Most helpful positive review
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Great antenna for the Dallas metroplex!
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.