I hear you, and I have given the same advice to many people: use unamplified rabbit ears unless you can put a high-gain antenna on your roof or in your attic. Still, one occasionally experiences pleasant surprises that seem to defy the laws of physics. That - and the fact that I live in a high-rise condo - explain why I will give the Terk HDR-i a try. But ONLY if the vendor will accept returns!
By the way, where do you buy rabbit ears for $5? My latest "budget" pair from Radio Shack cost me double that.