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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2013
If you're thinking about pulling the plug on cable, the RCA ANT-800F is a great HD antenna for the Dallas metroplex. I live in west Plano about 32 miles away from the nearest broadcast towers. This antenna brings in 47 channels with rock-solid clarity. In fact, the picture quality is better than that I was getting through Time Warner cable!

I did a LOT of research before deciding on this antenna, but once I installed it, I found out how great it really is! Thanks to its compact design, it can be used in any neighborhood without concern over homeowners covenants. And it's easy to install.

The only negative I found is that the installation manual could be MUCH better. Several things are implied, but not made explicit. These include:

* It is best to mount the antenna outdoors as high as possible, preferably below the eaves.

* If it is mounted in an attic, you'll cut your signal strength in half just getting through asphalt singles. And if you have a radiant barrier in your attic, you'll likely get NO signal at all.

* If mounting outdoors, the mounting bracket is designed to be mounted on a vertical wall. Also, the back side of the antenna (where the coax connector and assembly screws are located) should not be pointed upward in that it the recesses for the assembly screws would collect water which could seep into the antenna module.

* The antenna MUST be mounted a sufficient distance from other metal objects such as rain gutters and attic vents so that these object do not attenuate the incoming signal. Experimentation showed that locating the antenna 2 feet away from the nearest gutter or vent is sufficient.

* The antenna should be located on the side of your house that faces the broadcast towers. You can determine the broadcast tower locations and distance by using a site such as tvfool.com and entering your zip code.

* The antenna may be oriented horizontal, diagonally, or vertically. Horizontal will provide you with the best picture quality. In this position, I received 47 channels. However, I could not receive stations above channel 60. In the vertical orientation, I received 67 channels, but the picture quality, while still good, was not as sharp. All the channels I cared about are in the 2 - 60 range, so I went with the horizontal orientation. As I mentioned before, the picture quality is this orientation is better than the typical channel quality through Time Warner.

The antenna comes with an amplifier to boost signal strength and allow you to distribute the signal to multiple TVs. I didn't use that amplifier in that I already had an amp in my cable distribution center in my attic. So I simply disconnected the Time Warner cable from the input to my amp and connected the coax from the antenna to that input. If your house is wired for cable, you can do the same and simply connect your HDTV's to the coax connections in the walls.

If you have a SDTV (standard definition TV), you'll need a converter box to convert the digital signal from the antenna to the analog composite signals that can be used by your SDTV. HomeWorx offers a great converter box (model HW-150PVR) for around $46.00 through Amazon. Not only does the HomeWorx box do a great of converting the incoming digital signal to analog, but it also functions as a video recorder and will record any show to a flash drive or hard disk drive plugged into its USB port. Once recorded, you can play it back again whenever you desire.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2010
I replaced my RCA ANT1050 passive antenna with this model and got worse OTA television reception. I am 40 miles north of the TV broadcast cluster in Dallas, and the result was one extra channel from Forth Worth and the garbling of most strong channels.

It seems that a passive antenna is almost always better choice for digital TV, especially if most of the channels that you care about are already coming in strong. The best way to improve reception is to put a passive antenna higher up, like in an attic or on a chimney, not by adding an amplifier.

Pros:

* The RCA ANT800 looks discrete and is unlikely to annoy your neighbors or HOA agent.

* Can be mounted on a flat surface or on a pole, either horizontally or vertically.

* Includes mounting hardware.

Cons:

* Requires external power. My Kill-A-Watt says that it draws 10 watts continuously.

* Doesn't work passively.

* The installation instructions are ambiguous about how to orient the antenna. Parallel to the ground seems to be the best way.

While trying to troubleshoot my installation, I noticed that performance degrades if the power supply is too far away from the ANT800, like beside the TV receiver. The drop over a 40ft RG6 cable was noticeable, which is what you would need to put the antenna on a second story roof. My passive antenna works perfectly over the same cable.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2010
First, let me describe my TV reception problem. I live in the urban core of a medium-size metropolitan area, so getting good TV reception shouldn't be too challenging. Unfortunately, I live in a condominium in a low spot (there's a rock wall behind my building that extends above my roof line).

I thought RCA ANT800 would be a good choice for me because it appeared that it would be versatile (indoor or outdoor), easy to install (not too big and comes with a mounting bracket) and it's omnidirectional. As I said, I live in the middle of the city, but all the broadcast towers are about 10-12 miles away, some north, some south and some west of me. So I needed either an omnidirectional antenna or a directional antenna with a rotor. Also, the local stations transmit on a mix of VHF low, VHF high and UHF, and the ANT800 is supposed to work with all broadcast frequencies. I've noticed that a lot of TV antennas only work with UHF or with VHF high and UHF, so be sure to check that before you buy any antenna.

At first I tried the ANT800 as an indoor antenna behind the TV. It picked up several channels, but I wanted all the local channels. Then I tried it in the attic. That worked better, but I still couldn't get the PBS channel, and that's the most important channel for me. My last option was to mount it outside, which is more difficult.

I opted to mount it upside-down from the eave overhang outside the back door. The main difficulty to that was with the mounting bracket. It has four screw holes in it, but they're too far apart to use on a single 2-by-4, so I had to screw it to another board then attach that to two 2-by-4s in the overhang.

Another problem is that the antenna is supposed to be an outdoor antenna, but it doesn't come with a grounding block, and the instructions don't mention anything about grounding it. So I bought a grounding block and wire and a signal splitter for three TV sets and got it all hooked up.

I'm happy to report that I can now pick up all the local TV channels, even PBS. I can't pick up any out-of-town stations, but I really wasn't expecting to. And reception isn't perfect. There are still periodic signal losses, where the picture will freeze or blot out and the audio will go out for a couple of seconds. It doesn't happen often enough to be really annoying, and I imagine if I wasn't splitting the signal it would come in strong enough not to drop out like that.

So the bottom line is it works fairly well for me. Since I live in the middle of the city I was hoping it would work in the attic and give me perfect reception. Well, I had to put it up outside and the reception isn't perfect but it's close.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2009
This is the best purchase I have made in a long time. It is easy to install and picks up more channels than I expected. All the channels are crystal clear and the antena is not an eye sore. It actually looks pretty slick on the roof and everyone thinks it is some fancy satelite disc.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2010
After cancelling Cable I scoped out an antenna to use in my Suburban location. I did some research and found the RCA ANT800 to be a modestly priced device that is not overbearing in it's looks. I live in a subdivision, so mounting a huge antenna on my house would be gaudy (and probably provoke the HOA to ask me about it, which, btw can not be banned, see [...])

Anyway, I went to antennaweb.org and got the following listing of possible channels:
vhf WOOD-DT 8.1 NBC GRAND RAPIDS, MI 192° 17.8 7
uhf WOLP-CA 27 MNT GRAND RAPIDS, MI 283° 9.5 27
uhf WXSP-CD 15.1 MNT GRAND RAPIDS, MI 296° 14.6 15
vhf WGVU-DT 35.1 PBS GRAND RAPIDS, MI 279° 21.6 11
uhf WTLJ-DT 54.1 TCT MUSKEGON, MI 278° 21.9 24
uhf WXMI-DT 17.1 FOX GRAND RAPIDS, MI 196° 17.9 19
vhf WWMT-DT 3.1 CBS KALAMAZOO, MI 195° 21.7 8
uhf WZPX-DT 43.1 ION BATTLE CREEK, MI 137° 27.3 44
vhf WZZM-DT 13.1 ABC GRAND RAPIDS, MI 324° 33.8 13

Ecouraged, I bought the RCA ANT800 due to it's alleged multi-directional capability (which I needed based on the above listing that shows the stations are basically in a 180 degree span behind my house) and the antenna's reported range of about 30 miles.

First, let me say going to over-the-air TV is not a plug-and-play situation. If you think you are going to just plug the thing in and be watching TV, you are wrong. You will need to spend time playing around with the antenna to get it working.

I was able to plug the antenna into my cable jack (and then re-route that jack into 'feed' part of my whole house splitter) in the highest point inside my home and get 2-3 channels ( 3.1 and 8.1 and 54.1 ). I wanted more channels so I spent some quality time on my roof... This is a 2 person without a doubt, preferably with a 2-way radio (cell phone created interference). I learned the hard way that A.) You can not be near the antenna because the human body actually will increase performance of the antenna. B.) You must have your TV set to "Antenna", not "Cable". C.) Always set your TV to re-scan after you futz around with antenna.

The multi-directional aspect of the antenna is OK, but slight changes to the orientation/position of the antenna does make a difference, a big difference in fact. Subtle changes matter... literally inches. If I had the antenna too low on the roof it would not pick up 1 or 2 channels, a couple of inches another way (higher) and eureka! In the end I found a sweet spot on my roof that allows me to pick up the major channels (CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, and PBS). I get some other channels mixed in (i.e. 3.1, 3.2, 3.3) plus some other weird channels that I don't plan on watching. The best bet will be to put the antenna on the roof that has no other roof sections coming near it and well away from ANY sort of metal (like the flashing beneath shingles were valleys form, or metal siding pieces). Metal is bad for antenna's, find a clear spot.

The instructions do not give solid information on mounting to a roof, specifically, what (if anything) do I need to do to make sure I don't get a roof leak after I screw this thing into my roof? I also am wondering how snow/rain will effect the performance. I have not permanently mounted the antenna yet, I want to consult some more "experts" on how to make sure I don't get water leaking into my house after I screw this thing in, as the instructions say absolutely nothing on this subject, unless of course that is only covered in the Spanish or French section :)

For the size, looks and the price, it is a good deal. It will require a little investment in time, and will need to go on the highest part of your house that you can safely get to in order to get the most/best reception.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2010
This product works great if you can get the right angle and position. Holding it in your hands affects the signal, so see if you can set it somewhere where you plan to hang it (ours is in the attic) and move away 10-15 ft. to check channels before mounting in a permanent location. The T.V. freezes on some channels when the microwave is on.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2013
Installed this on my rooftop last night and was simply amazed. Was having trouble getting reception from a station roughly 40 miles away. Now I get stations as far away as 100 miles away from the next major city. I do live in Nebraska which is about as flat terrain as there is, but this thing is lightyears better than the indoor I was using. Couldn't be happier.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2012
Installed this outdoor antenna in my attic. Picture was PERFECT with no adjusting. I get better HD picture quality than I had from Comcast. Would highly recommend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2010
I had a big antenna 65' high and was getting very bad reception with it. Ordered this and put it half way up the antenna tower. Works great. Will take the other down and mount this on the roof of the house. Great reception and easy install.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2014
This is a good buy. I installed this antenna on the side of my house, 7 feet above ground level and pointing in the direction of mountaintop TV signal transmitters about 20 miles away. Reception of all local digital/HD channels is excellent. I painted my antenna with exterior latex paint to match the color of my house. Painting does NOT affect the antenna reception (RCA customer service told me metallic paint cannot be used, however).

The antenna can be mounted so the flat antenna body is either parallel to the ground or 90 degrees vertical to the ground. To mount in the parallel position (my preference and RCA's recommendation), the mounting bracket must be in a vertical position. In this position, the mounting bracket is 9" tall and 5" wide, with 7" between the top and bottom sets of screws. Unfortunately, that is much taller than the fascia boards on my house. For that reason I had to mount the antenna on the side wall of my house and it is the only reason I did not give this product a full five stars.
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