5 Top Choices for Over-the-Air TV Antennas. One of the fastest growing trends in the tech world is “cord cutting.” It’s probably a phrase you’re familiar with, or have at least heard in passing, but in case you haven’t: cord cutting refers to the act of severing ties with your cable company and/or ISP.
There are quite a few reasons for this, not the least of which are the seemingly weekly horror stories of people trying to cancel their subscription, being treated to the old bait and switch, or simply trying to wade through the generally wretched customer service experience that seems to define cable and Internet service these days.
What cable company executives need to understand is that television is losing (or has already lost) its status as the primary method that Americans use to amuse themselves. So why pay a ridiculous monthly sum for something that no longer offers the best value for the money?
But that’s enough rhapsodizing about the state of cable TV. We’re here to show you how to cut ties with your cable provider and still get the essential TV channels you want. To do that, you’re going to need an antenna.
There are quite a few to choose from, so here’s a look at five of the best over-the-air TV antennas that money can buy.
1. Winegard Flatwave
Winegard’s Flatwave should look fairly similar if you’ve ever shopped around for a TV antenna. It’s paper-thin and is easily applied to a window of your choosing. The base model has an effective range of approximately 35 miles, while the amplified version offers 50 miles. In other words, you’d have to live pretty much in the middle of nowhere to not get TV service with this antenna.
The Flatwave sets itself apart from its competitors by offering USB connectivity with the amplified model, making it a perfect companion for your home theater PC. Amazon currently offers the base model for under $30, while the amplified version currently goes for around $53.
2. Terk HDTVa
If you want something that looks just a little bit like something out of a ‘70s science-fiction movie, look no further. Terk’s HDTVa offers perhaps a touch more flexibility than the paper-thin antennas offered elsewhere, owing to the fact that it’s multi-directional. It’s also small enough that you can place it on a shelf beside a window, and unobtrusive enough that it won’t be a distraction in your lovingly furnished living room.
The HDTVa is frequently praised for its reliability in all kinds of bad weather. Amazon’s current price sits around $40.
3. Clearstream 2
The Clearstream 2 is among the most powerful over-the-air antennas that you’ll find. In ideal conditions, it has an effective range of more than 50 miles. It also sets itself apart with rugged aluminum construction, which means it should last until that far-off day when broadcast standards change again.
Despite its sturdy construction, it’s admittedly not the prettiest entry on this list. Some people might balk at having it sit near the entertainment center, but given its excellent performance, it might be a compromise worth making. The current Amazon price is around $99.
4. RCA ANT1050
Probably the most visually distinctive on the antennas list, RCA’s ANT1050 is a wing-shaped antenna that’s designed to be mounted in a variety of locations and positions. It’s also omnidirectional, meaning you won’t have to be as picky about choosing a place of honor. Unlike some of the other models listed here, it requires just a little bit of assembly.
What makes it truly unique is its exceptionally small price tag: at just $11, it’s a perfect entry-level model for anyone who’s not sure if they want to take the plunge on a more expensive antenna. The Amazon price currently sits at just over $13.
5. Mohu Leaf
We saved the Mohu Leaf for last because it’s arguably one of the better-known over-the-air tv antennas that you can currently buy. It’s also been one of the best-reviewed products of its kind since it was introduced.
Mohu has a number of models of tv antennas available; the simplest one has a familiar, paper-thin, wall-mounted design that can vanish from sight behind curtains or blinds. The Mohu Curve is a slightly pricier model (, designed to sit on a shelf or entertainment center. It has an effective range of 30 miles and is priced around $48. The unamplified version of the Leaf will set you back $40, while the amplified version is currently available for around $65.