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RadioShack Budget TV Antenna

Est. $15
Reviewed
November 2013
by ConsumerSearch
Radio Shack 15-1874

Best basic TV antenna

Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Optimized for UHF band
Cons
  • Only suitable for high-signal-strength areas
  • Susceptible to multipath interference
Where to Buy
 

Bottom line

For those who live in areas of high signal strength, the RadioShack Budget TV Antenna could be all you need. Its classic rabbit ears and loop design are similar to those used for decades for analog TV, but tweaked to do a great job drawing in digital TV signals.

Performance

If you have the signal, this antenna can deliver. In high-signal areas, any basic antenna could work, but the RadioShack Budget TV Antenna (15-1874) uses a larger than typical loop antenna that optimizes UHF gain for the part of the band used for digital TV. However, its design leaves the antenna vulnerable to multipath interference. These signal reflections from buildings or other objects that caused annoying ghosts in analog reception can make digital signals completely useless no matter how strong they are. For areas where multipath interference is a problem, a directional antenna like the Terk HDTVa (Est. $40) may be a better choice. It includes a built-in 12-decibel amplifier to pull in signals from as far as 45 miles away.

Aesthetics

Retro to the max. The RadioShack Budget TV Antenna certainly isn't a work of art. Some find its traditional rabbit ears and loop design to be unattractive, but it's reasonably unobtrusive compared to some antenna designs.

Value

One of the least expensive antennas you can buy. The RadioShack Budget TV Antenna isn't the cheapest antenna you can buy, but it's close. Similar antennas that are cheaper include the RCA Basic Indoor Antenna (Est. $9) . Reports say that this antenna (also sold as the RCA ANT 111) works just as well as the RadioShack Budget TV Antenna, but some complaints of flimsy construction are seen. Regardless, the design used by these rabbit ears and loop antennas has inherent limitations that make them only suitable for those fortunate enough to enjoy near-ideal reception conditions.

image
Terk HDTVa Indoor Amplified High-Definition Antenna for Off-Air HDTV Reception
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $69.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

Our Sources

1. HDTVExpert.com

Pete Putman tests three indoor antennas, including the RadioShack Budget TV Antenna (15-1874). While he credits his advanced HDTV receiver for some of what this antenna achieves, he's still impressed by how well it performs. The Terk HDTVa is judged best overall.

Review: Product Review: Three for DTV…Reception, Pete Putman, April 8, 2010

2. AVSForum.com

This report and subsequent discussion thread details performance of various indoor antennas, including the RadioShack Budget TV Antenna (15-1874). "EscapeVelocity," who provides the in-depth initial post that kicks off this ongoing thread, appreciates the larger than typical UHF loop and names it his favorite unamplified rabbit ears and loop-style antenna.

Review: EV's Indoor Antenna Round-Up, Contributors to AVSForum.com, As of November 2013

3. RadioShack.com

Nearly 150 owners weigh in on the RadioShack Budget TV Antenna (15-1874), giving it 3.9 stars out of 5. Although a few complain of poor or no reception, most seem happy with the product's value and/or performance. Many add that it's only suitable for those located 15 miles or less from the TV transmitters. More than 80 percent say they'd recommend it to a friend.

Review: Budget TV Antenna, Contributors to RadioShack.com, As of November 2013

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