Reader Question: Indoor HDTV Antenna

Q: I’m interested in picking up over the air HDTV indoors. Do I need a special antenna or can I use rabbit ears ? Radio Shack sells some antennas that are listed as UHF, VHF, and HDTV but are more money then the rabbit ears. I have heard of picking people up HDTV with just rabbit ears. Any help is appreciated.

A: Let me start with a quote from the FCC Web site: “In general, an antenna that provides quality reception of over-the-air analog TV signals (VHF and UHF) will work for DTV reception.”

The fact is that the UHF (and occasionally VHF) frequencies used for digital TV — DTV — signals are just like those used for analog TV broadcasts. Yes, there are some design tweakings that may make a difference, but your tuner and connections are more likely to be bigger factors. So if you’ve got rabbit ears (or some other low-cost antenna system) that works for analog, there’s a good chance that it will work for digital signals as well.

And just to be clear: DTV is not necessarily HDTV. You need a digital signal such as DTV broadcast over the air to get and HDTV signal, but not all DTV programming is in high definition.