Antennas for the New Airwaves

This month’s planned shutdown of analog broadcast TV in the United States will bring antenna technology back into the spotlight

11 min read
Philips Silver Sensor
Photo: Ryann Cooley

Let’s say you’ve gone and bought a high-definition LCD TV that’s as big as your outstretched arms. And perhaps you’ve also splurged on a 7.1 channel surround sound system, and an upconverting DVD player or maybe a sleek Blu-ray player. Maybe you’ve got a state-of-the-art game console or Apple TV or some other Web-based feed. Well, come 17 February, you just might want one more thing: a new antenna on your roof.

If you live in the United States and you’re one of the 19 million people who still prefer to pull their TV signals out of the air rather than pay a cable company to deliver them, you may already know that this month the vast majority of analog television broadcasts in the United States are scheduled to end and most free, over-the-air TV signals will be transmitted only in the new digital Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) format. A massive advertising campaign is now telling people who get their signals from the ether that they’ll need a TV with a built-in ATSC tuner or a digital converter box to display their favorite programs.

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