Whenever we talk about cord-cutting we always make sure to point out how useful antennas can be as part of a cord-cutters tool kit. And in the right situations, they are invaluable. But there is some really shifty marketing you should be on the lookout for especially when you are looking for a product online. That is antennas with an impossibly large range.
What is the longest range you can get from an antenna?
In an optimal situation, an antenna can pick up signals from a transmitter tower from about 70 miles away. What do we mean by optimal conditions? Clear day, outdoor antenna installed correctly on the roof, in a place without heavy tree cover, no large buildings directly in the path and not being located in a valley. Luckily that can be said of many locations in the US. But it is certainly not the case for everybody. If you throw in any of those complications you can find a decrease in the performance. In an optimal situation, you can find that there are many stations available most importantly the major network affiliates. Want to see what channels you would get, check here.
But this is not how many antennas are advertised. Take a look online for a high-powered TV antenna and you are sure to find more than a few dealers who advertise a range like 250 miles or more. Others are more cautious. Maybe they only promise 150 miles. If you could pick up signals from 250 miles away boy you could pick up a lot of TV channels. But there is one really big problem with those antennas. It is physically impossible to pick up TV signals from that far away.
Why can’t you get a TV signal from 100 miles or more away?
Ok. I hate to burst some people’s bubbles, but the earth is not flat. And because the earth actually has a curvature it affects just how far a TV signal can be broadcast. This is the thing that cable fixed in the first place. But for those who are using antennas, you are bound by the laws of physics.
Why do companies advertise things that can’t be delivered?
I’m afraid that is a tale as old as time. Ever since people started selling new replenishing mud at the first stone age day spas some advertisers have been just outright lying about products. Remember when Internet providers used to say having the Internet will help your kids get better grades. Just tell that to any parent who has to drag their kids off a discord chat room in the middle of the night. But one thing that is absolutely true is that claims of 200-mile range antennas and anything past 65 or 70 miles are blatant lies. These companies may as well be selling Jimmy’s super growth juice off the back of a wagon.
If an antenna is “rated” for 250 miles will it at least guaranty 70 miles?
No. Again these companies that advertise such claims have already made it clear that truth is not one of their guiding principles. So why expect that anything else about their product is above the board. If you have one of these kinds of antennas sure, maybe it works just fine for you. Great, you didn’t get totally ripped off. But it’s just a coincidence.
Some even promise cable channels
Step right here folks we gotta problem right here in River City. And it starts with T and ends with V and it aught to be free but it ain’t. These guys will fix it, ain’t that quaint. That’s right my fine friends. What would you say if I told you for $16.14 you could have an antenna that reeled in ESPN, BET, the SyFy Channel and more. If that number sounds familiar 1614, it’s because that is the exact year that this grand land we call America was founded (not true either).
Maybe you don’t need those pesky cable channels. How about an antenna that receives Hulu and
Netflix? Well, there is definitely a company that will put the logos on its box just for you. How can they deliver all of that for such a low price? They can’t. It is not even possible to deliver Sling TV via that antenna but somehow it is on sale on Walmart’s website along with what I call the antenna 1680. Of course, if you want to get an antenna that advertises Hulu you have to “sacrifice” over 1380 miles of fake impossible to get range. Or maybe, that’s more of a Shelbyville idea.
While I’m not gonna show up at your door with a crazy suit and a straw hat or plop a wagon down on the town square, I can tell you that there are antennas that work the way that they are supposed to. And they don’t pretend to do things that they can not. There are tools out there that will tell you what to expect from them even if you can only receive 5 channels where you live. Now that might not be what you want to hear but it may be the case.
The antennas we showed in this article are real products, but because they are lying we do not link to them. But if you want to find them look yourself. Antennas have a bright future with the coming of the new ATSC 3.0 standard for broadcast. It should greatly increase the effectiveness of all antennas, increase what you can do with broadcast TV in a number of ways. But at this time, do not fall for the nonsense that is being thrown your way.