At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
A television amplifier can mean different things depending on the context of the statement. In any case, a television amplifier is any device that takes any part of a television system and increases the output level of the signal. The least complex form of amplifier is a sound system that will enhance or increase the audio of the program. More complex types of television amplifiers include signal-boosting methods for cable or over-the-air television or methods used to improve picture transmission within the set. While the audio version typically involves a common stereo system, the rest involve specialized equipment that only amplifies a signal.
The sole purpose of any amplifier is increasing the strength of a signal. Everything else that an amplifier does is secondary to that one main task. Amplifiers are used in a staggering amount of electronics, basically everything from toasters to automobiles. In these devices, they may amplify anything from an audio signal to an electrical signal or a broadcast signal. Essentially, anything that can be transmitted as a signal can be amplified in some fashion.
When regarding a television amplifier, there are a large number of different signals to amplify. At its most basic, the amplifier could improve the audio quality of the system. This is typically done by splitting the signal before it enters the television and allowing a dedicated audio device, such as a stereo, to handle the sound while the television handles the picture. An even less complex version could simply involve a pair of headphones or other small audio device.
While audio devices such as those above are technically television amplifiers, usually the term is used to describe a device that improves sound and picture clarity. The most basic form of this type of amplifier is likely the ‘rabbit ears’ style aftermarket antenna used to assist in tuning in over-the-air broadcasts. Other common forms of television amplifier are outside antennas, digital tuner boxes and cable boosters. All of these devices take in one signal and output a stronger or altered version.
As a signal moves through any medium, it begins to degrade, regardless of whether that medium is open-air, a coaxial cable or even fiber optic line. By the time the signal reaches the recipient — in this case, a television —, certain parts of the information are degraded enough that they won’t play. This usually appears to onlookers as static or fuzzy images or sound. An attached television amplifier will intercept the signal, pull out bad information and try to restore damaged parts. This results in a cleaner picture and clearer sound.