Location key to getting best TV antenna reception

Consumers may need to try different models

SAN ANTONIO – More people are cutting the cord and turning to TV antennas to watch local news and other programs for free.

Finding the best location in your home is key to getting a clear reception for over-the-air channels.

Consumer Reports recently tested 10 indoor antennas near a window and near a TV. Across the board, the window location worked best.

While antennas come in a variety of shapes, the design isn't as important as where you live and what surrounds you, Consumer Reports tech editor Jim Willcox said.

"If you live in a very mountainous area or live in a city and there are lots of buildings that obstruct the signal, then you may have a tougher time than somebody who is in a plain or in a neighborhood where there aren't a lot of tall buildings," Willcox said.

For the best results, Willcox said to place the antenna high or in an upstairs room or attic. Try a few different locations and rescan to see where you get the most channels. 

If at first you don't succeed in getting great reception, try other models. Not every antenna is going to work well in your home, so it's a good idea to work with a retailer with a friendly return policy.

Willcox said just because the picture is free, doesn't mean it's poor quality. Over-the-air signals may be sharper than cable's signal since it's less compressed.

"So free plus better performance is a pretty good deal for most consumers," Willcox said.

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