Get Crisp HDTV in a Dorm with Cardboard and Foil
Great news! the NFL season isn’t cancelled!
Horrible news! You have to watch it on basic cable provided in your dorm that’s split 100 ways.
Though this is a dire (and fuzzy) picture, there’s hope. If you want the crisp HD image quality for all the sports and primetime network TV shows you’ve come to expect at home over the summer, a few cheap materials is all you need to build your own HDTV antenna.
Squidoo has the plans for a basic UHF antenna that requires little more than cardboard, foil, and a few odds and ends from RadioShack. They don’t price it out, but it shouldn’t cost more than $20. The site even provides a handy PDF guide to help you cut the foil (which acts as the actual antenna) into the most efficient pattern.
Unfortunately this will probably only work on campuses located near cities with strong over the air digital signals. If positioned correctly though, it should pull in your standard network broadcasts (NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox), along with a few other local channels, or even The CW for you Gossip Girl fans. If you aren’t sure what channels are broadcasting nearby, AntennaWeb is a great resource for finding out what’s available in your area.
I know you may be thinking about old movies where they adjust rabbit ears behind the TV to improve the image to static ratio, but the U.S. is all digital now, and it’s awesome. The picture quality of over the air broadcasts far exceeds HD signals you get from cable or satellite because they aren’t compressed, and UHF antennas such as this don’t even need to be aimed very precisely.
Did you try this out? Have you used an antenna in the dorms? Let us know in the comments.