Cable cutting statistics have been showing a clear trend for the past few years, more people are disconnecting from cable than ever before. Up to 150,000 people are cutting out the cable companies each quarter and getting their TV fix through other methods. Most of that attention has been focused on streaming services, the likes of Netflix and Hulu, but many people are unaware that there is a different option, one that is free! All you have to do is think back to the time before cable and how people watched TV then. Free over the air broadcasts are still alive and kicking in digital HD, and they are easier to receive than you might think. The best way to get free TV channels is to take a little blast from the past and get yourself an antenna.
Antenna, that word is a little scary. You spent all that money on a large flat screen and have it beautifully wall mounted… and now you have to have some ugly rabbit ears sticking off the top!? Well, not exactly. While a traditional rabbit ear antenna gets the job done, this is the new millennium and there are much better options out there. One of the best digital antennas out there is the Winegard FlatWave Amped. Unlike bulky rabbit ear antennas the FlatWave has a concealable paper thin design, one that can get the job done without being seen. The FlatWave is able to do this not only by it’s paper thin design, but also the fact that it uses USB to connect to the TV and power a built in amplifier, hence FlatWave Amped. The amplifier greatly boosts the range and reception when compared to a traditional antenna, while allowing the antenna to be stealthily hidden.
There is only one way to know if this is the best way to get free over the air TV, and that is to test it! I don’t have access to any fancy meters or measurement tools, so the test for me was to put it in direct competition with a traditional bunny ear antenna. With the bunny ears placed on top of the TV for optimal reception I received 12 clear channels, along with another 5-6 half static channels.
When I swapped out to the FlatWave Amped and ran Vizio’s channel scan I was surprised to see a whopping 32 channels displayed as found. I didn’t really believe at first that there could be 32 full channels, but low and behold I went through the channel up button one by one and counted. They were all there! The amplified antenna, completely hidden from view more than doubled the amount of free TV channels I was receiving. Full disclosure, most of the extra channels were shopping, music, or religious filler, but that is what was to be expected. The more important aspect to me was I was now receiving some of the static ridden channels that I actually did want in full clear HD.
The FlatWave is truly unique when it comes to TV antenna design, its essentially a paper-thin plastic square what you can mount just about anywhere. I choose a stealthy application, sitting flat behind my mounted TV, however a window is the most adventitious if you want to maximize your available channels. No matter your choice you should have no problem getting there because the FlatWave comes with a 15-foot cable. Overkill if you plan to hide it like me, but certainly helpful if you have more placement options. The USB cable isn’t nearly as long, it splits with an adapter relatively close to the end of the coaxial wire, so you don’t have to worry with hiding two long wires.
If you are thinking of cutting cable, the Winegard FlatWave Amped is one of the best TV antennas on the market. While it may be more pricey than other options (around $60 online), the amplified power and ultra thin design make it incredible versatile. You aren’t as limited on areas to place it, and don’t have to worry with constantly readjusting it for better reception. While placement in a window will get you the most channels, most of them aren’t ones you will probably want. A more stealthy placement may bring in a few less channels, but it lets you keep modern style while still providing you with free over the air HD TV.