Originally Posted by tylerSC
The brands I mentioned all have decent reviews. Obviously better than the Walmart and Radioshack versions.
I know this sounds like total heresy so please hold off on the flames. But you asked for real-world experiences: For almost ten years now, I've been using a basic Radio Shack RF amp at the RG-6 coax distribution point in the garage of my two-story house. Four sources feed this amp: One is a long run of coax to a 'pre-digital' Radio Shack VHF/UHF antenna mounted up in the attic. Two more sources come from the modulator outputs of a Dish Network 622 receiver in the family room set to Ch. 60 and 64. The fourth comes from the S-video output of a Dish Network 211 receiver in the MBR, fed through a Channel Master RF modulator on Ch. 16. The four sources are combined at the amp input through a simple reversed 4-way coax splitter... no fancy joiners. This setup provides off-air signals plus three "house" channels.
The output of the Radio Shack amp runs to a two-way splitter, and from there into 8-way and 4-way splitters that feed coax outlets in every room of the house. I have a bunch of older SD sets connected that (thanks to the demise of analog OTA) now receive only the three house channels, plus five HD sets and/or Dish receivers with built-in ATSC tuners that receive OTA digital plus the house channels. This cheap little RS amp works perfectly: All 3 house channels are sharp and clear on both SD and HD sets, and all the digital tuners receive nice strong OTA signals from every digital station in the area (all about 30 miles away).
This little unit does everything I need, has run 24x7 for ten years without a glitch, and gives me nice sharp signals at 16 outlets (I'm fussy about quality, too). With all due respect, I can't see paying many times as much for a more expensive brand with theoretically better specs and design.