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HDTV vs TV Antennas - What's the Difference?

HD Antenna vs Regular TV Antennas - What's Different?


Well, notice that all antennas today say HDTV Antenna instead of just TV Antenna?  The term HDTV has became an industry term that began about the time when digital TVs came about, which were also HD capable TVs.  But is there much difference between the present vs former designs of these aerials? 

Yes, but maybe not in the way you may think.  You may be thinking, there is no way an antenna can make non HD signals HD, and this is true.  It's merely a shift into mainly the UHF frequency band (which is why antennas have gotten smaller as the wavelength is also much smaller and allows for smaller antenna elements(.   The antenna however has no influence on whether a signal is HD or not.   It seems most antennas has stuck with the HDTV terminology instead of digital TV (which are generally High Definition TVs) such that it has now became an industry term change.  However, what is the actual difference between a newer vs older antenna made for the older analog TV days?

There is a benefit, but not in the way you may think.  Although the antenna has no effect on the television's resolution (the station's programming and your tuner are responsible for that), the only change antenna wise is the frequency migration shifting more to UHF (VHF-hi is often used but usually only for a fraction of the stations and VHF-low has been completely phased out for nearly all areas.  This means the very large VHF-low elements are usually wasted space for all but a handful of areas in the US.

Previously (in the analog TV days) VHF hi and VHF low were used a lot more, so antennas had to be much larger to work on all the frequency bands well back then, however the FCC made the digital transition, there was also a move for placing all high powered stations to the UHF band.  So the vast majority of stations are on UHF now, in most areas..  However VHF is indeed still used to at least some degree in many areas too, and in the NE, west coast, and rural areas, it's more common to need long range VHF abilities too.  You can often find out if you have VHF stations in your area and if they're strongg or not via running a TV signal report on TV fool and looking at the "real channels" (Chs 2-13 in this column means they are still on VHF).

There were a few stations that elected to stay on VHF, but the vast majority (if not all) in many areas transitioned to UHF (it should be noted that the channel on the TV likely didn't change, just their real (or RF) frequency c hanges).  Digital TV channels in most cases, no longer reflect the stations real frequency or even if they're on the VHF or UHF bands presently.. 

So in summary, it should be noted that the antenna itself does not increase the resolution of the picture and that an old antenna will have the same resolution when picking up a HD digital signal. So what's different about them? Let us try to explain:

The main difference is the shift to mainly UHF frequencies for most TV stations, the antennas have been small (mainly would argue too small) and optimized for mainly UHF performance. . Notice that that the sizes of these newer antennas are much smaller? This isn't always the case for all areas however, which is why we offer models with the choice of mainly UHF (or both UHF & VHF.

For this reason, the important distinction between the so called HDTV antennas is because they are mainly focused on the best UHF performance. This is due to when the analog to digital conversion took place, the FCC also had a major shift from VHF to UHF frequencies. Most TV stations that were once on VHF are actually broadcasting on UHF now.


Heavy Duty Insane Gain XPS-1500 TV Antenna Tip: 

What is nice about of long range Insane Gain XPS-1500 model, is if your area still has challenging VHF stations, the VHF performance is actually upgradeable, if it's needed. You can upgrade it anytime you wish, via our patented optional Long Range VHF Upgrade Kit.