Skip to Content
© Vilgun1 |
TV & streaming

What’s the difference between an indoor and outdoor antenna?

As more people turn to streaming for television, antennas find their way back into and on top of homes. After all, while cutting the cord is not a bad idea as cable prices continue to rise, the main knock on many streaming services is they don’t supply local broadcast channels.

That’s where antennas come in. With them, you can receive so many channels, all of which will arrive for free. Tap or click here for a tool that will show all available free TV channels in your area.

Maybe you remember the bunny ears from back in the day, or perhaps you recall the giant ones that used to sit on top of homes. These days there are many options when it comes to antennas, both indoor and outdoor. Each style has its strengths and weaknesses, including price. But which is right for you?

Which antenna is right for you?

For starters, there is a difference between indoor and outdoor antennas. And it is about more than just size and price.

To determine which is right for you, ask yourself the following questions: Which channels are most important to you? Where will you be putting the antenna? Is having one on your roof even an option? Let’s take a closer look at both options.

Indoor antenna — what to look for

Many of us remember rabbit ears antennas, and while those still exist, the one you may end up with could look very different. One thing you will need to figure out is how clean the signal is to your home. Are you tucked away within some mountains or near tall buildings?

Building materials such as metal, stucco, brick and wood could interfere with a digital signal, as will some household appliances.

Placing your antenna in the right spot can negate these obstacles, but that assumes there is one. Closer to a window is ideal, especially if you can have your antenna face local broadcast towers.

XFTREE HD indoor TV antenna

If an indoor antenna is a right choice for you, here is an excellent option. This XFTREE amplified HDTV antenna offers more than 200 miles of signal reception range for local channels.

You’ll love how easy to install this antenna is. Just connect it to your HDTV or set-top box ports, power the antenna by plugging the USB connector into a port on the HDTV or an outlet with the power adapter. That’s it. Now you’re ready to start watching free TV.

Promising review: This antenna took no more than 3 mins to setup. The antenna came with the standard cables and a USB for powering the antenna. The antenna is super slim (the yellow is my CC) which is very cool to see what you don’t need the old school metal rabbit ears.

Outdoor antennas — what to look for

Many are leaving traditional TV stands in favor of hanging their screens on the wall. That means there may not be a good place nearby for you to put an indoor antenna.

Back in the day, it was common to see an antenna on top of a home. They all tended to look the same and did a great job. When cable became more prominent, antennas started to disappear. The newer outdoor antennas don’t look like the old ones, yet they do the same thing (only better).

While not quite as simple to set up as an indoor antenna, the outdoor styles will provide the best chance for clear TV signals. Typically mounted on a rooftop, they avoid much of the electric noise that impacts indoor antennas and have a clearer line of sight to the towers sending the signal.

The downside, of course, is that you have to install it. That means attaching it to your roof and running cables to it. You will want to do plenty of signal testing before drilling holes in your roof because the last thing you want is to guess wrong and have to try again.

Five Star outdoor TV antenna

If an outdoor TV antenna is a better option for you, this Five Star HDTV model is a great one to try. It offers a full-band DTV/VHF/UHF Receiver and supports 4K HDTV, 1080p,1080l, 720p Broadcast, Radio with up to 150 local HDTV Channels.

It has up to a 150-mile range to access over-the-air channels. This model also comes with a 360-degree rotation function that allows for all directional search, remote-controlled by pressing the rotation button.

Promising review: I live in the country. This is much better than the indoor antenna I bought a month ago. I get 11 crystal clear channels. Plus I’m not above the tree line. Would definitely recommend this antenna. I can also rotate it without getting off the sofa. Thumbs up!

Breaking it all down

Cutting the cord is not a bad idea, but before you do so, make sure to have a good antenna. The channels it receives (for free, remember) will supplement whatever streaming services you choose, giving you even more options.

As for what kind you will need, it really depends on your situation. Do you have a good place inside, near a window and without obstructions, where you could place an antenna? If not, are you allowed to put one on your roof?

Once you can answer those questions — along with a few others — you’ll be ready to go.

By clicking our links, you’re supporting our research. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Recommendations are not part of any business incentives.

Stop robocalls once and for all

Robocalls are not only annoying, but they scam Americans out of millions every year. Learn Kim's tricks for stopping them for good in this handy guide.

Get the eBook