RCA Smart Antenna

The change to digital television has gone well for most households, but some who are in built up areas or on the city fringes have experienced problems with their reception. An RCA smart antenna is ideal for these areas because it constantly optimizes the signal strength, regardless of the direction the signal is coming from. With a retail price under one hundred dollars, an RCA smart antenna is an affordable solution to many reception problems. However, it can only be used with a television or converter box that has a special port for the smart antenna control module.

Radio Corporation of America (RCA) no longer exists as a company, but its well known brand name is still used today to sell consumer electronics products. The RCA brand is currently owned by the large Thomson corporation, who have licensed it to other companies. One of these licensees is Audiovox, an American company that sells a range of products, including car audio equipment and television accessories. The RCA smart antenna is an Audiovox product that is part of their RCA Accessories range.

To get the best signal strength from an antenna, it needs to be positioned correctly. In the past, this was usually done by turning the antenna by hand or with a motorized drive. A smart antenna can change its direction without physically moving. It achieves this remarkable feat with the help of a special computer chip, called a digital signal processor (DSP). The processor selects the strongest signals from the various antenna elements to deliver a signal which is consistently strong, regardless of the direction the smart antenna is facing.

Smart antennas were first developed in the sixties for jet fighters and spacecraft. In those days, the technology was top secret and very expensive, and there were certainly no retail products that used it. That changed in later years as the technology became more widely used by industry. For example, smart antennas made it possible for a fixed cell phone tower to communicate with many phones at once. There are now smart antennas available that are affordable enough for consumers to buy, as can be seen in the extensive RCA smart antenna range.

Interference is a problem that affects television that use conventional antennas. Ideally, the signal should travel in a direct line from the tower to the antenna, but things are never that simple in large cities. There are often many towers transmitting on similar frequencies, as well as buildings and other objects that reflect the signals in different directions. Combined with weather effects, the signal strength from a conventional antenna can change frequently. An RCA smart antenna overcomes this problem by adapting to the changing conditions and delivering a signal which is consistently strong.

An RCA smart antenna has a low-noise amplifier and an auto-gain controller that improves the raw signal. It is classed as an omni-directional antenna, which means that it can be placed almost anywhere and does not need to be pointing in a particular direction. But unlike a conventional antenna, an RCA smart antenna has a control module between it and the television or converter box. The module contains the electronics that selects the antenna elements which provide the best signal strength, depending on the feedback it gets from.

An RCA smart antenna requires a few extra steps during installation but these do not take very long to perform. A conventional antenna only requires one cable but a smart antenna requires three cables. The first cable is a standard coaxial lead from the smart antenna to control module. There is also another coaxial lead and a feedback cable between the control module and the television or converter box. For normal operation, there must be no splitters or other devices anywhere on the coaxial cables. An RCA smart antenna can be laid flat on the ground or hung from a wall, and it can even be covered or painted to conceal it from view.

This RCA Smart Antenna Review is Written/Updated on Jan 8th, 2010 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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