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Does a TV antenna amplifier work?

TV antenna amplifier

Antenna amplifiers are used to increase the sound of various things such as radios, televisions, wi-fi and mobile phones. They are also used with Bluetooth speakers, although they are not limited to just these items.

Antenna amplifiers boost the signal and amplify sounds. A point to note here is that they also accentuate background noises.

Typical noises that are made louder are background noises such as noises from electric motors and car engines. An amplifier itself will emit some sort of noise which may be made louder.

So, what exactly does a TV antenna amplifier do?

A Tv antenna amplifier will capture the sound made by the television set and enhance it. The best TV antenna amplifiers will have a circuit which captures as much of the signal as it can. Unfortunately, while doing this it will also capture any other noise in the area.

There are several design considerations which will give you a good level of input with the minimum of noise. Theoretically, it is better to amplify a clean noise to a high level than a noisy signal to the same level. Many good TV antenna amplifiers now include filters which can remove all the external noise and leave the desired signal.

Consider the cables

The condition of the cable can greatly influence the quality of the amplification. Cable loss means that the amplification will be more susceptible to noise degradation.

The amount of loss depends on the cable type and cable length. The cable is rated in DB loss per length, taking into account the specified frequency. The cable which is frequently used for television is the RG-6 Coaxial cable. This gives the least amount of external noise to the amplifier.

Do TV antenna amplifiers really work?

The answer is ‘yes, they do.’ Perhaps a better question to ask is whether installing an amplifier can improve your tv aerial signal. Here the answer is that it may or may not improve the signal.

Amplifiers work when they are placed in the correct place and used at the correct time. Any communal tv system which is connected to several different tv sets will get a good boost when using an amplifier. This may be the case when different tv sets are in different areas around the house, which often happens today.

Overall aerial antennas provide better reception. If you use a station which broadcasts from within a 20-mile radius you may be able to manage with a passive antenna. However, an amplified antenna will work better.

You may find that an antenna-mounted amplifier works better and removes the loss in the coaxial cable from the antenna to the tv. If you are in an area where the TV transmitters are far away, you will need to improve the loss of an already weak signal. In this instance, you may even be better using a preamplifier.

Do you need a preamplifier?

If you think that you need a preamplifier but are not sure, then the only way to confirm that you do is to measure the signal which you receive. You should use a field strength meter to do this. You can also lookup online the available channels in your area when you fill in your postcode and location. Any area of location which shows up to be in the ‘red’ then you may want to consider a preamplifier.

If you have a cable length of 50’ or more between the antenna and the tv set, you may find that a preamplifier improves the signal.

Another reason to install a preamplifier is when there are multiple tv outlets being fed from the same antenna. This will cause a signal loss which can normally be rectified by using a preamplifier.

So, when should I install a Tv antenna amplifier?

Amplifiers can be very useful in keeping the tv signal at an acceptable strength although if you are in an area where there is poor reception, they may not be much good.

It is a common misconception that amplifiers can create a signal – they cannot. What they do is to overcome the problems related to resistance on the cabling and splitting of signals when several tv’s are used at the same time.

So, if you have an acceptable signal coming to the main tv and then getting poorer as it is split for other sets, then this may be a good idea. The longer the cable length, the poorer the quality of the signal. It is here that an antenna amplifier will be of help.

Your tv antenna amplifier will be able to add strength to the input signals when they come from the broadcasting towers. They will strengthen the signals and improve the pictures. The sound quality will also be improved.

A point to note here is that the tv antenna amplifier will only amplify, it will not correct signals. Distorted signals will still be distorted although they will be stronger.

It is the cable length that weakens the signal to tv sets away from the main set and an antenna amplifier will correct this.

Can I use an antenna amplifier on a strong signal?

An amplifier can have a negative effect on the quality of a strong signal, strange as this may sound.  Amplifying a good signal overloads, the tv tuner and the result is lower quality with weaker signals. So, if you are in a city where there are broadcast towers close by, you may not get the best signal. On the other hand, if you live far from a tower your signal will be enhanced.

To sum up

Before you buy any tv antenna amplifier it makes good sense to see if you can reduce the number of tv sets that run from one main cable.

The tv antenna amplifier will also amplify external noise so you should look for an amplifier which comes with a filter to reduce as much noise as possible.