Hdtv antenna reviews

Hdtv antenna reviews DEFAULT
  • We’ve replaced our runner-up, the RCA ANT3ME, with the new model, the ANT3ME1, which clearly outperforms the old model but (at this writing) costs considerably more.

July 22, 2021

As streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ grow in popularity, many people are dumping their expensive cable and satellite TV subscriptions. For those who still want to watch the occasional live event or local programming without adding subscription costs, a great indoor TV antenna such as the Antennas Direct ClearStream Flex is the simplest, most dependable way we’ve found to pull in dozens of TV channels for free.

No matter where (or in what city) we hung it, the Antennas Direct ClearStream Flex always ranked among the best in pulling in the most TV channels. Its flat design makes it easy to hang on a wall, and it’s reversible, with black and white sides (it’s also paintable). The antenna comes with a detachable amplifier that can draw power from your TV’s USB port, as well as a long, detachable cable, which is convenient if you want to replace it with a cable of a different color or length. The only downside is that the ClearStream Flex is a little larger than average for a flat antenna.

The amplifier of the RCA ANT3ME1 has a built-in signal-level meter that provides a near-instantaneous readout of the signal strength. This feature allows you to quickly find the optimum position for the antenna, a process that could take more than an hour if you instead use the TV’s internal channel-scanning process to evaluate different positions. The ANT3ME1 is essentially the same as our previous runner-up, the RCA ANT3ME, but with a slightly wider antenna design that helped it to perform roughly equal to our top pick before we used the meter. When we used the meter to fine-tune the antenna’s positioning, the ANT3ME1 sometimes outperformed our top pick. But the cable is not detachable, and the amplifier requires an AC outlet rather than USB power.

The Winegard Flatwave Amped Pro is truly a “smart” antenna, with a built-in signal meter that you control through a mobile app and a Bluetooth connection. As you move the antenna around a room, every six seconds it gives you an update on the number of channels you can receive. In every location we tried, using the app to position the antenna helped the Flatwave Amped Pro rank either first or second in the number of channels received. The amp is USB-powered, the antenna is reversible with black and white sides, and you get a generous amount of cable. However, the cable isn’t detachable, and the Flatwave Amped Pro is usually about twice the price of typical amplified flat antennas.

The 1byone Digital Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna has been our budget pick in this guide for a few years running. It performs almost as well as our top pick; if you’re within about 15 miles of the broadcast antennas, you might not miss any channels with this one. It has an inline amplifier, includes a fairly generous amount of cable, and is relatively compact. The only downsides are that the cable is not detachable and the antenna is not reversible or paintable, so your only color option is black.

Why you should trust us

I’ve been writing about TVs since I was senior editor of Video magazine in the early 1990s, where I covered the transition to high-definition and digital TV and was one of the first 10 people certified for video calibration by the Imaging Science Foundation. I’ve been an editor or writer for numerous tech-related publications, including Home Theater, Home Entertainment, and Sound & Vision magazines, and for websites such as Wirecutter, Lifewire, Mashable, and SoundStage. I’ve conducted three previous multi-product tests of TV antennas, and I’ve been a cord-cutter since 2000, relying entirely on broadcast TV, DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming for my video entertainment.

The previous version of this guide was written by Wirecutter senior editor Grant Clauser, and some of this material is based on his testing and research, done at his Philadelphia-area home and in New York City. Grant has written about AV electronics for more than two decades. He was an editor at Dealerscope, E-Gear, and Electronic House, as well as a writer for Big Picture Big Sound, Consumer Digest, Sound & Vision, and others. He is ISF-certified and has completed THX Level II home theater design courses.

Who this is for

With so much content available from streaming video services such as Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, and others, there’s less need to pay for an expensive cable or satellite TV subscription. But some viewers still want the live-TV experience, be it for sports, news, special events, or local foreign-language broadcasts. For them, a live TV streaming service such as Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV is an option, but that still requires a monthly subscription fee. If most of the live-TV content you want to watch is from local broadcast channels, an inexpensive TV antenna could be the best way to go.

As long as you’re within about 30 miles of the local transmitting towers and aren’t blocked by a mountain range or rows of tall buildings, an antenna will receive free live programs from the major networks, including ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox, NBC, PBS, Telemundo, and Univision. Depending on your metropolitan area, an antenna is also a good way to get free non-English-language channels.

For this guide, we focused on indoor TV antennas, which you can place in a window, on a wall, or behind your TV. These models are all easy, practical, and affordable options to install in any house or apartment. Depending on your location, you can probably receive more channels with a rooftop or attic antenna—for example, in my Los Angeles home, my large, rooftop antenna pulls in 144 channels, while the best indoor antennas get a little more than 100. However, many people can’t or don’t want to install a rooftop or attic antenna. Plus, although a good indoor antenna might not receive as many stations, the stations you can’t get are likely to be small independents with fairly weak transmitters.

How we picked

Four HDTV antennas we recommend.

We assembled an extensive list of indoor antennas that had been introduced since our last major update of this guide in 2019, and we also consulted manufacturers to see which new models they thought we should test. Then we focused on antennas that met most of the following criteria:

  • Both UHF and VHF: All the antennas on our final list were rated for both UHF (channels 14 and above) and at least high-VHF (channels 7 to 13) reception. For many years, an indoor antenna’s ability to pull in VHF signals was less important because most digital TV channels reside in the UHF range. However, recent broadcast-transmission changes have made VHF reception more important. You can read more about this in UHF vs. VHF.
  • Simple to assemble and install: You shouldn’t need tools to put together an indoor antenna.
  • Easy to mount and move: You should be able to hang the antenna on a wall without needing tools or causing major damage to your wall, and the antenna should be easy to move for better reception.
  • At least a 10-foot cable: Because location is the key to good reception, a 10-foot cable gives you more flexibility. (If you need a longer cable, an extension cable with the necessary coupler is available for about $10.)
  • Unobtrusive design: You may need to put your antenna in a visible location for the best reception, so it shouldn’t be ugly. Most indoor antennas today—and most of the ones we looked at—are flat. And flat antennas are easy to hide.

Most indoor antennas now include an amplifier, either as an add-on or permanently built into the antenna’s cable, to help boost signal strength. We didn’t make an amplifier mandatory, but under most conditions we found that the antennas we tested that offered the amp as an option, rather than as a permanent feature, performed better with the amplifier connected than without.

TV antennas often have a range rating, but we ignored that because it’s bogus. Some antennas carry range ratings in the hundreds or thousands of miles, even though the curvature of the Earth limits range in miles to approximately 1.41 times the square root of the broadcast antenna height in feet—for example, about 32 miles for a 500-foot antenna tower on flat ground, assuming a clear line of sight. Range is mostly a matter of the transmitter power and location. As one manufacturer told us, “If you had a strong enough transmitter on the moon, any TV antenna could pick it up.”

Some antennas now carry a “NextGen TV–ready” or “ATSC 3.0–ready” label, but this too is bogus. NextGen TV is a marketing term for ATSC 3.0, a recent expansion of the current ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) broadcast standards that allows transmission of 4K video, Dolby Atmos immersive sound, and high dynamic range (HDR) signals. However, ATSC 3.0 uses the same transmission frequencies as the previous ATSC standard did, so an antenna that works for a certain channel now will work no better or worse if and when that channel upgrades to ATSC 3.0.

TV antennas often include a range rating, but we ignored that because it’s bogus. Range is mostly a matter of the transmitter power and location.

Incidentally, all of these antennas should also work reasonably well for FM radio, which resides in a frequency band just above TV channel 6.

As anyone who has looked for antennas on Amazon knows, there’s a huge number of lesser-known brands. We skipped them for this guide. We had to do that to keep our testing process manageable, but if you have any models you’re particularly curious about, let us know in the comments section below.

UHF vs. VHF

We used to be able to ignore, for the large part, an antenna’s reception of VHF (TV channels 2 through 13, or frequencies 54 to 216 MHz) because, in the switch to digital TV, most stations abandoned VHF and shifted to the UHF range (originally, TV channels 14 to 69, or frequencies 470 to 806 MHz). However, the Federal Communications Commission recently auctioned off the radio frequency spectrum above 600 MHz (formerly TV channels 35 and higher) to wireless broadband services, which forced many TV channels to shift to lower frequencies in the VHF range.

This change, often referred to as the “FCC repack,” required existing antenna users to rescan their channel lineup to find any channels that may have moved. Some people may have been disappointed to discover that their formerly reliable antenna could no longer pull in channels that had moved from UHF to VHF. That’s because the longer wavelengths of the lower frequencies are difficult for small antennas to receive. For our latest round of testing in February 2021, we put more emphasis on an antenna’s performance in both the UHF and VHF ranges.

To find out whether you need to worry about VHF reception, visit the RabbitEars Signal Search Map and enter your zip code to see which stations in your area are broadcasting on which channels. The map also shows where the broadcast antennas are relative to your location.

Note that these changes do not affect the channel number listed in your TV-channel guide. TV stations still use the same “virtual channels” as before, so the channel that has always shown up as channel 5 on your TV will still be listed as channel 5—but it may actually be transmitting on, say, radio-frequency channel 28.

How we tested

TV reception is unpredictable. As one manufacturer explained to us, “The antenna that works great for you might not work for your neighbor because their house is constructed differently or they have to place the antenna differently. Maybe there’s a tree in the way.” So we can’t promise that you’ll get great results with the antennas that worked best for us. But in the hope of finding the antennas that would work most consistently under the greatest variety of conditions, we used them in five different locations for our latest round of testing.

I started with two rooms within my house, on the western end of Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley, about 30 miles from the TV broadcast towers on Mount Wilson, which are about 4,700 feet higher than my house and visible with binoculars from my rooftop. In an effort to test with a weaker, low-VHF channel, I also used locations in Los Angeles’s Los Feliz neighborhood and in Arcadia, California (about 10 and 5 miles, respectively, from the Mount Wilson antennas), as well as a motel in Oceanside, California, that put me within 25 or 42 miles of San Diego’s TV transmitters depending on which TV station I was trying to receive.

I used three different TVs for these tests: a 2020 Vizio P659-G1, a 2010 Samsung UNC46C8000, and a 2009 Philips 19PFL3504D/F7. For each round of tests, I did a channel scan with the connected TV to see how many channels I could pick up. (Note that many of these channels use multicast technology, broadcasting several channels in the space of one.) I also used a Channel Master TV signal meter, which let me measure each antenna’s sensitivity to low and high TV-channel frequencies.

For antennas that incorporated a signal-level meter, I first tested them in the same aesthetically convenient positions I used for the other antennas, after which I tried using their signal-level meters to see if that would help me find a better antenna position that would pull in more channels.

As mentioned above, we put more emphasis on VHF reception in our latest round of tests, as the longer wavelengths of those frequencies are difficult for small antennas to receive. For example, optimum reception of the lowest TV-signal frequency, channel 2, demands a 4.25-foot-wide antenna. The lowest active TV channel in Los Angeles is channel 4 (which TVs pick up as virtual channels 22 and 63), so I used the Channel Master signal meter to measure the sensitivity of the antennas to this channel as a way to gauge low-VHF sensitivity.

I finished by using a TinySA radio-frequency spectrum analyzer to look at each antenna’s performance in the frequency ranges from 50 to 300 MHz (VHF) and from 450 to 600 MHz (UHF). This step let me see how strong each antenna’s signals were within different ranges of the broadcast band, as well as how noisy their output was—a potential problem with amplified antennas, especially, because if the antenna picks up lots of noise, the amplifier will just boost the noise, and the TV will have a harder time picking the signal out of the noise. All of our recommendations produce signals that, with a clear transmission in good conditions, are typically 25 to 30 dB (or 300 to 1,000 times) stronger than the noise.

Screenshot from TinySA spectrum analyzer

Although the performance of the antennas we tested was sometimes inconsistent and thus difficult to gauge, all of our picks excelled in certain tests and at least placed in the middle of the pack in every other test.

Our pick: Antennas Direct ClearStream Flex

The Antennas Direct ClearStream Flex

Of all the antennas in our latest round of testing, the Antennas Direct ClearStream Flex was the most consistent performer. It always ranked at or near the top in the number of channels received, and in our technical tests it produced a strong signal with relatively low noise. Part of this performance may be due to the fact that it’s a little larger than average, but it’s still small enough to mount unobtrusively, and it’s reversible, with black and white sides. It comes with a detachable amplifier that’s powered by USB, and it includes a total of 15 feet of cable. Among the antennas we tested, this is one of the few that aren’t hardwired to the cable, so you can use a different cable if you like.

The ClearStream Flex did the best overall in my in-home tests, pulling in the most channels (90 out of 144) in the first room and the fourth-most channels (105) in the second room. In our tests in the Oceanside, California, area, it was one of several models that tied for second best, pulling in 21 channels. Without the amp, the numbers were a little lower: 81 and 87 in my home, and 19 in Oceanside.

Measuring 16 by 11 inches, the ClearStream Flex is a little larger than most of the flat antennas we tested, but it’s still small enough that slipping it behind a TV, a curtain, or a framed picture shouldn’t be hard. It’s reversible, with black and white sides, and paintable—which may help it blend better into your room decor.

Amplifier on the ClearStream Flex antenna.

A supplied Sure Grip adhesive strip attaches the ClearStream Flex to the wall, and you can reposition the antenna by gently peeling it off the wall and resticking it elsewhere. You can even wipe the strip off with a damp cloth if it gets dirty, thus restoring its stickiness.

The ClearStream Flex’s 12-foot black cable should be long enough for most installations, and the package includes an extra 3-foot cable to connect the amp to the TV. The cable attaches to the antenna with a threaded connector, so you can substitute a longer, shorter, or different-colored cable if you desire. The amplifier is powered by an included USB supply or by your TV’s spare USB jack. The amplifier accompanying the antenna we received was a 3-inch-long rectangle, different from the amp shown on the Amazon page.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The ClearStream Flex is one of the larger flat models we tested. Plus, it doesn’t incorporate a signal-level meter, and Antennas Direct doesn’t offer one as an option.

Runner-up: RCA ANT3ME1

RCA ANT3ME1 antenna.

The RCA ANT3ME1 is a slightly reworked version of our previous runner-up, the ANT3ME. The new model retains the signal-level meter that lets you fine-tune the positioning of the antenna for the best reception, and in our tests, a subtle change in the size of the new antenna dramatically improved its performance even before we used the meter. However, the ANT3ME1 still has the downsides we didn’t like in its predecessor: The included, nondetachable cable is a little on the short side, and its amplifier/signal meter draws power from a hardwired AC adapter rather than a USB connection, so it requires an AC outlet. In addition, it currently has limited distribution and represents a big step up in price over the original ANT3ME.

The ANT3ME1’s integrated signal-level meter is what distinguishes it from the zillions of other flat antennas. The meter incorporates five LEDs: two red, one yellow, and two green. As you move the antenna to different places in a room, more LEDs illuminate as the signal strength increases. You could use your TV to do a channel scan in each location, but with many TVs, each scan takes a long time—in the case of my Vizio P659-G1 TV, it took more than 13 minutes per scan, which might mean an hour or two of trial and error versus a minute or two with the ANT3ME1. (Once you’re done, you can turn the meter off.)

In my living room, where TV signals are fairly weak, getting even one extra LED to light up on the meter made a huge difference. When I mounted the ANT3ME1 in the same aesthetically convenient place I used for the other antennas, three LEDs illuminated on the meter and the antenna picked up 51 channels out of 144, 11 more than the older model achieved in the same position a few minutes earlier. Moving the antenna to an adjacent wall caused an extra LED to illuminate and bumped the channel count up to 115, tying the Antennas Direct ClearStream Flex and improving on the 92 channels I got with the previous model. In a different room, the ANT3ME1 pulled in 142 channels versus 130 with the ClearStream Flex and only 73 with the original ANT3ME. However, in that room, no matter where I moved the antenna, I couldn’t get the fifth LED to light, so the signal-level meter was of no help. If you already have a strong TV signal in the room where you’re placing the antenna, the meter likely won’t offer an advantage.

Even without the meter, the ANT3ME1 gave us the best results with low-VHF signals of all the indoor antennas we’ve tested—it produced a signal almost eight times as strong as what we got from the original ANT3ME, and with much lower noise. That means your TV will have an easier time tuning in channels 2 through 6, if those are used in your area. (In this case, we’re talking about the actual radio frequencies; as noted previously, the channel indicated on your TV may not correspond with the actual radio-frequency channel used for transmission.) The ANT3ME1 also outperformed the ClearStream Flex and the Winegard Flatwave Amped Pro in this respect—both of those models had strong low-VHF signals but much more noise than the ANT3ME1.

The amplifier on the ANT3ME1 antenna.

At 14⅛ by 11⅞ inches, the ANT3ME1 is narrower than the ClearStream Flex but a little more than an inch wider than the original ANT3ME. Like the ClearStream, it’s reversible—black on one side and white on the other. Four adhesive patches are provided for mounting the antenna; they’re easily removable, though the signal-level meter makes it less likely that you’d need to reposition the antenna. The ANT3ME1 also has holes that let you hang it with thumbtacks.

However, as with the original model, this version’s cable is a little short, measuring just 9 feet between the antenna and the amp and 3 feet between the amp and the TV—and it’s not detachable. Unlike with most of the antennas we tested, the ANT3ME1’s amp is hardwired to an AC power adapter, so you need a spare AC socket, and you don’t have the option of powering the amp with a spare USB port on your TV.

Upgrade pick: Winegard Flatwave Amped Pro

The Winegard Flatwave Amped Pro antenna.

The Winegard Flatwave Amped Pro inspires banal analogies—the Ferrari of TV antennas, the RCA ANT3ME1 on steroids—but those who want to dial up their TV reception to the max are likely to love it, even if it is nearly twice the price of our top pick. The Amped Pro’s Bluetooth-connected signal-level meter lets you monitor through a mobile app how many TV channels you can get in any antenna position—it’s like getting the results of a channel scan on your TV in just six seconds rather than several minutes. Although the Amped Pro is a very respectable performer even before you use the app, we found that using the app let us get dramatically better results in problematic locations. The Amped Pro is a standard size for a flat antenna, it’s reversible, and it has 18 total feet of cable when you’re using the detachable amplifier.

Using the meter requires downloading the Winegard Connected app for iOS or Android and pairing your mobile device through Bluetooth. It provides a count of strong, moderate, and weak stations that it updates every six seconds. In my living room, the Flatwave Amped Pro pulled in 57 stations from the aesthetically convenient position where I also tested all the other antennas; using the meter, I quickly found a position where I could get 112 channels (exactly what the app promised). In my other room, where the five-step LED meter of the RCA ANT3ME1 proved to be no help, the detailed data in the Connected app allowed me to go from 82 channels in my original testing position to 110 channels (three more than the app promised). In our Oceanside, California, test spot, the channel count rose from 18 to 21 channels when I optimized the position. So the meter and the app definitely produced an improvement in every situation. Again, I could have accomplished the same thing doing channel scans with the TVs, but that would have taken hours rather than three or four minutes.

Winegard Android application.

The Flatwave Amped Pro measures 13 by 11.75 inches—smaller than the ClearStream Flex but still a little on the large side for a flat antenna—and it’s reversible, with black and white sides. It comes with two small, easily removable adhesive patches for mounting; these worked for us, but you might need more. (Fun-Tak adhesive putty will work in a pinch.)

There’s 15 feet of permanently attached white cable between the antenna and the amp, and another 3.3 feet of cable that connects the amp to the TV. The amp can draw power from the included USB supply or from a spare USB port on your TV.

Budget pick: 1byone Digital Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna

1byone Digital Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna

The 1byone Digital Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna has been our budget pick for several years, and we’re sticking with it because it remained an outstanding performer for the price in our latest round of tests. Its ability to pull in channels was always respectable, and it performed well in our technical tests. It’s relatively small, and it comes with a generously long (but non-detachable) cable and a convenient mounting system. However, it’s not reversible like our other picks.

On all but one of our tests, the 1byone performed like antennas costing about double its price. During my in-home test, it landed in the middle of the pack in the first room, receiving only 59 out of 144 channels, but in the second room it pulled in a whopping 108 channels, which put it in third place. It was just a bit below average in our Oceanside, California, tests, receiving 19 channels.

The antenna measures 13 by 9 inches, about average for an antenna of this type. However, it’s black on both sides, and it’s not listed as paintable—so if you don’t hide it behind the TV or a picture or something, you’ll end up with a very visible rectangular thing on your wall (unless you have very dark wall paint). Three adhesive patches on its back stick to the wall easily; three extra adhesive patches are included.

With 13 feet of black cable permanently attached to the antenna and another 3 feet attached to the amplifier, you should have plenty of cable even if you decide to stick the antenna onto a window or an adjacent wall. The antenna comes with a USB power supply, or you can use a spare USB connection on your TV if it has one.

What to look forward to

We expect that, just as RCA did when upgrading the ANT3ME to the ANT3ME1, other manufacturers will release new models optimized for post-repack frequencies, and that many manufacturers will release models that are optimized for ATSC 3.0/NextGen TV. We will do our best to keep up with those announcements and test those antennas when they’re available.

The competition

We’ve done two rounds of TV antenna testing in different locations, separated by a few years, so we’re presenting our competition list in two groups: The first group features the antennas we tested in the Philadelphia and New York areas in 2018, and the second includes the models we tested in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas in 2021.

2018 testing: Philadelphia and New York

Our previous top pick, the Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse, worked very well in our original Philadelphia-area tests, but as we mention below, it required the addition of an amplifier to get good results in Los Angeles, where its performance was sometimes exceptionally good but sometimes below average.

The Antennas Direct ClearStream Max is a large, indoor/outdoor antenna that, despite its size, offered no real performance advantage over the small indoor models we tested.

The Antennas Direct ClearStream Wireless antenna device works with your Wi-Fi network to distribute antenna signals around a house so all the TVs theoretically get the same optimized reception. It works, but the Wi-Fi connection was glitchy in our tests, and you lose some picture quality when the device converts the TV broadcast signal to a digital format for distribution on the network.

The Channel Master Flatenna ranked among the top performers in places where the TV signals were strong, but in places with a weak signal it tended to pull in fewer channels than our picks.

The Mohu Leaf 30 is the antenna that put flat antennas on the map. It’s still available, and it performs pretty well, but not as well as our picks. Mohu was purchased by Antennas Direct.

RCA’s Slivr uses rigid plastic to house its antenna element, which makes it bulkier and heavier than other flat antennas. It pulled in only half as many channels as the better antennas did.

The Winegard FreeVision is an indoor/outdoor antenna that looks more suited to attic or outdoor placement. It didn’t perform well in Pennsylvania, but it did well in New York, although it was very sensitive to direction.

Grant Clauser constructed his own “Trashtenna” antenna from a square of cardboard covered with aluminum foil and finished with a length of coax cable taped to the foil. It actually did very well in New York, but not so well in Philadelphia.

2021 testing: Los Angeles and San Diego

The 1byone 200NA-0005 is compact and attractive, but its performance was only average.

The Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse is our previous top pick. It worked very well in our 2018 Philadelphia-area tests, as we say above, but in our 2021 round, it required the addition of an amplifier to get good results in Los Angeles, where its performance was sometimes exceptionally good but sometimes below average.

The Antennas Direct ClearStream 1Max is an indoor/outdoor design. Indoors, its performance wasn’t impressive—except in our Oceanside, California, test location, where it weirdly pulled in 37 channels when the best any other antenna could do was 21. We also found the even larger Antennas Direct ClearStream Max-V to be an underperformer in indoor settings.

The GE Enlighten is a great design that sits unobtrusively atop a TV and provides a bias light that illuminates the area around the screen, which can ease eyestrain. Unfortunately, its performance was below average.

The RCA ANT1120E is a flat antenna that doesn’t include an amplifier. It might be a good choice if for some reason you find an amp inconvenient to use, but generally it didn’t perform as well as amplified models in our tests.

We were excited to try the extra-wide RCA ANT2160E, which we thought might outperform smaller flat antennas, but our picks generally surpassed it.

The RCA ANT3ME is our previous runner-up, replaced by the newer ANT3ME1. However, as of July 2021, the ANT3ME1 costs about 60% more. That difference may be reduced as the ANT3ME1 reaches more vendors, but people who live in urban areas with fairly strong signals and still want a signal-level meter for their antenna may wish to save a few bucks and buy the older model.

The RCA ANTD6ME is a notably attractive, fabric-covered antenna with a hard-plastic body and a curved front, plus an internal amplifier and a three-LED signal-level meter. You can hang it on a wall, but it also has legs for mounting on a table. It would be a nice choice if you don’t want to wall-mount your antenna, but in our tests it didn’t perform as well as the ANT3ME.

The UMustHave 4K-RS55 is an affordably priced flat antenna that worked pretty well in our tests, but we got better results from our budget pick.

About your guide

Brent Butterworth

Brent Butterworth is a senior staff writer covering audio and musical instruments at Wirecutter. Since 1989, he has served as an editor or writer on audio-focused websites and magazines such as Home Theater, Sound & Vision, SoundStage, and JazzTimes. He regularly gigs on double bass (and occasionally ukulele) with Los Angeles–area jazz groups.

Sours: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-indoor-hdtv-antenna/

Best indoor TV antennas 2021: 6 digital TV antennas worth having

The best indoor TV antennas are a must-have if you’ve cut the cord for good when it comes to cable TV. Buying an indoor TV antenna for your home is one cheap and easy way to get access to many free over-the-air channels in HD for no monthly fee.

The best TV antennas offer a portal into the world of sports, sitcoms, news, and more that are all on offer across America’s most popular TV networks – and all for free. This fact is largely obscured by cable companies because they’re keen to sign you up for an expensive cable plan.

But what you can get with a TV antenna isn’t without its limits. Over-the-air broadcasts offer less choice than any cable package out there. But the plus side is they're totally free and still usually carry many of the biggest sports events (the NFL on Sunday, the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup), as well as a solid selection of sitcoms, dramas and comedy shows from NBC, ABC, CBS and more. 

But there’s a lot of choice. So which is the best indoor antenna for your smart TV? That's exactly what we wanted to find out, so we’ve tested a whole range of them from different tech brands and put them to work. What you'll find below is our round-up of the best indoor TV antennas on the market in 2021. Keep checking back as we’ll be adding new antennas to this list.

Just be careful you don't fall for misleading product pages elsewhere – some outlets promise outrageous features like a 120-mile range (which isn't possible, given the curvature of the earth). You can get 4K resolution though a regular antenna, though, with the next set of ATSC standards called NextGen TV.

Best indoor TV antennas 2021

1. Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse 2

A pricier antenna, but potentially worth it

Specifications

Range: 60+ miles

Amplified: Yes

Dimensions: 16.5 x 8.6 inches

Cable length: 15ft

Reasons to buy

+Strong signal pull +Distinctive design +Long range

Reasons to avoid

-It's a pricier option

The ClearStream Eclipse 2 is similar to Amazon's thin, plastic antenna at its core, but this very distinctive figure-eight design is one of a kind. Whatever engineering Antennas Direct did to pin down this kind of design clearly worked, however, as this amplified long-range antenna does an excellent job of picking up channels.

It's rated for 60+ miles and consistently delivered strong reception while pulling in all of the channels we expected to see. It also comes with curved double-sided tape pads that sit on the upper and lower backs of the design, ensuring a snug fit to your wall. It's a pricey option at $70, but that's an investment in a quality product.

2. Antop HD Smart Bar AT-500SBS

Huge and pricey, but plenty powerful

Specifications

Range: 80 miles

Amplified: Yes

Dimensions: 30 x 8.1 x 3.9 inches

Cable length: 15ft

Reasons to buy

+Maximum range+Can mount to wall or sit in stand  

Reasons to avoid

-Bulky and hard to hide -Most expensive

If you live far from a broadcast source and/or you've had trouble with other antennas, the Antop HD Smart Bar (AT-500SBS) could solve your issues—if you're willing to pay a steep price and tolerate the very large size.

The Antop HD Smart Bar is a hard-plastic antenna that measures 2.5 feet wide and can be mounted on your wall like a soundbar, or you can use the included base stand to prop it up vertically. In any case, it's much more visible than nearly any other indoor antenna on the market, but the trade-off is a much longer promised range of 80 miles. It also has a 4G signal filter, an FM tuner, and the ability to connect to a second TV, plus the reception was excellent in our testing. However, with a $119 price tag, we recommend trying cheaper alternatives first to see if they'll meet your needs.

3. Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301

A feature-rich option for folks who want to spend a bit more

Specifications

Range: 70 miles

Amplified: Yes

Dimensions: 17.6 x 8.9 inches

Cable length: 10ft

Reasons to buy

+Extra perks +Long range  

Sours: https://www.techradar.com/news/best-indoor-tv-antennas
  1. Vw jetta gli used
  2. Eskimo maltese mix
  3. 1970s mugshots

TV Antenna Review: Top Picks From Consumer Reports' Latest Tests

Even if you subscribe to a cable-replacement service that brings you channels such as AMC and HGTV, you might still want an antenna. These services—which include AT&T TV, FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV—don’t always provide local programming. An indoor TV antenna can help fill that gap.

If you live near a major TV market, you’ll probably get many local stations—ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, plus PBS and Telemundo—using a TV antenna. But there are also now dozens of digital "subchannels" under the primary channels. These offer additional programming, such as old TV shows, B movies, and niche content. Websites such as TVFool.com and the FCC’s DTV Reception Maps page, can give you an idea of which stations you might expect to receive.

As a bonus, the picture quality you get from your indoor TV antenna might be better than what you get from cable. “The signals may be less compressed,” says Claudio Ciacci, lead television tester for Consumer Reports.

In addition to a TV antenna, all you need to watch your local stations is a TV equipped with a digital TV tuner, something included in almost all TVs since 2007.

Sours: https://www.consumerreports.org/tv-antenna-review-top-picks-from-consumer-reports-latest-tests-a2799732155/
INDOOR HD TV ANTENNA AS SEEN ON TV REVIEW AND TEST

Best TV antennas for cord cutters 2021: Tested for real-world signal strength

Cable and satellite TV subscriptions are becoming ever more expensive, so more and more homes are ditching pay TV in favor of free, over-the-air broadcasts. Digital TV typically provides between 20 and 60 channels depending on where you live, and can save you at least $1,000 a year, based on a typical pay TV subscription.

Folks who do are often surprised by the higher image quality they get from broadcast TV. That’s because cable and satellite services compress the video signal in order to reduce the bandwidth required to stream it to your home, all so they can cram in more of the channels you probably never watch anyway.

TV antenna cheat sheet

Our quick-hit recommendations:

So, cut that cable, ditch that dish, and join the growing number of American households that are free from monthly bills for TV service.

Putting up an antenna is easy, but before you buy one you’ll need to figure out what channels are available where you live, how strong the signals are likely to be, and what direction they’re coming from. See TechHive’s guide to choosing an antenna to figure all that out.

As a rule of thumb, indoor antennas are suitable for areas with strong or very strong signals, the attic/outdoor antennas work in areas of medium signal strength, and the larger outdoor antennas in areas of weak signals.

Once you’ve determined your needs, this article will help with your antenna purchase. But before we jump into our results, check out this video that explains how to determine which free over-the-air TV channels you can receive where you live.

Best indoor TV antenna 

If you live close enough to the broadcast towers for the stations you want to watch, a less-expensive non-amplified antenna like the Channel Master Flatenna might be all you need to cut the cord. At the time of this review, we found that Channel Master itself was offering the best price on this antenna: Just $19 on Amazon. 

Best amplified indoor TV antenna

This antenna impressed us with its ability to pull in more broadcast channels than the competition. Further, those it did receive were a little stronger than from our runner-up which should make for happier TV viewing. (Read our full review.)

Runner-up

The word "smart" gets bandied about quite a lot these days, but it's more than just hyperbole in the case of Channel Master's Smartenna+ over-the-air TV antenna. This amplified antenna has a tiny tuner onboard that can virtually change its reception pattern  to pull in the most stations possible. We like it a lot.

Best roof-mount TV Antenna

Antennas Direct DB8e

The Antennas Direct DB8e is a large outdoor antenna for reception of medium to very weak TV signals. In our tests, it was very good pulling in distant stations with minimal interference.

The Antennas Direct DB8e’s reception is just as impressive as its looks. This is a large, heavy antenna cleverly designed to receive weak signals with two antenna arrays, or in areas of better reception to point to towers in different directions. (See our full review.)

Runner-up

The Antennas Direct 91XG is a classic antenna design that has worked well for years. This antenna is quite directional and good at rejecting interference from the sides while picking out weak signals from the noise. It narrowly missed out on the top spot and would also be an excellent choice for people dealing with long-distance reception. (See our full review.)

Best attic/outdoor TV antenna

The Winegard Elite 7550 immediately impressed with its ability to pick up more broadcast channels than the competition at higher signal levels. It has a built-in amplifier and performed well on both VHF-High and UHF broadcast bands. Because of its size you’ll want this one in the attic or outside of your house. (See our full review.)

Runner-up

Antennas Direct Clearstream 4 Max

The Clearstream 4 Max is an excellent choice for areas with strong to medium strength signals and with multiple TV transmitters in different locations. It's well made, easy to assemble and supplied with all the required mounting hardware.

The Clearstream 4 Max is a little larger than our top-ranked choice and wasn’t quite as good at pulling in stations but it’s still a solid antenna. Its unique double figure-eight design is sure to look distinctive and it can receive signals from different directions, which is useful if you live in an area with stations in multiple places. (See our full review.)

How we tested

TechHive tests TV antennas in a location in the Washington, D.C. metro area. (Until 2020, we tested in the San Francisco Bay Area, so you might see references to that location in older reviews). The D.C. location receives strong signals from local TV stations, but presents several challenges: There are a large number of trees around to influence reception; some of the independent D.C. TV stations are weak and difficult to receive; and with a good antenna, distant reception of Baltimore market stations is possible.

Indoor antennas are tested indoors and outdoor antennas outdoors. Each time we test a new antenna, we retest our current top pick to ensure a fair benchmark.

We use a set-top box to scan for channels and record the number of RF channels received by each antenna and their strength. Each RF channel carries a number of digital stations, but the number is different per channel and can change, so digital stations received isn’t as useful a measurement. We scan several times and adjust the direction of the antenna on some rescans.

Our picks are the antennas that receive the largest number of stations with the highest signal level in both the UHF (channels 14 through 51) and VHF-High (channels 7 through 13) bands, which are the primary TV broadcast bands.

Our latest TV antenna reviews

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

  • The Antennas Direct DB8e is a large outdoor antenna for reception of medium to very weak TV signals. In our tests, it was very good pulling in distant stations with minimal interference.

    Pros

    • Good reception of weak signals
    • Antennas can be pointed in two different directions
    • Easy to assemble

    Cons

    • Large size requires a strong mount
    • Not designed to receive VHF TV stations
  • The roof-mount Antennas Direct 91XG does a great job of pulling in weak TV signals.

    Pros

    • Good reception of weak signals
    • Directional to help avoid interference
    • Sturdy construction to stand up to the weather

    Cons

    • Roof mounting is more complicated than indoor mounting
    • Might require a rotator is the broadcast towers you're tuning into are far apart
    • Designed only to receive UHF stations
  • The Channel Master Flatenna performs well and has a price that can’t be beaten. It pulled in all major local channels with consistent quality and is a solid choice if you an indoor antenna is a must.

    Pros

    • Very low price
    • Well made
    • U.S.-based customer support

    Cons

    • No coax cable included (see review regarding limited-time offer)
  • Winegard's FlatWave Amped delivers great performance for an indoor antenna. It's small, lightweight, and should work well in areas that enjoy strong local TV reception.

    Pros

    • Strong reception, clear picture quality
    • Amplifier contributes to good range
    • Amplifier can be powered by a wall wart or your TV’s USB port

    Cons

    • Not the best-looking thing to have on your wall or window
    • Excess cable can get messy quick
  • The Clearstream Flex is one of the best performing indoor TV antennas in its class, but don't try to push its range too much as performance falls off as signals get weaker.

    Pros

    • Flat design makes it easy to mount inside your house
    • Inline amplifier helps boost signals

    Cons

    • Won't work well in an area with medium strength or weaker signals
    • Indoor use means it's more susceptible to interference
  • The Clearstream 4 Max is an excellent choice for areas with strong to medium strength signals and with multiple TV transmitters in different locations. It's well made, easy to assemble and supplied with all the required mounting hardware.

    Pros

    • Good reception of strong to medium level signals on UHF and VHF-High
    • Multidirectional reception for areas with transmitters in different locations
    • Sturdy mount with mounting hardware for attic or outdoor installation

    Cons

    • No built-in amplifier so you might need one for weaker channels
  • The Channel Master Smartenna+ is the highest-tech antenna we’ve reviewed, with a built-in tuner that adjusts to pull in the maximum number of channels possible.

    Pros

    • Automatic tuning to receive the greatest number of channels
    • Push-on antenna connector
    • Sturdy design and build quality

    Cons

    • Requires a power outlet
    • Bulkier than other amplified antennas
  • The Mohu Blade is a sturdy indoor and outdoor TV antenna that did a great job receiving UHF and VHF-High signals in TechHive reception tests.

    Pros

    • Inline amplifier supplied
    • Good reception of strong to medium level signals on UHF and VHF-High
    • Can be mounted indoors or outdoors

    Cons

    • Unsuitable for weak signal areas
    • Cannot be window mounted
  • The Winegard Elite 7550 is a sensitive TV antenna suitable for areas with strong to medium strength signals.

    Pros

    • Good reception of strong to medium level signals on UHF and VHF-High
    • Inline amplifier helps boost signals
    • Suitable for attic or outdoor mounting

    Cons

    • Plastic mounting bracket feels a little cheap
  • RCA’s model ANT3ME indoor TV antenna is a relatively good performer for the money, but it's not one of our top picks.

    Pros

    • Good reception of strong, local channels
    • Built-in amplifier and cellular filter

    Cons

    • Lacks sensitivity for weaker channels
    • Signal meter is very basic
    • Amplifier function requires an AC outlet
  • The Eclipse is a small, compact TV antenna designed for places like cities with strong TV signals and no room for external antennas.

    Pros

    • Small, compact design means it won't draw attention on your window

    Cons

    • Even with the amplifier it won't pull in weaker stations
  • The GE Enlighten TV antenna neatly combines an indoor antenna and bias lighting in a single package, but one features limits the utility of the other.

    Pros

    • Compact antenna that can sit on a TV
    • Built-in bias lighting

    Cons

    • Design restricts where the antenna can be mounted
    • Bias lighting feature isn't big or bright enough for a large TV
  • The Mohu Basic 50 is a thin, flat antenna for window or wall mounting that is suited to areas close to TV towers with strong or very strong signals.

    Pros

    • Thin design makes mounting easier
    • Mohu will credit the cost of the antenna if you need a more sensitive one
    • Suitable for areas with strong or very strong signals

    Cons

    • Weak reception of VHF-High stations
  • The Mohu Curve 50 is a good-looking antenna, but there are other, perhaps less-attractive indoor antennas that perform better.

    Pros

    • Stylish design
    • In-line signal amplifier
    • You can connect a longer cable if need be

    Cons

    • Average performance
    • No VHF reception
    • Cannot be mounted to a wall or a window
  • The GE Signal Finder HD Amplified Antenna is an indoor with a built-in signal finder. In our tests it did a mediocre job of pulling in TV stations.

    Pros

    • Built-in signal finder
    • Inline signal amplifier

    Cons

    • Average performance
    • No VHF reception
  • The Mohu Leaf Glide didn't do well in our reception tests, despite its large size, failing to receive anything but very strong signals.

    Pros

    • Thin design makes mounting easier
    • Inline amplifier helps boost signals

    Cons

    • Poor reception of anything but the strongest channels
    • Relatively expensive for an antenna in this class

Martyn Williams produces technology news and product reviews in text and video for PC World, Macworld, and TechHive from his home outside Washington D.C..

Sours: https://www.techhive.com/article/3322842/the-best-tv-antennas-for-cord-cutters.html

Antenna reviews hdtv

If you're fed up with the high cost of subscription TV -- whether you're getting it via a live TV streaming service, from a satellite dish or over a coaxial cable -- it may be time to cut the cord and look into an antenna. That's right, TV antennas still exist and they are now much less finicky than the "rabbit ears" that people had to fiddle with in years past. If you are in an area with a decent signal, you can watch some of the most popular TV shows, specials and sports for free with an antenna and some antennas can even bring in HD channels.

For the purposes of this article, we'll be discussing over-the-air, or OTA, antennas. This type of antenna feed is great for events you want to watch live, such as sports and the evening news. Depending on where you live and your signal reception capabilities, you can watch anything on NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS, PBS and some other channels like MyNetworkTV and The CW. While a roof-mounted television antenna or outdoor TV antenna would do the job, your TV already has a built-in tuner, and adding an indoor antenna can cost less than $20 shipped. 

Get the CNET TVs, Streaming and Audio newsletter

Become a home entertainment expert with our handpicked tips, reviews and deals. Delivered Wednesdays.

And if you're really serious about cutting the cord, check out our Streaming TV Insider for even more tips.

07-tv-antenna-2019

The downside is that in some places, the TV signal of some channels is spotty or nonexistent due to either your proximity, or lack thereof, to a broadcast tower or obstructions that break up the signal. Unlike a live TV streaming service, OTA TV is restricted to a single television, and the broadcast signal from an OTA TV antenna won't work on phones or other devices. Unless, of course, you kick it up a notch with an OTA DVR.

Now playing:Watch this: How to cut the cord for $10: installing an indoor antenna

2:03

We tested seven different indoor antennas with prices ranging from $10 to $90 (all much less than the most basic cable TV). The best TV antennas were able to pull in more channels than the others and delivered stronger, clearer TV signals, even on "problem" channels. We tested in two different locations: urban Manhattan and suburban New Jersey. We'll keep this updated as we review new products. Here are the seven TV antennas we originally looked at:

  • Channel Master Flatenna 35 ($10 plus $7.50 shipping)
  • AmazonBasics Ultra Thin Indoor TV Antenna ($20)
  • 1byOne Upgraded Digital Amplified Indoor HD TV Antenna ($27)
  • Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse ($40)
  • Mohu ReLeaf ($30, discontinued)
  • Channel Master Smartenna Plus ($49, discontinued)
  • U Must Have Amplified High Definition Digital TV Antenna ($29)

The best TV antennas we tested

Best TV antenna overall

Channel Master Flatenna 35/Duo

Sarah Tew/CNET

Dec 2016

  • Detachable coaxial cable? Yes
  • Number of channels: 50 in Manhattan, 61 in New Jersey
  • Number of watchable channels: 9 out of 13 checked, both locations

The Flatenna 35 has been upgraded with a removable antenna since our original test. It seems that signal performance has also improved -- it's now the best of our seven models at pulling in channels, beating our previous recommendation, the Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse. 

And yes, the best TV antenna is just $10 (plus $7.50 shipping) from Channel Master's website. (It's called either the Flatenna 35 or Duo depending on where you buy it from.) Best TV channels reception and low price? We have a winner.

Read our Channel Master Flatenna 35 review.

Best TV antenna for power users

Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse

Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Detachable coaxial cable? Yes
  • Number of channels: 39 in Manhattan, 65 in New Jersey
  • Number of watchable channels: 9 out of 13 checked, both locations

Maybe you've tried the Flatenna with so-so results and want to give it another shot. The $80 Antennas Direct Eclipse won our original comparison and performed very well again this time around at receiving a broadcast signal for many TV channels. 

With its ankh-shaped and multidirectional reversible compact design, the ClearStream antenna is definitely unique. It comes with sticky tabs for attaching it to your window, which is handy. And if you need more signal oomph, there's a $20 antenna amplifier available as well.

While the Eclipse is still available, be aware that there's now an upgraded Eclipse 2 model, though we have yet to test it.

Read our Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse review.

Other top TV antenna picks

Best TV antenna for weaker TV signals

1byOne Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna

Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Detachable coax? No
  • Number of channels: 34 in Manhattan, 49 in New Jersey
  • Number of watchable channels: 6 out of 13 checked, both locations

The 1byOne is one of two antennas in this list with a nonremovable coax cable, and at only 10 feet long, it may not work in some rooms where it cannot pick up a very weak signal. The black plastic feels a little cheap compared with the others, though the HD antenna model does come with a powered gain amplifier. It was toward the bottom of the pack in terms of signal performance, but this indoor HDTV antenna was the only television antenna to pick up CBS from a TV tower at our Manhattan location (see below for details).

The current price is cheaper than the others, but in our book the Channel Master is worth another buck or two.

Sours: https://www.cnet.com/tech/home-entertainment/best-tv-antenna/
Five Star 200 mile Indoor/Outdoor Yagi HD TV Antenna Review

The best HDTV antennas for 2021

Cutting the cord on your cable company is one of the most liberating feelings, but losing access to network programming is still a sacrifice. Fortunately, there are HDTV antennas to fill the entertainment gap. No longer the roof-mounted, alien-like monstrosities of years past, many of today’s TV antennas are paper-thin, simple to program, and a breeze to relocate at a moment’s notice, whether you choose an indoor or outdoor TV antenna.

We’ve spent a lot of time reviewing how well HDTV antennas work, and along with recommending products like the Mohu Releaf, we’ve collected all the best HDTV antennas for you. Additionally, every antenna on this list will support the incoming ATSC 3.0 standard that’s expected to revolutionize antenna-based TV for the foreseeable future. Whether you need an outdoor antenna for peak performance when it comes to signal strength or a cheap indoor antenna for one or two local stations, we’ve got you covered.

Editor’s note: Not everyone lives in a neighborhood suitable for antenna viewing, so we recommend taking a look at TV Fool’s TV Signal Analysis tool or a similar site to find out which channels are available in your area before you buy.

Best HDTV antennas a glance

The best overall: Mohu Releaf

Mohu Releaf

Why you should buy this: You’re looking for a future-proofed, eco-friendly flat antenna.

Who it’s for: The eco-minded cord cutter.

Why we picked the Mohu Releaf:

This eco-friendly TV antenna is unlike most other antennas on this list because it’s made from recycled, “post-consumer” cardboard and chlorine-free colors, as is the packaging it comes in. There are no paper instructions because they’re printed on the packaging to eliminate excess waste. The cables and minimal plastic components are made with Mohu’s “MohuGrind” plastic, composed of crushed and ground-up recycled cable boxes (take that, cable companies). Just to go the extra mile, all of these components are crafted using renewable energy.

It’s great to be earth-conscious, of course, but the Mohu Releaf is also a great antenna. It’s also one of the few examples to advertise 4K support, though that’s really just marketing-speak. As we’ve mentioned, this entire list is full of ATSC 3.0-supported antennas. That said, you may need a few other products to be prepared for the new standard.

The most user-friendly antenna: Winegard Amped Pro

Winegard Amped

Why you should buy this: You’re after a digital antenna that will deliver top-notch signal reception at all times.

Who it’s for: Those that want convenient access to signal monitoring features.

Why we chose the Winegard Amped Pro:

The Winegard Amped Pro is the only TV antenna in this roundup to utilize a mobile app as part of your TV setup. Available for iOS and Android devices, the Winegard Connected app pairs to the Amped Pro antenna via Bluetooth. During setup, you’ll be guided on where to locate the Amped Pro based on your home’s proximity to community broadcast towers, ensuring you’ll get the best signal possible based on your residence. Engineered for long-distance receiving, the Amped Pro is rated to capture broadcast signals up to 60 miles away. All this to say that signal strength certainly won’t be an issue with this model!

Along with a friendly mobile experience, the Amped Pro features Winegard’s Clear Circuit Technology, which provides boosted signal strength, cuts down on dropouts, and helps to eliminate pixelation in your TV’s received image. Reversible for a white or black antenna appearance, and mountable to windows and walls, the Winegard Amped Pro is the ideal indoor antenna for those that want to cut the cord with style.

The best budget antenna: Philips Modern Loop Rabbit Ears Antenna

Philips Modern Loop Rabbit Ears

Why you should buy this: You’re after a non-obtrusive omnidirectional antenna that can be easily placed near your TV.

Who it’s for: Basic TV watchers that could care less about long-distance broadcasting.

Why we chose the Philips Modern Loop Rabbit Ears Antenna: 

For only $12, the Philips Modern Loop antenna isn’t built for long-range performance like other antennas in this roundup. Instead, you can expect up to a 30-mile range for both VHF and UHF broadcast signals from these rabbit ears. A weighted base and rubber feet keep the Modern Loop from bouncing off your entertainment center, which is great for nosy pets and active toddlers.

If you’re finding your picture is cutting in and out, the Modern Loop’s extendable dipoles add a layer of amplification to the antenna’s reception. While it’s not glorious by any means, the Philips Modern Loop is the perfect antenna for those living close to broadcast towers, or those living further from towers that only care about receiving three or four stations.

The best flat antenna: ClearStream Eclipse

Why you should buy this: It’s a discreet yet powerful HD antenna with a novel design.

Who it’s for: Those who don’t mind paying a little extra for performance.

Why we picked the ClearStream Eclipse:

The ClearStream Eclipse omnidirectional antenna offers top-rated performance when it comes to picking up your favorite local channels. This is true of all four available Eclipse models, which come in estimated signal ranges, from 35 miles up to 70, netting you optimized antenna reception at multiple price points. The antenna is two-sided — a black side and a white side — to match your decor. Not only is the material adhesive on both sides (meaning no tape), but it also can be painted over, so it can easily become a discreet addition to any room.

Even better, it being a multidirectional antenna, the ClearStream Eclipse can be mounted virtually anywhere and doesn’t require precise aiming to catch a signal. Unlike many indoor antennas, most of which use a square or rectangular design, the circular design of the ClearStream Eclipse is better at picking up UHF signals, which can be a struggle for many indoor antennas. Those specs make it a great choice for those ready to ditch cable, regardless of where you live.

The best tiny antenna: Leaf Metro

Why you should buy this: The Leaf Metro is the smallest antenna of the bunch, but it’s no less capable of providing stellar TV signal.

Who it’s for: City apartment dwellers who need something compact.

Why we picked the Leaf Metro:

Though admittedly weaker than Mohu’s larger Leaf antenna, the Leaf Metro antenna is the perfect tiny antenna for compact living spaces. Mohu designed the Leaf Metro for discreet installation in homes located close to broadcast towers. As such, those living in downtown or urban areas are most likely to get the best results from the Leaf Metro, which has a range of approximately 25 miles.

To compound the versatility enabled by its tiny size, the Leaf Metro digital TV antenna also comes in either black or white, so users have the ability to paint it to match their interior. Plus, its adhesive coating means it’ll stick to almost any surface and can be moved to other locations with ease. An included 10-foot coaxial cable allows for fairly flexible installation.

The best indoor/outdoor antenna: Clearstream 2Max HDTV Antenna

Clearstream 2Max HDTV Antenna

Why you should buy this: It delivers long-distance reception for even the farthest broadcast tower, even in less than ideal environments.

Who it’s for: Those who live a long distance from signal sources.

Why we picked the Clearstream 2Max HDTV Antenna:

Whether you’re using it indoors or as your dedicated indoor TV antenna, the Clearstream 2Max is quite simple to use and assemble, utilizing clamps or a base for installation. Despite the antenna being larger than almost every other antenna listed here, it’s not so big that it can’t fit behind a TV or mount to the wall of your living room. For outdoor installation, a 20-inch mast is included.

While we’re recommending the Clearstream 2Max HDTV Antenna with 60-mile reception, if you live way out in the boonies, it may also be worthwhile to look into the larger and pricier 4Max version of the outdoor antenna, which features a 70-mile reception range and (some say) more reliable connection. Similarly, if you live closer to a signal, the 1max, which has a 40-mile range, is also a good option for an amplified antenna. With such a range of options available in the Clearstream Max line, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a great way to get free HD TV in the countryside.

The best outdoor antenna: Channel Master STEALTHtenna

Channel Master STEALTHtenna

Why you should buy this: Your home falls outside the reception range of the most powerful indoor antenna on our list.

Who it’s for: Those for whom an indoor antenna simply won’t cut it.

Why we picked the Channel Master STEALTHtenna:

For most users, an indoor HDTV antenna will nab the channels you desire. There are some spots, however, where only an outdoor antenna will do the job. With a reception range of over 50 miles (sometimes more depending on your location), Channel Master’s STEALTHtenna provides incredible performance and impressive signal quality. This is thanks in part to the antenna’s tough powder-coated aluminum body that can withstand the mightiest winds and nasty weather, allowing your signal to shine regardless of how gloomy the skies are.

The Channel Master STEALTHtenna is a small and light OTA antenna, making it easy to find the proper location for mounting, and includes installation hardware for mounting the antenna to a flat wall, eaves, or fascia board. Two included U-bolts also allow you to mount the antenna to a mast or pole. Better yet, if you’re dropping your satellite service, you can use the U-bolts to mount your Channel Master to your old Dish Network hardware. For performance, easy install, and durable design, look no further than the Channel Master STEALTHtenna.

How we test

The majority of these picks were tested in our downtown Portland, Oregon, offices, as well as in residential locations to get the best possible impression on the signal strength of each antenna. We then cross-referenced our findings with those of other experts and consumers to assess any differences and gauge the relevance of inconsistencies (if there were any to begin with) for our final rankings. For the few choices on this list, we did not get hands-on time with, we based our appraisal on the opinions of fellow tech publications, expert outlets, and user comments.

Where’s 4K?

Though all of the products we’ve highlighted will support the 4K-ready ATSC 3.0 standard, 4K broadcasts aren’t ready just yet. Expect that to change very soon, however. ATSC is currently available in a limited number of markets, and the larger rollout will limit content to HD only. There is hope, though, of ATSC 3.0 offering 1080p 60 HD with HDR later.

A word on signal strength and quality

We’d love to tell you there’s an ideal location in your home in relation to a signal tower, but the truth is there isn’t. In reality, like so many other things in life, the process of finding the best spot for an antenna requires trial and error, some finesse, and maybe even a little luck. This inconsistency is true not just of different geographical regions, but in variations between antenna models. What may be the best location for one antenna may not be as effective for others.

Further, there are differences in the signal types that your antenna will be picking up, and some antennas may be better at picking up certain signal frequencies than others. The two main signal types are VHF and UHF.  The basic difference between the two is the channels broadcast in those frequencies. Channels 2-13 are broadcast in VHF, while channels 14-51 are UHF.  Most antennas can pick up both VHF and UHF, but some can only pick up one or the other. This will be noted in an antenna’s product description.

Also important to note is that a channel’s number doesn’t always correspond to that channel’s actual broadcast frequency. This exception doesn’t typically apply unless you’re pairing your HD antenna with a third-party interface, such as a DVR OTA receiver. Tablo, for example, lists CBS 6 in Richmond, Virginia, on its channel 6 slot, which you would think requires a VHF antenna, but the content actually comes in over the UHF-bound channel 25. This should be a non-issue in most situations, but keep this outlier in mind if you ever run into any issues.

Otherwise, here are some general tips to ensure the best possible reception.

  • Face your antennas directly toward the nearest towers, if possible. Some antennas are omnidirectional — meaning the orientation of their placement won’t dampen matters much — but you should try and get it as close into the tower’s general direction within your house as possible.
  • Place your antenna with as little geographical interference (mountains, hills, trees, buildings, etc.) as possible.
  • Buy an amplified antenna if you find yourself afflicted by the issues above. They’re a bit costlier, but they typically perform better in less-than-ideal conditions, and they’ll save you time (and sanity) in the long run.

Try to keep interference from radios, cell phones, or other electronics to a minimum. This doesn’t necessarily mean keep the antenna away from your TV. In some instances, however, the best location for an antenna may well be directly behind or under the TV.

In general, the ranges listed by manufacturers are estimates and shouldn’t be taken at face value. While it’s still best to opt for an antenna listed with longer reception ranges for locations far from broadcast towers, there are no universal testing criteria for establishing what an antenna’s operating range is. Plus, environmental factors will impact accuracy.

Finally, while we have recommendations for amplified antennas, we aren’t entirely sold on the efficacy of that technology. Despite the name, “amplified” antennas or in-line amplifiers do not boost the signal reception itself. Rather, they strengthen the signal that is being picked up, meaning if you’re getting a slightly fuzzy signal, the amplifier will try to artificially boost the quality on the TV. We’ve had varying degrees of success there, but in general there often isn’t going to be an appreciable change in quality. It’s also important to note that amplifiers should not be used in areas where signal strength is stable. This can cause noise and other picture quality problems.

Editors' Recommendations

Sours: https://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/best-hdtv-antennas/

You will also be interested:

TODAY'S BEST DEALS

Modern indoor TV antennas have mostly evolved from the enormous (but charming) "rabbit ears" design of old to near-paper-thin sheets of plastic that you can mount to a wall or even hide behind your TV. But the Clear TV HDTV Antenna reimagines the classic design as a USB stick-sized antenna with extendable rabbit ears.

It's small, simple and amazingly cheap (we picked ours up from Walmart for a mere $10). But if you're thinking that a design like this is too good to be true, you'd be kind of correct. While we experienced good reception in one location that we've used to test many antennas, we struggled to pull as many channels or as consistent of reception in another area that has been fine with larger, more powerful rivals.

The Clear TV HDTV Antenna might do the trick for you and could be a steal... but if it doesn't, then you've just wasted $10 on a half-functional hunk of plastic.

Design

As mentioned, the Clear TV HDTV Antenna is incredibly small. While it has a coaxial cable attached, the black plastic device itself fits in the palm of your hand—it's only about 3 inches tall and weighs practically nothing. The flat base is a little bit wider so that it can stand upright, which is aided by a peel-off sticky surface. We were able to move it between TVs and locations without leaving residue, although the stickiness gradually subsides each time you move it.

The little metal arms on either side of the Clear TV HDTV Antenna are flip-up bunny ears that extend out to about 4.5 inches, bringing the total height of the device to just over 7 inches. The telescoping ears aren't omnidirectional, but you can point each independently along the spectrum from being folded to fully upright.

Like any other detachable antenna, the Clear TV HDTV Antenna has a coaxial connector that plugs into the back of your TV, with about 6.5 feet of cable included. This isn't an amplified antenna, which means it doesn't have a separate cord that plugs into a wall outlet or USB port to extend the range.

Performance

The Clear TV HDTV Antenna advertises a range of 35 miles and claims to be compatible with 1080p and 4K resolution signals alike. American networks are not currently broadcasting in 4K resolution, so that's a promise that the Clear TV and other antennas can't fulfill for now.

We saw very different results on two floors of a house about 15 miles north of downtown Chicago. On the top floor, the antenna performed similarly to many others that we have tested in the location, picking up 55 channels and providing strong reception on most of them. We tested the antenna both directly behind the TV and a couple feet away from it on the same surface, and the results were similar in both instances.

Downstairs in the living room, the Clear TV was much less successful. We ran multiple channel scans with the antenna behind the TV, both resting on the stand and on the back of the set itself, and only pulled in about 20 channels. Those channels looked clear and were stable, but it was a fraction of what we had pulled one floor higher.

Pulling the Clear TV antenna a few feet away from the TV increased the number of channels discovered to about 40, but those additional channels were choppy and inconsistent—the end result wasn't really any better. We tried it again on a separate TV on a table about 10 feet away and discovered more than 40 channels, but once more, the reception on some channels made them very difficult to watch.

We have tested other antennas in that ground-floor setting, both standard and amplified, and have typically seen pretty strong results. However, the Clear TV HDTV Antenna seemingly couldn't penetrate the added obstructions of houses and trees, delivering fewer overall channels and less consistent picture quality as a result.

Final verdict

Given the results of our testing, buying the Clear TV HDTV Antenna is a tough sell. On one hand, we saw great reception and plenty of channels in a second-floor setting—and at $10, it worked about as well as pricier antennas that we have tested in the space.

But downstairs, the limitations of the compact design were immediately apparent, picking up a smaller number of available channels and delivering inconsistent reception for some of them. For just $10, it might be worth trying if you live close to the broadcast feed and don't mind returning or exchanging the product for something more powerful if needed.

However, if you have experienced troubles with interference or live farther away from a source, then you'll probably want to invest in something more powerful.  

TODAY'S BEST DEALS

Sours: https://www.techradar.com/reviews/clear-tv-hdtv-antenna


765 766 767 768 769