TV signal amplifier – What it is, how it works and how to choose it


In recent years, with the introduction of the new digital terrestrial frequencies, so many people are experiencing significant problems with their television signal. Although one might think that the issue is only to be associated with the television set-top box, in a great many cases poor signal reception is the cause of the inconvenience. It is no coincidence that the use of a TV signal amplifier is increasing, solving all those annoyances related to signal loss and viewing HD channels. But what is a TV amplifier and how does it work? These and other questions will be answered in the next few lines.

TV signal amplifier: what is it

Before making an objective analysis of how it works and the characteristics of the TV amplifier, it is appropriate to understand what it is. When you purchase such a device you take advantage of an active element of the television reception system.

The TV amplifier is nothing more than a physical instrument capable of augmenting the TV signal, and is capable of compensating for losses that come in during the distribution of the same. Even before reaching the sockets in the system, the TV signal takes a certain path, the latter subject to possible reductions in the level of the signal itself, impedances due to cables, splitters, diverters and many other elements.

In order for the tuner to work at its best, minimum and maximum levels must be met, which for digital terrestrial currently range from 45-75 dBuV.

Being an active component of the system, the TV signal amplifier requires a dedicated power supply, which may differ depending on the type of device installed.

Aesthetically, a TV amplifier is nothing more than a small box that must be installed between the antenna cable and the digital cable box, providing a power output of about 20 decibels.

TV signal amplifier: types

As anticipated in the previous lines, a TV signal amplifier can differ in type, even changing the power supply. There are two types: indoor amplifier and pole amplifier.

Indoor amplifier: this type of electronic device is characterized by self-powering and works mainly in single-band power gain adjustment.

An indoor tuner amplifier allows it to be easily installed to an electrical outlet or to the TV itself via USB, providing multiple outputs to allow amplification to multiple TVs. A single-output amplifier can also be installed, generating greater signal broadcasting capacity on a single TV set. Indoor amplifiers are the least expensive, but we will elaborate on costs in a dedicated section.

Pole-mounted amplifiers: geographical areas, where the TV signal is particularly weak, are suitable for the installation of pole-mounted amplifiers. These are placed in the direction of the nearest antenna ensuring better reception.

The models marketed are those with a low noise figure, that is, with the ability to almost completely eliminate the dirty signal. The most common placement is outside the home, with a direct connection to the TV antenna system and taking advantage of a preamplifier. Although the price is slightly higher than an indoor amplifier, it has a better cost-performance ratio.

TV signal amplifier: how it works

The operation of a TV signal amplifier is extremely simple, this is intended to improve the intensity of the various frequency channels picked up by the antenna by detecting the frequencies themselves. The amplifier is responsible for amplifying the signal strength of the system, minimizing the noise there may be between the different components that convey to the TV tuner.

Once the amplifier is installed between the TV antenna and the decoder tuner, it will enhance reception by removing impedances and stabilizing the captured frequencies. More advanced amplifiers can also be adjusted so that no further interference is encountered with other home devices.

Choosing to install an indoor amplifier rather than a pole-mounted one can affect the operation of the device, as there are parameters in the indoor one that affect signal quality more. This is not to say that an indoor amplifier is less powerful than a pole-mounted one, but one has to evaluate the range well to achieve the desired results.

TV signal amplifier: features

The types of TV amplifiers also determine certain characteristics, thinking that you will get the same performance by choosing one device over the other is wrong. Certain parameters determine the potential of an amplifier, but which ones should be considered before purchasing?


Not all TV amplifiers are made to the same dimensional standard, with some having a different structure depending on brand and power rating. Indoor devices are much smaller than pole-mounted devices, this is not only to make installation within the home easier, but also because they are equipped with much smaller electronic components.

As much as size does not determine its qualities, it is advisable to rely on an amplifier that may be suitable for the installation area so as not to be cumbersome.


The data sheet of an amplifier details what the power of the device is, specifically the level of amplification. Those who install an outdoor amplifier usually benefit from values ranging between 30-40 dB, although values of 50/55 dB can also be achieved in the best models. A product with higher power will be able to amplify the signal optimally, always considering the distance to the nearest receiving base.


To receive the new digital terrestrial frequencies excellently, the brand that developed the amplifier should also be checked. Even if the data sheet should present excellent reception and amplification values, it is equally important that this lasts over time. Lesser-known brands use poor materials and components that over time affect signal quality. The best models are made with high-end materials and components capable of coping with even the most dated system issues.


One of the most attractive features of the TV signal amplifier is definitely the purchase cost. So many homes have problems related to the TV antenna signal, this could be solved with an extremely low budget by installing an amplifier. This type of product is usually installed on existing systems, which have problems in reducing more complex signals; but homes that are built in less metropolitan locations are already equipped with amplifiers, so that excellent performance can be achieved.


The main function of the TV amplifier is to enhance the signal of digital terrestrial frequencies, but other interesting features are also added to this condition.

Amplifiers can not only improve the signal of DTT frequencies, but also reduce impedances and convey amplification to other televisions installed in the home. The output of an indoor amplifier is usually single or dual, while an outdoor amplifier may provide several outputs, in which case the number is determined by the brand and model chosen. As is easy to deduce, the greater the number of releases, the higher the purchase price will also be.

Future projection

A feature of an amplifier that should not be underestimated lies in its ability to adapt to new technologies. Just as older generation devices were designed with technologies prepared for the new digital terrestrial frequencies, new amplifiers can also offer such projection. Choosing a product that is technologically advanced allows the device itself to be used even several years from now.

The amplifiers are developed so that they can cover a very wide spectrum of frequencies so that they can be useful even several years after installation.

TV signal amplifier: benefits

The impact that a TV signal amplifier can have is particularly evident by analyzing what the concrete benefits are. Both businesses and individuals by installing such an electronic device can benefit not only from low cost, but from at least five other conditions.


It is not difficult to imagine how one of the most important advantages is to be found in the signal no longer disturbed by interference. In many cases it is not only a weak signal that causes the TV not to receive digital terrestrial frequencies, but also impedances that compromise a clear arrival. Several smart TVs report signal strength values to highlight when this is the problem or interference.

A quality amplifier allows for improved amplification and reduced environmental noise. Choosing a product that improves one or the other factor depends on geographic location and the devices used.

Bad weather

Losing radio signal, especially of less technologically equipped channels, is in many cases constrained by weather conditions. Signal loss is due to a natural impedance that can hardly be coped with except by better infrastructure. And this is where the amplifier can make a difference, amplifying the antenna signal and giving the TV more power.

Homes located in maritime geographic areas all have a TV signal amplifier to enable channel viewing even during poor weather conditions. However, it must be pointed out that under extreme conditions the signal is still absent, especially in the mountains during the winter period.

Ease of installation

Not to be underestimated advantage of a TV amplifier lies in its ease of installation. The indoor type can be installed even by people who have no expertise in this field, just place the amplifier between the antenna and TV tuner and connect the power supply.

Regarding the installation of a pole-mounted amplifier, it is advisable to hire the services of a professional, either an antenna technician or electronic technician. Although this type of installation is also not difficult, basic competence is required for placement to the nearest area repeater.


Further advantage in taking advantage of an amplifier is its ability to be carried anywhere. Although outdoor amplifiers are installed to remain in that location for years, indoor devices can be transported with great ease to wherever they are desired.

The weight of the product is extremely low, and even the size allows it to be easily stored in a bag. Those who have a house in the mountains and do not want to install a fixed device can take an indoor amplifier with them, mounting it as needed without too much difficulty.


In recent months, the rising cost of electricity is causing more and more people to eliminate unnecessary electronic devices. The TV signal amplifier, although not an indispensable element in a home, provides extremely low consumption. In numerical terms, an amplifier has a consumption of about 1.82W, which over a 24-hour day for an indoor year produces a consumption of about 16Kw; translating to 5.26 euros with a cost of 0.33 euros/kWh.

Installing an indoor amplifier can also be turned off at times when the TV is not in use, reducing annual costs even further.

TV signal amplifier: who should install it

Evaluating the installation of a TV signal amplifier does not necessarily have to be done by a technician. Often this professional figure may or may not recommend the type of amplifier, but it is in the encounter of daily problems that the type of audience in need of that product is identified.

Encountering signal problems on a daily basis causes users to plan to use an amplifier, but they can be divided into two main categories: individuals and businesses.

Individuals: those who watch TV every day need to install a signal amplifier in case national channels are not displayed on screen. Individuals usually make use of indoor devices, so they can be installed quickly and without too much inconvenience. Homes located in mountainous settings, on the other hand, need a pole type for individuals as well.

Businesses: companies that have a catering or entertainment business cannot offer a service that does not meet the needs of users. Large rooms where there are many people may experience interference problems with customers’ electronic devices. In order for this to be avoided, it is smart to install a pole amplifier to stabilize the signal and also amplify it to all the other TV sets in the room. Companies do not prefer to install indoor amplifiers because they are less performing and do not guarantee the same qualities as external ones.

TV signal amplifier: common mistakes

Choosing an amplifier is certainly appropriate for those who have problems receiving the new digital terrestrial channels, but what are the mistakes to avoid when installing it in your home or office system?


The TV signal amplifier should be installed between the main antenna and the TV tuner. Although this process may seem trivial for an indoor device, it becomes much more complex for an outdoor amplifier. In many cases, the direction of a TV frequency is thought to be omnidirectional, but in reality the radio waves picked up by the antenna come from a specific point, located at the main radio station in the target area.

Every city has different radio frequency stations, so in order to carry the signal in the best possible way, the antenna and amplifier should be directed correctly. A trained technician or the official website of your municipality will be able to help you define the direction and placement of the amplifier so that you get the best result for the radio signal.


Other error however lies in the power of the chosen amplifier. Not all devices have the same amplification power, and you should relate it to your needs. Again, the power depends on the distance from the central station and the potential noise the signal may encounter from the antenna to the TV. If you owned a very old system, it would be wise to choose a more powerful amplifier than budgeted for your city.


New generation TV amplifiers are unlikely to run into interference issues with home devices, but it is advisable to install the product away from sources that exploit radio waves.

Placing an amplifier near an Internet connection router that operates on 2.4 Ghz and 5.0 Ghz frequencies could result in malfunction of both. It is no coincidence that external amplifiers are the least susceptible to interference, since they are located far from disturbing radio sources.


Recurring mistake of those who install a TV signal amplifier is to be found in the incompatibility of the system. The connection between antenna, amplifier and TV is not as obvious as one might imagine, although useful standards are used in Italy to facilitate installation, those who buy such a device online must pay attention to compatibility.

Some amplifiers have non-European connection jacks, effectively becoming useless for home assembly. In addition to this aspect, the receiving frequencies should also be checked, making sure that they are not those of the old digital terrestrial or countries other than Italy. Placing a Lithuanian TV amplifier will not allow the frequencies allocated to Italian telecommunications companies to be received.

Poor brands

Among the mistakes to avoid is choosing a poor amplifier. In addition to the build quality and internal components, in many cases it is the brand name of the device that makes the difference. Some companies are much more reliable than others and provide many years of warranty and better longevity.

Several people buy amplifiers online, focusing mainly on the low price and not on the real quality it can offer. It is recommended to buy such devices online only if they are branded by companies that are very famous in the field, eliminating any problems inherent in reliability.

Old generation

Some vendors in many cases try to market old TV amplifiers in order to get rid of them. Older generation amplifiers do not allow reception of the new digital terrestrial frequencies. In the condition where a below-market cost is found, it is advisable to check the model and the frequencies it can receive.

TV signal amplifier: cost

Defining the cost of a TV signal amplifier is not easy; there are many models on the market, and each company sets a price based on potential and durability.

However, ranges can be identified in which good products can be purchased, both indoor and outdoor. First of all, it is worth noting that the difference between a high cost and a very low cost is due to these factors: power, signal cleanliness, number of connectors and filters.

An amplifier with all these features can be purchased at a significant cost. Usually the price of a good TV signal amplifier is between 15-50 euros. Specifically, indoor models can be purchased at a price of 15-30 euros, while outdoor amplifiers are marketed between 20-50 euros.

The most expensive product is not always also the best one; the brand name in this case may increase the cost for equal performance of a lesser-known alternative. In this case, investing in a product made by a reputable company could be a viable solution.

TV signal amplifier: how to choose it

The choice of an amplifier depends as already anticipated on one’s needs and environmental needs; residing several kilometers from the central radio frequency station generates greater difficulties in reception. But, what are the conditions to check before choosing a TV amplifier?


Input is used to identify the port where the antenna is connected. Not all antennas are identical to each other, and buying an incompatible amplifier will lead to the impossibility of installation.

Amplifiers with a single input can pass band III, IV and V of TV radio frequencies, but one can also choose TV amplifiers with multiple inputs and take advantage of different bands. In this case if more interference is encountered it is advisable to install a device with multiple inputs/outputs, while if the signal is not too weak even a single input/output may be sufficient.


In the previous lines, attention was given to the importance of an amplifier’s gain. This term is used to define the maximum increase in signal level that a device can make; it is measured in dB. Standard amplifiers allow the adjustment of this parameter with trimmers, which acting as attenuators ensure better or worse reception of the TV signal.


To choose a quality amplifier, it is essential to also check the AGC (Automatic Gain Control) function. This function automatically adjusts the gain, eliminating manual trimmers and leaving it up to the software to decide what is the ideal condition for the best result in viewing digital terrestrial channels.

This function is most useful in maritime and mountainous areas where variable weather conditions can affect signal fluctuations. Proceeding to manual adjustment could be frustrating, whereas with AGC it would be done automatically.


The data sheet of a TV amplifier reports several parameters, among them it is worth checking the noise parameter. Indicated in dB (Decibels) the degree highlights the noise induced by the amplifier. A system with particularly high noise also affects the quality of image reception.

Choosing an amplifier with high noise is equivalent to buying a more powerful model capable of limiting interference from your system. In this case, it is not necessary to install an overly powerful amplifier in a modern system, whereas it is almost a given within a system made several years ago.


Tv signal amplifier models are equipped with tele-powering on individual inputs. With this function you can benefit from a product that acts directly on the dip-switch or contact closure, sending a preamplifier or direct voltage.

A device equipped with tele-powering capability will certainly cost more, but it can be very useful to those who need to save electricity and want to use the amplifier at specific times of the day. Several hotel facilities are equipped with tele-powered systems.

Absorption and voltage

The most underestimated parameters when choosing an amplifier are those of power consumption and power supply voltage. As anticipated in the previous lines, an external amplifier power supply needs more attention. Choosing a power supply that can best cope with electrical current voltages and power draw will make device breakage less likely.

Owning a compliant system can in itself be a good way to limit unforeseen voltage loads during weather precipitation, but equipping oneself with an amplifier already designed for such functions can make all the difference in order not to experience inconvenience over time.

TV signal amplifier: conclusions

Installing a TV signal amplifier in your home or office can ensure a more stable and qualitatively better digital TV signal. Although in recent years both purchase and installations have a very low cost, more and more individuals and companies are installing such a system to get the maximum performance from their system. The choice between an indoor and an outdoor amplifier is constrained by need, location, budget, and existing system type.