I have to give it to our friends at Winegard. They’ve turned out a very impressive app experience that’s going to help the average DIYer aim an antenna or satellite. It’s available for iOS and Android and it’s totally free.
App home screen
I promise, you don’t have to run this app on an iPhone 6. It’s just an example of the very simple user interface you’ll find. You have two options: antenna aiming and satellite aiming. Winegard sells both satellite products and antenna products. You don’t need a Winegard product to work with this app, though. You have two choices, antenna and satellite.
The antenna pointer
The app gives you the ability to use your location or enter in an address. This is the antenna tower map for our offices in Novi, Michigan. You can tap on an icon and it will tell you which broadcaster you’re looking at. The blue circle is where you could typically use an indoor antenna, with the other circles representing the typical areas where different sorts of outdoor antennas would be needed.
Sliding the list of stations up from the bottom gives you more information about all of them. Note that it tells you if you need High VHF or just UHF antennas to get the station. I will say that sliding the list up took a few tries on an iPhone X since the “slide up from the bottom” gesture is used for something else.
If the card for the station says “View Shows” then you can tap on it and get icons for popular shows you can find on that channel. It’s very helpful.
If you choose the satellite finder, you can choose from Bell, DIRECTV, DISH, and Shaw and get precise aiming instructions for whichever service you want. The app seems to presume you have the latest and greatest multi-satellite dish for each provider. In the case of Winegard’s Playmaker product, you would actually only need one of these satellite listings.
This is a very useful tool because the dish pointers you find in the receiver are based on ZIP code only and these seem to be a bit more precise.
Augmented reality features
I didn’t get to test the augmented reality features completely. Blame the fabulously unreliable Michigan weather if you will. Still, I did try it indoors (the reason for the boring pictures) and you can definitely see where the towers and satellites are in relation to you. This can help figure out if there is going to be a line-of-sight issue on antenna or satellite.
As you can see the satellites are clearly shown and you can see the location of one of the stations. Being in Novi, Michigan some of our stations come from Detroit but others are stationed all around us.
I found the AR features fun to use and I could definitely see them being helpful if there were nearby trees that I wanted to rule out as reception problems.
When to use this app
This app is a great way to see what stations you’re likely to get with what sort of antenna, at least in general. Of course reception patterns aren’t really circular so the app is just making informed guesses.
If you’re a tailgater, this app is perfect for use no matter where you park. It will help you identify obstructions and give you basic settings for aiming the dish quickly. I could see it being a must-have for any RV user, even if they have automatic dishes because it will help you figure out if your parking space is going to be good for satellite TV.
Of course this app makes a lot of guesses as far as what you’ll receive and it can’t answer questions like, “will adding an amplifier to my antenna help it?” That’s where the personalized recommendations from Solid Signal’s tech team come in. You can get a free antenna recommendation just by filling out a form, and our phone reps can help you choose an antenna or satellite dish that does exactly what you need. The number is 877.312.4547 and our 100% US-based staff will take care of everything you need!
This app is available for free on the iTunes App Store and on Google Play.