Everybody raved when cable TV first came along and made it possible to get a decent picture form the broadcast networks — living in the densest of a New York skyscraper back in the day, I could remember how an antenna couldn’t do a blessed thing. But now that NBC, CBS, ABC and others broadcast digital signals, it’s possible to gain a high-definition, quality picture without having to mount an external antenna. And that’s a FREE picture too.
This is where RCA’s ANT1150F Ultra Thin Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna comes into play: to start with, it’s white on one side and black on the other so placing it on a wall shouldn’t be an issue of it standing out. It’s also paper-thin and so can be mounted using minimally invasive means such as thumbtacks or painter’s tape. But what’s best about it is that it’s able to pull in digital channels from inside a living room or den, etc. without concern. That partly comes from its design and the way digital broadcasts work, but also due to amplification that does less for enhancing the TV signal and more for getting it “into the TV” in the first place. This is done by not having a directional aspect, but being able to pull in signals through a multidirectional design.
The ANT1150F has barely any weight at all, but if there’s any it’s found at the base where the 12” coaxial cable meshes with it. The amplification module lies farther along the cord’s length, but has a USB slot for taking power. This means you can plug it into a free USB slot of the TV and it will be powered when the TV goes on (alternately a USB power adapter can be used with a wall outlet).
My HDTV is in the living room and the apartment is surrounded on all sides by fellow residents. I connected the antenna to the TV’s coaxial input, plugged the amplifier into one of the TV’s USB slots and, after selecting “TV” as the input, went to the channel section to let the antenna populate the channel guide with stations. Over 20 was found and the images were vibrant, free from artifact issue or distortions, and with good clean sound. Watching them was no different than if I had been connected up to a cable box or satellite receiver -- only at no cost. I also repeated this entire procedure without the benefit of the amplification and, with the exception of there being a few less channels found, the pictures playing on the TV looked the same. So I plugged amplification back and forgot about the tech and went back to watching (having re-run the channels to get those that had gone away back).
Cable and satellite reception is good, but you’re paying for channels that are literally as free as the air. This RCA indoor antenna not only delivers, but does so efficiently and unobtrusively for well under $100 ($69.99 to be exact). If cutting the cost cord for watching over-the-air broadcast networks is what you have in mind, then this antenna will do the job.