In most cases, no new antenna is needed. Manufacturers use marketing terms such as “Digital Ready” to sell their product, but that also leads to confusion. Being familiar with an antenna’s functions will better equip you to make the right purchase, or none at all.
Crutchfield’s website explains that broadcasters use very high frequency (VHF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) signals. VHF covers channels 1 through 13, and UHF covers channels 14 through 51. You can enter your address and ZIP code into Antenna Web’s website to find which channels are available in your area (see References). If you have VHF and UHF channels available, choose a combination antenna.
According to HDTv Antenna Labs website, indoor antennas are sometimes necessary, but outdoor antennas have better performance. With an outdoor antenna, you can overcome interference issues. If an indoor antenna is necessary, place it near a window in the direction of the station you are trying to pick up.
The type of signal you receive also depends on the television you use. An analog television cannot pick up a digital signal without a digital tuner. Many stations are broadcasting in high definition. There is no new antenna technology required to collect high-definition programming, but you must have a high-definition television to benefit from the clearer picture.
Antenna technology has not seen any major advances since the 1960s, but the way these local channels are broadcast has changed significantly in the last decade. Digital signal formatting is now mandatory for local channel broadcasters, and there are now more high-definition channels available. The Consumer Electronics Association tests, approves and classifies antennas so you know you are buying a quality product. Poorly installed antennas will not work well, if at all, so if you’re having reception troubles consult a professional before assuming that you need to buy a new antenna or television.
Antenna Basics: Crutchfield
Indoor TV Antennas for HDTV: HDTv Antenna Labs
Maximize Your Television Reception: AntennaWeb