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How to choose the best antenna?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,

I'm not sure if this is the right section to post this in, so feel free to move as necessary. I live in NYC, and would like to get rid of my TWC, as I really don't feel the need to spend this money on cable (aside from the service being awful as well). I would like to, in it's place, install an antenna to get some limited reception/channels (really just the networks), so I won't have to pay a monthly subscription. This is all I need. Will I be able to do this with just a standalone antenna? I have a Toshiba 50L1350U (1080p/120Hz HDTV). Would I need anything else besides the antenna? Also, which unit would you recommend?

Thank you!
post #2 of 10
I would start by trying a DIRECTIONAL (to suppress multipath) Indoor Antenna such as Terk HDTVi PASSIVE (NO Amplifier to prevent Overload) Log-Periodic for UHF, which includes Rabbit-Ears for VHF (extend each rod to 14.5-in for best Ch7-13 reception). Same as the Terk HDTVa version of the Silver Sensor, except NO Amplifier.:

It is also possible that a simple $15 Rabbit-Ears/Loop antenna is all you need....the only way to know is to TRY it....

Another candidate is the WallTenna, a 2-Bay Bowtie very similar to what I analyzed (see link), with moderate UHF and VHF Gain, a fairly wide Beamwidth and Bi-Directional Antenna pattern with NULLS on either side, so it needs to be used in a window roughly pointed toward (or away from) the TV Towers:
Also makes a good DIY project using CONDUCTIVE 3/4-in Aluminized Mylar Tape.

EV tested a very large number of "Indoor" Antennas, but the highly rated Amplified units should NOT be used in a high signal level area like NYC, so you'll have to eliminate many of his preferred choices:
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks very much for the reply, holl_ands! (although much of it was far too technical for me:). I will check out that Terk model, is this is reputable brand? Also, I wanted to mention that an outdoor unit isn't really an option for me -- I live in a large apartment building, and access to the roof is restricted (and would be too cumbersome anyway). So I believe an indoor method is what I'd have to do. Is this not preferable to the alternative? Also, any suggestions on direction or setup of the antenna? Also, any other brands or specs I should look out for when choosing an antenna?

Thanks again!
post #4 of 10
You need to enter you location into www.tvfool.com and then post the RESULTS URL (web address at top of browser) so we can see your situation...BTW, we'll only see an approximate LAT/LONG position when we check the link. Also describe which floor you are on and which way your windows face.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
When I go to TVFool, which link do I use/click on?
post #6 of 10
CLICK HERE, on Left to Check Your Address for Free TV. This is the only webpage you can share the RESULTS URL (web address).

Or, If you want to, you can start with START MAPS (on Right) and then right click on MAKE RADAR PLOT to create a new TAB. In the resultant Interactive TV Coverage Browser, you can click on MAKE RADAR PLOT to also get to CHECK ADDRESS.
Edited by holl_ands - 8/17/13 at 1:36pm
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
OK, here we go:


It's the 6th floor (top floor). Windows face (I think) northeast...?

post #8 of 10
Although I don't have any personal experience trying to get good reception in the NYC area, I've read many reports for users in that area. Your window is on the other side of your building from the primary NYC broadcast towers, so Multipath will most probably be an issue....indeed, the signals MAY be reflections of off nearby buildings coming THRU your window. So the Terk would be my first choice to try, with the WallTenna (or DIY equivalent) a close second choice.

FYI: In most cases, it will be a slam dunk and very inexpensive Rabbit-Ears/Loop Antenna might work just fine.....but YMMV, so you'll just have to try it and return for upgrade if you aren't happy ....and keep us posted if you have problems....

Yes, the Terk, RCA, Jensen, Klipsch and other VOXX (aka Audiovox) brands have a good reputation and can be readily returned for full refund from most retail and on-line sources.
Edited by holl_ands - 8/17/13 at 9:28pm
post #9 of 10
Besides the antenna, you should probably pick up some coax and a coax connector. Radio Shack's F81 connector is an example. You may need the extra coax in order to find the best location in the room. The best antenna for you is the one that works. There are many others you can try if the Terk doesn't work. Good Luck.
Edited by deltaguy - 8/19/13 at 10:26pm
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Gotcha -- thanks for the replies! There's actually an RCA readily at the Best Buy near me, I think I will try that out for starters. Thanks again smile.gif
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