Rca tv antenna

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RCA Indoor TV Antenna with 12 Position Switch

This Digital TV Antenna has an excellent off air reception of local channels. Including a 12 position fine tuning that heightens the feed to create the best signal possible for a handful of local stations to select from. Adjustable VHF dipoles and pivoting UHF loop are there to strengthen signal reception as well. Easy to install and has a fashionable design where this indoor antenna will compliment your home theater at a low cost that wouldn't damper your wallet. Maintaining a crisp picture and sound quality that holds up to 1080i HDTV Broadcast standard with a flawless performance. This is the best HD antenna to consider where one can enjoy their favorite local programming in High Definition for free.

Range (Distance)  40 miles
Cable Type  4 ft Coax Cable F Connector
Color  Black
Included  Antenna and Coax Cable
Dimensions  13.25H x 8.75W x 3.25D
Weight (Kg/lb)  1.67 lbs
Sours: https://www.youdoitelectronics.com/rca-indoor-tv-antenna-with-12-position-switch-ant121

Isn’t it frustrating when your favorite show is on-air, and you can't watch it because of bad TV receptions? We understand how you feel and trust us when we say that you are not the only one. But we have a solution to this problem! And that is RCA TV antennas.

RCA is a fine company that is known to manufacture some of the most promising TV antennas in the market. And, to help you find the best RCA antennas, we composed this article.

You see, here you will find ten of the finest RCA antennas with detailed reviews that will give you a clear view of what you will be getting for them, along with various other assistive information.

The Most Highly Reviewed RCA Antennas

Our Recommended 10 Best RCA Antenna

You no longer need to wander from this page to that page looking for a good review on the RCA antenna as we have the best ones right here. In this section, we have thoroughly reviewed several RCA antennas, and have provided you with our top picks. So, let us check them out!

1. RCA ANT11E Indoor Digital TV Antenna

Are you having problems with your TV's connectivity? Is your TV not giving you clear and good quality service? If your answer to any one of the previous questions is a yes, then we have the perfect solution for you! The RCA ANT11E is the correct choice if you want to enjoy TV (Local & Network) in an exclusive way.

You must be wondering how such a petite contraption can bestow you such a staggering upgrade! Well, it has a built-in SmartBoost TV amplification that enhances the received signals from the antenna and amplifies them.

Thus, allowing you to watch your beloved TV programs in 1080P and without any interruption.
Moreover, the detection area ceded by the item is outstanding! Its powerful antennae have a range of around 40-miles. This enables you to experience the best quality pictures in the worst environments. However, these are not the only things that this masterpiece facilitates.

It can sync with almost any gaming console, and to use it, all you have to do is connect it to your console. Furthermore, it is a compact device that doesn't take up much time to set it up and you don’t need another pair of helping hands.

Plus, it allows contents from both UHF and VHF channels. And can be used for any home theater set-ups. In short, if you desire the best RCA indoor antenna, then this is the ideal option.

Highlighted Features

  • Offers you an extensive array of accessible channels
  • Has a wide range
  • The product is ideal of difficult environments
  • Suitable various usage
  • Affordable

2. RCA Digital Antenna Amplifier

Efficiency and top-notch functionality should be the nickname of this indoor HDTV compatible antenna. Thinking why? This will be cleared to you once we start discussing all the remarkable functionalities that this beauty has to offer.

The first thing that needs to be under the spotlight is its wonderful design. It has a clamp-on-and-fix installation, which assures your firm and reliable fitting.

Besides, its small frame makes it practically invisible to your neighbors and doesn't sabotage the outlook of your house from the outside. Not only the outside, but you can integrate the unit inside your home as well, and trust us, it will look just fine.

When its compact construction is combined with its sturdy and durable build, you are given an antenna that can withstand almost all sorts of environments with relative ease.

Plus, the technology that this work of art uses is absolutely astounding. It has a pre-installed SmartBoost HD amplifier for amplifying the obtained signals, is concordant with almost any type of channels (HDTV, VHF, and UHF channels), and assures you continuous and stable connection all the time.

Among all the RCA indoor antenna reviews you have read till now, this stands out the most because of its unique features.

Highlighted Features

  • Presents a durable and long-lasting construction
  • Has a very reliable range of 50-miles
  • You can connect it almost any kind of channel and relish more channels
  • Effortless set-up

3. RCA Indoor Flat Digital Antenna (Multi-Dimensional)

Who said that antennas can’t be good looking? We are here to introduce you to RCA’s Omni-dimensional antenna that has such an attractive and sleek look and is one of the finest picks on our RCA indoor antenna list. This one is sure to blend perfectly with your home’s interiors.

The item possesses a minuscule dimension and is practically weightless, which facilitates the fitment and stationing process.

Next, the setting-up process is quite easy. There are no complex procedures and there is no need for you to drill or do anything extra. Just connect the cable to the unit, and your job is done.

Incidentally, the compatibility of the product is off the charts! Along with being linked with TVs, you can also connect the unit to any gaming console like the Ruko, Xbox, etc. Therefore, letting you savor all your loved programs and shows from anywhere.

Plus, on the day of purchase, you will be granted with a 6-feet long coax cable. Thus, you can attach the unit at any length, and with its effortless connectivity, you can use the device from any distance.

Furthermore, the unit is harmonious with various types of signals, including VHF and UHF broadcasts. Meaning that this product will offer you an extensive array of channels with top-notch clearance and quality.

And because of its flat profile, it is almost unnoticeable to the naked eye, and will never distort the looks of your home.

Highlighted Features

  • Can be used from multiple dimensions
  • There is no need for constant adjustments
  • Accustomed with almost all kinds of channels, including HDTV, VHF, and CHF
  • Quite an affordable unit
  • You can attach the unit at any corner inside your home

4. RCA HD Antenna For Outdoor Yagi Satellite

In the world of Satellite Antennas, the most promising outdoor satellite antenna company is RCA, and their Yagi-style satellite antenna is an elite when it comes to outdoor antennas.

The antenna can afford a massive range of around 65-miles to 70-miles, which means that you can have endless and undistorted broadcasting no matter where you are.

In addition to that, you can fit the device in your home with straightforward steps. Follow the instruction manual (that will be given to you on the day of purchase), and you should be good to go!

Moreover, the antenna is a beast when it comes to quality. You see, it can receive and display a broadcast from 4K to 8K quality along with the regular 1080p ones. Therefore, this gem will let you enjoy your much-loved series and movies in the most excellent quality.

And you will be happy to know that this Yagi-style antenna is attuned with both UHF as well as VHF stations. Hence, offering you a superior range of channels. When coupled with all the factors that we have previously stated, you can savor various programs without any issue or breaks.

Highlighted Features

  • The ultimate antenna that can work with almost any signal
  • Contains a heft range
  • Supplies you with an antenna that can receive uninterrupted broadcasting
  • Is well-suited with 4k to 8K broadcasts along with standard 1080p broadcasts
  • Installing the item in your home with feel like a breeze experience

5. RCA ANT121Z Durable Passive Indoor Antenna

The third pick on our RCA antenna reviews is The RCA ANT121Z. It is a simple and highly functional antenna that will blow your mind from the second you purchase and connect it to your TVs.

First of all, let's talk about the price. Pricewise it might not seem affordable, however, when compared to all the products in the market that can’t grant half the features this can, you will realize it is within your means.

Apart from that, the sleek and compact design of the unit is one of its principal attributes. Due to this, you can install the device anywhere in your home without it hogging up too much space and ruining the decor of your house.

Also, when speaking about installation, we have to state that you can fix it in twelve different positions. In short, you can station it almost anywhere in your home without it wrecking the looks of your interiors.

Moreover, as it has a durable and long-lasting construction, you won't have to worry at all about the safety of the device.

Lastly, it is companionable with HDTV cable. Hence, all the signal that this unit will receive is going to be unhindered and is going to award you with crystal clear quality, thus, offering you one of the best experiences ever.

Highlighted Features

  • Sturdy construction that will last for a long time
  • You can set it up in numerous positions
  • There are no complicated set-up procedures
  • Has a sleek and compact design that will look good wherever you station it
  • Provides you unhindered and clear television broadcasting almost all the time
  • The product is quite inexpensive

6. RCA ANT1251F Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna

It must be annoying when you notice that all your friends are appreciating a better TV connection just because they are in a better area. Well, ANT1251F Antenna is here to the rescue.

The indoor HDTV antenna features a petite and convenient ergonomic, which facilitates you to station the unit in almost any place in your vicinity. And, its design has a futuristic touch to it, so it might even enrich the look of your TV room a little.

Moreover, unlike most of the antennas in the market, it doesn't contain thousands of wires, which makes the room look quite messy.

Along with that, the marvel has a massive number of A-grade and advanced technologies installed in it. One of them is its SmartBoost Amplification technology, which heightens the reception and clarity of the collected signals.

Also, it supports 1080p HDTV connection, so you can use it with any standard television sets.
Furthermore, it is cooperative with UHF, VHF, and HDTV cables and channels. All in all, using this unit you can access almost all sorts of channels and enjoy a huge variety of A-class programs.

Highlighted Features

  • Contains all the necessary utensils along with a 6-foot long coax cable
  • You will be facing no issues when installing and connecting the device
  • The device lets you adjust and isolate the gains on the unit
  • Ideal for all sorts of environments

7. RCA ANT1450BE Indoor TV Antenna

Few can match the mighty RCA ANT450BE in functionality, efficiency, productivity, and everything else!

Unlike the conventional antennas that can receive signals from a single direction, this omnidirectional antenna can receive and decipher data from almost all directions. Hence, your favorite series will never be interrupted.

In contrast to all the noticeable and decor-ruining antennas, this one has a smooth and sleek black look. Therefore, no matter where you set it up, it will not wreck the interior of your home. Speaking of looks, you will notice it is a miniature structure, which indicates that placing and fixing it in your home is like doodling.

Keeping the design on the side, the product offers you a lot of other stuff! It is an excellent receiver and can receive free uncompressed broadcast signals. So, providing you with a wholesome experience. If that is not sufficient, the DTV compatibility of the device shall let you revel in the finest quality of pictures.

And, finally, it can sustain various forms of signals without requiring you to regularly monitor and adjust the settings. By the way, it has a hefty range of around 30-miles. This means that it can detect a broadcast from anywhere for your vicinity.

Highlighted Features

  • Sleek looks and compact dimensions offer effortless stationing
  • Easy to operate
  • Has numerous noteworthy technologies
  • The range of the device ensures that no signal is missed

8. RCA Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna

No one wants to spend a lot of time installing or fitting a simple antenna on their TV, but it is a fact that certain antennas in the market do take a lot of time to be installed. However, not this one! The ANT1275F is a miniature indoor antenna that is extremely light and will take you mere minutes to set-up and use.

But that is not the only thing that makes it a must-have item. It is capable of operating with both UHF and VHF stations. Like this, you can relish numerous other channels just by installing this single unit. And, you can do so in 4K and 8K quality in addition to the standard 1080p.

There are times when a transmitted signal is not strong enough, which is the main reason why there are distortions, interruptions, or no reception in some cases. Fortunately, this one comes with a SmartBoost Technology that enables you to boost those weak signals and prevent any unwanted issues.

Moving on, the range of the unit is outstanding. It has a big range of around 40 miles, which directs that any signal that is within this 40-mile radius will not be left out by the watchful eyes of the unit.

Highlighted Features

  • Delivers a massive range
  • Features a SmartBoost system that improves and amplifies weak signals
  • Offers you the high-resolution and high-definition picture quality
  • Offers you a free cable with no subscription needed

9. RCA Universal Outdoor 30 Element Broom Antenna

If you are a fan of orthodox Antennas, then there is no better choice than the ANT3036Z! Though it might be a tad pricey, all the fabulous functionalities and features that it offers outweighs the fact that it is a little expensive.

The antenna is ant excellent choice if you are having a hard time getting a good service due to your area. And when that is paired with its 65-mile effective radius, the chances of this bad boy missing out on any signals is almost next to impossible. Along with that, it delivers you with unhindered reception.

Similarly, it is compatible with almost all sorts of signals and broadcasts, including HDTV and analog broadcasts. Plus, you will be able to enjoy all these in HD quality.

Earlier we suggested that it is ideal for difficult and tight areas. Well, that is not only because it has a marvelous reception, but it has an unyielding and durable structure that permits it to endure almost any circumstances.

No wonder we are calling it one of the most competent ones among all tin outdoor reviews in this article.

Highlighted Features

  • Contains a marvelous range and reception capabilities
  • Has a sturdy and reliable construction
  • You can fix it almost anywhere you want
  • Comes with hardware mounting and 75-Ohm transformer

10. RCA Outdoor Long-Range HDTV Yagi Antenna

Are you looking for a long-range Antenna to fit outside your house, then you can stop looking, as we have the best RCA digital antenna for outdoor just for you.

Let us start with the range. The device has an exceptional range of around 100+ miles. We can understand from this that no signals or broadcasts will be missed by this masterpiece within the stated radius. In addition to that, if you want to revel in free HD-quality on your TV, then this is a must-have product.

And the vast array of functionalities along with the advanced technologies that it uses will let you appreciate your desired programs in a way that you have never imagined. Plus, all the necessary products will be presented to you on the day of purchase, including manuals, mast clams, mounting hardware, transformer, etc.

Besides, it has a heavy-duty construction, that allows you to station it outdoors and never worry about it as it can hold on its own in almost all types of conditions.
Also, if you read the RCA outdoor antenna reviews on this product online, you’ll understand why we rate this item so highly.

Highlighted Features

  • Has a durable and long-lasting construction that allows it to operate in difficult conditions
  • The range of the item prevents it from missing any transmitted signals
  • No-subscription, no need to pay any anything
  • The package is fully equipped with all the utensils on the day of purchase
  • Easy installation

RCA Antenna's Comparison Table 

RCA Indoor Digital TV Antenna

RCA Indoor HDTV Amplified HDTV Antenna

  • 20-Feet Coax Cable
  • Mounting Kit

RCA Multi-Directional Indoor HDTV Antenna

  • Wall mounting bolts
  • 6-Feet Coax Cable

RCA Outdoor Yagi-Style Satellite HD Antenna

RCA Durable Passive Indoor Antenna

RCA Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna

RCA Indoor TV Omni-directional Flat Digital TV Antenna

  • Coaxial Cable
  • Easel Stand
  • Power Adapter

RCA Indoor HDTV Amplified Antenna

RCA Universal Outdoor Boom Antenna

  • Mounting Hardware
  • 75-Ohm Transformer

RCA Outdoor Long-Range Yagi-Style HDTV Antenna

  • Locking Clamps
  • Mounting Hardware
  • 75-Ohm Matching Transformer

Things to Consider Before Buying a RCA Antenna

Buying an RCA antenna is no rocket science as long as you know all the things that you are looking for, and that is what we are going to help you within this section. So, here are the things that you need to consider if you want to buy a good product.


The first and foremost thing that you need to consider when buying an antenna is its range or (the proper term) effective range. You see, the greater the range, the lesser the chances of the antenna missing signals. 

However, a few factors determine the range of the antenna you want to purchase, and one of those factors is the area or environment.

If you want an antenna for the outdoors, then we would advise you to go for something that can detect signals within a sizable radius. Outside, numerous things can interrupt the reception of the signals, so the larger the limit, the better reception.

However, if you are indoor and in a better environment, you might not need a very heavy range. Another thing that affects the range, especially outdoors is the height of the antenna, and this table should help you understand that:

Height of Antenna H1 (m), H2 = 0 m

LOSmax (km)










Obviously, whenever you are planning to buy an antenna, you would not want it to be fragile. Therefore, you must ensure that it has an unyielding and long-lasting build. And to ensure that, you have to check the material used to make the unit.

Ordinarily, metal is used to make these units as these do not hinder the process and are quite reliable, but our proposal is that you either go for copper, aluminum, or something stronger. Though, you have to keep this in mind that this would raise the price of the unit.


While we are on the subject of prices, this is probably the most essential feature that you have to check out right before you purchase a product. Therefore, it is important that you have a perfect budget on the variety of antenna that you want to purchase.

However, if you have a good budget, then you can purchase a more durable antenna.


To have the greatest experience even with the best RCA antenna, it is imperative that all the essentials are in your hand. Though it depends upon you whether you should opt for a package that contains everything you need, or you would pay extra and buy specific accessories to match your requirements.

Easy Installation

It is quite obvious that no one would want to spend too much time installing anything, especially if it has a complex fitment or requires a lot of time to install. Hence, when you are searching for an antenna, our hint for you is to go for something that offers effortless installation and convenient operation.

How to Take Care of Your RCA Antenna?

Even if you have the best antenna on planet Earth, if you do not put much care towards the product it is bound to give up on you as well. Hence, in order to ensure that your antenna is functioning properly and stays in a good condition for long periods, it is vital to maintain the device in a systematic manner.

And believe us, there is not much that you need to do to maintain these simple contraptions. First of all, you have to make sure that the structure is clean, and you can do that by simply using a cloth and spraying a little cleaner on it to wipe off the dirt and other unwanted things.

You need to avoid letting any water or liquid running near the electrical component. By using a machine that blows air like a blow dryer, you can clean the electrical components quite effectively.

Now, if you have an outdoor antenna, experts recommend that you check for cracks or rusts as these could render the unit useless if not handled with care. And, on any signs of such formations or deformations, taking professional help would be a smart decision.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the ideal range for an indoor and outdoor antenna?

Well, there are various indoor and outdoor antennas, and their range can vary a lot. And there is no ideal range of such a device as the more the range, the better the performance. Nevertheless, even if there is no supreme range, there is an average range for an indoor antenna, which is around 35-miles. 

Plus, for the outdoor antennas, the maximum range would be 100-plus miles.

2. How often should one maintain an antenna?

There is no certain time limit on when, or how frequently one should clean and maintain their TV antennas. However, it is essential that you clean them after a fixed period of time. A short summary would be that leaving the antenna for months without any attention is a veto. Just maintain it once or twice every week.

3. Can you state the average price of an RCA antenna?

Now, the cost of the antenna in the market is quite diverse. There are some that cost less or around 10-bucks, while others could set you back to by a couple of hundred dollars. However, the average price of a functional TV antenna is from 20 to 100 dollars, and within this range, you can find a very good TV antenna.

4. Which one is the ideal raw material for an antenna?

We would suggest that you go for copper antennas.

5. Are these contraptions long-lasting?

Yes, they are! You just have to maintain them in a proper way.

Final Words

Whether it's for an indoor purpose or an outdoor purpose, RCA is considered as one of the best companies for TV antennas in the business.

Therefore, here in our article, we have mentioned some of the best RCA antennas, and we can guarantee you that you will find the product you are looking for right here. And if you ask my opinion, I’d suggest you go for the RCA ANT11E Indoor Digital TV Antenna, as it’s the best choice overall.

And thanks to the buying guide, you now know what features to look out for. So, you should be able to make a decision easily.

Let us know below which one has managed to get your attention.

Sours: https://purdylounge.com/best-rca-antenna-review/
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RCA ANT1450B Multi-Direction Amplified HDTV Antenna

The RCA ANT1450B antenna eliminates the constant need for adjustment, and you will get the local channels you want. Just hang it, lay it flat, or stand it upright and receive local HD, DTV, and FM signals for free. The ultra low noise amplifier provides clear reception of HDTV, UHF, or VHF signals. Slim profile can be hung on a wall or lie flat, and an included metal easel stand allows vertical placement. Comes in a black finish to complement any home theater center and outperforms traditional antennas thanks to its patented design. Preserves signal purity with extremely low noise circuitry. Additional features: Simple connection to your TV or converter box, easy to hide in any room environment, removable amplifier included with antenna, coax cable included, one year limited warranty. Dimensions: 9" H x 8" W x 1/2" D

Product Details

Part Number210-332
Unit of MeasureEach
Sours: https://www.parts-express.com/RCA-ANT1450BF-Multi-Direction-Amplified-HDTV-Antenna-210-332
  • 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.


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/

Tv antenna rca

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RCA Basic Indoor Antenna ANT111F with Amplifier Setup and Review

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