Rabbit Ears Perking Up? Antennas on the Rise, Says AP

by on May 4, 2007 · 8 comments

Are TV antennas making a comeback? It may be hard to believe, but according to Joe Milicia of the Associated Press, there’s a mini-boom going on in the antenna business. And it’s not just technophobes who are buying them. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
According to Milicia: “…some consumers are spending thousands of dollars on LCD or plasma TVs and hooking them up to $50 antennas that don’t look much different from what grandpa had on top of his black-and-white picture tube.”

According to the head of an antenna company: “Eighty-year-old technology is being redesigned and rejiggered to deliver the best picture quality. It’s an interesting irony.” The reason is that quite a few people believe HD signals are actually better over-the-air, and with digital technology snow and other interference is less of a problem. “Over-the-air everything is perfect,” said one consumer.

It’s a controversial point, to say the very least. And it hard to imagine the general public returning to the world of over-the-air. Most people, one researcher is quoted as saying, don’t even know they can get HD over-the-air. And many — as Gary Shapiro has pointed out — just don’t care. Still, if there is even a short-term boom in antennas, this is a rare bit of good news for the beleagured broadcast industry.

Perhaps rotary-dial phones will come back next…

  • eric

    I’m looking into the antenna question. I built an HDTV antenna that works fine indoors when the weather is calm. Wind, rain, snow, or other small atmospheric disturbances seem to degrade or break up the signal. And I’m only five miles from all the transmitters. Obviously it is a perfect picture, except when there is no picture at all during annoying interruptions. Apparently I need to look into a better antenna or a better location. Perhaps someone with more knowledge can correct me, but I think the signal won’t be so finicky if they move the channels into the VHS spectrum after 2009. I believe in OTA television, but so far HDTV has been a little buggy for me.

  • eric

    I’m looking into the antenna question. I built an HDTV antenna that works fine indoors when the weather is calm. Wind, rain, snow, or other small atmospheric disturbances seem to degrade or break up the signal. And I’m only five miles from all the transmitters. Obviously it is a perfect picture, except when there is no picture at all during annoying interruptions. Apparently I need to look into a better antenna or a better location. Perhaps someone with more knowledge can correct me, but I think the signal won’t be so finicky if they move the channels into the VHS spectrum after 2009. I believe in OTA television, but so far HDTV has been a little buggy for me.

  • http://anomalyuk.blogspot.com/ Andrew McG

    You should compare the situation in the UK. Here consumers are in no hurry to go to HD, but have largely moved to digital 16:9 anamorphic television at the standard PAL definition (slightly higher than NTSC). This is available by cable, satellite and over-the-air. Over-the-air digital (“Freeview”) is free and popular, but has run into similar issues, in that people with below-spec antennas for analogue use need new antennas to get the digital.

    Obviously, the geography of the UK is more suited to national terrestrial broadcasting than that of the USA.

    More on the subject on my blog.

  • http://anomalyuk.blogspot.com/ Andrew McG

    You should compare the situation in the UK. Here consumers are in no hurry to go to HD, but have largely moved to digital 16:9 anamorphic television at the standard PAL definition (slightly higher than NTSC). This is available by cable, satellite and over-the-air. Over-the-air digital (“Freeview”) is free and popular, but has run into similar issues, in that people with below-spec antennas for analogue use need new antennas to get the digital.

    Obviously, the geography of the UK is more suited to national terrestrial broadcasting than that of the USA.

    More on the subject on my blog.

  • Carl Corbett

    Perhaps we will begin to see the revival of the enormous rooftop aerials to capture OTA signals again. I have noticed that golf shirts with the little alligators that were so popular in the 70′s are making a comeback, as well. Retro is cool. Maybe Pink Floyd will go on World Tour again too!

  • Carl Corbett

    Perhaps we will begin to see the revival of the enormous rooftop aerials to capture OTA signals again. I have noticed that golf shirts with the little alligators that were so popular in the 70′s are making a comeback, as well. Retro is cool. Maybe Pink Floyd will go on World Tour again too!

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