Originally Posted by maxreactance
Most of what you've heard in response is correct, but I'll stress it even more so.
You are falling into the trap of thinking there is such as thing as the "gooder" antenna. By and large, ALL antennas are of about the same "quality" or "goodness".
The idea of a "gooder" antenna is something promoted by the "antenna industry", such as it is. It is also a hold-over concept from the analog TV days, and ham/shortwave radio.
For analog TV, people went with increasingly large directional antennas to get the best signal to noise ratio and most multi-path rejection to have the best possible picture, because with analog, THE SIGNAL WAS THE PICTURE. Then they added rotors to re-position their highly directional antennas towards each transmitter for the channel they were tuning to.
Then they just gave up and went with cable, because there was ALWAYS some multi-path (even if only sometimes, like when a plane flew over), and ALWAYS some noise in the signal (or more correctly, not enough signal in the noise), and a lot of "interference". Cable virtually eliminates all of those problems, "perfect" picture for a price...
Now, with digital, a little (or even more than a little) noise in the signal (or vice versa) has no impact on picture quality. As long as the "snow" you used to see in analog TV doesn't have really large "flakes", you might as well have cable with your "digital" antenna. YOU GET A PERFECT PICTURE...FOR FREE!!!!!!!
That's the good news. That's also the end of the good news.
With the old 8VSB "AM" modulation scheme used in US broadcast TV, common "interference" of all sorts will completely destroy your ability to see any picture at all. This is because your tuner can't distinguish between the digital signal "payload" and the interference.
There is virtually no way an antenna of any level of "goodness" can eliminate all of the common types of interference. When they occur, you will see your "signal strength" and "signal to noise ratio" drop to zero, and a blank screen, after maybe a transition through a highly-pixelated mess of a screen.
Most of this interference was just annoying in the analog TV days, for digital, in the US, IT IS FATAL.
As a practical matter, it is not so much the antenna you use, but where you put it, and what happens in the immediate surroundings at various times.
People in this forum get VERY angry with me because after "testing" many different antennas, I found I got the most digital channels most reliably using a homemade antenna consisting of coat-hanger wire and some sheet metal. The "bestest" antenna I had (a multi-$hundred item) was only about 5% worse than the homemade antenna, but it was consistently worse. Conversely, the homemade antenna was very INEFFECTIVE for analog TV, probably 75% "worse". People who believe in antenna "goodness" probably are conflating what happens with the same antenna for analog versus digital TV.
Soooo...I've already done the tests. I also was forced to learn a lot about antenna theory (as well as transmission line theory and impedance and yes the "imaginary" portion of impedance known as "reactance"), and let me tell you, THE THEORY IS THE RESULT.
You don't really have to "test" antennas, if the antenna makers are kind enough to supply "polar" and "azimuth" and frequency plots of their products "radiation pattern" (some do, most don't, a lot of this stuff can be calculated with software and general knowledge of antenna theory).
Then the question will be: how will any particular antenna with particular characteristics operate in a particular environment? Unforturnately, this is virtually impossible to determine EXCEPT by testing, and each test will ONLY BE VALID FOR THAT PARTICULAR ENVIRONMENT, YOU CAN'T GENERALIZE THE RESULTS, WHAT WORKS FOR ONE TEST ENVIRONMENT MAY BE A DISASTER FOR ANOTHER. (This is also why antenna makers don't like to conduct "range" tests, because they don't necessarily correlate to real-world "performance".)
But if some publication that is hoping for antenna advertising is paying you for an article about these tests, have at it...
How many hours did you spend googling that copy pasta drivel?
Here's a CLUE...
EACH location has it's own set of circumstances and environmental challenges, TESTING at the actual site with different antennas is how one determines which antenna works best for their viewing needs.
You think One Size Fits All?
So, All Knowing One, I have a Radioshack 15-2160 Antenna mounted 8 Feet AGL and here's my plot... http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e6a4fc5aabf903
How many stations do I receive reliably and consistently with an unbalanced 3 Way Splitter going to a Homeworx HW-180PVR, a DirecTV HR20-100 and an ancient RCA RPTV HD set?
Get back to me. Oh and I hope you'll be able to tell me which specific channels I can and can not receive reliably.