With off-air antennas soon to take on an important role for terrestrial broadcasters, the U.S. Patent office has issued a new patent to the Winegard Company of Burlington, IA, for an antenna technology designed to reduce multipath problems in off-air DTV reception.
Winegard’s SquareShooter antenna technology is designed to minimize digital multipath in urban areas. The metropolitan/suburban market is the largest segment of the HDTV market and the primary market for the SquareShooter, where line-of-sight to the transmit source may be blocked and the only broadcast signal available is received from a bounced or reflected signal.
The single largest contributing factor to successful digital antenna installation and DTV/HDTV reception still remains the ability of the metropolitan/suburban consumer to buy an antenna that deals with multi-path or reflected signals.
Multipath problems occur when several different signals from the same broadcast channel reach the antenna — out-of-phase with each other or at differing time intervals. With analog reception, the problem results in ghosts in the image. However, such degradation doesn’t occur with DTV. If not corrected, multipath can cause DTV viewers to receive no signal. This condition is called the cliff effect.
SquareShooter antennas receive and resonate VHF and UHF transmissions from reflected broadcast signals by pointing at another reflective source to capture the reflected signals and display DTV/HDTV signals.
SquareShooter technology has already been implement in Winegard’s 16in square SS-1000 passive and SS-2000 amplified series of digital antenna platforms.