Channel Master FLATenna any good? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 25 Old 08-29-2014, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Channel Master FLATenna any good?

Three days ago I received an e-mail signed, "Your devoted servant in consumer TV Freedom, - Channel Master."

The message offered a "FLATenna . . . online for just $10. And free shipping." My devoted servant goes on to say, "It performs just like all the other 13" flat antennas that sell for $35 or more."

I've been using a $10 Radio Shack rabbit ears antenna on top of an old armoire converted into a TV cabinet. That antenna works pretty well, especially for the PBS stations constituting 99.44% of our TV recording. We live in the East Bay in the line of sight of the Monster Sutro Tower 14 miles across the bay in San Francisco. (Yes, we shook dramatically in our bed during Sunday morning's Napa area earthquake.) The only time we have any signal breakup is in the winter when the bay becomes choppy.

I thought I'd have seen some discussion here [Channel Master DVR+ Owners thread] about the FLATenna offer from CM by now.

Is it a good switch from the old rabbit ears antenna? A good deal?

Thanks,
DawnSun

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post #2 of 25 Old 08-29-2014, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnSun View Post
I thought I'd have seen some discussion here about the FLATenna offer from CM by now.

Is it a good switch from the old rabbit ears antenna? A good deal?
All these indoor antennas are situational -- meaning that no matter how good the advertising literature makes it sound or how wonderful another poster says it is in his setup, you have to buy one and try it to find out if it will work for you where you want to put it. There are just too many varied factors with indoor antenna reception to make any blanket statements or recommendations.
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post #3 of 25 Old 08-29-2014, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnSun View Post
Three days ago I received an e-mail signed, "Your devoted servant in consumer TV Freedom, - Channel Master."

The message offered a "FLATenna . . . online for just $10. And free shipping." My devoted servant goes on to say, "It performs just like all the other 13" flat antennas that sell for $35 or more."

I've been using a $10 Radio Shack rabbit ears antenna on top of an old armoire converted into a TV cabinet. That antenna works pretty well, especially for the PBS stations constituting 99.44% of our TV recording. We live in the East Bay in the line of sight of the Monster Sutro Tower 14 miles across the bay in San Francisco. (Yes, we shook dramatically in our bed during Sunday morning's Napa area earthquake.) The only time we have any signal breakup is in the winter when the bay becomes choppy.

I thought I'd have seen some discussion here about the FLATenna offer from CM by now.

Is it a good switch from the old rabbit ears antenna? A good deal?

Thanks,
DawnSun
I bought one for about $35 from Amazon a couple of weeks ago. It was supposedly multi-directional but it wasn't. It didn't receive some of my desired high power stations at 35 miles away. I returned it. But at only $10 and if I was experimenting I'd try it.
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post #4 of 25 Old 08-29-2014, 06:45 PM
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Rabbit ears work fairly well, especially if you're close to the transmitter. I've found a home-built antenna to be far more effective (and far cheaper) than any storebought antenna, now that it's no longer necessary to worry about the low VHF channels in most markets (RF 2-6) which used to require antenna elements in excess of 3' in length.
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post #5 of 25 Old 08-29-2014, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnSun View Post
Three days ago I received an e-mail signed, "Your devoted servant in consumer TV Freedom, - Channel Master."
The message offered a "FLATenna . . . online for just $10. And free shipping." My devoted servant goes on to say, "It performs just like all the other 13" flat antennas that sell for $35 or more."
...
Is it a good switch from the old rabbit ears antenna? A good deal?
A friend bought one. It arrived damaged, in a lightweight bubble envelope, and CM refused to replace it, saying the damage would not affect the performance. The damage consisted of multiple creases where it look like, in shipment, that it was repeatedly crushed with something like the sharp edge of a can of pees.

He is located about 25 miles from the transmission towers, all of which are grouped within a few degrees of each other, and the FLATenna barely received any signals, and what it did was for only a couple of seconds. The terrain between his house and the transmission towers is flat and low in elevation, with few trees, and much of it over marsh and open water, so there is very little to interfere with the signals.

His one VHF channel, which is his strongest channel with almost no trouble, would not come in at all. An amplifier helped very little on some of the UHF channels, but not at all for the VHF channel.

He too was under the impression that it was multi-directional, but he says the only way it picked up a signal was when the face of the antenna was 90 degrees to the line of sight of the transmission towers, and that was very delicate.

The real telling thing is that an antique Rabbit Ear antenna works very well for him, but he thought the CM antenna would be more appealing. Even if the antenna worked perfectly, the damage robs it of it’s sexiness.

His recommendation is to not waste your money, especially since CM did not support the product that they packed quite poorly.
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post #6 of 25 Old 08-30-2014, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post
All these indoor antennas are situational -- meaning that no matter how good the advertising literature makes it sound or how wonderful another poster says it is in his setup, you have to buy one and try it to find out if it will work for you where you want to put it. There are just too many varied factors with indoor antenna reception to make any blanket statements or recommendations.
I've searched all of AVS and have found no post that says the CM FLATenna is good in any setup. mojo_13 in the local HDTV reception thread for Des Moines, IA, is the only post I found outside this thread, and he is having troubles with the CM FLATenna. I'm much less likely to take CM up on their offer after reading these posts. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post
Rabbit ears work fairly well, especially if you're close to the transmitter. I've found a home-built antenna to be far more effective (and far cheaper) than any store bought antenna, now that it's no longer necessary to worry about the low VHF channels in most markets (RF 2-6) which used to require antenna elements in excess of 3' in length.
I've seen online plans for home-built antennas, But I'm not going to take on that project with my physical limitations. And, yes, I seem to be close (14 miles) to the transmitter I use most often. Thanks for giving me the benefit of your experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pachinko View Post
A friend bought one. It arrived damaged, in a lightweight bubble envelope, and CM refused to replace it, saying the damage would not affect the performance. The damage consisted of multiple creases where it look like, in shipment, that it was repeatedly crushed with something like the sharp edge of a can of pees.

He is located about 25 miles from the transmission towers, all of which are grouped within a few degrees of each other, and the FLATenna barely received any signals, and what it did was for only a couple of seconds. The terrain between his house and the transmission towers is flat and low in elevation, with few trees, and much of it over marsh and open water, so there is very little to interfere with the signals.

His one VHF channel, which is his strongest channel with almost no trouble, would not come in at all. An amplifier helped very little on some of the UHF channels, but not at all for the VHF channel.

He too was under the impression that it was multi-directional, but he says the only way it picked up a signal was when the face of the antenna was 90 degrees to the line of sight of the transmission towers, and that was very delicate.

The real telling thing is that an antique Rabbit Ear antenna works very well for him, but he thought the CM antenna would be more appealing. Even if the antenna worked perfectly, the damage robs it of it’s sexiness.

His recommendation is to not waste your money, especially since CM did not support the product that they packed quite poorly.
All that is pretty damning for the CM FLATenna. Thanks.

--DawnSun

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Last edited by DawnSun; 08-30-2014 at 04:28 PM.
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post #7 of 25 Old 08-30-2014, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noHatNoCattle View Post
I bought one for about $35 from Amazon a couple of weeks ago. It was supposedly multi-directional but it wasn't. It didn't receive some of my desired high power stations at 35 miles away. I returned it. But at only $10 and if I was experimenting I'd try it.
Was yours the CM FLATenna? Or another flat indoors antenna?

I'm just 14 miles from the Monster Sutro Tower in San Francisco, but given the problems others seem to be having, I think I'll pass on the CM FLATenna--even at $10. Not worth the trouble, especially since the rabbit ears are working pretty well. Thanks for your thoughts.

--DawnSun

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post #8 of 25 Old 08-30-2014, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnSun View Post
Was yours the CM FLATenna? Or another flat indoors antenna?

I'm just 14 miles from the Monster Sutro Tower in San Francisco, but given the problems others seem to be having, I think I'll pass on the CM FLATenna--even at $10. Not worth the trouble, especially since the rabbit ears are working pretty well. Thanks for your thoughts.

--DawnSun
Not CM's but probably similar.

http://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-U...n+hdtv+antenna
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post #9 of 25 Old 08-30-2014, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noHatNoCattle View Post
I sent the Amazon link to my friend for a comparison. He said it’s similar, but definitely not identical.

1. The antenna pattern is different.
2. CM’s is black on both sides, not white on the antenna side and black on the other.
3. Where the cable attaches to the antenna, CM’s is not riveted (or screwed), and is square not rectangular.
4. The CM cable is 6 feet 4 inches long, compared to Amazon’s 15 feet.
5. CM ships in a thin bubbled envelope. Amazon’s is in a nice box.

I notice that Amazon does not mention if it picks up both VHF and UHF, or if it’s omnidirectional, but a Q&A says it “somewhat directional”.
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post #10 of 25 Old 08-30-2014, 10:15 PM
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An antenna that size will pick up high VHF (RF 7 - 13) and UHF, but it won't receive low VHF (RF 2 - 6). Its high VHF performance would probably be pretty marginal, too.
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post #11 of 25 Old 08-30-2014, 11:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pachinko View Post
I sent the Amazon link to my friend for a comparison. He said it’s similar, but definitely not identical.

* * *
"The FlatTenna is the same thing (internally) that Solid Signal is now selling as their HD Blade, also same as the Spectrum SP513."

The above is quoted from a reply by ProjectSHO89 to my post No. 4292 on the thread AVS Forum > HDTV > Local HDTV Info and Reception > Des Moines, IA - HDTV

[Perhaps someone might please tell me in a PM how to insert a link to another post in my post? Or how to quote a post from another thread?]


The information from ProjectSHO89 may be illuminating to those here considering trying the FLATenna.

--DawnSun

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post #12 of 25 Old 08-30-2014, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnSun View Post
"The FlatTenna is the same thing (internally) that Solid Signal is now selling as their HD Blade, also same as the Spectrum SP513."

The above is quoted from a reply by ProjectSHO89 to my post No. 4292 on the thread AVS Forum > HDTV > Local HDTV Info and Reception > Des Moines, IA - HDTV
--DawnSun
They cannot be the same internally since the antenna pattern is clearly different on the one from Amazon than the one from CM!
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post #13 of 25 Old 08-31-2014, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnSun View Post
I've been using a $10 Radio Shack rabbit ears antenna on top of an old armoire converted into a TV cabinet. That antenna works pretty well, especially for the PBS stations constituting 99.44% of our TV recording. We live in the East Bay in the line of sight of the Monster Sutro Tower 14 miles across the bay in San Francisco. (Yes, we shook dramatically in our bed during Sunday morning's Napa area earthquake.) The only time we have any signal breakup is in the winter when the bay becomes choppy.

The only reason you don't have perfect reception now is because you're using an indoor antenna which is subject to multipath issues. You have plenty of signal being just across the bay. There's nothing magic about any of these indoor antennas. They're all extreme compromises. Your next antenna step up is an attic antenna or better yet an outdoor antenna. An ANT751 would probably work fine for you outdoors.

You might consider posting further questions to the San Francisco OTA thread where there are many people in and around the Bay Area.
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post #14 of 25 Old 08-31-2014, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post
The only reason you don't have perfect reception now is because you're using an indoor antenna which is subject to multipath issues. You have plenty of signal being just across the bay. There's nothing magic about any of these indoor antennas. They're all extreme compromises. Your next antenna step up is an attic antenna or better yet an outdoor antenna. An ANT751 would probably work fine for you outdoors.

You might consider posting further questions to the San Francisco OTA thread where there are many people in and around the Bay Area.
Yes, the bay, despite its beauty when looking out our front windows, is not our friend on stormy winter nights. Multiwaves = Multipath, it seems.

Yes, I followed for years the helpful San Francisco OTA reception thread for years, but I stopped after I took their advice to junk the old rooftop antenna and just go for the $10 Radio Shack (literally) rabbit ears. Actually, much better than the old rooftop antenna.

I'd like to give the ANT571 a try, but we have no attic under the pitched tile roof and the aesthetics of a mounting on the outside wall would not fly with the loving spouse.

Thanks for your analysis.

--DawnSun

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post #15 of 25 Old 08-31-2014, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by pachinko View Post
They cannot be the same internally since the antenna pattern is clearly different on the one from Amazon than the one from CM!

That's because you're comparing two different antennas. I did not say anything about the Amazon Basics which is actually a private label FlatWave from Winegard.

I got my FLATenna Friday and, when I looked at the element pattern that could be made out and the balun housing I knew I'd seen it before. It's the same as the current Solid Signal HD Blade (the original HD Blade was a Flatwave) and the Spectrum SP513. Spectrum is one of those companies hawking the "150 Mile" antennas.

http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp...u=700112818813
http://www.alibaba.com/product-detai...152567748.html

Didn't get a chance to play with it yet, left for out of town trip for weekend.

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post #16 of 25 Old 08-31-2014, 04:35 PM
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The original HD Blade from Solid Signal was indeed a private label Winegard Flatwave, without the coax cable connected. Interesting they have now changed to a different antenna design. But ever since the Mohu Leaf was developed, there have been various versions of an ultrathin flat panel antenna. Some perform better than others, and it depends upon location. The Winegard Flatwave was a bit better designed to receive HiVHF. But now there is this new FlaTenna design.
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post #17 of 25 Old 09-01-2014, 04:07 AM
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I was pointed over here by DawnSun and thought I would add some thoughts/review to this thread. I ordered the Flatenna as I would like to cut the cord. When it came it was in bubble wrap envelope. When I opened it it had a few what I would call creases in the antenna. Does it affect performance? Not sure but I do know that to have something new that looks used isn't a good first impression.

I hooked it up and did a scan and was only able to get 3 channels all of them being channel 17, 17.1, 17.2 I was a pretty dissapointed so I moved the antenna and tried again but with the same result. I did a TVfool before I bought the Flatenna and I am less than 20 miles from all of the stations that I am looking to get and in the green.

I sent a message to CM customer support and when I hear back I will post what they say here. This leaves a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth about CM since all I heard about CM antennas before this were good things.

EDIT: Added the TVfool report for anyone interested.
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post #18 of 25 Old 09-01-2014, 06:39 AM
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I bought it

Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnSun View Post
Three days ago I received an e-mail signed, "Your devoted servant in consumer TV Freedom, - Channel Master."

The message offered a "FLATenna . . . online for just $10. And free shipping." My devoted servant goes on to say, "It performs just like all the other 13" flat antennas that sell for $35 or more."

I've been using a $10 Radio Shack rabbit ears antenna on top of an old armoire converted into a TV cabinet. That antenna works pretty well, especially for the PBS stations constituting 99.44% of our TV recording. We live in the East Bay in the line of sight of the Monster Sutro Tower 14 miles across the bay in San Francisco. (Yes, we shook dramatically in our bed during Sunday morning's Napa area earthquake.) The only time we have any signal breakup is in the winter when the bay becomes choppy.

I thought I'd have seen some discussion here about the FLATenna offer from CM by now.

Is it a good switch from the old rabbit ears antenna? A good deal?

Thanks,
DawnSun
I too had Rabbit Ears, and every time someone bumped anything --- Reorient the Devil! The price of the CM Antenna is right, and it pulled in all of the Channels I want (39), so that's one perspective. No more fussing with the R/Es, and it also pulled in 103 more Channels that I did not want.


The 2 possible drawbacks: It's Black all over, and the cable is only 6' as I recall. Lloyd
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post #19 of 25 Old 09-01-2014, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by LloydSoCal View Post
I too had Rabbit Ears, and every time someone bumped anything --- Reorient the Devil! The price of the CM Antenna is right, and it pulled in all of the Channels I want (39), so that's one perspective. No more fussing with the R/Es, and it also pulled in 103 more Channels that I did not want.
If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the FLATenna is omnidirectional (since not sensitive like R/Es). That is not the experience of a friend whose FLATenna is very directional. Turn it just a few degrees, and all signals are lost.

Does your FLATenna have any defects in its surface. My friend, and others, report “creases”. The unit I saw had at least 6 semicircular depressions, to a depth about the thickness of the antenna’s material, with several directly over the antenna pattern. If yours is not damaged, perhaps those creases are indeed a problem, even though CM says they would have no effect on reception.
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post #20 of 25 Old 09-01-2014, 12:36 PM
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My 3 Flat Antennas are fine

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Originally Posted by pachinko View Post
If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the FLATenna is omnidirectional (since not sensitive like R/Es). That is not the experience of a friend whose FLATenna is very directional. Turn it just a few degrees, and all signals are lost.

Does your FLATenna have any defects in its surface. My friend, and others, report “creases”. The unit I saw had at least 6 semicircular depressions, to a depth about the thickness of the antenna’s material, with several directly over the antenna pattern. If yours is not damaged, perhaps those creases are indeed a problem, even though CM says they would have no effect on reception.
Fortunately for me, I have 3 FLAT Antennas and each is up on a Wall: 2 are facing the Source of the Signals & 1 is Back facing from them. Our Stations (fortunately) are up on a Mountain 28 Miles West of my location, and the results are virtually identical from the 3 -- each of which is a different Brand (Amazon Basics, CM, and Winegard). You do have to play with shifting it around to find the Sweet Spot, but once that's done, you use the supplied 3M Command "strips" to keep it in place. I have not had them long enough to know if they will have a desire to "relocate".


I do not see the depressions you describe in any of my 3 Antennas.
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post #21 of 25 Old 09-02-2014, 10:47 AM
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I think most flat antennas will be bi-directional. Front and back. I doubt that there is room inside for a blocking grid like the old 4-bay, 8-bay and Yagi's have. My Philips performs that way to pull in Peoria and the Quad Cities. (180 degrees apart)

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post #22 of 25 Old 09-02-2014, 04:49 PM
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Here is what I heard back from CM support. Not really a great answer and not sure I will be getting another antenna from them after this. Not sure how much closer I need to be for this Flatenna to work I'm less than 20 miles away.

It's possible that the other indoor antenna you're using has a high dB gain rating than the FLATenna. I would recommend you consider upgrading to a different antenna. I would suggest you input your address to antennaweb.org and click on the Channel Master logo for a professional recommendation. You'll also be able to receive a $10 credit from us for the replacement. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Kind Regards,

Jordan Cullimore
E-Commerce Sales Associate
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post #23 of 25 Old 09-02-2014, 05:17 PM
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I looked closer at the FLATenna today and compared it to the pictures of the Spectrum and the HD-Blade. My previous statement that they are the same is incorrect. The balun housing is identical but the element pattern on each is slightly different. I'd conclude they are variations of the same basic design, customized a bit to make them a bit different.
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post #24 of 25 Old 09-02-2014, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo_13 View Post
Here is what I heard back from CM support. Not really a great answer and not sure I will be getting another antenna from them after this. Not sure how much closer I need to be for this Flatenna to work I'm less than 20 miles away.

It's possible that the other indoor antenna you're using has a high dB gain rating than the FLATenna. I would recommend you consider upgrading to a different antenna. I would suggest you input your address to antennaweb.org and click on the Channel Master logo for a professional recommendation. You'll also be able to receive a $10 credit from us for the replacement. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Kind Regards,

Jordan Cullimore
E-Commerce Sales Associate
Channel Master
FLATenna not available until October

For those like me who are considering purchasing the FLATenna, you will have to wait until it becomes available again in October. Now we will have time to hear from more people who have used the FLATenna--their successes and failures.

Here is what the Channel Master sales site says (http://www.channelmasterstore.com/Fl.../cm-4001hd.htm):

Availability: This super-popular item [someone is buying them] is currently on back order. We are rushing to get more! You may still place your order now and we'll email you the moment your FLATenna ships. Your credit card will not be charged until your shipment is processed. Inventory is expected early October.

Our Price: $10.00


Product Code: CM-4001HD

--DawnSun

DawnSun

Last edited by DawnSun; 09-02-2014 at 11:27 PM.
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post #25 of 25 Old 09-28-2014, 09:24 AM
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Just received my Flatenna, I ordered two. I hooked one up to my tv and placed the Antenna in the window facing north, opposite direction from the Miami tower, South. I am in Ft Lauderdale. I was able to get almost all my channels 80 % signal strength. I then added the second one above the other using a splitter to connect both and BAM ! 100% signal plus I now get Palm Beach Stations as well. For $20.00 a perfect deal for me...
Oh i didn't mention that my tuner is the CM DVR+. Works like a charm now with the new antenna setup..
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