Excessive Mileage Range Claims
Once you know what is technically possible, you will be amazed at how blatantly false some mileage range claims are inside product descriptions. Indoor antennas have less range than outdoor antennas, and even outdoor antennas have their limitations. Arm yourself with this information and become an informed buyer.
What is the typical range of indoor and outdoor antennas?
Typical ranges of flat indoor non-amplified antennas are around 20 to 40 miles. Add an amplifier to an indoor antenna, and you can usually extend that range an extra 10 miles or so. Indoor antennas are smaller than their outdoor counterparts and usually have to contend with many more obstacles such as concrete/brick walls, short ceilings, metal roofs or the absence of windows.
Outdoor antennas have a slightly longer range (50-70 miles or so), but this is because they are almost all amplified and can be put much higher outdoors such as ontop a roof or mounted on a pole away from structures.
NoCable has a good infographic that shows some ways OTA TV signals can be impacted.
Is a 100 - 150 mile range even possible?
If you have been looking at buying an antenna for any length of time, you've probably seen the 150 Mile TV Antenna claims. This observation troubles us a ton - it is virtually impossible to receive an RF terrestrial TV signal from more than 100 miles away from a transmission source without the aid of a tower (50'+) and a well designed antenna with a large aerial footprint (similar to the old "weather vane" style antennas). We often see claims by antenna manufacturers of "150 mile reception". It simply is not possible and misleads consumers, adding frustration to the entire antenna buying process and devaluing products within the industry.
How can they get away with excessive claims like this?
The devil is in the details. While it may be *possible* to capture a TV signal from 100 miles away, the requirements to do so are so overwhelming that making that claim can be considered false or misleading at the very least.
Even then, terrain and nearby obstacles will inhibit the clean capture of TV signals. There are so many variables that go into capturing a TV signal with an antenna, that any company making a claim like "150 miles" is not giving you the full truth.
What "range" do I need?
This is different for each home. Your best bet is to use a service like DTV Gov Maps. That site and similar services like TV Fool and AntennaWeb will take your home location and predict which channels you can receive with different ranges and types of antennas.