Reader Question: Rabbit Ears for Digital TV?

Q: I think I’ve heard you mention on The Personal Computer Show that rabbit ear owners would do well to replace their old antenna with a digital style model. Is that correct?
Richard Blum

A: Actually, Richard, my take on “rabbit ears” is slightly different. The problem is that analog signals can be received even when the signal has a lower strength; you get a snowy picture but you can still see it. Digital signals “fall off the shelf”, and you get a blank screen once the signal strength drops below a certain level. As a result, you may find that the rabbit ears — or whatever you use now to receive analog signas — that has worked okay may not work for digital. If this is the case, then you will need to go for an antenna system with more gain. Fortunately, there are all sorts of clever antennas — both for inside and outside your home — available at affordable prices that can do a better job of pulling in weak signals.

However, my strong position is that you first should try the antenna you alreay have, and only make a change if the existing setup doesn’t perform well enough.

Do you have questions about HDTVs? Write me at alfred@hdtvprofessor.com and I’ll do my best to help.