Since June 2009, all TV broadcasts have been in HD digital format. For many who depend on broadcast reception for their TV programming, it means new challenges to get a good broadcast signal from local TV stations. Older analog TV would give many clues to a bad signal. The image can ‘ghost’ become noisy (snow) or fade away. With digital technology, the picture is either good or gone – with little in between to indicate what the problem may be.
Some problems occur before the video signal even leaves the station. These image quality errors are usually temporary and can be remedied in a relatively short time. Faults in video playback equipment, routing or satellite reception from external video sources acquired by the TV station may leave the screen blank, blocky or otherwise impermissible
Objects or conditions near the location of the TV broadcasting tower may be the next contributing factor to a poor digital TV signal. Passing aircraft, weather conditions such as thunderstorms or ice formation can impede transmission transmission. The quality of the digital transmission equipment itself can be to blame with poor signal quality the result of poorly designed or maintained equipment.
Electrical interference can be a factor both at the source of transmission and in the vicinity of your home. Competing radio frequency transmissions, power lines and transformers and even percussion dryers or electric drills can all interfere with the TV broadcast signal. The Federal Communications Commission was founded in part to regulate the radio spectrum used for broadcast transmissions and is responsible for preventing problems due to competing radio frequencies. Other disturbances caused by environmental conditions may not be so easy to control.
Although new antennas are marketed as HD or HD, how they work is no different than older antennas. The only difference may be a design that allows them to focus the reception on a more specific location (directional antennas). However, antennas, old or new, differ greatly in design quality and ability to receive transmission frequencies. Some antennas are only high frequency (VHF) or ultra high (UHF). You may need an antenna that provides reception for both frequencies to receive all the TV stations in your area.
Good TV reception largely depends on where you place the antenna. Outdoor antennas are usually much more efficient than indoor antennas. Knowing how to point your antenna at the transmission source will also improve the television signal quality. Avoiding physical obstacles such as tall buildings or church towers can also improve reception.
Finally, your problem may not be with the transmission quality at all, but rather the connections between your antenna and TV or TV and other equipment that you can use to display a digital TV signal. Worn or damaged connection cables can affect the television signal.