Do Indoor Antennas Really Work
Depending on where you live, an indoor antenna can work really well, or not at all. If you live in the middle of a city, it’s likely you’re very close to a broadcast antenna. However, if you live a little further out then you may not be receiving the strongest signals and checking digital TV coverage maps first may help you somewhat.
Correspondingly, if you do live in a poor coverage area, with weak signals, an indoor antenna may not be for you. We tried using the antennas at a semi-urban location in New York State’s Hudson Valley miles from the city and none of them worked at all, even the signal-boosting Smartenna. That’s why it’s best to test the signal strength waters with a cheap antenna first, instead of spending a hundred bucks on something that might not work in your location.
The Most Important Features To Consider
Using A TV Antenna With Smart TVs And Streaming Devices
While streaming services like Netflix and HBO Max may be taking a more prominent place in the living room, there’s still room for over-the-air broadcast TV. Whether you want free access to local news or just want to get more sports without shelling out for another subscription service, an HDTV antenna can still provide plenty of great stuff to watch, and having a smart TV or one of the best streaming devices doesn’t prevent using an antenna.
All of the best smart TVs for streaming also have built-in tuners for pulling in broadcast channels, and getting your TV channels programmed is an automatic process, with the TV scanning for stations and putting together a browsable channel guide in just a few minutes.
And several streaming devices are built with OTA content in mind. The Amazon Fire TV Cube, for example, can switch over to your TV’s built-in tuner seamlessly, without having to swap TV inputs or juggle extra remote controls. You can even get something like the , a DVR that lets you record OTA content, and enjoy it all using the same Fire TV interface your TV might already be using.
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The Best Indoor TV Antennas: Reviews & Recommendations
The best indoor TV antennas are more powerful and accessible than ever. You may be surprised by how much better the viewing experience is than cable. No matter your budget or needs, the best indoor TV antenna to complete your setup is very likely here among the choices weve collected.
- Very large
Most indoor antennas right now take the form of a flat sheet, trying to minimize their presence. The Antop HD AT-500SBS Smart Bar does not. The largish rounded beam looks more like a soundbar than a modern antenna, and thus demands a bit more space. Luckily, if you have the room, its design feels right at home alongside most modern TVs, home audio, and other living room gadgets. It also offers quite a bit of flexibility. It comes with a stand, but can also be mounted on a wall. You can set it vertically, like a tall column, or horizontally.
More importantly, though, it is a great performer. The AT-500SBS offers a particularly nice range of power-user features, including the ability to connect to two TVs at once, a dial for tuning the range, and built-in FM and 4G LTE antennas that serve to filter out cellphone and radio signals and ensure your shows come in crisp and clean.
How We Test Cheap TV Antennas
All of the TV antennas we review in any price range are put through the same testing process to determine how many channels they will receive and how many of those channels are watchable.
All of our testing is done in the same location in New York City, an apartment that receives dozens of channels from a variety of broadcasters. Every individual antenna is connected to the same Samsung 4K TV and built-in TV tuner, and each one is placed in the same position to eliminate variables of environmental interference and to produce comparable results.
The Manhattan testing environment has more than 100 over-the-air channels available in the area, making it an ideal testing location for antenna reception of any range, with more sensitive, long-range antennas pulling in a higher number of channels. It also gives us a chance to determine the reception quality, by seeing whether or not those channels are clear and watchable. The best antennas will pull in more channels and a higher number of watchable results.
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Vansky Outdoor Amplified Digital Hdtv Antenna
This is one of the most popular outdoor antennas designed to receive Digital TV UHF and VHF signals. It is also capable of providing a 1080p picture that will satisfy your needs for high-definition tv. Vansky Outdoor digital TV antenna has a motorized 360-degree rotation with the infrared controller. Its range is an incredible 150 miles which makes it a perfect solution for rural houses.
Vansky antenna includes a control box with dual outputs to connect it to two TVs in your house. For best performance, the producers suggest you mount their antenna on the roof, side of the house, or in the attic. This Digital HDTV antenna comes with a straightforward user manual that makes it easy to assemble and install. Still, less tech-savvy users might find this antenna inconvenient to operate.
Price range: $12.20 $ 30
Take Stock Of What May Stand In The Way Of A TV Signal In Your Home
While these reception maps will give you a good overview of the channels you should be able to access with an antenna, the signal strength could be affected by a variety of factors things like construction in your neighborhood, distance from a broadcast tower, the position and type of antenna, trees and weather.
Finding the best antenna can be a bit of a trial-and-error process as you discover which antenna works best in your home. Because of this, its a good idea to make sure you know the return policies of the stores where youre shopping for antennas. Also, neatly open any packaging in case you need to return it.
If you are more than 20 miles from the bulk of the transmitters in your area, and you hope to watch TV in a below-ground basement, you may want to consider an outdoor antenna. But, to the point above, you could still try an indoor antenna first and then return it if it seems like it wont work.
When youre using an indoor TV antenna, common building materials like brick, metal siding and stucco can reduce the incoming signal.
Any building material will impact the reliability of an over-the-air signal, says Tyler Kleinle, who runs the Antenna Man channel on YouTube and previously ran an antenna installation business. It all depends on how strong the signals are at a given location.
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What Channels Can I Get With An Antenna
Antennas pick up over-the-air broadcast channels that are available in your area. This typically means local networks like NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox, along with a few dozen other stations. Channel availability, however, can drastically differ depending on whether your community is more rural or urban.
One way to check available channels in your community is through the AntennaWeb tool. Just enter your address in the search bar and a list of channels that can be picked up in your area will show up in the results.
Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro
- Larger design that’s harder to hide
Picks like our Antennas Direct antenna have a smaller range at 35 miles, designed primarily for those who live in more urban areas where TV towers tend to have plenty of overlap. This 1byone antenna goes the opposite direction. It has a massive 200-mile range that attempts to pick up signals from as many towers as possible, a much better choice for those living in small towns or more rural areas.
The antenna is also one of the more affordable on our list and comes with an extra-long 17-foot cable. The downside to this immense range is that the antenna is bulkier than most with its dual fold-out sections, and you really want to place it as high as possible for the best results, so it may end up being more noticeable.
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Best Indoor And Outdoor TV Antennas For 2022
Watch almost anything you want
Whether youre subscribing to streaming services or looking for ways to watch events like the Oscars without cable, you should consider getting a TV antenna. Yes, HD TV antennas are a thing, and they can save you a lot of money over time.
Antennas are relatively inexpensive, and as long as you live in an area with great TV signals, you can watch your favorite shows and events. In this article, well show you the best HD TV antennas you can buy for any budget. Get one for your smart TV and watch almost anything you want.
Other Options For Local Channels
If you are looking for alternative ways to view local channels and news, there are a few options.
The following apps stream live news, highlights, and more from your local channel providers and are available for free.
However, you will need a streaming device such as a Firestick or Android TV Box to use these.
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Antennas Direct Clearstream Eclipse 2
The ClearStream Eclipse 2 has a distinctive figure-eight design that’s 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, based on user reviews.
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.
If you live far from a broadcast source and/or you’ve had trouble with other antennas, the Antop HD Smart Bar could solve your issuesif 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.
Cut Cords With Cable And Still Get Reception With These Top Antennas
- ITT Technical Institute
- New York University
- London Metropolitan University
We independently research, test, review, and recommend the bestproductslearn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
The best TV antennas are a great way for cord-cutters to make sure they don’t lose access to local networks. Given that we’re in a transition phase where some networks still don’t offer live streams online of their content, or hide them behind a pay wall/require a cable subscription sign-in, an antenna can ensure that you never miss the live sports, local news, or other appointment viewing television that’s often only available on the major networks.
For a relatively low cost, a lot of modern antennas provide a bevy of fairly advanced features. Many are ATSC 3.0 compliant, meaning they’re ready for 4K, and cover both VHF and UHF spectrums. Some can pick up signals from up to 60 miles away, and even offer filters and insulation to ensure you’re getting the clearest possible result. And, with many antennas now being built to live inside the home, aesthetics have improved immensely, so they’re no longer the massive eyesores of yesteryear.
Check out our list of the best TV antennas below.
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Best Outdoor Antenna: Viewtv Outdoor Antenna
Amazon.com price $39.99 as of 3/16/22 10:30 a.m. MST. Read full disclaimer.
- Dual TV outputs for multiroom viewing
- Motorized 360-degree rotation w/remote
- Free bonus mini indoor antenna
- Weather resistance
- Roof mounting
- No mounting pole included
- No advertised range for free mini indoor antenna
ViewTVs outdoor antenna looks like a futuristic Jetsons-style raygun , and it has so much bang pew-pew-pew for your buck.
The antennas 150-mile range will work best for rural areas but also cities and suburbs. Plus, with its low-noise, high-gain amplifier, and full HDand UHDsupport, youll get a crystal clear picture. Theres even a 360-degree rotating base with wireless remote for extra-fine tuning from your couch.
Theres more: ViewTVs antenna has dual TV outputs for multiroom viewing, and it comes with a free mini indoor antenna that you can use on another TV. ViewTV doesnt advertise the freebie antennas range, but its indoor antennas cover 2565 miles. So expect at least 25 but consider anything longer than that a bonus.
But before buying this, be sure that youre comfortable doing the roof-mounted installation yourself. Its risky and technical, so its probably best left to a professional. Our next recommendation has the same issue.
Best Indoor TV Antenna: Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro
Why it made the cut: Substantially larger than most of its indoor competition, the Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro stands out with great performance and convenient installation.
- Larger than comparable indoor antennas
Mohu is one of the biggest manufacturers of indoor TV antennas for a reason. The Leaf Supreme Pro measures a commanding 12 x 21.5 inches, so its hard to ignore its presence. Its a very thin, flat panel, though, so it can be easily installed in a high corner, and features reversible black and white sides to make it as discreet as possible. The coaxial cable is also conveniently detachable, meaning you can avoid an unsightly wire going up your wall when youre not actually using it.
On the plus side, it gets great range for an indoor antenna and comes with a separate, USB-powered amplifier that noticeably improves performance. Thin, flat indoor antennas generally dont do quite as well as their outdoor counterparts, but the Leaf Supreme Pro gets pretty close without many tradeoffs.
- Picks up nearby signals well
- Does deliver on advertised range
- Black on both sides and cant be painted
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Shopping Criteria For TV Antenna Amplifiers
Of course, finding the best TV antenna amplifier may not be an easy task, since there is a vast number of similar devices with similar specifications but completely different performances of which you may not be aware. Nevertheless, do a little bit of research and read our advice. Thats why we have created this guide in the first place: to help users find their best match. We recommend the following shopping criteria to make a great purchase.
- Power-to-quality ratio
Amazon Fire TV Recast
Our list of “problem” channels in Manhattan was WABC 7.1 , WNET 13.1 , WPIX 11.1 and WNJB 58.1 . In addition we added popular channels CBS 2.1, WNBC 4 , and WNYW 5 .
While the results will vary depending on where you live and how far you are from TV towers, we found that the best-performing models received more of the most popular channels as well as local channels and additional radio broadcasts and Spanish-language stations.
Most of the TV antennas are based on the same rectangular design, but there was one important consideration: the cable. Did the antenna have a long, high-performance coaxial cable or, even better, a detachable one? You’ll be sticking one of these in your window, which could be a long way from your TV, so longer is better.
It’s worth noting that some of these antennas — the 1byOne and the Channel Master Smartenna Plus — include gain-boosting amplifiers. While the 1byOne will also work without the amp attached, the Channel Master won’t. Based on our experiences in a number of locations, however, amplifiers offer a wildly unpredictable signal strength benefit. If you can’t get TV reception with an indoor antenna, a gain amp may not actually help you, and in other cases, it could make your reception worse by overloading channels that already have a strong signal.
Several antennas in our list include a powered amplifier, but use thoughtfully, as these may actually make a strong signal worse.
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