In today’s fast-paced modern world, everything we do is evolving, from big things like how communication is done, down to smaller ones, like something as simple as watching television.
Yes, that’s right. Modern technology has reached the point where it has managed to revolutionize almost everything, even our living rooms. Once upon a time, you had to get a television, connect an antenna to it, and go outside hoping you can get a good reception while also trying to not trip over the wires you took with you. It’s not the biggest problem, but it’s a problem nonetheless. And even if you manage to clean up the wires and find a proper spot for your antenna, the resulting reception isn’t always satisfactory. Worst case scenario, you only get it on channels you don’t like.
Thankfully, the last few years in today’s digital age have found innovation for television antennas by cutting the cord, literally. And with an increasing number of cable and satellite TV subscriptions getting expensive as time passes, then it’s certainly no wonder why more and more homes are ditching pay TV and choosing digital over-the-air broadcasts. It’s a no-brainer at this point, of course. You get to go cordless and depending on where you live, you get a lot more free channels, as well as save more money.
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Cordless HDTV antennas: A rising practice
But before we dive deep into the fold of budget HDTV antennas, what is one anyway? And how do you choose the best one?
For starters, an HDTV antenna is one of the latest phenomena to be a part of the cultural trend known as cord-cutting, which is the act of replacing your cable TV subscription with TV streaming services that receive broadcasts over the internet. It’s a rising practice, one that greatly benefits people, especially since it’s cheaper, and offers more services than the traditional cable subscriptions. With that out of the way, what are some factors you need to consider when choosing a wireless TV antenna?
First off, it’s important to understand that there is no “best” HDTV antenna. There is no singular unit/product that towers over every other antenna, simply because multiple factors come into play. The best TV antenna for you will highly depend on where you live, how far you are from the broadcasting stations, and what you want to watch. It’s all a matter of being in the best place, and more often than not, it may take multiple tries to do achieve that. With that in mind, however, here are some factors you can take into consideration when on the market for one:
One of the most important yet often overlooked factors when buying not just an HDTV antenna, but with any other consumer electronics, is reading up about the company and how transparent they are with their products. Go for a reputable brand that has a proven track record of success, as well as proper customer support. After all, why trust the product of a company that won’t even give you proper information about it? Furthermore, don’t be afraid to go out of your way to read up on product reviews online, it’s your home-viewing experience after all.
Directional or multi-directional?
Choosing whether you need a directional or multi-directional model is also an important part of buying an HDTV antenna. A directional antenna can pick up signals from a rather narrow range, which is usually around 50 to 60 degrees. Multi-directional antennas on the other hand, can pick up signals between 100 to 200 degrees, although more often than not, it does so with much poorer quality in the picture. So choose carefully, and again, it may take some more legwork to pick the best kind for your home.
Where to place them
Placement of your HDTV antenna is one of the biggest factors that will determine whether you will be satisfied with the results, or go back to the market looking for a better, more expensive model. So before deciding where to place it, make it a point to visit AntennaWeb.org. The website is a good place to find information as to where the closest broadcast towers are in your area, as your antenna should be oriented in the direction of those towers. The higher they are, the more ideal.
The rated range of your chosen antenna also matters. As a general rule of thumb, things like mountains, trees, and houses can shorten this range significantly. A good way of avoiding this is to use signal amplifiers. Ideally, these signal amplifiers can also help reduce any noise when you live in a weak signal area. However, they can also be counterproductive, as using one in a high signal area may distort the picture quality. Additionally, using a shielded coaxial cable helps reduce interference.
So if you’re convinced on joining the growing number of people who are choosing to leave that satellite dish behind and go cordless, then here are our top picks for the best cordless TV antennas you can buy without breaking the bank or going over the budget, without sacrificing quality:
1. The wireless TV antenna manufactured by Mohu is first on the list. It’s a consumer electronics company famous for its paper-thin leaf indoor HDTV antennas. As one of the most successful companies in the game, the company offers the Leaf Metro, which is easily one of the best-performing antennas paired with a wallet-friendly price. At less than 20 dollars, the Leaf Metro offers a non-amplified and reversible unit that you can easily stick on a wall via Velcro patches. The size is not bad as well. Coming in at 11.5 x 3.4 inches, the antenna packs a lot of punch behind its modest proportions.
The unit also comes with a rated range of 25 miles (which determines how far the unit can detect over-the-air broadcasts), plus a detachable 10-foot cable. Its sticker option also lets you experiment with different positions as you search for that sweet, spot. These factors make it perfect for small houses and small living spaces like apartments and dormitories.
2. Second is the Amazon Basics Ultra Thin Indoor HDTV antenna. It is a flat, wall-mountable antenna which has a size of 11.5 x 9-inches. The unit is on the more expensive side when it comes to this list. Although, what it lacks in terms of the low price range, it makes up for in performance, boasting a rated range of 35 miles with an average channel list of 31.
Like the Mohu Leaf Metro, the unit also comes with a 10-foot cable and sports a solid build due to its strong components and parts. Aesthetics are also put into consideration and accommodated, with the antenna colored white on one side and black on the other. Overall, the antenna performs quite well for a unit in its price range.
3. Third is the 1byOne Paper Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna. Reasonably priced and made of plastic, the antenna proves that more often than not, simplicity goes a long way.Flat, black-colored, and much larger than the other antennas on this list, the unit is easily the least portable and stylish. However, with an average channel count of around 28-30, and a rated range of 35 miles, the 1byOne Paper Thin antenna proves that it’s not what’s on the outside that counts, but what’s on the inside.
4. At fourth place is the attractive and brightly-colored Homeworx Antenna. At a price range that comes just shy of 10 bucks, the Homeworx Antenna (which sports a bright-blue color) is the perfect HDTV antenna for those with a steep budget.
The price range comes with a set of limitations though, especially with the range of channels it can reach. However, while the channel count is not that high, it still boasts a range of 25 miles, and where you live will determine whetherthis will be a deal breaker or not. Furthermore, placement options are also quite limited with its 56-inch cable. Luckily, the antenna comes with features like a clip-on stand and a suction cup.
Overall, the performance is not up to par with the others on the list. Nevertheless, its low price is good enough for it to make this list as it is perfect for those who are just getting introduced to the technology and doesn’t require as much leeway with the services.
5. Last but not the least is the ViewTV 25 Mile Mini Flat HD TV Antenna. At just around $8, the ViewTV antenna is the cheapest on this list.
Sporting a flat, oblong design, the antenna is also incredibly compact and can be easily either mounted on the wall with its screws or attached in a window with stickers.
However, the antenna also suffers a bit from its price range, as the performance is far from exceptional, even with its rated range of 25 miles. Furthermore, the included 56-inch cable is also very limiting. This means that the channels it can reach will depend on how close you are to broadcasting towers.
So that’s it. Our top five cordless antennas on the cheap side. Sure, they’re not the most advanced, nor are they at the top of the cordless antenna list. But for the money you need to shell out, the performances are all satisfactory enough to warrant a purchase, especially if you’re working with a steep budget. Furthermore, these are not the only budget antennas available on the market, although, in terms of balanced price and performance, these should be your top picks. Just remember that as with wireless antennas, your mileage may still vary, as it depends on where you live. Hoping for higher results and more features also mean that you may need to shell out more money.
Nevertheless, these antennas are more or less bang for your buck and are a wallet-friendly way of joining the cordless crowd. So simply connect and watch away!