Cord cutting — casting off the yoke of your cable or satellite TV provider — is ever-more popular these days as people binge watch shows available online. But Netflix and Hulu won't get you everything. To receive free local and live network HDTV channels (including news and sports), simply attach an HD antenna to your TV for as little as $20.
We tested 11 HD TV antennas in New York City and judged quality based on several factors: total number of channels received, number of major channels (such as network affiliates) received and audio-visual quality. See How We Tested for more details.
Generally, amplified antennas have better reception, but you may be fine with a nonamplified, aka passive, model depending on your location. If stations broadcast within a 20-mile radius of your home, you can probably make do with a passive antenna. If not, an amplified model may help. These antennas usually promise reception within a 50-mile radius.Check the site AntennaWeb.org to see the position of broadcasters in your area.
And try to buy from companies with generous return policies in case you need to try different options (like amplified vs. nonamplified).
Other Notable Models
Beyond the editors picks are several other models that may better fit your location and budget.
Received Most Channels
Best Indoor and Outdoor
- Channel Master SMARTenna CM3000HD
- RCA Multi-Directional Amplified ANT1650F
- Monoprice HDA-57000 Digital Indoor/Outdoor TV Antenna
- AmazonBasics Ultra Thin Indoor B00DIFIM36
- Lava SquareLeaf Digital Indoor HD-400
- Philips SDV6122T
- Terk FDTV2A Omni-Directional Amplified
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John R. Quain has been reviewing and testing video and audio equipment for more than 20 years. He is currently a contributor to The New York Times and the CBS News television program. Follow him @jqontech. Mike Kobrin also contributed to these reviews. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.