Will TV signals interfere with your cell signal?

If they do, you probably have bigger issues. Yes, it’s true that LTE signals from local cell towers can interfere with TV antenna reception. This is because LTE is now carried on frequencies that used to be used for television, and so if an antenna isn’t designed to block those signals there can be problems. But the opposite is almost never true.

In order for a TV signal to interfere at all with a cell signal, it would have to first and foremost be stronger than that cell signal. Realistically for that to happen you would need to be in direct line of sight of a TV antenna a mile or so away. TV signals are stronger than cell signals, that’s true, but because of some physics stuff that I don’t want to get stuck in, all broadcast signals lose a lot of power in a very short distance away from the broadcast source. This is true whether it’s a cell signal, a TV signal, or even the signal from a remote control. So if you’re at the point where the TV signal is stronger than a cell signal, you’re probably quite close to that TV signal.

Second thing you need to know is that cell signals are higher in frequency than TV signals, making it less likely that there will be interference. Cell antennas are designed to pull in the very narrow frequency ranges that cell phone providers use and they aren’t very good at pulling in any other sorts of signals… that’s by design. Every millimeter in a cell phone is precious and there simply isn’t room for anything that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. So what I’m saying here is that while some TV antennas can pick up cell signals, cell antennas can’t pick up TV signals.

Finally, you can sleep safely knowing that all these signals are, in truth, extremely weak. We’re talking ten-thousandths of a watt here. It’s pretty amazing that you can receive them at all, but the science of antennas is pretty advanced after about 150 years of research.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 7,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.