How to Choose an Outdoor Antenna Using AntennaWeb

Use this tool to find the right type of antenna for your location.

Old-fashioned antenna attached to a roof
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Outdoor TV antennas are not all equally good at receiving channels. To find the right antenna for your home, you need to know which channels are available in your area, and which type of antenna you will need to receive them

This process is made easy with AntennaWeb, a website co-sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).

AntennaWeb's Local Channels Tool

AntennaWeb has a variety of resources for learning about antennas and over-the-air broadcasting. It includes a tool that allows you to plug in your location (either an address or zip code) and receive a list of stations available in your area. You can then determine which type of antenna you will need to receive each of those stations. The results are specific down the street address, although you can just plug in your zip code if you prefer.

There are six types of antennas listed on AntennaWeb: All are either directional or multi-directional, but they vary in size and whether or not they are amplified:

  • Small multi-directional
  • Medium multi-directional
  • Large multi-directional
  • Medium directional
  • Medium directional w/pre amp
  • Large directional w/pre amp

AntennaWeb does not provide antenna model or brand information. You can use the site in your research process to determine if a given antenna is right for your area.

AntennaWeb's mapping system does not include indoor antennas.

How to Choose an Outdoor Antenna with Antenna Web

Follow these instructions to find the right type of antenna for your home:

  1. Select Antenna Info from the navigation menu at the top.

  2. Select Enter Your Location from the navigation menu. A text box will appear above the menu. The site may read your IP address and automatically input your location. If not, you can enter your address or zip code. Select Go or hit Enter on your keyboard.

  3. AntennaWeb will provide you with over-the-area broadcast information for your location. The top of the page shows the number of channels that are available, as well as the number of stations that are broadcasting in the area. This section also lets you know if the location is affected by the FCC Repack—a massive channel frequency migration to occur in summer 2020.

    You will also find a color-coded map key detailing the six types of outdoor antennas. You will need to consult this key for the next step.

  4. Scroll down to reveal a detailed list of channels available in your area, as well as a color code corresponding to the type of antenna you will need to receive them. Consult the color-coded map key to determine the type of antenna you will need to receive each channel.

    A blue "information" icon lets you know if a given channel will be affected by the FCC Repack. You can select the icon to reveal more information about the change.

  5. Scroll further down to find a Stations Map, revealing the over-the-air stations in your area and their broadcast ranges.

Analyzing the Results for an Indoor Antenna

If you're interested in buying an indoor antenna, pay attention to the type of antenna recommended, as well as the miles specification written in parentheses beneath each channel. Compare those specifications to any indoor antenna you may be considering.