The 7 Best TV Antennas to Buy in 2017

Cut cords with cable and still get reception with these top antennas

If you have a cable subscription you may think TV antennas are a relic of the past, but did you know broadcast stations (CBS, ABC, PBS, NBC, FOX) continue to send out their TV signals for anyone to pick up — for free? All you need is an antenna. For cord-cutters—folks who have decided to ditch cable in favor of streaming and Internet-based media—antennas are increasingly popular, because they deliver the few remaining advantages of cable TV over streaming media—namely, live television. If you’ve already cut the cord or are considering doing so, take a look at these antennas so you can make the transition with ease.

When it comes to finding the perfect TV antenna for 21st century needs, there’s very little room for nuance and stylistic preference. Most people just want the darn thing to work, right? Well that’s exactly what makes the Winegard FlatWave FL-5000 such a competitive option for the best TV antenna for modern digital entertainment systems. Aside from boasting a simple but modest design, it offers some of the strongest signal reception you can find for the money. Specifically, it’s built to pick up signals from towers broadcasting 35 miles away. It comes with a 15-inch coaxial cable, allowing you to position the antenna from a variety of optimal locations. And there’s no assembly required — just plug it and and start searching for that optimal signal. The Winegard FlatWave shows some of the best performance for the category, and it only costs a little over $30. If you’re a cable-cutter looking to hold onto some of those broadcast stations, this is your best bet.

If you live in a remote area with poor broadcast signal reception, and you don't want to install an outdoor antenna—and, for whatever reason, the Wineguard FlatWave Amped is unavailable—then we would recommend picking up the RCA Ultra-Thin, Multi-Directional, Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna. Through the in-line signal amplifier with SmartBoost technology, this thing is designed to deliver a clear television signal from up to 60 miles out. It includes a 12-foot coaxial cable and can be found for around $60. The price tag and some so-so online reviews led us to believe the RCA is not as reliable of an antenna as the Winegard FlatWave Amped, but sometimes your options are limited—especially when you’re talking about antiquated broadcast technology. One of the good things about analog tech, however, is that its pretty much reached its limit—you don’t have to worry about anything being outmoded within a few years. Just plug it in and forget it.

If you’re in the market for an indoor antenna but you want to make sure the thing won’t be an eyesore for you and your guests, consider the Mohu Curve. This thing offers an elegant, curved design that not only looks sleek and modern, but may actually help conserve space. The antenna offers signal reception of up to 30 miles. It also includes a 10-foot coaxial cable. Like any other modern TV antenna, it’s super easy to install: All you need to do is plug it in and begin searching for an ideal signal location. But, most importantly, this thing evokes the feel of a modern home, with a design that may even make guests wonder what it is. If you want, you can lie and tell them it’s a work of modern art.

Few people end up regretting the decision to cut the cord, but it’s not uncommon for streamers and Netflix gurus to wistfully recall the good old days of finagling their TV antennas to pick up a local sports broadcast. But wistful nostalgia is often limited by your wallet. Who wants to pay $60 just so they can watch live broadcast TV, especially when a lot of that content ultimately finds its way to YouTube anyway? if you find yourself in this camp—the budget camp—consider picking up the Mohu Leaf Metro. There’s not a whole lot of room for buyer’s remorse, and you can still expect it to deliver the content you’re looking for, especially if you’re within 25 miles of the nearest TV tower. Like the other indoor antennas on this list, the Modu Leaf Metro is pretty straightforward technology: just plug it in and start searching for the optimal signal location. No Einsteins required.

If your nearest broadcast tower is between 35 and 60 miles away, don’t panic — you can still capture those distant vestiges of urban civilization. You just need a signal amplifier. Most of these devices come equipped with the antenna; they’ll just cost you a bit more. If price is no concern, the Mohu Sky 60 TV Antenna is worth looking into. It delivers free broadcast television from a range of up to 60 miles — all of it boosted through an internal 15 dB amplifier. It features something called CleanPeak Filter technology, which filters out cellular and FM signals and limits noise. This provides a clearer picture, as well as access to free HD (1080p) channels. A note, however: this thing is intended for outdoor use. While you can install it in an attic and receive optimal signal, it is not exactly plug-and-play. It includes a 30-foot high performance cable, as well as dual power options: USB or power cube.

If you live in an area with poor signal reception but don’t have the will or means to install an outdoor antenna — and you want to spend as little money as possible — you should look into the Winegard FlatWave Amped FL5500A. This is more or less the same antenna as our top pick, only it includes a signal amplifier that broadens the reception range to 50 miles. This also increases the price tag by a few bucks.

The FlatWave Amped features Clear Circuit Technology, which helps cut out unwanted signal intrusions from cell phones and radio stations, ensuring an optimal broadcast signal at very long distances. It comes with an extra long 18.5-foot coaxial cable and a USB power supply, delivering a variety of connectivity options for your entertainment setup.

When it comes to 21st century analog-to-digital TV antennas, everything is pretty much divided into two categories: indoor and outdoor. Indoor antennas are hassle-free devices that are ideal for city-dwelling renters who don’t want to have to make any intrusive, back-breaking roof installations just to receive the Olympics on NBC. Outdoor antennas are ideal for homeowners who live in remote areas where reception could be a problem. But what about the best of both worlds? What if you want the option of using the antenna indoors or outdoors? For these people, there’s HDFrequency’s Indoor/Outdoor Cable Cutter Antenna. This sturdily built, hinged device is made to withstand the elements, but is compact and elegant enough to fit inside one’s home. Either way, it supports digital TV frequencies, including VHF and UHF, at distances of up to 25 miles. If you’re on the fence about where to install your antenna, this is your guy.


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