Having more than one TV around the house can make it a little challenging to figure out how to connect them all to a single antenna to receive the same transmission signals.
But don’t worry, if you’re facing this issue, keep on reading to learn all you need to know about connecting multiple TVs to one antenna.
First Step: Start by Installing Your Antenna
One of the most important things to consider when installing your antenna is to decide on an indoor or outdoor one.
Generally, an outdoor antenna is more recommended because it would be easier to direct toward the transmission towers, consequently receiving the signals without any interference from obstacles possibly found in the path of the signals.
You should probably use a compass to make sure you’re pointing your antenna in the right direction, as you’d probably be a little misdirected while mounting your antenna on a rooftop.
Moreover, it’s advisable to install a multi-directional antenna in order to receive signals from every direction to cover as many broadcasts as possible.
It would also be a smart idea to scan the channels with an amplifier once and then without it. While some might see this as a useless, time-consuming practice, it’s actually the best way to make sure there’s no signal loss or signal overload, which is just as bad.
Second Step: Connecting Coaxial Cable to Splitter
Once your antenna is installed and properly mounted, you’ll want to connect a coaxial splitter.
This little device is responsible for splitting the signals that the antenna receives and distributing them to several TVs, allowing you to enjoy your cable channels on all the TVs you have around the house.
However, bear in mind that splitting the signal invariably results in weakening it, sometimes up to 50% (3.5 dB).
And naturally, the overall signal is weakened with every additional split, which makes the whole transmission worse if your antenna sends weak or marginal signals.
This is why it’s advisable to go for 2-way splitters instead of 4-way ones if you don’t need the latter, as even the unused output ports would cause a loss in signal strength.
Third Step: Connecting the Main TV
Once you’ve figured out the distances and locations of everything, it’s time to connect your main TV to the setup.
Don’t attempt to connect all the TVs around the house at once, as this would leave you confused as to where an issue is coming from if any should arise.
In the process, you’ll be trying to minimize the number of variables in each step, so you can efficiently detect and deal with any problems at hand.
Fourth Step: Connecting Other TVs
Once your first TV is connected and receiving signals, you can carry on the rest of the process with more confidence in your transmission signals, knowing that if you face any hiccups, they’d have to do with splitters, amps, or other parts of the setup and not the signal itself.
One by one, connect your TVs and monitor the strength of the signal as you do. If at any point you realize there’s a deterioration in quality, it would probably mean you need to add an amplifier.
Fifth Step: Deciding on a Coaxial Amplifier
If you do realize your signal is getting weaker upon connecting more TVs, you’ll need a coaxial amplifier to support your multiple-TV setup.
An aspect that contributes to weakening the signal is the distance that the coaxial cable spans between the TV and the antenna, including the splitter breaks and all. If that distance is less than 50 feet, you might not need an amp at all.
Also, if the distance between the transmission tower and your antenna is less than 10 miles, adding an amplifier to your setup may be overkill and have the opposite effect on your signal strength.
Generally speaking, amplifiers should be viewed as an accessory that’s only required at certain times when the signal needs to be strengthened and not as a necessity that you ought to install by default.
Not to mention, some antennas already come with built-in amplifiers to support the connection of multiple TVs, so installing an extra one would actually defy the purpose and become counter-productive.
Types of Amplifiers:
- Pre-amplifiers: These are the amps that work on the signals that the antenna receives into the down cable. Pre-amps are installed right at the original antenna to amplify the signals before they’re even received. Make sure, however, that there’s a power supply close enough to provide the pre-amp with electricity.
- Distribution amplifiers: These ones work on redistributing the signal to cover several outputs without a compromise in the strength of the original signal.
In theory, you can add as many amplifiers as you want, be them pre-amplifiers or distribution ones. However, amplifiers augment the signals, and thus, can cause an overload of signals and interference if they’re not needed.
So, when it comes to these gadgets, it’s always about finding a balance between strengthening the signal but not adding too much amplification that interferes with the antenna’s capability to pick up on signals.
Bonus Tip: Going Wireless
You can spare yourself the hassle of dealing with wires and cables if you opt for OTA (Over the Air) signals by using a tuner.
A network tuner box enables you to ditch wired setups by converting the signal from the antenna into a stream that it can deliver to any smart device connected to your home network, whether wirelessly or not.
The way to set it up is to connect the antenna’s coaxial cable to the “Antenna Input” jack on the tuner, then connect the home router and tuner using an Ethernet cable. The hardware part is quite simple; the actual work is in installing the software, which usually goes as follows:
- Installing the software that comes with the tuner hardware
- Scanning the channels to check which ones are picked up by the antenna
- Installing the app on any device you wish to pick up the signals, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, and of course, Smart TVs.
Are Wireless Network Tuners Worth It?
A wireless setup requires compatible TVs, which means you could need an upgrade of your entire setup. Unless you have the budget and are willing to do that, you should stick to the regular wired-connection.
This beats the wireless connectivity option as wireless signals can add another invisible factor to worry about.
So, what are the advantages of wireless network tuners?
1. Cutting the Cords
Turning the TV signals into a stream is a lot more convenient and gives you a more contemporary experience. However, each tuner comes with built-in tuners, usually 2 or 4, and the streaming capability will be limited accordingly.
In other words, if your tuner comes with 2 built-in tuners, you’ll only be able to stream to two WiFi-connected devices simultaneously.
Also, your TV would need to be running on an official Android TV operating system; otherwise, you’ll have to add an Android box or something similar to be able to receive the transmission.
2. Eliminating Signal Loss Associated With Cable Length
A wireless connection enables you to place your devices as close to your antenna as possible, which enhances the quality of the signal and transmission.
If you have shorter cable runs, you might not realize the value of this advantage, but it’s a life-saver if your cables run long.
3. Ability to add a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device
NAS devices work on handling DVR functionality, which not all smart TVs are equipped to deal with. This could make your viewing experience less enjoyable.
And while you can replace NAS devices with an “Always-on” PC, the PC alternative would increase consumption, as opposed to the NAS device that has a more reasonable cost in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does Using Foil Help in Strengthening TV Antenna Signals?
While foil wraps may help amplify the right signals or reduce unnecessary ones, there’s no rule or experiment that states that using foil helps strengthen the antenna signals; it’s a matter of pure luck.
Plus, relying on foil wouldn’t help with outdoor antennas as those usually face rain, wind, and other factors that mess with the tinfoil you use, regardless of how well or carefully you place it.
How Can I Enhance an Outdoor TV Antenna’s Performance?
An excellent way to keep your outdoor TV antenna working well is to weatherproof it. You can do so by unplugging the coaxial cable, then cleaning, drying, and plugging it back in.
After you do so, make sure to plug it back in and wrap a moisture-resistant tape to provide complete sealing.
If you’re not into DIY ideas, you can buy weatherproofing hardware like the STUF dielectric water-resistant grease.
By applying it to the core and connector, you’ll be giving your antenna just enough weatherproofing to stop any signal loss or interference inflow.
Finally, when you’re shopping for an outdoor TV antenna, you could opt for a model that comes with boots to cover the antenna’s sensitive components, including the transformers and baluns.
Setting up a single TV to receive your antenna signals is a tiring experience in itself, let alone trying to connect multiple ones!
However, knowing the steps that you need to follow and how to test whether you’re following them correctly can save you a lot of time and effort.
And though it’s a daunting task that requires a lot of trials and errors, with enough patience to do each step at a time, you will find it very enjoyable and rewarding when you’re watching your favorite show in any room around the house with no trouble.