Welcome to the year of the bat wing. The “Bat Wing”, the “T” shaped crank up off-air television antenna found on pretty well every RV. Have you noticed how many you see now in the up position in every campground? Even large highline rigs are displaying their bat wing antennas. So, why has this changed from last year, or previous years?
The government has legislated that television broadcasters switch from analogue to digital. This was done to make better use of the frequency spectrum and allow more services to have the ability to better share these frequency bandwidths. This changed has brought a whole new view on off air reception. Top quality high definition programming is now on many local channels in the U.S.A. This will boost the number of viewers of off air substantially. This is a definite bonus to those of us that have an RV. Many homes get their local news through cable and probably don’t even have an off air antenna. Many RV’s have satellite dishes, but on occasion wish to view the local news via their off air bat wing. Whether you have a newer TV that is already digital ready, or add an analogue/digital converter, you will love the picture quality.
With this increase in use of the “Bat Wing” antennas on RV’s, will come more accidental damage caused by forgetting to retract it prior to departing camp. While some rigs have warning buzzers and lights, many do not. Additionally, with this increased popularity and demand for this new off-air digital broadcast, companies like Winegard hopefully will prosper. New and advanced designs to these antennas will probably emerge.
Features like auto-retract, non-directional and auto rotation may be offered in the near future. Auto-retraction would ensure the antenna is stored if the engine is started or the parking brake is released. This would protect the unit from being damaged or destroyed by contacting an overhead obstacle like a tree branch. A non-directional antenna may offer increased channel quantities by capturing a higher gain in all directions. An auto rotation or an analogue tuner would allow a directional antenna to be tuned for top gain on individual signals. This can not be accomplished with the standard rotating unit. This is due to the digital signal requiring a certain threshold to operate. A slight delay in downloading the needed information prior to displaying a picture makes it impractical to do. The need to monitor manually, or automatically, a separate analogue signal is required.
This free off-air digital broadcast, that includes a number of HD (High Definition) channels, may very well put the pressure on both cable and satellite program suppliers. To date, each have been seeking additional fees from subscribers that wish the higher resolution. They now have competition, albeit with a limited number of channels in comparison.
Check it out! When you see the picture quality, all at zero charge, you might well burn your satellite or cable box.
So, have you tried your area’s new off-air TV signals?
With A Clearer Picture – Lug_Nut – Peter Mercer