Pros:Compact, inexpensive, good digital reception
Cons:Not able to rotate the antenna when mounted to a wall
The Bottom Line: It works pretty well for digital channels in my area, although reception depends on many factors.
Philips MANT940 indoor/outdoor HDTV antenna.
Recommend this product?
After receiving my coupon for a digital converter box, I found myself in need of a good long range antenna.
Although I pay for cable (and I mean $$PAY$$ for cable), I have a couple of TVs that Id like to be able to watch Over The Air (OTA) programming via antenna.
I connected my digital tuner to the TV & temporarily attached the antenna to one of the back rungs of a kitchen chair. It was one of those 90 degree+ days & I didnt feel like climbing up in the 120 degree+ attic at the time.
Although we are in a relatively low lying area (and there are several large trees nearby), I was surprised to find that the digital tuner actually found several digital channels aright away. With a little maneuvering, I was able to grab a couple more digital channels, although the antenna has to be aimed at exactly the right area to pick up some signals.
After this initial testing, I made the journey up in the attic & made a temporary mount as close to the peak of the roof as possible. I used some PVC pipe screwed to one of the rafters, but you could use just about anything to mount the antenna to as long as its stable.
The antennas mounting base is easy to move from side to side (using my PVC mount) because the mount is designed to fit around a round object, i.e. a regular antenna pole. I left the U bolts somewhat loose so it would be easy to rotate the antenna from side to side.
The mounting base also has adjustments for the angle both up & down as well as side to side by simply loosening a screw on either axis.
You can pretty much aim the antenna at any angle horizontally or vertically.
After a few days of testing with my new digital tuner box, I was able to pull in as many as 11 digital stations, although depending on the time of day, weather, etc. I may only be able to receive 6 or 7 digital channels.
I had to compromise and lose a few channels in order to the best signal strength on the channels I dont currently receive via Cable TV.
For the digital channels Im able to get, the signal strength varies from 20% to 75% - again depending on the time of day, weather, etc. But for the most part these channels come in as good as & sometimes better than the Cable TV channels I pay for.
Using my HDTV with built in digital tuner, Im able to pull in about the same number of digital channels and as an added bonus, most of them are in HD resolution of 720p or 1080i.
For instance, a somewhat local NBC station we currently receive via Cable TV is only broadcast via Cable TV at 480i, while the FREE OTA channel I get with this antenna is broadcast in 1080p (although my HDTV only displays up to 1080i).
The same can be said for a somewhat local ABC station. Today, the Indy 500 was on & the Cable TV ABC channels were like watching the program through a dirty screen door. When I switched over to antenna, the same ABC station came in at 1080 resolution and looked like I was sitting on pit road.
Its a bit of a hassle to switch from Cable TV to Antenna for just one program, but when the resolution & picture quality is this good, its worth it.
This antenna is by far the oddest design Ive seen when looking for HDTV antennas. It is basically looks like a gray book. The entire outside is a plastic housing, including the adjustable mounting flange.
The information included indicates that the antenna can be painted; although I dont see myself spending the time to paint it
its not going to be seen except when Im in the attic getting Christmas ornaments down.
The antenna uses a flat UHF panel for analog & digital reception.
If you live in a high rise apartment building & dont have access to an area outside to mount it, it could be mounted to the wall with a couple of screws. If the gray color contrasts your décor, you could always paint it to blend in better with the drapes or curtains & such.
The antenna will also work for analog reception, but its unlikely anyone will use it for analog channels because analog broadcasts will stop on Feb 2009.
This antenna will pull in a few local channels. The downside is that all of the analog channels look like crap. (Sorry, theres no good way to sugar coat that)
75% of the analog channels are so snowy that its impossible to tell whats on the screen & the other 25% that are visible, look just about as good as when I used a coat hanger & some aluminum foil as an antenna.
There is only one connection on the antenna, the COAXIAL cable which attaches to the under side of the antenna. The antenna even includes a 20 foot long Coax cable along with a weather boot to keep rain & snow, etc out of the connection.
Also included in the package is an inline amplifier.
This simply screws inline with the coax cable between the antenna and your TV/converter box. Without this inline amplifier, the antenna is pretty much useless. You do need to plug in a wall wart power supply (included) to any standard 110v outlet to power the amplifier.
Ive tried the antenna with & without the inline amp & there is a world of difference. With the amp, I receive about 11 digital channels
without the amp, I receive 0 channels digital or analog.
The antenna can be used indoors or outdoors. As I mentioned, I have mine installed in my attic, but if I had a tall outdoor antenna mount I would definitely mount this antenna as high as possible to try & optimize my signal.
Signal strength depends on the factors I mentioned earlier, but it also depends on a couple of other factors.
1. How many digital channels are being broadcast near your location.
2. How far are you from the stations that are broadcasting those channels.
After some research online (antennaweb.org) I found that my local area only has 2 digital channels listed.
While I am able to receive one of those digital channels OTA (CW), I have had no success at all receiving the other channel (FOX). Oddly enough the channel I cant receive is the closest to me & is supposed to have the strongest signal. Further research will be needed to see if I can find that FOX channel.
Currently, Im able to receive 1 NBC, 2 ABC, 3 CBS, 1 CW & sometimes 4 PBS channels without moving the antenna.
Some of these channels are listed as being as far away as 60 miles, but even with my less-than-optimum mounting location & the neighbors trees Im still able to pull in several channels with enough signal strength to watch with little or no pixilation.
Ive tried several table top HDTV antennas with very poor results. Most of them will be lucky to pull in a single digital channel.
Ive also tested one of the big old-time antennas, as I call them. You know the type: a few dozen small bars connected to a main central bar & look like an iron butterfly.
While the butterfly type antenna worked pretty well, it is very directional & must be turned exactly for each channel. Sometimes the butterfly antenna (rated for up to 70 mile range) wouldnt find channels that the small Philips antenna picked up with ease.
So far, Im pleased with its performance. There have been a few times when the signal gets weak & the screen gets very pixelated, but it doesnt seem to happen that often.
The small size & compact design makes it easy to mount pretty much anywhere, although Im looking for performance, not aesthetics.
It was nice to see the inline amplifier & coax cable were included, especially with an antenna in this price range.
Its easy to adjust when you have a finicky station that just doesnt want to work.
Its a great way to get FREE digital HD channels.
The only major downside is that if you're like me & need to change the direction of the antenna to tune in certain channels, it means a trip up in the attic.
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