Thanks for the responses regarding antennas. And thank you, Doc, for moving the thread to a more appropriate forum.
I understand the need for a good antenna system. When I was actively operating my HAM radio station my passion was building wire antennas and verticals.
I talked to a guy in Slovenia one day (CW) using a section of chicken house waterpipe for a vertical antenna.<grin> I was no antenna genius, but I had fun tinkering with them. I primarily worked QRP, reduced power (usually 1.5 watts, less than a CB radio) and had people tell me I was lying when I told them that was my power level...of course I was pushing that 1.5 watts through a full-wave wire loop supported by a big pecan tree. Antennas make a big difference!
Currently, here at the house, I'm employing an Antennas Direct DB8e, an Antennacraft 4-bay bowtie, and a VHF-Kit. These are all combined and feeding into a Juice amplifier. I live between 20-50 miles from the stations and have rolling, forested land between me and the transmitters. I think multi-path interference is one of my biggest foes. My Frankintenna is what I had to do to pull in the major OTA networks and it has worked well, though since the repack I may need to tweak it a bit (get more height on it). We're using a Tivo Roamio OTA for the receiver (four different internal tuners) which is sending signals to our old Panny plasma pro panel and to a Tivo Mini feeding a small LG television in the kitchen.
The television that I'm looking to buy will be going to a different location, though, but only about 200' from our house. Currently, there is an old 32" CRT at that location being fed by a large VHF/UHF directional antenna with some type of mast-top preamp (RCA maybe, it's been a while since I installed it). The antenna signal is fed into a "Digital Stream" set-top box, converted to analog and sent to the CRT. The flat panel will go in a different room there.
Besides the Digital Stream STB, I've got a Samsung that was our primary OTA tuner before dumping DISH (H260F, I think it is) and an iView box that I used for a while in a shop. Out of these three boxes the Samsung is the strongest tuner. It's been a while since I've tinkered with them, though. We've had the Roamio OTA up and running for two years now after dumping DISH and the boxes have mostly been sitting idle in their boxes. Chipsets, filters, quality of integration among other things all come into play with radio signal reception.
I've got no argument about needing a good antenna system. But, from my own experience, I believe that there has been differences in tuner sensitivities. The sad thing is that you can get two identical-looking tuners/tvs and their reception strength can be very different. Maybe things have evolved enough that the built-in tuners are an after-thought for manufacturers being as many displays no longer have them. Maybe they're all putting in a similar generic tuner card...I dunno.
I was hoping to find a brand/model that users have had mostly good OTA experiences with...moving the odds closer to getting a decent tuner. I've looked at online reviews but few of them mention OTA reception, but rather concentrate on "Smart TV" aspects along with comments on number of HDMI ports, audio ports, etc., or simply the picture quality.
The little LG tv in our kitchen also has a direct antenna connection and it pulls in more stations than the Tivo does, so I'm happy with that LG tuner. And, the Samsung STB proved to be good along with a Samsung plasma I had in the past. With this past experience I think I'll continue on the LG/Samsung path.