Consumer Reports tests best indoor TV antennas

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Consumer Reports tests best indoor TV antennas - Nydia Han reports during Action News at 4:30pm on May 8, 2018. (WPVI)

You may think of TV antennas as those old rabbit ears people would sometimes cover in tin foil to try to get better reception. But antennas are going from old school to new again.

As more and more people are cutting the cord on cable, they need antennas to remain connected to local shows. So Consumer Reports tested the latest options to see which gives you the clearest picture and to give you tips on how you can get the best reception.

Zach Wobensmith ditched cable nearly 8 years ago. He bought a TV antenna and never looked back.

"If it's raining badly out, sometimes I lose the signal. Most of the time it comes in fine and the picture is extremely clear," he said.

That includes local news or his favorite late night talk shows, which he's still able to access for free on over-the-air channels.

"Pretty much everything was there and I don't have to pay extra for it," said Zach.

Consumer Reports recently tested 10 indoor antennas, trying them in two locations: near a window and near the TV. Across the board, the window location worked best.

They also found that while antennas come in a variety of shapes, the design isn't as important as where you live and what you're surrounded by.

"If you live in a very mountainous area or live in a city and there are a lot of buildings that obstruct the signal, then you may have a tougher time than somebody who is in a neighborhood where there aren't a lot of tall buildings," said Jim Willcox, Consumer Reports Tech Editor.

For best results, Willcox says to place the antenna high or in an upstairs room or attic if possible. Try a few different locations and rescan to see where you get the most channels. And if at first you don't succeed in getting great reception, try some other models.

"Work with a retailer that has a return policy because not every antenna is going to do well in your house," he said.

And just because the picture is free, doesn't mean it's poor quality. The over the air image may even be clearer since it can be less compressed than what you get on cable.

"So free plus better performance is a pretty good deal for most consumers," said Willcox.

It may also help to know where the nearest tv transmitter is, especially if you have a directional model. The FCC has an interactive map on its website.

TV Antennas recommended by Consumer Reports

HDTV antennas that stood out in tests near a window:
Mohu ReLeaf
Winegard FlatWave FL5500A

Clearstream 2Max

Recommended antenna to be placed elsewhere (not near a window):
Terk HDTVAZ

To read the full story from Consumer Reports, CLICK HERE.

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