What is a TV Signal Booster and How Does It Work?
A TV signal booster kit consists of a HDTV antenna plus signal booster that extends TV station broadcast coverage into your home or apartment building by boosting or amplifying existing TV channel signals for clearer audio and video reception.
Cable antennas have been around for years and have gradually become old technology. New Digital HDTV antennas together with a booster will allow you to watch your favorite cable television shows without having to pay for an ongoing cable subscription.
A TV antenna booster will give you access to beautifully clear digital television shows for both standard analog and high definition TVs, and will catch all signals within approx. 100 miles radius.
A TV signal booster and amplifier helps HDTV antenna or standard TV antennas catch many channels that would otherwise be difficult to access and see. You can eliminate the cable and associated subscription costs to enjoy clear reception and more television channels in the comfort of your home living room, or business office reception area.
Digital TVs have far better clarity and quality than analog TVs, but a weak signal often causes problems with reception. A weak analog signal will, for example, appear as a grainy or snowy picture on the TV screen. Although this is very annoying, the picture can still be seen or perceived. If a digital signal is slightly weak, it would however still be clear and sharp. With a digital signal that is too weak, the video and audio will cut in and out, or may even disappear altogether.
Another problem is multipath, where some of the TV signals bounces off structures like tall buildings and arrive slightly later than the signals on a direct path. With an analog signal, this would cause a "ghost" image, which is a faint duplicate of the picture and slightly displaced. Once again, this is still viewable, albeit annoying. With a digital signal, the symptoms of multipath would be the same as a weak signal, i.e. either losing audio and video, or a clear picture without the ghost image.
How does a TV signal booster work?
In simple terms, the number of channels you can access depends on the signals that are broadcast in your local area. The reception quality depends on the physical distance from your local signal towers along with other factors including the weather, your surroundings, and the terrain.
TV signal boosters, often also known as TV antenna amplifiers, help to improve the signal quality received by TVs in locations with distant or weak signals from a TV transmitter. Signal boosters are often used with aerials on properties that have many obstructions around them like trees in rural places, tall buildings in urban environments, or in hilly locations.
Types of TV Signal Boosters.
There're a number different types of TV signal boosters available on the market, each with their own purpose and application.
Masthead TV Booster.
These types of boosters are easily identifiable as they are small boxes which are installed close to a TV aerial, usually close to the base of the mast. Masthead TV Amplifiers are the best option for signal boosting as they provide much better results than indoor and distribution boosters. The signal is boosted as it passes through the aerial, and this improves the signal quality without needing a boost as it goes to the TV through the cables.
Most amplifiers of this type are manufactured weatherproof and are therefore suitable for both outdoor and indoor use depending on the type of aerial fitted. This type of booster is normally used on properties with very poor signal strength.
Indoor TV Antenna Booster.
This type of booster is normally installed close to a TV, although a better output can often be achieved if it is installed closer to the aerial. Most indoor TV antenna boosters have 2 outputs that can be used to improve 2 TV's signal quality. It should be noted that indoor boosters can never be a good substitute for a quality aerial installed on the roof. It is also better to use this type of booster together with a roof aerial, rather than using it with an indoor aerial. In installing an antenna inside the home or building, a glass mount antenna placed on the glass of a window would work best because it would attract maximum amount of transmitted signals.
TV Distribution Booster.
This type of booster splits its output to a number of different TVs. This choice is popular for Sky customers who want to use multiple TV without having to buy separate boxes. The distribution amplifier is the best method for splitting TV signals as the boosted signal compensates coaxial cable losses, and keeps the quality on the different TV high.
Which TV Signal Booster To Use?
Deciding which type of TV amplifier you want to use is ultimately a personal choice, but it can be influenced by a number of different factors such as your current TV antenna setup, property type, and cost.
A TV signal booster kit can include the HDTV antenna that is more sensitive than the old traditional cable antenna and can therefore pick up signals that would otherwise be difficult to catch. This allows you to access cable TV channels that you couldn't previously access, and at the same time expand the signal range you can receive. As the signals received are also boosted, this will dramatically improve the clarity of your TV channel frequency.
Suggested Item's Description.
HD TV antenna signal booster and amplifier kit includes a HDTV antenna.
- Installation and setup are easy and quick. Simply unpack the HDTV signal booster kit, connect it, and scan for available channels.
- Innovative design of antenna makes it razor thin and flat.
- High levels of gain.
- Low error rates.
- Improves both analog and digital television signals.
- Unique design of the HDTV antenna will enable you to access signals from all directions.
- TV antenna is very versatile and can be placed on the wall, table, or window.
This digital HDTV antenna booster kit gives you access to top-quality 1080p videos, and you will also be able to access TV channels at no cost and without any ongoing subscription fees.
Installing TV Boosters on systems with and without a DTV converter.
When broadcast television changed from analog signals to digital content, many users had to buy a digital converter box to cater for the change.
Nowadays, Digital TV (DTV) signals are commonly broadcast into all U.S. homes with a television. To watch this TV content users need a digital television receiver, which is either a part of a special converter box (also called a digital set-top box) which is attached to an analog TV, or is built into the TV itself.
HDTV antennas and boosters are connected to the TV slightly differently, depending on whether or not you have an external converter box.
Connecting to a TV system WITH a converter box.
If you're using an analog TV, and have an external converter box connected to the TV to watch digital TV content, you need to install the HDTV antenna and booster before the converter box. The TV signal will be received by the antenna and sent to the booster. Once the signal has been boosted, it will go to the converter box to be changed into an analog signal that the TV can display.
Connecting to a TV system WITHOUT a converter box.
If you're using a digital TV, and the converter is built into the TV, you simply need to install the HDTV antenna and booster with the booster’s output going directly to the TV.
Preamplifiers and Distribution Amplifiers.
With any TV installation, some of the signal received by the antenna is lost through the cable, and some is lost if you use a splitter that connects the TV antenna to multiple TV sets. This signal loss is only a problem if the signal your TV antenna receives is weak to start with, or if you have long runs of cable going from the antenna to the TV.
There are various factors that determine how much signal is lost in a specific installation. These include the type of cable being used, the length of the cable and into how many different cables you split the signal, i.e. if you use a 2-way splitter, the loss will be less than when you use an 8-way splitter.
Fortunately, there are TV antenna signal amplifiers available that have been designed to overcome signal loss relating to splitters and long cable runs. These come in two types – preamplifiers and distribution amplifiers.
Preamplifiers are normally used outside with outside antenna. It normally comes as a two part unit and the power supply is mounted in the house, while the amplifier is mounted at antenna. A preamplifier's function is to overcome signal loss caused by long cable runs between antenna and the TV or splitter.
Distribution amplifiers are helpful if there's a good signal at the splitter, but not after the splitter, once again due to long cable runs after the splitter, or due to the signal loss caused by the splitter itself. Distribution amplifiers are normally one part and are used indoors. They are used to overcome losses caused by the splitter and in fact replace a splitter by distributing TV signals to multiple locations. They are also used to overcome weak signals due to distance from TV broadcast towers.
Choosing an amplifier.
If you know that an amplifier replaces the signal lost from splitters and cable runs, you will know what to look for when selecting the proper amplifier. The trick is to select an amplifier with enough gain to cater for the lost signal.
Rough estimates of signal loss is given below:
- RG59 Coax – 10 dB per hundred feet.
- RG6 Coax Cable – 6 dB per hundred feet.
- 8-Way Splitter – 12 dB.
- 3 and 4-Way Splitter – 8 dB.
- 2-Way Splitter – 4 dB.
It should be noted that the loss estimates given for a splitter hold true even if some of the ports are not used.
A TV installation uses RG59 cable with 60 feet cable running from the antenna to a 2-way splitter. From the splitter, there are 3 cables with lengths 10, 15 and 20 feet.
The longest run from the antenna to a TV is therefore 60 + 20 = 80 feet, which introduces a loss of (80/100 x 10 dB) = 8 dB. The splitter introduces another 4 dB, bringing the total loss to 12 dB. A preamplifier with a gain of 12 dB or stronger would cater for the signal loss in this installation.
Preamplifiers Specification Terminology
Gain: This number has to be equal to or bigger than the signal loss. Amplifiers typically have gains of between 12 and 30 dB.
It should be noted that a higher gain amplifier is not always better. If there is only 12dB loss on the cable run that is the longest, and a 20dB amplifier is used, you can overwhelm the TV tuner with too strong a signal.
Noise: When an amplifier is connected to a system, signal noise is always introduced, albeit a small amount. A higher noise number will decrease the sensitivity of the tuners that pick up the signal.
Frequency: This value should correlate to the TV Antenna. A VHF/UHF Antenna needs a VHF/UHF preamplifier. If you try to use a VHF/UHF Antenna with a UHF only or VHF only amplifier, the other frequencies will be blocked.
FM Traps: FM Traps are used to reduce signal levels of FM stations that may be causing interference to TV stations. FM Traps are available in switchable or fixed models.
Dual Inputs: These amplifiers have 2 inputs, one for UHF and one for VHF. These allow for UHF and VHF signals to be joined with just about no loss.
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