TV antennas is one of the few technologies that has remained relatively unchanged - until now.
For 70 years the conventional wisdom was that manufacturers know all there is to know about antenna physics - and that there are no new ways to make antennas more powerful, efficient or compact.
That idea was challenged in 2003 when Antennas Direct set about creating the most powerful antennas on the planet.
Using sophisticated antenna simulation software, analyzers and test equipment usually reserved for military applications; Antennas Direct is creating antenna designs that are 2 - 10 times more powerful than the models currently sold in big box retail outlets. Some of these models have been unchanged for the last 50 years.
While major manufacturers continue to focus their attention into areas they feel have more promise, antennas have been left to wither on the vine. Their belief is that by 2009 people will no longer receive television signals with something as antiquated as an antenna.
On the way to the trash heap, two very important things happened. First, the nation's television broadcasters invested tens of billions of dollars in new HDTV transmitters, bringing perfect over-the-air HDTV to tens of millions of Americans without the need for cable. Plus, in most cases the image resolution was many times better than satellite or cable. Second, supercomputers developed by the military and computer-aided antenna design software became available to manufacturers. These tools offer the ability to create, simulate and test thousands of different antenna geometries in the time it would take to create a single antenna previously.
Today anybody with an HDTV and an HD tuner can capture these crystal clear signals from their local affiliates. This uncompressed signal offers the consumer the ability to take full advantage of high definition imagery unlike the HD offered by satellite and cable providers. This advantage is only one reason why the best HD can't be had through these providers. Over-the-air HD signals are also free. So, while the satellite and cable providers go into contract negations to decide which local affiliates are available to you and how much more to charge you for an inferior signal, you can enjoy pure HDTV free of charge.