Is there a set of specs and / distances to narrow down the choices or to know how to choose an HD antenna that could replace my cable provider for access to local channels?

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    Try one. It's very dependent on where your house is, where the transmitter is, and the terrain in-between. – Ecnerwal Jan 8 '16 at 2:36
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    Pretty much what I was thinking, I was at best buy, perhaps get the $70 and the $30 one and see if the work. – qxotk Jan 8 '16 at 2:51
  • Does an HD antenna have to be mounted outside? – qxotk Jan 8 '16 at 14:02
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    It's a complicated calculation based on your local topography and the location of your local broadcasters. You need to use a tool like http://antennaweb.org/. – mbeckish Jan 8 '16 at 15:06
  • the antenna can be inside but outside will provide better reception, some models are not rated for outdoor use. – Ed Beal Jan 8 '16 at 17:19

you want the highest gain in Db for the antenna. If an amplified model high gain Db with the lowest noise S/N (signal/noise ratio). Not always are the most expensive the best. The last thing is location, the higher you can mount it the better. When looking at Db a difference of 3 is big 2x the signal.

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    Lowest S/N - really? Little signal, lots of noise? Is that your FINAL answer? – Ecnerwal Jan 8 '16 at 14:22
  • @edbeal pls edit your answer – qxotk Jan 8 '16 at 15:10
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    For the signal to noise ratio you want the lowest noise possible. the correct term is signal/noise as I have a degree in this i will leave it this way. – Ed Beal Jan 8 '16 at 17:17

I wondered the same thing when I shopped for an antenna. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a set of specs or a way of comparing antennas from different manufacturers. All I found were reviews but they were all subjective and didn't help me rank one antenna over another, especially when the antennas were from different manufacturers.

That's when I bought various antennas and tested them myself using a Winegard Signal Strength Meter and my Tivo. Using the Winegard (which I have no affiliation with) was a very objective way of comparing them because you select a frequency and it gives you a signal strength.

I test the antennas in two different ways. For the first test I rotate the antenna for each frequency and record the maximum signal strength. For the second test I point the antenna in the same direction and leave it stationary (which is how most people use an antenna). I then run through the frequencies and record the results.

Even though I can only test the frequencies in my area, I figured these results might be useful to others so I put them on my website at: http://byebyecabletvbill.com/tv_antenna_side_by_side_comparisons.php. As time progresses, I'll be testing more antennas and adding the results there.

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