Consumer Reports: Top tested TV antennas

EMBED </>More Videos

You may think of TV antennas as those old rabbit ears people would sometimes cover in tin foil to try to get better reception. Those days are long gone. (WLS)

You may think of TV antennas as those old rabbit ears people would sometimes cover in tin foil to try to get better reception. Those days are long gone.

Consumer Reports tested the latest indoor models to get a clear picture of how they are keeping cord cutters connected to local programming.

Zach Wobensmith ditched cable nearly 8 years ago. He bought a TV antenna and never looked back.

"If it's raining badly out, sometimes I lose the signal. Most of the time it comes in fine and the picture is extremely clear," Wobensmith said.

That includes local news or his favorite late night talk shows, which he's still able to access for free on over-the-air channels.

"Pretty much everything was there and I don't have to pay extra for it," Wobensmith said.

Consumer Reports recently tested ten indoor antennas, trying them in two locations: near a window and near the TV. Across the board, the window location worked best.

They also found that while antennas come in a variety of shapes, the design isn't as important as where you live and what you're surrounded by.

"If you live in a very mountainous area or live in a city and there are a lot of buildings that obstruct the signal, then you may have a tougher time than somebody who is in a plain or in a neighborhood where there aren't a lot of tall buildings," said Jim Willcox, Consumer Reports Tech Editor.

For best results, Wilcox said to place the antenna high or in upstairs room or attic, if possible. Try a few different locations and rescan to see where you get the most channels. If at first you don't succeed in getting great reception, try some other models.

"Work with a retailer that has a return policy because not every antenna is going to do well in your house," Willcox said.

Just because the picture is free, doesn't mean its poor quality. The over-the-air image may even be clearer, since it can be less compressed than what you get on cable.

"So free, plus better performance, is a pretty good deal for most consumers," Willcox said.

ABC 7 powered up a brand new antenna last month. A helicopter hoisted the giant antenna onto the top of the Willis Tower back on March 18.

It took a year and a half of careful planning. The result if a crisper, clearer signal for those of you who see us over the air.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org
Related Topics:
technologytelevisioncable televisionconsumer reports