The quality of your Over-The-Air signal reception is highly dependent on this location choice, so it is worth taking the time to discover the best installation spot for your TV antenna.
The ideal location for your antenna within your home may not be near your TV, but instead on the roof, off of your garage, in your attic, in a bedroom window, or on a balcony.
(See below for ways to get your antenna’s signal to your TV, even if it’s not in the same room.)
When searching for the best place for OTA TV reception in your home, keep these considerations in mind:
The most critical factor for TV antenna placement is height. The higher you can get the antenna either inside or outside of your home, the better your TV reception will be.
For outdoor TV antennas, the best locations are on your roof or garage. If your attic is accessible, and you don’t have a radiant heat barrier or metal roof, you can also try installing an outdoor TV antenna within your attic.
Alternatively, a balcony or other outdoor space can be a great location to install your TV antenna, especially for those living in condos or apartments.
If you don’t feel comfortable installing an antenna yourself, a quick online search can connect you with a local TV antenna installation expert.
Pieces of flat coaxial cable are available to purchase which make it easy to thread the antenna’s cabling through a window or door.
Indoor TV antennas are easier to position and install and are designed to blend into your decor, such as near a window or patio door. If your home has multiple stories, an upstairs window is preferable. However, be sure to avoid windows or doors with metallic mesh coverings or reflective coatings as these can block the TV signals.
Over-the-Air TV antennas will perform best when they face the source of the signals - your local broadcast towers.
Choose a window or outdoor location with a view towards the towers, free from obstructions.
Omni-directional or flat-panel TV antennas don’t necessarily need to be pointed beyond this, but you may see marginal improvements by playing with the positioning by a few inches or a few feet. Using a compass can be helpful when pointing directional TV antennas.
As you make small directional adjustments, remember to use the 'rescan’ option within the Settings screen of the Tablo menu to help find the best spot for the strongest signal for the TV channels you want most.
Distributing OTA TV Antenna Signals
If the best place to put your antenna isn’t near your TV (or DVR), there are a few options to get your TV antenna signal from point A to point B, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
Option A – Run New Coax Cable
You can get a spool of coaxial cable, and run it from your antenna to your TV or DVR. However, this could require drilling holes in walls, and the cable could end up being in the way.
The longer the coaxial cable run between your TV antenna and the tuner (either on your TV or your Tablo DVR), the more likely it is that your OTA signal will degrade. There are, however, a number of attachments that can be added to your antenna setup in order to improve the reception quality. For example, attenuators, amplifiers, filters, etc. You can read more about this here.
Option B – Reuse Existing Coax Cable
If you’ve recently had satellite or cable TV, you may be able to reuse the existing wiring to connect your antenna and your TV or DVR. However, you’ll still see some signal degradation, especially if you don’t terminate unused endpoints.
Option C – Distribute TV Signals Over Your WiFi Network
By connecting your TV antenna to a network-based tuner or OTA DVR like Tablo, you can put your antenna virtually anywhere in your home and use your home WiFi network to distribute the OTA TV signals.
While costlier than the first two options, network-based distribution enables a single antenna to deliver video and audio to every screen in your home while avoiding running a coax cable throughout the home. It also provides the option to add services like an on-screen TV guide, DVR, and out-of-home streaming to your antenna signal, replicating a cable or satellite TV experience without the hefty monthly costs.