Our digital converter box has a coax connector labled “in from antenna” and a different type of input for a smart antenna, what are these?

Liz recently asked a question on TVConversionHelp

I have received my coupons and am now waiting to get my converter boxes,there is a waiting list, however when I saw one (rca) I noticed it has a coax connector for “in from antenna” and a different type of input for a smart antenna, what are these? Is the coax for my outdoor pole antenna? Where would I get a “smart Antenna” and if over the air antenna’s will no longer be functional, why the coax input?

Hello Liz,

Some converter boxes have the option (or feature) that allows you to connect a smart antenna to it. Here’s some information directly from Wikipedia which can best explain what a Smart Antenna is.


In 2008, the United States National Telecommunications and Information Administration began a major effort to persuade consumers to purchase digital television converter boxes.[1] Through this effort, many people have been exposed to the concept of smart antennas for the first time. In the context of consumer electronics, a “smart antenna” is one that conforms to the EIA/CEA-909 Standard Interface, such as the model DTA-5000 marketed by Sylvania.[2]

I’ve modified my asnwer here on 4-5-2009 about smart antennas and using them. Visit: Broadcast and Engineering’s Smart Antenna Information Page  for an in depth look at smart antennas and their functionality.

On your coax question, yes, you can hook up your coax cable from your outdoor antenna to the converter box.

A side note about antennas and DTV antennas. Other than some tricky marketing, there isn’t anything that’s different about an advertised DTV antenna and an antenna not marketed as a DTV antenna.

Good luck and let me know if this helps.


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