Better in Than Out? Indoor vs. Outdoor TV Antenna Installation

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Better in Than Out? Indoor vs. Outdoor TV Antenna Installation

 

antenna-installer

 

When it’s time to book an antenna installation, you might be wondering… do I really need an outdoor TV antenna, or would an indoor TV aerial do the trick?  

So, let’s unpack the debate between indoor versus outdoor TV aerial installation. We’ll look at 7 key factors involved and the pros and cons of each option so that you can decide which is best for you. That way, you can confidently buy the right antenna and get the best antenna installer service for your home. 

7 Factors to Consider

1. Signal Strength

Before you decide on your antenna type, you’ll need to be aware of local signal strength. Unless you’re an antenna installer, you might not know the exact decibel level of your antenna signal, but you can get a good idea by looking at local factors surrounding your property.  

If you live in a hilly area or you’re surrounded by tall buildings, you might experience interference with your signal strength. If you’re located in a rural area that’s quite far from a broadcast tower, you may have a weak signal. There are a lot of different factors that affect signal strength, but in general, if your signal is poor, you’ll need an outdoor antenna mounted up high to try and get the best possible connection 

Indoor antennas have a smaller signal range and are also impacted by interference from things in your home, including:  

  • Your walls 
  • Roof 
  • Wooden frame 
  • Routers 
  • Computers 
  • Phones  
  • Fridges 
  • Microwaves 

If you can’t avoid an indoor antenna, the best way to improve your signal strength and quality is to ensure your antenna is positioned close to a window with minimal obstruction and a clear line of sight to your local broadcast towers. 

2. Location

The location of your antenna is another important factor, closely related to signal strength. Ideally, your antenna needs to be located:  

  • On the side of your house with the best signal 
  • High enough to get a clear signal 
  • Pointing at the closest tower 

Generally, to tick all these boxes, you’ll need an outdoor antenna, but it will depend on your home’s location and the location of your broadcast towers 

The location will also dictate the type of outdoor antenna you’ll need. A multi-directional or omnidirectional antenna will pick up signals from more than one direction, which is ideal if your local TV channels are being broadcast from different locations. Whereas, a directional antenna is fine if all your local channels are being broadcast from roughly the same direction and will give you a stronger signal for these channels. 

 Your antenna installer will spend some time experimenting with different antenna locations until they get the best signal for your home.                  

3. Roofing Materials

If you need to install your antenna indoors, roofing materials can have an impact on your reception. When signals need to travel through roofs, insulation, plumbing, items stored in your home, electronics, and even the people in your home, you can expect more interference. If an indoor antenna doesn’t provide you with a strong and reliable signal, your best bet is to book an antenna installer to mount an outdoor antenna to the top of your roof.  

4. Signal Range

Different locations will require different signal ranges and frequencies to pick up local TV channels. Your antenna installer will be familiar with your local signal range and frequencies (VHF vs UHF) and will recommend an antenna to suit. If you live in a more remote or rural area, you may need a greater signal range or antenna with a higher gain.  

5Aesthetics

Looks matter when it comes to your TV setup. An indoor TV antenna has visible wires and connections and it may be mounted in an odd, unbalanced way to get the best signal. If you prefer clean lines, you’ll probably want an outdoor antenna (along with a professional TV wall mount). You’ll barely notice an outdoor antenna on your roof, and the connection cords will generally stay out of view, inside your wall and connected at the back of your TV.  

6Building Type

If you own your own home and it’s a single-story, separate dwelling, you’ll find it relatively simple to install your preferred antenna type. But if you’re in a rental property or an apartment building with body corporate, you may be limited in the type of antennas you can install. It’ll be easy for you to pick up and indoor antenna, but you’ll need to get approval before you install an outdoor antenna. 

For more info on what you can and can’t do, check out our Guide to Antenna Repairs for Apartment Living. 

7Line of Sight

If you have direct line of sight to your local broadcast towers, you may be able to get away with an indoor digital antenna. As a best-case scenario, you may be able to see your broadcast tower from the window next to your TV. In which case, you’d hook up an indoor antenna, hang it on the window, and hopefully get a great signal. This rarely happens, though.  

Most homes will be surrounded by potential obstructions like trees, other buildings, and hills. Or your TV room will be on the opposite side of the house to your local tower. In that case, you’ll need to book an outdoor antenna installer to come and mount your antenna up on your roof, as high as possible, to minimise interference. 

Indoor Vs Outdoor: Pros and Cons

Now that we’ve covered the main factors involved in choosing your TV antenna type, let’s break it down into pros and cons. 

 

 

Pros 

Cons 

Indoor TV Antenna 
  • Quicker and easier to install 
  • You can DIY and might not need to hire an antenna installer 
  • They won’t be damaged by harsh weather 
  • They’re smaller and more portable 
  • They generally cost less 
  • You won’t need to install a TV wall point 
  • You won’t need to ask your landlord or body corporate for permission 
  • Greater chance of interference from indoor and outdoor obstructions 
  • Lower signal strength 
  • Poor reception 
  • Requires line of sight 
  • Limits where you can position your TV indoors 
  • Unattractive looking 
  • Suitable for very limited applications 
Outdoor TV Antenna 
  • Stronger signals 
  • Less interference 
  • Best line of sight 
  • Flexible mounting options 
  • Better reception 
  • Longer lasting 
  • Applies to a broad range of situations 
  • Can connect a signal to any room in your home 
  • Suitable even if you’re located further away from broadcast towers 
  • You can hire a professional antenna installer to ensure no mistakes 
  • It’ll usually cost more 
  • You’ll need to consider the weather 
  • You’ll also need to install the cable and connect the TV wall points in your home 
  • It’s difficult to access if it needs adjusting or repairing 
  • You’ll need permission from your landlord or body corporate if you’re renting or in an apartment 

 

Which Antenna Installation is Right for You?

So, what’s better? Out or in? For most Australian homes, the best antenna installation is an outdoor antenna. That’s because of two main reasons: 

  • Most populated areas are quite spread out, meaning only a small number of homes are close to and have direct line of sight to a broadcast tower 
  • There are many obstructions that can cause interference – city areas have tall buildings, while suburbia and rural areas usually have plenty of tall trees (not to mention obstructions within your home) 

That said, if you think these factors don’t apply to you and that you’re a good candidate for an indoor antenna, why not give it a go? They’re not expensive and you can try setting it up yourself at home. Just make sure you’re aware of your home set up before wasting time and effort on an antenna that is not compatible. If you don’t have any success with your indoor antenna, you then hire an antenna installer to set you up with an outdoor antenna.    

Book Your Professional Antenna Installer

Ready to book your professional antenna installer? Install My Antenna has the best antenna installation pros in your local area. We can help advise you on the most suitable antenna for your home and the local area, along with the best location to install it. Call our friendly service team on 1300 800 123 for a free quote or to book your service today.