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Types and Applications of TV Antenna Boosters

Types and Applications of TV Antenna Boosters

Feb 27,2023
In some cases, simply installing a high-quality TV antenna (and connecting it to one or more TV points) is not enough to provide reliable TV reception in your residence. Depending on the strength and quality of the TV signal received by your antenna, or the design of the antenna system in your house, you may also need to install a TV antenna booster (also known as a "TV antenna amplifier").

There are many types of TV antenna amplifiers (the main types are header amplifiers and distribution amplifiers), and there are even more brands of TV antenna amplifiers, each with different qualities, advantages, and disadvantages. Installing the right TV booster for your specific situation can give you the TV signal strength and signal quality to guarantee flawless digital reception.

Masthead Amplifiers

A header amplifier is a "preamplifier" that is installed directly after the TV antenna (preferably about 0.5-1.0m below the level of the antenna). They are used when the input signal power to the antenna is insufficient to provide reliable service to the TV tuner at the end of the cable. While it can sometimes improve signal quality, it should not be relied upon to improve signal quality levels. If the signal quality is poor, we recommend using a different antenna or placing the antenna higher up (perhaps on a higher mast) to resolve the issue.

Although they are "active" devices, they are low voltage and usually powered remotely from a power source located inside the house. This power supply usually looks like a large cell phone charger that plugs into any standard household GPO. This power supply then allows low voltage current to be sent to the TV antenna cable to power the antenna booster. When people move, it is a common problem for the previous tenant or owner to take this power supply with them when they leave. Or, people may have accidentally turned off the power, thinking it was for AV equipment, only to realize it prevented them from receiving the TV.

Distribution Amplifiers

Distribution amplifiers are used in larger TV systems where there can be severe signal loss due to very long cable runs or, more commonly, many TV points. A header amplifier can help boost the signal to multiple points in a standard house, while a distribution amplifier can boost the signal to tens, hundreds, or thousands of points in a high-rise building or complex.
Distribution amplifiers come in all shapes and sizes and can boost different frequencies, including cable networks and satellite frequencies. So you can always find a distribution amplifier that suits your specific needs.

How to Know If You Have a TV Booster Installed

If you're wondering if your current TV system includes a TV antenna booster, you'll need to trace the cable from the antenna to the outlet cable. The masthead amp is usually mounted on the same pole that supports the TV antenna and is contained in a small weatherproof enclosure. The coax from the antenna should go directly into the weatherproof enclosure (header amp in) and the other coax will come out of the enclosure and into your roof space (header amp out). From there, the coaxial cable will run to your outlet, or feed into a TV splitter that will power multiple outlets in your TV system.

Note that the little gray box (weatherproof housing) on the antenna mount is not always the header amplifier. Sometimes antenna installers install similar enclosures for LTE filters, and sometimes we even find splitters and attenuators in them.

Alternatively, it is also common to install masthead amplifiers in the roof cavity of a home or beneath building structures. Yep, that means dusting off the ladder and jumping in your manhole to see what's going on.

TV Antenna Boosters and Jamming

A TV antenna booster is a great device that can solve a lot of problems. However, in some cases, it can cause interference issues. As we move around every day, there are tons and tons of radio waves flying around, transmitting TV signals, 3G/4G mobile phone signals, satellite signals, WiFi signals, Internet links, and more. The TV Antenna Booster is designed for the frequencies (VHF and/or UHF) of broadcast TV signals. If there are other radio waves broadcasting on or near VHF or UHF frequencies, the TV antenna booster will also boost those signals.

A common problem with TV systems using UHF frequencies is LTE or 4G interference. Australia's mobile networks (Telstra, Vodafone, Optus, and nbn) use 4G designated frequencies to send and receive data, typically for mobile phones but also for other devices such as tablets, 4G dongles, and 4G fixed wireless modems. Some 4G frequencies (notably band 28 or 700MHz) are very close to UHF frequencies. UHF television systems influenced by these 4G signals are becoming more common. This problem can be made worse when TV systems use amplifiers that amplify these 4G signals, causing increased interference or "noise" to the TV signal. Because of this, some masthead amplifiers are manufactured with 4G filters built in, which actually reduce rather than increase the 4G signal. While others are "fully screened," or use a sturdier metal enclosure, to ensure no signal protrudes through the amp's enclosure.

There are other types of distractions, which we won't discuss here. However, if you experience intermittent issues (such as signal dropping at the same time every day), there may be other interference issues, possibly caused by improper LED lighting installations, electric fences, or other electrical equipment.

Important Notes About TV Antenna Boosters

When it comes time to install a TV amplifier, it's important to make sure it's installed correctly. Improper installation and use of TV amplifiers can produce radio signal interference, caused by overload/distortion, mixing, or oscillation. Additionally, improperly installed or faulty amplifiers can affect not only your TV reception but also mobile phone systems and two-way radios.

The above introduces the types and applications of TV antenna boosters, if you want to buy TV antenna boosters, please contact us.

SOMI is a professional custom antenna accessories manufacturer. We are specialized in producing high-quality CATV system accessories, audio and video connectors, CATV power amplifiers, CATV splitters, splitters, satellite splitters, CATV wall sockets (junction boxes) Manufacturers of connecting cables. We have our own engineers, so we can design and produce products according to customers' requirements. All products are produced by automatic machines and fully tested to ensure the quality of our products.
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