DTV for the Holidays

January 3, 2010 1:46:47 PM PST
TV's make a great gift for the holidays, but a lot has changed with DTV!If you're hooking up your new TV without cable or satellite, you need to have the right set-up, and most importantly - the right antenna.

Usually an unamplified "all-band" antenna will give you the best reception.

For more help and advice - we've listed several antennas below, recommended by WPVI-TV's engineers, to make sure you get 6abc and all of your favorite channels, and may this be the happiest holiday season ever!

RCA - UHF/VHF/FM Indoor Antenna - Black Model: ANT121 | SKU: 4780115

- This model gave the best overall reception on Channel 6. It has the longest dipole (rabbit ear) elements which also resulted in the best signal level. You need to extend the elements all the way, and at that level, signal attenuation (loss) is about 1/3 compared to UHF reception. It is close to the Radio Shack antenna in performance. The Tuning knob could cause some consumers issues because it switches in different lengths of circuitry to try to compensate for ghosts. Overall though if the consumer reads the literature, it should work near a window in a typical home in the city.

RCA - Indoor Off-Air HDTV Antenna Model: ANT111 | SKU: 8280834

- This unit has similar characteristics to the one above, You need to extend the rabbit ear part all the way up. It attenuates our signal approximately in ½ compared to the same levels received on the UHF part of the band. It is not as good as the Radio Shack antenna, but it's the best of the Best Buy group and should not have an issue if put near a window in a typical home. This unit is the cheapest, but it is also pretty flimsy as far as construction.

RCA - Amplified Indoor Off-Air HDTV Antenna Model: ANT1251 | SKU: 8280843

- This unit worked well when measured with the amplifier at a low level. When the amplifier gain was increased, it brought up interference around Channel 6's carrier here on City Avenue. When I tested it at home, it had pretty good results. This antenna could work for people slightly further away (e.g 15-20 miles) if they did not have an FM transmitter near them or any other kind of interference.

Terk - Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna Model: HDTVA | SKU: 7322587

- This antenna has good performance with the rabbit ear portion fully extended, but like the RCA amplified antenna, it had issues here with the FM's and other nearby noise sources when you used the amplifier gain.