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PORTLAND -- Since TV went digital, viewers sticking with antennas can find themselves with more broadcast stations and in some cases, a more clear picture, minus a monthly cable or satellite bill.

Nearly 20 million viewers nationwide watch free digital television, sometimes in HD, staying with the rooftop antenna technology used by their grandparents for black and white sets.

With everyone wanting to save money and everyone on a budget it works out very well it's such a good choice and I would recommend it highly to anyone, said antenna user Kerri Pasa.

Mark Smith of Vision Installations said business has picked up since the downturn in the economy, and as word spreads about the quality of digital broadcast television.

Put up an antenna and it s a one-time charge but obviously you don t pay a monthly fee, said Smith.

Prices for a new antenna range from $10 for a pair of rabbit ears to around $250 for a top of the line antenna for your roof.

If you live in a neighborhood where codes and covenants restrict you from putting one on your roof you can install one in your attic, as long as you don't have a metal roof.

You may have to get a bigger antenna in the attic to compensate for the blanket effect of a roof but it still works absolutely, said Smith.

Before you rush out and buy an antenna, make sure you can receive a good television signal where you live. If you buy an antenna with an amplifier, it won't help. All it does is amplify an bad signal.

Log on to www.antennaweb.org and put in your home address. The free service will tell you approximately if a television antenna could work for your location. The site does not take into account topography or tall buildings which may be in the way of a signal. The website also answers a number of questions about converting to antennas.

Most reputable dealers will allow you to return an antenna purchase if you are careful to return it in the original packaging.

Smith said his installations run about $150, plus the cost of an antenna.

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