Terry asked: “I recently purchased a powered, omnidirectional antenna. It’s supposed to pull in channels as far away as 125 miles. When I scan for channels, it comes up with 35-40 channels showing. But when it’s done scanning and I go to show the channels on the TV, it only shows the original 23 channels we have in Jackson. Do you have any idea why it’s doing that, or a solution? Is there a setting on my converter boxes or my TVs that I need to look for?”
Terry, when you scan, a signal is probably being picked up, but when your TV tries to play the channel, the signal is probably too weak.
In the age of digital TV either you get enough signal for a picture, or you don’t. There’s no snowy picture, there’s no less than perfect image. You get it, or you don’t get it.
Some people call that the “shelf effect,” you’re on the shelf, then you move closer to the edge and you’re still on the shelf but eventually, if you keep moving, you just fall off the shelf. That’s what digital signals do, they’re there or they’re not, as far as devices are concerned. Either they’re usable, or they don’t exist.
That means that, when scanning, your devices may notice there’s something out there, but when your TV actually tries to play it, it can’t and it just ignores it.
If you happen to be running a long cable between your TV and your antenna, you can try a shorter run, or even installing an amplifier on the line, but don’t expect too many more channels.
You should know that promising 125 miles is a little unrealistic of that antenna. Some antennas are better than others, but anything above 60 miles is usually considered fringe, and it’s usually hard for an antenna to get pick up much of anything from beyond 70 miles. Sometimes a little more is possible, but the 70 mile limit doesn’t come from any issue with electronics, but from the fact that curvature of the Earth starts getting in the way.
You may be able to pick something up from 75 or 80 miles away if you’re lucky, but 125 miles sounds like a marketing lie to us.
We have recommended the Mohu Leaf antennas before, they are very highly rated and well reviewed. For comparison sake, the powered version of the Mohu Leaf claims to receive stations up to 60 miles away.
So if the best out there sticks with 60 miles, it sounds like 125 is just marketing hype.