DON’T FALL FOR IT: The best TV antenna?

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. If you go searching for the best TV antenna, you’ll find a lot of claims of “super power” and “super range” from companies you’ve never heard of. They promise a lot, and they’ll even tell you not to fall for “cheap imitations.” Seriously, a lot of these ARE the cheap imitations.

Here’s what you need to look out for:

Promises that couldn’t possibly be true
Don’t fall for promises of 150 mile range. It just can’t happen without a 100 foot tower and a massive array. It’s the same thing with antennas that say they give you 40dB gain. That’s really just not possible.

OK I’ll back up. It’s possible to amplify a signal and give it 40dB but you would get so much noise that it won’t be worth it. There just isn’t 40dB of signal that you’ll be able to pull out of an antenna, unless you’re taking about something the size of a house.

Zombie brands
In general, the sad thing today is that you can’t judge any piece of consumer electronics by its brand name. Even f it says RCA, Emerson, Westinghouse, or any of the brands you remember from your youth, it probably isn’t the company you remember. That’s not to say you won’t find a good antenna from one of these companies, just don’t take it on faith.

Web sites that look like infomercials
If the web site screams with animations that make it look like a garage sale or late-night infomercial, it’s a fair bet that the product isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Look for a stable company that promises tech support, answers their e-mails and gives you the resources you need.

So, you know what not to look for. Big promises usually hide small results. If you’re looking for an antenna (or anything else for that matter) there’s a lot more to your purchase than price. There’s support and availability after the sale, and it all starts with a product that works. Misleading claims of super-power or amazing feats of strength aren’t going to get you those distant stations, but working with an antenna professional, and buying products that work right out of the box… that’s a recipe for success.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.