Digital TV is far superior in quality and clarity than analog TV, but a weak signal can sometimes cause problems with reception. For example, a weak analog signal would appear on the TV screen as a "snowy," or grainy, picture, which may be annoying, but is still viewable. In contrast to this, a slightly weak digital signal would still be sharp and clear. However, if the digital signal was too weak, it could cause the audio and video to cut in and out or disappear altogether.
Another example is multipath, wherein some of the TV signal bounces off a tall building or other structure and arrives slightly later than the direct path signal. An analog signal would appear with a "ghost" image, which is a slightly displaced and faint duplicate of everything in the picture. Again, this may be annoying but is still viewable. A digital signal would produce the same effects as a weak signal: either a clear ghost-free picture, or loss of audio and video, depending on the severity of the multipath [source: WKAR].
The best solution to either problem is to find a way to boost the incoming signal. Here are some tips for boosting a digital TV signal:
- Move the antenna to new location or height, if you're using an indoor antenna. Moving it even a few inches (centimeters) can make a difference. It's best to move it just a bit and then wait a few minutes to see if reception improves before moving it more.
- Re-aim the antenna, if you're using an outdoor antenna. This may reduce or eliminate multipath problems. Note that outdoor antennas normally get better reception than indoor antennas.
- Watch the signal strength meter on the digital-to-analog converter box or television as you move or aim the antenna. Try to get the highest reading possible.
- Install a signal amplifier or booster between the antenna and receiver to increase the signal strength [source: FCC].
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