Which local TV stations have the best HD signals? Which ones can you receive at your home? From which direction do the individual stations’ HD signals come? Where should I set up my HD antenna?
All these questions can be answered by going to the FCC’s comprehensive DTV Mapping Tool on its Web site. It’s there to assist you in properly finding your HD signal strength and it’s an amazing tool in several respects.
First, it helps you determine how to properly aim the DTV antenna for the best over-the-air HD reception.
Second, it will show you how easy or difficult it might be to receive all the HD signals you want without a properly aligned antenna or professional assistance.
Here’s how it works. The Web site itself simply brings up a map of the U.S. When you plug in your zip code, it brings up all the available HD signals in that area. When you click on the individual call letters of the stations you want, it brings up the direction of the signal.
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For example, in my hometown of Sturbridge, Mass., the mapping tool tells me that HD reception might be a crap shoot. There are 13 available HD channels to my home, which is tucked in a tree-filled valley about 60 miles outside of Boston in the hills. Only one station, WUNI, has a strong signal strength (3 bars). All the others offer mediocre strength. When you click on the individual call letters of a station, it shows me the exact direction I need to point the antenna to get the best possible reception. In my case, it’s trouble. Most of the signals come from the Northeast (from Boston) while others come from the West (from Springfield, Mass.)
If the reception is really bad (as in my case), it will guide you to offer satellite or cable. Or, if I only am concerned about receiving a few channels, it will show me the direction I need to point the antenna.
By the way, my conclusion is that I should move if I want to watch over-the-air HD.
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