Friday, August 9, 2013

Tech companies may lie to you but we never do

Item number 5 from The Worst Lies Tech Companies Tell You:
Cord cutters, pay attention: There is no such thing as an HDTV antenna. Or to put it another way, any TV antenna you've ever used, ever, is an HDTV antenna. Yes, all of them.
Check out the update on this post from 2010 or this post from 2011. (I've actually grown more suspicious of  some other aspects of that 2011 story, partly because the account conflicts with some things I've observed and partly because the New York Times has a record of serial inaccuracy on the OTA story.)


  1. Key point: any UHF antenna. And yes, they are much smaller than VHF yagi's because UHF wavelengths are an order of magnitude shorter. There is however, some value in powered antennas, especially in densely packed urban environments where multipath signals can overwhelm the receiver; say if you are on the East River on Manhattan, where barges and large ships create water induced attenuation of the signals.

    1. As for UHF, I believe pretty much all antennas built since 1965 when the All-Channel Receiver Act went into effect have been VHF/UHF, which is why the writer was basically accurate when he/she wrote "any TV antenna you've ever used."

      No question that the amplified antennas can be valuable (I switched to one myself when I moved to the north side of LA). My concern is that most of the journalists covering the story (and, as far as I can tell, all of those at the NYT) continue to get basic details of this story wrong even though it would take all of thirty minute of online research to get it right.