more channels.
You will need to do a little observational research before deciding whether an antenna will work well in your area and, if so, what kind to get.
Then, there is how an antenna looks. This is the main difference between an outside antenna and an indoor one. Outside antennas tend to be eyesores but work well to overcome many of these challenges.
Outside antennas still exist and typically are large and made of wire. They can sit on top of your home or a pole next to it and are great to get more channels. They offer strong reception but can still have some issues. Most consider this the best way to get the most channel signals and therefore get more channels.
These are the newest trends because they are discreet yet effective. They are thin, flat, and have a cable attached. You can put them in a window or an attic and pick up many signals to get more channels.
A great aspect of these antennas is that they are portable so you can travel with them on a road trip, camping or on a business trip to use in hotel rooms. The secret is understanding using them for how to get more channels with antenna.
You need to be aware that some indoor antennas vary in how they function and how far they can pick up a signal because the distance will affect how to get more channels with antenna. Some will only pick up television signals from stations 30 miles away while others can stretch their reach 100 miles to get more channels.
For instance, the Norawave Antenna will cover 30 miles from all directions rather than just the direction it faces and can easily get more channels. It can pick up on high-quality HDTV signals up to 1080p and in the channel's original formats.
Indoor antennas work well for how to get local channels on smart tv.
Check for Bands
Back in the day, televisions had two bands they used in operations. They were VHF and UHF. Most stations, like the network stations, used the VHF band, which was the lower-frequency band and is associated with channels 2 through 13.
Other stations, like the state-owned public broadcasting channel, infomercial, education, local specialized channels, or local access channels, used UHF. Those are channels 14 and up. There was a switcher device attached to the television to switch from VHF to UHF.
Those bands may have been forgotten but haven't gone away. They have been used differently since television when to all-digital broadcasts. Stations moved locations and that resulted in local channels being found on both VHF and UHF channels.
With that in mind, you will need an antenna that can pick up both VHF and UHF bands well to get more channels.
How to Get More Channels with Antenna
Ways exist to get more out of the antenna you use and that includes ways to get more channels. There are many options for how to get more channels on TV.
Check Stations' Locations
It's good to know where the TV signals will be coming from so you will first need to check where your local stations are so you can aim the antenna in that direction for the best reception. This is key to how to get more channels with antenna.
You can go to the FCC DTV antenna map to see what stations are within your range. This helps you figure out how many stations you can get more channels from, the strength of their signal as well as where to point your antenna.
Position Your Antenna Correctly
Whether you are using an outdoor or indoor antenna, it will need to be positioned correctly to pick up the signals and get more channels. That may mean turning or aiming an outdoor antenna.
You have more options on how to get more channels with antenna with an indoor device because you can put it anywhere, as long as you have a long enough cable. The general rules are to place it as high as possible and on a window. That makes something like an attic window exceptional to get more channels.
Experts state to put it on the roof but that may be impractical. Try placing it on a skylight or high on a room window instead.
One problem some people have is the television is in a room that isn't conducive to pointing an antenna out a window to get good signals. For instance, a family room with north-facing windows won't allow for great reception if all the television signals come from the south.
You will either need a 360-degree antenna that pulls and gets more channels from all directions or be able to have a long enough cable to run it into the attic or another room to point it in the right direction.
Experiment with Antenna Location
Since your antenna can go anywhere in the house, try a few different locations. One room may be better than another. Some even say they got better reception by placing it flat on the floor to get more channels.
Use a Different Cable
Antennas come with their own cable but that doesn't mean it's the best one to pick up the most signals. Talk to an electronics expert about whether there is a better option for how to get more channels with antenna.
Eliminate Obstacles and Electronics
Obstacles and electronics can interfere with the signals getting to the antenna. They are coming through the air, after all. This means don't put the antenna where a bush or tree covers up the window or in a room heaving with electronics, musical equipment, or gaming if you want to get more channels.
Experiment with Equipment
Things like amplifiers and rotors can help boost an antenna's receiving efforts but also can interfere. It depends on the antenna and the equipment. Those with outside antennas find a rotor can help get more channels while amplifiers do a decent job working with indoor antennas.
Many indoor antennas come with an amplifier in the package. You will need to test it to see if you can get more channels with or without it.
Try it first with the amplifier turned off and see how many channels come up on the scan. Be sure to check the reception too. Then, try it with it on. If it doesn't allow you to get more channels with it on and the reception isn't any better, go ahead and leave it off.
Be sure to do a scan of channels after you turn on your amplifier so you get more channels that are available in your area.
Consumer Reports' tests indicate that amplifiers aren't always the best option to get more channels. Sometimes, they amplify unpleasant things like distortion and noise. They can also produce an overload in reception when you have television stations nearby.
Other Items You Can Add
Those who grew up with traditional television will remember parents adding metal or aluminum foil to both the outside antenna and the "rabbit ear" antennas that came with all televisions to boost signal strength and get more channels. That concept hasn't died.
People using metal indoor antennas can add additional metal, like a coat hanger, to boost the signal. You can also add a reflector, like a pie pan, behind your antenna to boost reception and get more channels. That works if all your stations are in one direction.
Stick It in the Soil
Those with indoor metal antennas will find that grounding them is one way to gain better reception and get more channels. All you need to do is stick the metal piece in a potted plant to ground it into the soil. It works to get more channels with the cable on an indoor antenna too.
Just place the outside part of the cable where it touches the soil and get more channels.
Use Two Antennas
Those with TV signals in a variety of directions may find that using two indoor antennas with each going in a different direction can offer you a wider range of channels. You will need a coupler though.
You can also use both a VHF and a UHF antennas outside or in the attic to get more channels.
Re-Scan for New Channels Regularly
The channels you can pick up today may not be the same as those you can pick up tomorrow. The weather and a new placement of the antenna can affect whether you get more channels.
You will need to re-scan your television regularly to see if you can get more channels. You may be surprised. You will also need to do a new scan every time you move your antenna because placement matters.
Good Items to Have On Hand
Some basic items may help you affix your antenna to the right spot to get more channels. Painters tape works well to attach it to walls and windows because it won't pull paint off as regular tape will. It's easier to pull off too.
Other items that will allow you more freedom to move your antenna around are longer RG6 coaxial cable and a female-to-female coax cable joiner.
Getting the perfect television reception and ways to get more channels aren't perfected science. It is something you will need to work with to see what works best in your location for how to get more channels with antenna. Start with a good antenna, and a good cable. Then, try different things until you are getting all the channels you want.