After reviewing several HDTV antennas and becoming somewhat disappointed by their many failings, including poor signal quality and short warranties, we breathed a sigh of relief when we found the ANT751 Outdoor Antenna from RCA. The pristine and uninterrupted high-definition picture it provides, as well as its easy assembly and lenient return policy, make this antenna the clear winner of our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award.
RCA, formerly known as the Radio Corporation of America, started out in 1919 as a radio technology company formed by General Electric and the U.S. federal government. Originally marketing home radios, RCA quickly adapted to other broadcasting technology and began selling television sets. Now, RCA manufactures those products in addition to digital TV antennas, microwaves, home audio systems, clock radios, professional communications equipment and more.
Television has come a long way in the last 10 years: We can now watch on-demand TV shows, movies and online videos directly on our televisions and record programs when they air to watch commercial free later. HDTV is the latest craze; many new HDTV users admit that they had no idea what they were missing and say they will never go back to standard definition after their HD conversions.
Of course, having the right antenna plays an important role in how pleased you will be with your high-definition experience. Because of its excellent ability to maintain signals and limited pickup range, we highly recommend the ANT751 to anyone living within 40 miles of clustered broadcast stations.
HDTV is essentially free: all you have to pay for is the antenna and a high-definition television. Many digital TV antenna customers enjoy free broadcast channels such as NBC and The Food Network in high definition. Some antenna users combine an HD antenna, cable service and a digital video recorder such as TiVo for the ultimate TV watching experience. The ANT751 supports 1080i signals and 720p signals, so you can use it no matter what kind of HD television you have.
This directional antenna’s greatest strength is its extreme effectiveness at picking up broadcast signals. Nothing can stand in the way of this antenna. City buildings, trees and even mountains fail to block signals, and the ANT751 provides a picture that looks as clear as it would if the broadcast stations were across the street.
Unlike some of its competitors, this HDTV antenna picks up both VHF and UHF bands. Even if all the channels you want are broadcast at the same frequency, this is a great feature to have because broadcast stations in your area can always add new channels on different frequencies.
All HD antennas can provide vivid and detailed television, but only the best ones can do it without signal loss and static interruptions. The ANT751 not only offers the best protection from these inconveniences, but since it is unaffected by buildings, you can position it out of site in your attic or other parts of your house without losing much signal quality.
Some HDTV experts claim that because of the curvature of the earth, no antenna can pick up signals broadcast from more than 70 miles away. However, many HDTV antenna customers claim that their antenna receives signals from up to 90 miles away. We regret to inform you that this is not the case with the ANT751.
HDTV antenna manufacturers generally provide the distance at which their antennas can pick up a signal, but this number is usually an imprecise measurement. Because of trees and other signal obstructions, it’s hard to estimate this distance exactly, so it’s usually a smart idea to get an antenna that will reach beyond the number given. RCA guessed the ANT751’s potential reaching distance wrong; however, it will often reach beyond the estimated 40 miles and grab signals that are up to 50 miles away. Although this expanse should be plenty for people living in close proximity to broadcast towers, it may not be enough for those living in very rural areas.
For an antenna just over three feet long, a signal pickup range of nearly 50 miles is an impressive feat. Many other, larger HDTV antennas are more than ten feet long and only reach an additional 20 miles or so.
The ANT751 takes only minutes to put together and place on your rooftop or in your attic. All you need to assemble this HDTV antenna is a screwdriver, because a mount pole, mounting hardware and a coax cable are included in the package. The owner’s manual comes with detailed instructions and illustrations.
Many people dread the actual setup of new gadgets like digital TV antennas because they don’t want to deal with instruction manuals, cords and cables, assembly, power outlets and so forth. Setting up the ANT751, however, especially with the included coax cable, is a breeze thanks to the helpful instruction manual. You can also email or call the company toll-free if you have additional questions.
Unlike many large and unsightly HDTV antennas, the slim shape and design of this model looks good on any rooftop. Although it is quite small and weighs less than five pounds, this antenna is made mostly of sturdy aluminum that resists weather damage. It is durable and dependable, so expect it to function long past its one-year warranty.
RCA has one of the best customer service rankings in this category. Its products are easy to set up and use, and they come with detailed installation instructions that are available in the owner’s manual and online.
RCA antennas are backed by a one-year warranty for parts and labor as well as a refund or replacement within 30 days of purchase. A warranty is a sort of guarantee as to how long a product will last, and we wish RCA could guarantee a longer life for this outstanding antenna. However, many online sellers offer one- or two-year warranty extensions for an extra fee.
Customer support phone numbers and email addresses are hard to find on the manufacturer’s website, but once you do find them, the company will answer your questions in a timely manner. You can also find very helpful FAQs sections on RCA’s website that will answer nearly any question you might have about a product. We went in search of an email address or phone number on RCA’s website to contact the support department and were directed to Audiovox.com, where we still did not find what we were looking for. RCA’s contact information is not listed in the instruction manual, but we were able to find it after a quick Google search.
Overall, we feel that this digital TV antenna is the best choice for city and suburban dwellers. The included coax cable and mast make it a great value, and it provides the strongest and most consistent HD television you can get. As far as purchasing an HDTV antenna goes, the ANT751 Outdoor Antenna is your best bet.
The ANT751 captures signals while rejecting interference such as static.
Its limited 40-mile range makes it disadvantageous for people who live in rural areas.
Its small size and signal strength make the ANT751 the best choice for people living close to local broadcast stations.