Is this antenna a ripoff?

Well I should say not. This is our Xtreme Signal HDB4X and it’s one of our most popular antennas. It’s also made exclusively for Solid Signal. You can find other sellers offering it, too. We sell in bulk to dealers.

And yet, some of the more “highbrow” audio visual services forums have claimed in the past it’s a ripoff, because there are some very similar looking antennas out there. I think it’s time we clear the air here and explain how antennas are made.

How antennas are made

There are actually very few companies that do actual fabrication of antennas, that is to say starting with aluminum and plastic and ending up with an antenna. In the whole world there are really fewer than a dozen. And each one has what’s called a “reference design.” That’s the design they use as a prototype when they’re shopping their services out to other companies. Now, you can use that reference design “as is” or you can adapt it to your specific needs.

We do carry antennas from people who make their own, such as Televes and Winegard. But, most antenna companies use contract manufacturers. In fact one of the companies that Solid Signal uses for its antennas also makes antennas under contract for other brands we sell!

Reference design… plus

Solid Signal’s Xtreme Signal line is based on one such set of reference designs, but we added features not shared with any other company in the entire world. The results of our engineering didn’t change the overall look of the antenna, at least not in pictures, but the difference makes our antennas a much better value than any competitor.

We started with the reference designs and the first thing that we did was change the reception pattern slightly, so it properly conforms with US broadcasting. A lot of antennas made internationally are designed for European broadcasts which are somewhat similar to, but not the same as, ours. The “X-Shape” at the front of the antenna was modified to pull in all US frequencies. We even went out of our way to eliminate any barriers to VHF reception because we know that many people do live in a market where there is at least one VHF station. Other antennas are designed to specifically block VHF while ours is not. The result is, our antennas will receive VHF signals at fairly short ranges.

Better quality parts

On antennas like our HDB8X, we specified better quality cables and combiners to provide a long life and engineered the mounting points so that they will work with masts even larger than a 2″ DIRECTV mast, because we know people mount to fenceposts and old DIRECTV masts. Other similar antennas will only work with a 1.33″ or 1.66″ mast. Our antennas will work with those as well but will also work with larger ones.

Finally, we’ve changed the engineering of every one of our indoor and outdoor antennas. Unlike similar antennas, they have a female connector end. Most outdoor antennas have a female connector but most indoor ones have a male connector, meaning that you have to get a separate part to be able to connect an extension cable. This never made sense to us. So, we changed the ends of every reference design. This makes it easy.

It’s worth looking for the Xtreme Signal brand when you shop for an antenna. It’s your way of knowing that your antenna is the best combination of price and performance. And of course, it’s always worth looking for a great deal when you shop for an antenna at Solid Signal.

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.