Indoor TV Antennas Compared: Cheap vs Expensive

Indoor TV Antennas Compared: Cheap vs Expensive

What’s going on everybody? This is James White with Freakin’ Reviews
bringing you As Seen on TV product reviews, gadget reviews, and more. Now if you like what you see in this video,
please consider subscribing for more videos like this. Now today I’m comparing three indoor TV
antennas to see if there’s a difference between the cheap ones and more expensive
ones. That’s today’s review. Alright guys so what I’ve got here is three
contestants. Number one, I paid a whopping 3 bucks for
this one at the 99 Cent Store and More. This isn’t 99 cents. I hate when they do that. Now after that is the latest edition of the
As Seen on TV Clear TV. This one has been around for a while but Clear
TV has kind of evolved over the years. This is the newest version that I could find,
so we’ll see how that works. I paid 18 bucks for that one. And finally I picked a popular one on Amazon. This is an amplified TV antenna. This was about $27 so really not much more
than the Clear TV. Let’s see if there’s a big difference
between the cheap antennas and the expensive ones. First up, crack ‘em open and see how they
look. Alright well this feels very thin, but it
looks cool, though. And it has a sort of holographic almost look
to it. For 3 bucks though. Will it work? Got a suction cup mount. This is an optional stick pad to help you
with unfinished surfaces, so it seems like it might be a good deal for 3 bucks. Let’s open the Clear TV. Oh this packaging is killing me here. Oh just tearing it all. Alright well this is much more compact. Looks like you can… the old school rabbit
ears but much smaller. We’ll see how it works. And finally this behemoth. I found this one by going on Amazon and just
looking for the ones that were the most popular. This one had a lot of good ratings and it
wasn’t too expensive. Oh wow. Look at the size of this thing. Geez. A lot of wires in here. Pretty good instructions and look at the size
of this. Look at this compared to the cheap one. It looks like it’s a moon around the orbit
of the larger one. I’ll be really curious what kind of a difference
this makes. Alight so you may or may not remember back
in 2013 when the original Clear TV was advertising. It was a pretty slick marketing campaign because
a lot of people watched that commercial were under the impression they’re going to get
all these new channels without paying for cable or satellite. Well those channels already exist because
they’re broadcast by TV antennas like those back there. There was nothing really special about it. It wasn’t some sort of a Fire Stick or Roku. It was just a television antenna. Just very slickly marketed. But there are people that want to get rid
of their cable and satellite and watch some TV and television antennas do fill that void. The question is how close are you to the broadcast
antennas and how much of a difference will the antenna make? I’ve got some right in my backyard. Those will probably be pretty clear. There’s some across town. They may not. So let’s see what a difference the cheap
ones and the more expensive ones actually make. Indoor antennas are best used next to a window
so I re-positioned this television next to a window so all of them can get maximum opportunity
to get the best signal they can. So I’m going to put the first cheap antenna
up and see how it goes. This is my $3 antenna. I like the design though. The instructions I don’t like so much. They’re not very good. What do you expect for 3 bucks? You’re supposed to attach this antenna to
this base and ideally attach it to a window which is what I’m going to do. OK, I think it’s going to stay. Mmmmm. First thing you have to do with any antenna
is scan for channels. Hopefully it hold up… it didn’t hold up. Actually used some picture mounts to hold
this thing in place and I’ve got it here pointing at the Las Vegas Valley, so every
TV antenna in town is that direction. Alright and now I’ll try scanning for channels. I expect it to be a pretty high number here
in Las Vegas, so we’ll see where it’s at. It’s already at 11% so it’s not taking
that long. They say 20 minutes. Nah. That’s a lot of channels. Are any of them any good? We’ll have to find that out pretty soon,
too. Looks like it found 76 channels. Well the quality is so-so on that one. Oh, it’s Tac Visor, and it’s loud. I reviewed this one. Sweet, Tac Visor. I love it. The volume really varies a lot on these. Some of them are blasting. Some of them I can barely hear it. The picture quality on this one is very good. This is the local NBC station. I’ve gotta watch my soaps and they’re
not looking pretty good! Alright I’m not going to go through all
76 channels on all three of these but it looks like I’m getting kind of a mixed bag of
some look pretty good and some don’t. Some are loud, some are quiet. Next up, though, is Clear TV. Alright next up is Clear TV. This is the new version, not the old version. They give you a little sticky mount for this
but they say you’re supposed to mount it vertically, so what I’m going to do, I’m
going to put it on the table right behind the TV which is right next to the window,
so it’s basically at a window mount anyways. So I’m going to put it right here, plug
it in up there, and see how it goes. See if this actually comes off when I’m
done with this. Ok so we are right next to a window and I
guess these just pull up. Aww little cute rabbit ears, just like the
old days. Now let the Clear TV scan and see how it goes. Alright so the Clear TV only picked up 66
channels when the cheap $3 antenna picked up 76 channels. It’s a little bit surprising. And I think the picture quality on this channel
2.1 is not as good as it was with the cheap antenna. See, look it’s stopping. It didn’t do that before. Wow is that loud. And I reviewed this, too. This is actually a pretty good product. I reviewed this, too! I reviewed this, too. This is a great channel. I need to leave these on all the time. This is like the greatest hits of some of
the stuff I’ve reviewed already. This was one of my best of 2018 actually. See this picture is also good once again. NBC is once again good. It’s a great picture. Great sound, too. Alright well so far just on first glance,
the Clear TV doesn’t look as good as the $3 one but I’m going to do a better test
tonight where we check all the channels and see how they look. Next up I’ve got the expensive amplified
antenna and we’re going to see how that does next. And finally it’s time for this bad boy. Look at the size of this thing. It’s about the size of a TV itself almost. It’s got an 18-foot cable. It’s got a sticky strip on the back for
mounting. It’s got an amplifier which goes in the
USB port. If you don’t have a USB port on your TV,
they even give you an included power cube. Got the amplifier here. This goes into the TV. Hopefully this sticks better than the $3 one
did. Will it stay in place? Once again I’m going to scan these channels,
see how many it picks up. Alright so obviously it’s not right. It only picked up 15 channels, but the instructions
state that if you have the amplifier and you’re too near broadcast towers that you could actually
pick up less channels, so I’m going to take the amplifier out and try it again without
the amplifier and see if there’s a difference because 15 versus 76, it’s definitely not
right. It looks like it’s already picking up more
channels. I’m at 11 at 5% so the amplifier was obviously
actually causing problems, which the instructions said could happen. Alright so 74 channels, take a quick look
at these, and then we’ll do our big test later tonight. Once again this channel just doesn’t come
in very well no matter what. Once again NBC looking good. So right now my first impression, I’m not
seeing a big difference between the more expensive antenna and the $3 antenna, and the Clear
TV seemed to be kind of in the rear so it’s going to be interesting to do a little bit
better comparison with multiple people all giving our opinions on this, but right now
it looks like the $3 antenna is hanging in there with the rest of them but let’s see
what happens on our more extensive test later. Now because a picture quality is kind of a
subjective thing. Some people might say it’s a good picture,
some people may disagree. I wanted to have more opinions than just my
own so I invited my twins to help me out. We kind of had a TV watching night. We went through all three antennas, all the
channels, and rated each one of them, and here’s how that went. We’re going to have a family TV night with
some popcorn. It’s time to get started. Alright so I’m here with my kids. We’re going to watch all the channels from
all three antennas. We’re going to rank them and come up with
a decision on which one is the best antenna based on the quality of the channels we see. So you guys ready? Got our popcorn here. So we’re going to start with channel 2.1
and work our way up, and see how they all compare. We’re not going to share our scores with
each other. No looking over here alright? This is the $3 antenna and I re-scanned it
before we started so it has a fresh scan on it and 2.2 is not showing up at all. I don’t know that guy! One of your friends looks like him a bit. I forget his name though. Way back in the day. His hair. That’s like 70s or 80s. Yep we’ve got Westerns here. I love that music. Sounds like 90s. If 90s. Looks like bad vacation footage. What is this? Looks like home videos. The Crispy Colonel, right? I did the Crispy Colonel. They have pot pies? Brandon has reviews on his channel. We’ve done a bunch of KFC, right? A couple of them. Oh this is Forensic Files. Don’t ever watch this show when you’re
about to go to sleep. Oh no. This is not a good show when you’re trying
to fall asleep. It’s fun to watch, but not at night. One time they had an episode that kept saying
“James White.” I know there was a killer named James White
on the show! I recorded it because it freaked me out hearing
him say my name over and over again. This is the $3 antenna. I think it’s doing pretty well so far. Yeah. That’s the Duke right there. The Duke! I don’t know. I’ve got nothing. Wow. I’ve never seen something jump from a 10
to a 1 so quickly. That looks like when the bitrate is really
messed up. That’s rough. So 21.2. The low ones were good. Now it’s not looking so good. You can’t watch that. Looks like Voldemort a bit. Have Proactiv and you’ll have lines on your
face like that. You’ll have like roast beef face. Roast beef face? I love it. That’s a new thing now. It looked like roast beef. 21.5.. Very loud! It’s the loudest one. What? It’s actually distorting it’s so loud. Found a lot of channels that don’t have
anything on them. I love this show. We can watch it later. Very quiet. Oh boy. Gotta love shopping channels. Those are cute though. Oh great. I’m not going to buy them though. More shopping. Now we have to do this two more times. No! Two more times! I mean it’s not the worst. We’re going to take a break. I’m going to switch the antennas, re-scan
it, and we’re going to do it again. Alright taking a look at the final results
for the $3 antenna. These are what I call the raw stats and that’s
the rating we gave to all the channels, regardless whether they’re good or not. We all agreed there were 62 channels, so I
gave all the channels a 7.6 rating on average, Noah gave it a 5.7. She was less impressed with some of the channels
than I was. Brandon’s average was 7.2. That gives the overall average raw rating
as a 6.8. Now what I did next was I filtered out all
the channels that were pretty much unusable even though they had a signal, all of them
that were so bad they weren’t unwatchable, so basically anything with a 5 or above rating
to see where the rating of those channels were and how many channels we actually thought
were usable. So I call this my adjusted rating for the
$3 antenna. I found there to be 58 channels that were
usable with an average of an 8-star rating. Noah’s less impressed. She had 41 usable channels and a 7.0-star
rating. Brandon kind of in the middle, 7.6 and 55
channels. That averages out to 7.5-star rating with
51 usable channels. Next up we tried the As Seen on TV Clear TV
and here’s what happened. Alright time for Round 2. We’ve got the Clear TV. This is the new version, so let’s see how
that goes. I don’t trust him for some reason. Oh. I reviewed this one. This is the second time I’ve seen this one. I reviewed this one. Why would you melt candy? I did that same test! I did that test and it actually passed the
test. That same guy does all those voices for the
As Seen on TV commercials. Just like the pros! That wasn’t exactly it, was it? That’s for the kid products. Oh yeah. Magic Pad! Magic Pad! Alright this is Clear TV. Clear TV! Yeah see. Is that Frank Sinatra? Yeah see. Uh oh. It’s breaking up a bit. Oh! There he is again. Old creepy Forensic File guy. Would you rather have a channel that doesn’t
come in well, or just have it not come in at all? Which one would you prefer? Look at that. That looked freaky. Like some “Blah.” I’d rather have no channel than have to
look at that. Oh no. Oh there’s a big discrepancy between the
first one and this one. Take a nosedive. Oh no, not again. Clear TV is starting to fade! Come on Clear TV. Ooh mama. Oh no. Clear TV. Not so clear right now. Negligence. No kidding. It’s negligent in its signal. You know what’s weird is some of the channels
are better and some of them are worse. It’s like it’s not consistent. What happened? All the 21s are gone. And the 23s. Clear TV is not impressing me. What do you guys think? It’s not very clear. How is this this improved version? This is the new improved version so imagine
the original? Should we review this cat litter thing? She might be scared. It’s like 500 bucks, isn’t it? Look at that cat. They look good for about 1 second, now it
froze again. Alright guys, so that was the Clear TV. We’ll have to add up the scores and see
how they do but we’ve got one more antenna to go. We’re going to take a break and come back
for the final one. Alright here we go. Alright so taking a look at the Clear TV raw
ratings. Again this is the average rating for all the
channels whether they were really watchable or not, just if we had a signal. As you can see there’s aren’t as impressive
as the $3 antenna as far as the raw ratings goes. 5.9 for me, 4.8 for Noah, 5.7 for Brandon. That averages out to 5.5 and 57 total channels. Now when you get rid of all the garbage out
of there, the numbers are much more impressive. I had a 7.7 and 40 usable channels. Noah had 7.3 but only 28 usable channels in
her opinion. Brandon had the highest rating for Clear TV
with 7.9 and 37 usable channels. So as you can see there’s much less channels
that were really watchable. But the average rating was 7.6 with 35 usable
channels on average. And finally it was the highly rated Amazon
U Must Have antenna, and here’s how that went. Alright for the final test, this is the U
Must Have antenna which cost I think 27 bucks. Let’s get started. Some good acting man! Oh man. Love the acting. That’s perfect. What a moment to turn on. What was that man? Ooh! That’s Ron Howard the director of like,
The Grinch right there. Wait really? That little kid. That little kid directed The Grinch. 13.1… It’s like let me see. 13.1… This is the second John Wayne movie we’ve
seen tonight I think. Probably. Ooh we’ve got Star Trek. Yes. I want to watch this now. Can I watch this instead? See Clear TV didn’t pick up any of these
21 channels. That’s true. This was my favorite show when I was a kid. I love Jack Tripper. That chick’s hair, though. No thank you. We’re getting into all these shows now. Every one of these seems to struggle with
a certain range I’ve noticed. Ee-ah-er-ooh-ah. Their voice is getting blended with this blender. He did it. What kind of movie is this? Is he blading? I’ve heard of Blade Runner but not like
this. This is the 90s blade runner. Got those shorts. This is great. What the heck is that? It’s like the desert version of Tron. Wow. I don’t know what this is. I love it. Do you guys know these movies, comment because
I’m curious. I love this. What kind of video is this? Walking barefoot in the street. What is that? This is so perfect. Anthony Sullivan is a great way to finish. That’s my boy right there. Anthony Sullivan. There we go. It’s hard to tell because some… each one
of them seemed to have ranges they were good and bad at. Some of them seemed like they picked up channels
the others didn’t. So what I’m going to do is compile all these
numbers, see how many channels they actually picked up, as opposed to just the ones that
scanned and they had nothing on there. Now it’s time for me to do all the tallying
and see which one we picked as the best antenna of these three. That’s next. Taking a look at the U Must Have antenna,
just the raw data. These are the ones that are just, either they
worked or not. My average rating was 7.3, Noah was 5.8, Brandon
6.7. That averaged out 6.6 stars and the highest
number of channels at 66. Now when you adjust these, remove all the
garbage channels that weren’t really usable, the numbers are a little bit different. Mine was a 7.9 with 60 channels, Noah’s
went up to 7.2 and 45 usable channels. Brandon 7.6 with 54 channels. That averaged out a 7.6 with 53 channels. So after we were done, I had to crunch all
these numbers. We all had our ratings here. I had to figure out what to do with all that. Now let’s look at all three antennas with
the raw ratings. Again these are just channels that were there
or not and I didn’t filter out any of the kind of garbage channels. The $3 antenna had a 6.8-star rating with
62 channels, Clear TV 5.5 with 57 channels, and U Must Have 6.6 with 66 channels. So the U Must Have had the most channels but
the $3 antenna actually had the highest rating. But once again, that includes channels that
really weren’t very usable, so let’s take out all the garbage channels and see how the
adjusted totals compare. The $3 antenna had a 7.5 with 51 channels,
Clear TV 7.6 with 35 channels, and the U Must Have also 7.6 with 53 channels. So really when you adjust them, all three
of them had about the same rating, but look at the number of channels. The Clear TV had 18 less channels than the
U Must Have really in the watchable category, so even though it had a high rating, it had
much less channels that really met that criteria. So what this tells me is that the $3 antenna
and the U Must Have, which are both window-mounted, outperformed the Clear TV which was standing
vertically right next to a window. The final graphic here. This is the total of everything, the raw and
the adjusted next to each other. The $3 antenna didn’t really change a lot. The rating went up and the channels went down
because you’re filtering out a lot of the lesser channels. Clear TV really, the star rating went up but
the channels went way down to 35. U Must Have, it kept the most number of channels
and it had the same star rating as the Clear TV but much more channels. Keep in mind the results for a TV antenna
is going to differ for everyone because there’s so many different factors that play into it,
like your distance from the television broadcast towers, the placement within your home, any
obstacles between you and the tower, any obstacles within your home. So this is just an example of how it worked
for me, but I think my example might translate to a lot of people as far as my final results
goes. Because I live in a big city, within 35 miles
of the nearest broadcast towers, I really… the amplifier wasn’t really something I
could use. So if you’re living in a remote area, you
probably want to use an amplified antenna if you’re going with an indoor antenna,
but if you live in a remote area, you’re probably going to go with a roof-mounted antenna
to get all the distant TV broadcast antennas. But if you’re in a big city and you want
an indoor TV antenna, it appears to me from my very unscientific test that a cheap window-mounted
antenna will probably perform about as well as an expensive one. I probably wouldn’t go with the Clear TV
over a window-mounted option. Have you used an indoor antenna like these
or another one? Tell me what you think in the comments below. Please follow my social profiles for progress
pictures, videos as I go. And please subscribe for more product reviews
from me, James White, with Freakin’ Reviews.

68 Comments on “Indoor TV Antennas Compared: Cheap vs Expensive”

  1. If you were watching DTV signals there will not be "good" and "bad": The channel either comes in or it doesn't. Any issues with the quality of the channel is due to the content of the channel itself.

  2. great review.i have one of the cheap ones in each of my tvs and they work great.channels sometimes are different because the antenna is in different sides of the house and some channels will be bad sometimes but i also found out that a cheap one works as good or even better than an expensive i would like to know if one of the the outdoor ones for the roof will be much better

  3. You should retry the clear Tv since it has old fashion bunny ears which means that the bad channels might come in better once adjusted. Just like the days of old You had to adjust the bunny ears.

  4. I've had three different antennas like these and found that at certain times of the day you have to move the antenna so the picture comes in. It's annoying 😒 but still better than paying the cost of cable.

  5. well indoor tv antennas don't really work that well but when you don't have alot of money like my wife and I you do what you have to do

  6. Try doing a wall with wire mesh that fireproofs the apartment. They don't work as well. Sad, all the Tech we have and can't make a great antenna. 😂😂

  7. I live 50-100 miles or more from the tv towers. Can hardly catch anything in Louisiana. I have bought several antennas. The ones I bought said that the range was good for my area, but that was not true. I can barely catch anything. I have not tried them with my smart tv although. Still watching on an old tv. I've bought clear tv, rca, etc. Will let you know later about my test. As of this moment, I can only catch 8 stations. It shows that I can catch 25-30 though. I just watch movies on my phone or watch my DVDs.

  8. Here is the problem I have with the indoor antennae's not everyone can place their TV,by the window, and that's the problem, my out let is no where near my window, you should also find tv antennae's that work near a window, or antennae's, that is long enough to stretch.

  9. If you are going to compare their performance why not eliminate any variables and do exactly the same with all of them, instead of putting one next to one window and then the other next to another window

  10. All three of you look relatively smart so please explain why none of you thought to move the direction of the antennas? All of the ones I've owned are sensitive to movement. Sometime just moving it a few inches will make a significant difference in the reception.

  11. i have one like the black one, and in brigham city utah, and in a brick building, i got it off of amazon, i love amazon, but the atenna i got i tried in the living room and not one channel, i have a elament tv, and i tried all over and nothing, and i tried in my bedroom with a vizio tv with netflix and all that already in there i have no internet, and nothing on that one too, i tried on a smaller older tv called insignia tv, and nothing on that one too, i tried both short and long and for over a hr, and nothing!

  12. Hi James… I just love your reviews!! You've got class, dude. 🤗
    ★My Experience:
    I personally have tried 3 different antennas on my lil flat screen TV (not a smart TV BTW), and my results are as follows:
    1. Paid $30 @ Fam Dollar for a black, flat, hard plastic antenna that sits on a countertop surface… Claims to bring nice quality tuning to all broadcast channels.
    • Horrible picture quality on most of my 69 channels with broken pixels everywhere. Always having to readjust the placement. 😫
    2. Standard Rabbit Ears antenna from Goodwill for $10…
    •Not so good; had to constantly go & adjust ears & placement for many different channels! One channel is good, the next NO SIGNAL, the next Broken Pixels… No fun. 😵
    3. The $3 Flat Antenna from 99¢ Only Store…
    •The suction cup DOES SUCK! Doesn't stay where you stick it… JUST LIKE YOURS! *However; I was able to lay it wherever, its small & flat, & it literally gives me clear channels on all 69 channels I get {In the other desert 🌵🌴… Phx}. 😉
    So in this case, for me, the cheapest was the BEST. The $3 !! 💜
    BTW, Fam Dollar will not refund for their electronics, even with receipt… I boycott places like this. Bad mgmt. Who treats their customers like that?! Family Dollar does…
    → So I have 2 extra antennas ($40) on standby I'll prolly never use!
    ••• Hope this review helps others! 😘
    Understanding, of course, that everyone has variables to consider…

  13. Here in puerto rico theres an handcrafted antenna made out of slim pvc tubes and copper wiring inside said place it on the roof or a high spot in your house,and you plug it in the tv…we dont have 70 local channels though.. the channel can go for as cheap as 10 dollar or as expensive as 30 depending on what side of the island you buy it and who do you buy it from…

  14. I have a couple of 1byone window antennas and with their amplifier they work well. Get the transparent one and you might not even know it is there.

  15. The worse thing they ever did was get rid of analog for TV broadcasters,these digital signals in general are weak,and complete crap,plus I have a theory that TV broadcasters are dumbing down the signals, making them harder to pick up,because they really don't want you to pick them up with your home antenna, because they make no money from that,they only make money from the cable and satlite TV networks, when you subscribe.

  16. When the US abandoned analog TV, I made an antenna out of a wire coat hanger as well as ordered a $50 antenna. They both gave me the same signal strengths. Elevating and orientating the antenna makes a bigger difference so get an antenna with a long cord and preferably some kind of wall mount that still allows you to tilt the antenna rather than just lie flat on the wall, that is not just a sticky strip or picture hanger.

  17. The clear tv is using an analog aluminum antenna. So of course, it wouldn't be the best one for picking up channels. It is also receiving interference from something within your home, since it is close to your electronics. The UMH and $3 antenna uses a similar technology to draw signals. But the difference is built quality, which is why the UMH will be around longer as well as the clear channel, which did not perform as well.

  18. I don't know if the 99 cent store still has the $3 antenna or not (they're not in my area), but if anyone is looking for a cheap antenna, Five Below has one for $5.55 you can order online, and Amazon has a cheap antenna from Mediasonic (Mediasonic Homeworx HW110AN Super Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna) priced (as I'm typing this) for $6.07. 🙂

  19. 8:00 If the signal is not breaking up, I don't think the picture quality should be any different, though if anyone knows of some kind of "reduced definition mode" for weak signals, please respond to this comment. From what I've read, if the station doesn't break up, a stronger signal will not improve it. Of course, the number of channels that don't break up is a perfectly valid way of evaluating these antennas.

  20. All 3 antennas only work in big city's close to broadcast towers. Anyone who lives more than 30 miles frm the big city dont buy any of these. The best antennas are the big outdoor antennas. And with antenna boosters.

  21. My brother brought me a 5 dollar ant and it works perfectly great picture about 25 or 30 channels save ur money buy cheap

  22. wait what. at first i was confused, cause i thougt, noah's a boy's name. but it's clearly a girl. stop confusing me, y u do sis

  23. Rural people no longer gets TV, so are not as controlled by corporate media propaganda. That, my friend, is the real reason Hillary lost. Rural people, like us, depends on alternative media, like this.

  24. You did a great job in this video. Your kids are awesome and very kind. Wish mine were that nice and would do anything with me. Keep up the good work.

  25. To get the channels to come in better all u have to do is move it to a different place! Some times I scan mine and I get 50 then I move it to a different place and I get 60 then move it again and I get 68!



  28. It must be stated that a persons reception depends on MANY factors. You were testing your antennas during prime broadcast hours, on a cloudless day, over level terrain, and an unhindered line of sight straight to the towers. Throw in bad weather, i.e. lighting, rain, snow, etc., lots of trees, buildings, electrical lines and uneven terrain, and 76 channels can just as easily be 36, or 26 WITH amplification.

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