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What is a Preamplifier?
What is a Preamplifier?
Written by Free TV Project Staff
Updated over a week ago

A preamplifier, also known as a preamp, is an amplifier designed for an outdoor antenna. It comes in two parts. The main amplifier portion gets installed close to the antenna via a short 3- to 6-foot cable. The other part is a power inserter that gets connected after the long cable from the outdoor antenna to somewhere inside your house. This way you do not have to run power up to the antenna on the roof or in the attic. Any splitter should go after the power inserter of the preamp, not before. Below is a diagram that shows how a Channel Master preamp is set up:

The main purpose of a preamp is to prevent signal loss in a long coaxial cable or when connecting an antenna to multiple TV sets. While a preamp usually improves reception with an outdoor antenna, it’s important that you are using the correct antenna for your area. If adding a preamp does not improve your reception, you may need a larger antenna. You can find a list of recommended antennas here.

Getting started

Watching free, over-the-air TV with an antenna is simpler than you may think. In many cases, you can take an antenna out of the box, connect the cable to your TV, run a channel scan and voila! You have dozens of local channels to surf.

The number of channels you can access and how clearly they come in is based on a number of factors, including your distance from the point of broadcast towers, the type of antenna you have and where it’s located in your home.

Not sure what kind of antenna you need? Take our simple quiz to help narrow down the options. You can also find a general list of recommended antennas here.

Pair your antenna with an OTA DVR device to record your favorite shows

Did you know you can use an antenna similarly to how you watch cable? Ditch the costly subscription fees, but keep the cable capabilities (record, pause, rewind and fast forward) with an OTA DVR device. Here are the products we recommend:

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