Cord-Cutters: Attenuator or Distribution Amplifier?

When it comes to TV signal, sometimes you need less, while other times you need more. That’s that makes these two products so interesting. In many ways, the Antennas Direct 0-20dB TV antenna variable attenuator and the Channel Master 4-way distribution amplifier for HDTV are opposite devices. If you’re a cord-cutter having signal issues, which one do you need? We’re happy to explain. Without any further ado, here are the major differences between Antennas Direct’s attenuator and Channels Master’s distribution amp.

Is an Attenuator What You Need?

So, do you need the attenuator from Antennas Direct? Well, that depends. Do you live close to the TV transmissions towers in your media market? If you do, there’s a good chance that you’re experiencing what is known as “multi-path interference.” This happens when the TV signals are so strong that they literally bounce off nearby buildings. This creates interference that’s so strong that it causes a total loss of reception.

If you’re experiencing multi-path interference, we’d recommend the Antennas Direct 0-20dB TV antenna variable attenuator. This attenuator lets you adjust the signal power to reduce the interference. In essence, what you get is an adjustable TV amplifier. Just remember to install it somewhere that’s easily accessible so you can easily make your adjustments. Even cord-cutters with more than one antenna can use this device. (Multiple antennas can cause multi-path interference.) You don’t have to live close to the transmitters to get the benefits of this attenuator.

Straight from Antennas Direct, here are some tips for using this attenuator:

  • Turn the knob entirely clockwise to set for minimum attenuation (0dB) and maximum signal.
  • Adjust the knob counterclockwise to reduce signal power.
  • Each rotation is equal to about 4-6 dB of signal attenuation (reduction).
  • Don’t turn the knob past the stop. (This will damage the device.)
  • For stability, mount this unit on any hard surface with the included screw.

How About a Distribution Amplifier?

Channel Master’s distribution amp lets you watch free TV in up to four rooms of your home. That said, this is not a splitter… Or, more to the point, it’s not just a splitter. This helps solve the problem of insertion loss by amplifying the TV signal before splitting it. This makes it ideal for TV antenna installations that use more than 150’ feet of cable. It operates in the 54-1,002 MHz range.

The Ultra Mini 4 is a durable and practical solution for many TV antenna installations. It’s powder-coated and weather-sealed for corrosion protection and long-lasting life. It also protects your home against damage from electrical surges. This device also features Channel Master’s patented Digital Seizure Mechanism (DSM). This helps with conductor retention, surface area contact, and electrical performance.

Attenuator Vs. Distribution Amp: Which One Do You Need?

So, after reading this, do you still find yourself wondering whether you need an attenuator or distribution amplifier? We’re happy to break it down into layman’s terms for you. If you are using a strong antenna amplifier or amplified antenna, and find that some channels appear strange, it just might be that you’ve over-amplified. You’ll need an attenuator in this situation. An attenuator will also help if you’re using an amplifier and one TV is much closer than the others. If you’re trying to distribute TV signal throughout a large home, then a distribution amp is the better way to go.

Get Expert Advice from Solid Signal

Do you want to cut the cord but you’re still confused about what your TV installation needs? That’s okay. While this content provides excellent information about attenuators versus distribution amplifiers, it’s not designed to make everyone an expert after just one read. If you’re not sure what equipment you need to cut the cord, Solid Signal is here to help. We’re an online electronics distributor that specializes in helping people cut the cord on cable TV.

Our team of product experts is at your disposal. Just give them a call at 888-233-7563. Tell them that you’re cutting the cord and you’re not sure if you need an attenuator or distribution amp. They’ll ask you a few questions about your installation then come up with an ideal product recommendation. You can also fill out this TV antenna help request form then wait for them to contact you. Either way, you’ll get the help you need from the experts at Solid Signal.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.