Well, Cox Communications went and did it -- some folks over there annoyed my wife for the last time. So, after chewing someone out on a Monday, my meek (har, har, har) wife went and had a digital satellite from Dish Network stuck on the top of our house. Unfortunately, local channels will not be carried by Dish Network in my neck of the woods until November.
Recommend this product?
So, of course, in the meantime, we had to get an antenna to pick up the local networks. Now, Northwest Arkansas is a bit unusual, I think, in that ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and UPN are all carried by UHF signals rather than VHF. Having grown up around VHF-centric Little Rock, I've noticed a difference in transmission quality when using an antenna to pick up signals. Whether UHF signals are a bit inferior (kind of the AM vs. FM radio argument, perhaps) or whether stations just have trouble broadcasting in these hills is something I just don't know.
I only mention that because I've used antennas from time to time on various "spare" televisions through the years and have learned getting a good local signal can be tough. This RCA ANT145 antenna picks up stations as well as anything I've used here in Northwest Arkansas, and I've tried a couple of powered antennas as well as the ones which were attached to older televisions as standard equipment.
The bottom line, then, is this -- the RCA antenna works very well, and it cost me $12.99 at Target (cheap!) That's really about all anyone needs to know.
Still, for the detail-hungry folks, I'll mention a bit more about the unit. First of all, it's completely black, so it matches well with our black television set, VCR and satellite receiver (the home theater system and DVD unit are silver, but that's another story). And, when I say black, I mean it. The UHF loop antenna, VHF dipoles, UHF reflector, tuning switch and base are all solid black. And, the unit is fairly compact, too, so the color and size of the thing mean it can be placed just about anywhere and won't look too ugly.
As for the features of the unit, this allegedly works well with UHF, VHF and FM stereo signals. You get two, telescoping VHF dipoles which can be swiveled and adjusted at will, as well as a 12-position dial for fine tuning signals. Also, there's a UFH loop and reflector which can be adjusted, too.
The unit comes with a six-foot cable with the standard connector, which screws into either the back of a television set, satellite receiver, VCR or etc. For older televisions with the "screw type" connector, an adapter is necessary. Unfortunately, the adapter isn't included, but those are cheap and easy to find.
I haven't tested the unit as an FM antenna as the ports on my home theater system accept an odd, funky type of antenna with a specialized connector. However, the Fox station in the area broadcasts on both VHF and UHF, and I've been able to tune in to both signals quite well. Similarly, the local PBS affiliate broadcasts on VHF, and it comes in clear as a bell thanks to this antenna.
However, it's been my experience that picking up UHF signals can be tricky, and this little unit shines in that area. While we still get some snowy pictures (particularly on the CBS affiliate), both my wife and I are thrilled with the reception. In fact, we've both remarked that using the antenna is similar to having Cox as the cable company's non-digital channels tend to be a bit on the fuzzy side.
Oh, and we've been able to receive stereo TV broadcasts just fine with the RCA antenna.
And, that brings me to the main complaint with this antenna. After being spoiled by the crystal-clear, digital signal provided by Dish Network, network stations look and sound like garbage when picked up by the antenna. That's not a fault in the design of the antenna, however -- it's just that strong, digital signals are a heck of a lot better than weak, analog ones.
And, of course, some "work" comes with this antenna. It takes a bit to adjust the UHF loop in order to pick up channels well. Furthermore, we've spent a lot of time dialing the tuning knob in order to get the best reception. However, the unit appears to have been put together well as the tuning knob makes a huge difference in reception quality.
So, this will do just fine until Dish Network adds local stations in a couple of months. All in all, we wound up paying $13 to pick up local channels for a couple of months, and that's not bad.
It appears this is the proper place to put a review on the RCA ANT145 Indoor TV Antenna. If not, please let me know!