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No difference between ultimate & original, non-amplified Mohu Leaf
on March 21, 2013
Having purchased and reviewed the original Mohu Leaf antenna in August 2011 (see my performance comparison of the original Mohu Leaf versus the Terk HDTVa Antenna Pro), I was very interested in seeing whether the amplified version of this truly excellent and innovative antenna would yield any discernible additional improvement in my television reception.
Since I know that I am not located in a twilight zone of poor television reception, I was quite surprised to discover that - if anything - the basic non-amplified Mohu Leaf that has now been in service since 2011 actually outperformed the Mohu Leaf Ultimate!
To be certain that I hadn't received either a defective antenna or amplifier, I even exchanged my first Mohu Ultimate for another one and yet I still obtained exactly the same disappointing results.
Testing both antennas in precisely the same location that I already had determined to give me the best reception in 2011, the Mohu Ultimate did receive about 5 more stations than the basic Mohu Leaf antenna, but since these stations were essentially all unusable (poor signal strength, etc.) that really doesn't count as an improvement.
At a minimum, what I had been hoping for was to pull in the one major station in my area that the basic leaf never could receive - channel 3 the local NBC affiliate. However, this just didn't happen.
Furthermore, the stations that I did receive (about 44 total with some unusable, some Spanish, some duplicate - about 20+ distinct and usable English stations) actually all had greater signal strength with the non-amplified leaf, just about one bar more on the television signal intensity meter.
Now don't get me wrong, the Mohu Leaf is a great antenna in whatever version you choose to purchase it, but if the ultimate version doesn't yield any noticeable improvement over the basic, non-amplified model why spend an additional $50.00? Just stick with the already very impressive original Mohu Leaf!
Bottom line: If you're considering purchasing a Mohu leaf antenna (a very wise decision to help you cut the cable cord!), don't assume that the ultimate version will necessarily yield the best or ultimate results. It might be wise to try the original Mohu leaf first and then, depending on the quality of your reception, either purchase the upgraded antenna or save the extra money for something else.
Here on Amazon with 30-day returns, it's a simple thing to order both antennas and then make an objective head-to-head comparison like I did, before making your final decision on which antenna to purchase and which to return.
Alternatively, you can buy the basic non-amplified Mohu Leaf and use it with a Mohu Jolt amplifier - in combination the same thing as the ultimate antenna - or just purchase the new Mohu Ultimate antenna alone and then connect or disconnect the included amplifier to make an appropriate comparison to determine what works best for you!
Finally, if you're a really smart consumer what you'll do is purchase one of these nifty indoor HD antennas like the Mohu Leaf discussed here (also worth considering is the Terk HDTVa Antenna Pro - see my review here on Amazon) to receive TV channels the old fashioned and free way via the airwaves and then pair it with the newly available game-changing Roku 3 streaming device (see my review) which will enable you to cut the cable company/dish cord for good.
I have done this and have been cable-free since August 2011 and am loving it! You too can liberate yourself from cable company/dish slavery and save the cost of a brand new HDTV every year (about $1200.00 annually). Go ahead, cut the cord and finally set yourself free!
Note that if you do decide to pursue a cable-free, dish-free TV lifestyle, don't skimp on the broadband connection that you will need to ensure smooth streaming with minimal buffering; this is especially important with a WiFi connection. Sufficient bandwidth is essential for the Roku 3 to provide an enjoyable TV viewing experience; it can't work miracles without it.
UPDATE in January 2015
I have finally been able to receive the local NBC affiliate (channel 3) without any problems for the past month or so; this was previously impossible with the Mohu Leaf.
Apparently, the prior inability to receive this channel must have been due to broadcast-related problems at the station itself or difficulties associated with the intervening geography that the signal had to transit before arriving at my location, because absolutely nothing has changed here on my end since first installing this antenna.