9 Best TV Antennas | April 2017

We spent 32 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Tired of exorbitant cable or satellite television bills, but not quite willing to give up on your favorite shows? No problem. Today's TV antennas are not like the old rabbit's ears. They'll let you pick up high definition digital broadcasts from all the major networks for free. Skip to the best tv antenna on Amazon.
9 Best TV Antennas | April 2017
Overall Rank: 4
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 8
Best Inexpensive
★★★
9
The Mediasonic HomeWorx HW-210AN features a reversible design with black on one side and white on the other for a switchable look that best matches your decor. The adhesive Velcro strips are low quality, though, and don't stick well.
  • affordable price point
  • requires no power
  • cuts in and out with bad weather
Brand Mediasonic
Model HW-210AN
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
8
Watch your favorite TV shows in unparalleled HD quality using the digital Liger Leut-Antenna. It comes with a stand and adhesive, has a 35-mile range, and a reception frequency between 470 and 862 MHz, all at a price that can't be beaten.
  • lowest noise figure possible
  • can be painted to match your decor
  • included cord is too short
Brand Liger
Model LEUT-ANTENNA
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
7
The Avantek AR-F10 is loaded with features, including a wide band external amplifier and a built-in low noise, high gain booster that ensures stunning incoming picture and sound. It also includes a stand for tabletop positioning.
  • instructions are easy to follow
  • blends in nicely with any setup
  • some areas may get poor reception
Brand AVANTEK
Model AR-F10
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
6
The 1byone OUS00-0189-1 is a high performing antenna with an extremely soft, flexible design that can hide behind a TV, lay flat on a table, or stick to a window. It includes a 10-foot-long cable for optimal placement in your house.
  • signal amplifier is available
  • user-friendly menu
  • led is too bright
Brand 1byone
Model OUS00-0189-1
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
5
The HD Frequency Cable Cutter is a critically acclaimed device that was developed by a genuine rocket scientist. Its industrial chic design looks great both indoors and outside, and it can be set up with a simple 3-step process.
  • great signals even when obstructed
  • includes mounting hardware
  • won't work with tvs made before 2006
Brand HDFrequency
Model CC-17
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
4
The enhanced dual band Winegard FlatWave FL550Y is equipped with superior technology that minimizes pixelation and signal dropouts. Also, it has an innovative USB power supply that saves energy whenever your TV is turned off.
  • designed and made in the usa
  • led charge indicator
  • amplifier necessary in many areas
Brand Winegard
Model FL5500A
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
3
The Holisouse HD-112 boasts a 50-mile range for receiving high-quality feeds through the company's Crystal Clear Filter technology. It has one of the best signal-to-noise ratios in its category, creating a picture worthy of your expensive television.
  • blocks cellular and fm interference
  • fast and easy setup
  • great customer service
Brand Holisouse
Model HD-112
Weight 11.8 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
2
The Mohu Leah 50 boasts a sleek, paper-thin design that can be discreetly hidden out of sight. It effectively filters out any interference from cellular and FM signals for the clearest picture, thanks to its CleanPeak technology.
  • one-year warranty
  • simple plug-and-play operation
  • supplied cable feels thin
Brand Mohu
Model MH-110584
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
1
The premium Antennas Direct C4 offers incredible power, and it is highly efficient for its size thanks to its patented tapered loop design. It is ideal for those living in rural areas with heavy foliage, or for attic installations.
  • resists interference
  • ultra long-range performance
  • includes all-weather mounts
Brand Antennas Direct
Model C4
Weight 7.4 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Unscrambling The Signal

It is no secret, cable and satellite television can be expensive. The next time you get your cable or satellite bill, take a look at all those fees, taxes, and channel bundles your company has forced you to maintain. Does that make the dish or cable box a bad thing? Of course not, but you may find that you'd like to keep things simple while maintaining access to the major networks, without having to pay absurd amounts of money to your provider each month. For that reason, why not go back to basics with a television antenna?

Also referred to as a television aerial, a television antenna is an antenna specifically designed for the reception of over-the-air broadcast television signals. These signals are typically transmitted in a frequency range between forty-one and two hundred fifty megahertz in the very high frequency (VHF) band, which is still currently used for digital television. In order for a television antenna to accommodate such a frequency range, it must be equipped with conductor elements of varying lengths. The length of an antenna's conductors corresponds to the wavelengths the antenna is capable of receiving. Conductors are usually half the wavelength of their intended signals.

Television antennas are created for either indoor or outdoor use. Indoor antennas are usually placed in close proximity to your television set, while outdoor antennas are mounted on a mast outside the home on the roof for the best reception. Dipole and loop antennas are the most common types of indoor antennas.

The dipole antenna is immediately recognizable when we talk about rabbit ears, which always seem to need adjusting. The loop antenna is so named due to its construction of looped wire or tubing with its ends connected to a balanced transmission line. The balanced transmission line may sound complicated, but it's simply a specialized cable used for carrying and distributing cable television signals.

With respect to the outdoor television antenna and its placement atop your roof, the higher it can be installed, the better off you'll be if you live in valleys or among other tall structures that may interfere with the integrity of the television signal itself. However, there is still a potential trade-off, given that a high-placed antenna is difficult to reach when it needs servicing. There is also a vulnerability to bad weather conditions.

When analog broadcasting evolved into digital broadcasting, so too did the indoor antenna from its traditional rabbit ear counterparts to a flat, square-shaped, thin antenna. The evolution of this modern television antenna eliminated the need for constant manipulation and adjusting when trying to enjoy programming. Modern indoor antennas now rival the quality of many outdoor and attic antennas.

Finding The Best Reception

Achieving the appropriate balance between directional capabilities and your environment are two important factors to consider when investing in a television antenna. For example, multidirectional television antennas will work well for you if your transmission towers aren't centrally located, if you want to be able to pick up signals from other cities, and if you live in a rural area with a lot of foliage that interferes with your signal quality. When considering such an antenna, one must also be sure to purchase it with sturdy, all-weather mounting hardware.

By contrast, if you live in a city apartment and are relatively close to your transmission towers, then a flat indoor antenna may be all that you need.

If a high-definition signal is important to you, many antennas allow you to pick up local high-definition signals for a fraction of the cost of maintaining your cable service or satellite dish.

Some indoor antennas are also optimized for supporting surround sound and even feature USB power supplies for maximizing your home's energy efficiency when the television is turned off.

A Brief History Of Television Antennas

The birth of television antennas dates back to the time of German physicist Heinrich Hertz, who was the first to prove the existence of electromagnetic waves by testing James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic theory of light. The theory predicts that electromagnetic waves move at the speed of light, and that light itself is also a type of wave. By 1887, Hertz developed an apparatus for generating and detecting radio waves. He also developed his first radio transmitter around that same time by using an induction coil-driven spark gap and a pair of one-meter copper wires to act as a radiator.

Hertz placed capacity spheres at either end of the wires for adjusting resonance. He then discovered that when an induction coil applied a high voltage between the two sides, the resulting sparks across the spark gap would generate radio frequency currents in the copper wires. These wires would then release radio waves at very high frequencies similar to those found in modern television transmitters. This transmitter was a precursor to the dipole antenna.

Credited as being the catalyst for one of the biggest television booms in history, the first practical dipole antenna was invented in 1953 by Marvin P. Middlemark. This invention revolutionized the television signal and how it was watched. While the dipole antenna is still in use today, the popularity of high-definition signals has created a niche for high-definition antennas with flat screen televisions that have built-in digital tuners.



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Last updated on April 24 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.