To Watch Free TV, You Need A Digital Antenna. These Are The Best Options

- Jun 29, 2018 -

Today's antennas are much more sophisticated, pulling in HD channels with some even capable of 4K resolution once networks make the upgrade. Many are also near-paper-thin sheets of plastic that can be easily stuck to a wall behind your flat screen, or on a nearby window.Best of all, they get free, over-the-air channels like NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox – and once you buy the antenna, you'll never have to pay for the content. 

That being said, there are a lot of different types of antennas, including those that sit (or stick) near your TV, those meant for an attic, and others that can be mounted to the side of your house or building.

How we tested these antennas

For this piece, we tested indoor antennas that remain near your TV, both standard antennas that connect solely via coaxial cable, and amplified ones that add a USB connection for a powered-up range boost. 

We tested several current indoor TV antennas from top makers, watching to see how many channels each antenna could find, how easy it was to set up, how crisp the signal looked, the style and size, and the price and overall value. Our testing environment was a two-story house just outside of Chicago, less than 15 miles from downtown. Each antenna was tested on two televisions: one on the first floor, and another upstairs on the second floor.

Even if modern antennas are more reliable than the old versions, they can still be fickle: your distance from broadcast towers is important, but so too is where you place the antenna, where you are in your home, and what's around it. Your experience may vary, as a result, and you may need to experiment with location to yield the most channels to watch.

These are the indoor TV antennas that we've tested so far, and we'll be adding more to the list once we try more models. 


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