Greg asked: “I was wondering about an antenna for over the air and I didn’t know if I needed to get an amplifier or not.”
Greg, if you live in a city or at least close enough to the transmitter you probably won’t need one.
Most people do just fine without a booster, but if you happen to live far away from the source of the signal, or for whatever other reason (obstructions for example) get a weak signal, a booster may help you.
The good news for your wallet is that boosters are not very expensive, so even if you do need one, you be spending around $30, maybe even less.
With digital signals you don’t get a snowy, distorted signal, you either get it or you don’t. That means that you won’t be able to “live with it,” if sometimes you show just goes away, you will probably be out the door to get a booster in no time.
The general consensus is the Mohu Leaf, which runs about $60, is the best of breed. However, the Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse has performed as well as the Leaf in comparison tests and can be found at around $40 if you shop carefully. Either way, there are two ways to buy an HD Antenna: powered and unpowered. If all your stations are within 20 miles of your home, either will work. If you need a 50 mile range, then a powered unit is the correct choice. Powered units aren’t really much more expensive, it’s just the headache of getting power to them that makes you want to avoid them unless they’re needed.
To find out about the stations in your area and how far they are from your location, visit AntennaWeb.org and enter your street address. It will tell you how far each station in your area is from your location as well as what direction it’s coming from.