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Poor TV Reception? It May Not Be Your Antenna's Fault

Posted by Julia Mattera on June 29, 2022 at 2:54 PM. Filed under How To, Around the Home, Cutting the Cord

In a perfect world, cutting the cord means plug-and-play perfection. Simply connect an antenna to your TV with some coax cable and you’re good to go, right? Well, if you’re planning to cut the cord or you’ve officially cut it but aren’t happy with the results, here are a few things to consider before ditching your antenna.

Find the location of broadcast towers

Whether you have an antenna or are planning to buy one, make sure you’re in an area that can receive local broadcasts and that your antenna’s mileage range is appropriate for your location. is the perfect place to find that information. Simply type in your address or zip code. The website will produce a map showing where the broadcast towers are positioned in proximity to your location. It will also include a list of available channels that are color coded to indicate the type of antenna recommended to receive their broadcasts.

Check for reception blockers

Although you may be near the broadcast towers, reception blockers could still disrupt the broadcast signal. Mountainous or hilly terrain, tall buildings and trees, building materials and even household appliances like microwaves and blenders can interfere with reception. Hiding your indoor antenna inside a TV cabinet or behind your TV can also block the broadcast signal and result in extremely poor reception.

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Choose the right antenna for your location

When selecting the best antenna for your setup, confirm the antenna’s mileage range and whether your space can accommodate an indoor or outdoor/attic antenna. You’ll want to place an indoor antenna as high as possible or near a window for best reception. For an outdoor/attic antenna, make sure it’s aimed at the broadcast towers.

Scan for over-the-air channels on your TV

No matter which antenna you choose, make sure you scan for over-the-air channels on your TV:

  • after installation
  • whenever you reposition the antenna
  • every few months to capture any new channels

If your antenna supplies the signal to multiple TVs, make sure you run a channel scan on each connected TV.

Examine your whole-home installation accessories

If you have an outdoor/attic antenna that provides a signal to multiple TVs in your home, poor reception may be caused by issues with your whole-home installation accessories, such as the coax cable splitter or your coax cable.


Splitters can accommodate two or more TVs. However, keep in mind that each TV you add to your setup divides and weakens the signal. A 2-way splitter divides the signal equally, providing each TV with 50% of the signal. A 4-way splitter also divides the signal equally but provides only 25% of the signal to each TV. One solution to overcome a weak signal when using a splitter is to use an amplified antenna or add an amplifier to a passive antenna. Another solution is to use an amplified splitter or distribution amp with a passive antenna.

Indoor Antenna AmplifierAdding an indoor or outdoor antenna amplifier or distribution amp boosts the broadcast signal to help overcome signal loss and poor reception. By doing so, it may also add channels to your lineup by strengthening weak channels your antenna is already receiving. There should be no more than one amplifier in your setup. Living in close proximity to broadcast towers or using two or more amplifiers could worsen reception by over amplifying the broadcast signal. If you’re experiencing poor reception, you may want to test your setup with and without an amplifier. Just make sure you run a channel scan on your TV each time.

When installing your antenna, it’s important to understand that the type and length of coax cable used can affect signal loss. RG6 Quad-Shield Coax Cable is preferred for residential and commercial installations, as it’s designed with extra shielding layers to guard against electromagnetic interference. It’s also engineered to maximize transfer speeds, resulting in crisp signal quality. As for cable length, the longer the cable run, the more the signal will degrade. However, adding an amplifier or amplified splitter to your setup can help to overcome this.


Cut the cord in confidence

Cutting the cord is an easy way to save money by ditching costly cable or satellite service, and setup is fairly simple. The information above should help you troubleshoot any reception issues you may experience. If you’re new to cord cutting, check out these other helpful blog posts.

About the Author | Julia Mattera

Julia serves as a marketing copywriter for Jasco. After years of working in higher education communications and marketing, she now enjoys developing consumer-focused product descriptions, easy-to-follow instructional guides, video scripts and blog posts to help educate others about the benefits of Jasco’s consumer electronics. During her off hours, Julia loves to spend time with her family and friends, photograph nature, stream her favorite shows – both old and new, and collect unique marbles. She is a mom of two wonderful kids and a loveable 130lb. St. Bernard/Shepherd mix who, despite his size, still likes to sit on her lap.

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