The answer is yes, you can use ‘bunny rabbit’ ear indoor TV antennas to get digital TV reception in Sydney, but only in very limited circumstances.
What Are Indoor TV Antennas?
Indoor TV antennas are simply very small, omnidirectional antennas designed to receive VHF or UHF frequencies, which broadcast TV signals. If you want our deep dive on TV Antennas, feel free to read more detail about outdoor TV antennas here.
But, here’s the catch. You can call almost any metallic object an antenna! With a balun attached to any piece of metal, you can receive some level of radiowaves. You may have even heard the story about getting analogue TV signals by inserting your finger or a coathanger into the back of your TV (the antenna cable input). However, the signal power and signal quality of the signals you are receiving will vary depending on the antenna you have installed.
Here are a list of bad attributes as to why indoor TV antennas perform very poorly, when compared to typical outdoor antennas:
- Omnidirectional: they do not ‘point’ towards the TV transmission towers and so are trying to receive signal from every angle. This means they take in a lot of unwanted signals, creating ‘noise’ and a poor quality signal.
- Single element: they have only one short element (arm) and as a result have very low gain. In essence, this means they will provide a very poor signal power level.
- No filtering: they do not filter any unwanted signals, like those received from 4G mobile phone towers nearby. This can cause interference and overload your TV tuner, resulting in no picture or audio (or pixelation).
- Low front to back ratio: given their characteristics, and the fact they are omnidirectinoal, they exhibit low (or no) front to back ratio. They don’t have a front or back. Again, this causes ‘noise’ and unwanted signals resulting in a low quality signal.
Location, Location, Location...
But you said that indoor TV antennas DO work for digital TV, right?
Yes, but only in very limited situations. The lucky people who are located very close to the main TV transmitters in Sydney (ie Artarmon) may be able to get away with using an indoor TV antenna to get their TV channels. This is because the TV signals close to the TV transmitters will be much stronger as compared to locations that are many kilometres away from the transmitter. In addition, the signal will have less objects interrupting the line of sight between the antenna and the TV transmitter.
However, beware that you an still experience signal quality problems even if you are very close to the TV transmitters. Whilst the signal strength will be higher, there is no guarantee that there are no other radiowaves in the area that the indoor TV antenna will pickup and try to send to your TV tuner.
From our experience operating in Sydney for 40+ years, we see and hear from a lot of people who have persisted with an indoor TV antenna for a few weeks or a few months. However, in the end most people usually grow frustrated with indoor TV antennas given the ongoing need to either re-position the antenna, re-tune the TV or simply miss their evening TV show in bad weather.
If you want a reliable, consistent TV antenna that will work in all weather conditions, Nu Life TV Antenna guarantees perfect digital TV reception with all of our installations. So you won’t ever be left with that dreaded “No Signal” message on your digital TV.