Choosing an installer
There are several important factors that some people may not be aware of which must be considered before selecting a company to install an OTA antenna or satellite dish.
Quality of installation: For maximum reliability and performance, all OTA antennas need to be installed ABOVE the roofline preferably near the highest point of the roof in order to clear nearby obstructions and avoid multipath interference caused by signals bouncing off from a nearby wall from being received again. Satellite dishes on the other hand can typically be installed on south facing wall at a height of at least 7 ft. or higher if there are nearby obstacles that need to be cleared.
For apartments, a tripod should be used on the balcony in order to increase the distance from the wall and the OTA antenna as much as possible. Although a few locations may have sufficient signal strength from all available channels to install an OTA antenna inside the attic, it is best to avoid this type of installation as up to 40% of the signal is lost when doing so, especially when the outside roof is wet or full of snow.
Avoid any installer who offers the possibility of swapping a wall mounted satellite dish with an OTA antenna without relocating the J-pipe on the roof as this generally provides poor performance due to the issues noted above. Also, avoid installers who don't use a chimney kit (i.e. straps) when mounting an OTA antenna on the chimney as any other method (i.e. J-pipe) is unsafe and will fail over time as the chimney bricks start to deteriorate. As well, under NO circumstances should a J-pipe be extended by inserting an additional mast pipe on it as this puts undue stress at a single anchor point which may fail over time with repeated movement from the wind.
Installers should have a portable signal meter in order to measure the signal for all channels while adjusting the antenna on the roof. Cabling from the antenna down to the entry point should be neatly secured and concealed as much as possible and ALL antenna installations should be properly grounded for your safety and to avoid any nearby electromagnetic interference from causing issues.
Quality of materials used: Avoid any installers who don't use or recommend the current leading OTA antenna brands such as Channel Master or Antennas Direct and RUN AWAY from any installers who only use cheap inferior antenna brands such as Digiwave or Eaglestar Pro. In the case of FTA satellite, avoid installers who recommend satellite receivers listed in our FAQ of FTA receivers to avoid buying as they are most likely involved in satellite piracy.
It's always best to obtain or at least take a look at the box that the OTA antenna comes with when the installer begins the installation in order to ensure you don't get scammed! We actually had some customers in the past who were told by their installer that they were getting an Antennas Direct "DB-8" OTA antenna when they actually used a cheap Digiwave or other low quality 8 bay OTA antenna instead which offers poor performance and starts to fall apart after a few years. Sadly in order to fix the reception issues of these customers, we always end up having to junk their clone OTA antenna and replace it with a quality OTA antenna such as Channel Master or Antennas Direct as it's impossible for us to warranty the work unless this is done.
Experience & reliability: How many years experience does your installer have and are they actually dedicated to this field? There are many un-professional installers out there who only install OTA antennas and/or satellite dishes on the side for some extra cash while working at another job as their main source of income. A quick and easy test to figure this out is to do a quick Google search with their phone number to find out the other types of businesses associated with it. You will be surprised at how many electricians, plumbers, HVAC installers and general contractors are out there installing OTA antennas! The risk of using one of those installers is reliability as these people could stop doing OTA installations at a whim if they get too busy with their main job so you may have issues if any warranty repairs are required.
Insurance: Is the installer insured? All OTA antenna and/or satellite dish installation companies should hold a Commercial General Liability policy to cover any damages to your house or property which may occur during the installation. In addition since January 2013, it is also required by provincial law in Ontario that all satellite or TV antenna installers be WSIB insured in order to avoid the possibility of the homeowner getting sued for negligence if the installer gets hurt while performing the installation. Our installers are insured by both WSIB and a 2 Million Commercial General Liability policy.
Warranty: Is a warranty included with the installation? Professional installers such as us will offer a comprehensive 1 year warranty on parts and labor at NO additional cost as they are confident that the quality of their work and materials used won't cause any issues during the first year after the system is installed.
You will notice that most inferior installers only offer limited warranties of less than 1 year or nothing at all. The main reason for this is that these installers try to cut corners and rush their installations in order to complete more jobs in one day. As their focus is more about quantity rater than the quality of their installations, they would not be able to afford providing a full 1 year warranty. Also, be aware of certain conditions artificially limiting the warranty offered such as ...does not include damage by lightning, ice, windstorms over 56 kp/h or realignment adjustments.... For those of you wondering, YES this is an actual condition to the warranty offered by one of our competitors!