Indoor antenna started out being “catch as catch can” in that they sometimes worked and at other times were less effective than sticking strips of aluminum foil against the “TV input” screws on the tube TV. Now that we’ve gone digital, it’s either a picture or nothing at all — but you still need for the antenna to have the ability to “pull” the free channels out of the air. RCA’s Amplified Multi Directional Slim Digital Antenna does.
The model ANT1750F works on the principle that “more” is better, and so does this by having an included amplifier as part of its pedigree. So while most antennas have only a single connection to the TV (i.e., the TV’s coaxial input), here you get that but also need a wall outlet in order to power the amplification. Fortunately this plug rides piggyback with that of the coaxial cable since you screw the antenna’s cabling into the amp first, which results in a fairly easily plugging into a power outlet near the TV. You need to be there anyway since the coaxial has to go into the TV input.
The antenna itself is black and relatively thin, but not paper thin like some of those now available. Like that matters — what DOES matter is that there’s a lot of surface area for gathering in the signal. Placing it on a wall near the window or even outside isn’t an issue — since the power portion isn’t working at the antenna’s end of things, but the basic black means it will stand out a bit on a standard wall — for those who care about decor and such. There’s a bit of a lip that lets the antenna stand up on its own, but realistically it’s best to have it mounted so it stays put.
With that out of the way, along with the connection/power issues noted earlier, the next step is to access the TV’s menu and find the one that has it “read” the antenna for all the channels that can be picked up in your location. This is the only part of the whole process that requires a bit of patience (hey, you only have to do it the one time, unless you plan on moving the antenna around a lot). Once the process has been completed, you tune into a channel and watch it in all its HD and surround sound glory. Providing the channel offers that kind of visual tech.
But the real issue is that you’re getting a quality picture, one that is probably better than most cable box’s provide. Of course it’s great having broadcast channels along with a host of others, but if you’re looking to get all the cable channels, or even some — well, that’s a different story. You’ll have to go back to paying a large fee month after month (increasing all the time too). Those who can live without it are only making the single payment for the RCA — that being a retail of $79.99.
Not to be lost in all this is how the picture you are getting looks — really good, is how. Colors are crisp, definition is sharp and sound is indistinguishable from that of a paid service. That’s all good stuff. And if the image looks a bit overly contrasty, just disconnect the RCA’s amplifier, re-run the channel selection and compare the picture you’re now getting. Isn’t it great having choices where you don’t have to pay for them?