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TV Antenna Preamplifier's and Distribution amplifiers


In weaker signal areas a quality preamplifier will almost always improve TV reception.

What is a TV antenna amplifier

A preamplifier is mounted to the mast and amplifies the signal coming directly from the antenna. The advantage to this is the signal is amplified at its strongest point when it comes off at the antenna. However, many times in strong signal areas a preamplifier is not needed. If the signals are reasonably strong and the coax cable run from the antenna to the TV is relatively short (50 feet or less) and goes directly from the antenna to the TV (no signal splitters in line) you will likely not need a preamplifier.

A distribution amplifier is usually mounted indoors and is used when supplying signal to multiple TVs. Install the distribution amplifier on the antenna side of the signal splitter. Distribution amplifier's do very little good installed near the TV input. 

When to use a preamplifier

  • To improve reception in weaker signal areas.
  • When the coax cable run from the antenna to the TV is longer then 50 feet.
  • Many times when a signal splitter is installed within the antenna system a preamplifier will help.

When not to use a preamplifier

  • When the TV signals are very strong and your location is less than 20 miles from the TV transmitters. Very strong signals may overdrive the preamplifier and possibly the TV tuner itself causing reception problems.

Strong signals and multiple TV location.

  • If your location is in a strong signal area and you will divide the signal to several TV locations you will likely need signal amplification. Use a distribution amplifier in strong signal areas not a preamplifier. install the distribution amplifier within a 50 foot cable run from the antenna. Install it on the antenna side of the signal splitter. By placing the amplifier further from the antenna you will reduce the likelihood of signal overdrive.
  • In strong signal areas use the HDA 100 distribution amplifier when a 2, 3, or 4 way signal splitter will be installed with the longest cable run from the splitter to the furthest TV is 75 feet or less. If any cable runs from the splitter to the furthest TV are greater than 75 feet use the HDA 200 amplifier.
  • If a 6 or 8 way splitter is installed use the HDA 200 amplifier.

Weak signals and multiple TV locations

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Additional Resource

Design A TV Signal Distribution System
The most important element of a TV antenna system is the antenna and a close second is the signal distribution system. The distribution system transports the TV signal from the antenna to the TV.


Still have questions about signal amplifiers?