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A lower price doesn't necessarily reflect poorer performance; however, in the case of the $12.99 1byone Super Thin indoor antenna, it does mean limited capabilities. While this is not the worst antenna we've tested, we've evaluated plenty of under-$20 antennas that deliver better reception.
Design: Studio size
The 1byone model uses a common antenna design. It's a flat, black, plastic rectangle with a fixed (meaning you can't detach and replace it), 10-foot coaxial cable to connect to your TV. The antenna is rated to cover a 25-mile radius to pull in local stations and doesn't include an amplifier.
The HDTV antenna is smaller than most (such as the 12-by-16-inch ClearStream Flex), at just 8.7 by 7.8 inches, and it can easily be attached to a wall or window using two supplied adhesive stickers, making it ideal for renters and small-apartment dwellers.
Channels Received: 19
Rated Range: 25 miles
1080p Reception: Yes
Size: 8.7 x 7.8 inches
Cable Length: 10 feet
Performance: Less than perfect
To see how well the 1byone Paper Thin antenna performed, we used our standard test bed and location, a 2017 Samsung KS9000 4K set in a New York City where we're able to receive scores of stations. The antenna was placed in exactly the same spot we used to test other indoor antennas.
An initial scan of the airwaves with the 1byone antenna produced a list of 34 stations, a respectable number compared to the results from other models we've tested. But we were disappointed to find that of that list only 19 stations were watchable. The antenna captured major local affiliates, including NBC, Fox (with a Page Six gossip show) and ABC.
An initial scan of the airwaves produced a list of 34 stations, a respectable number. But only 19 stations turned out to be watchable.
However, many channels were distorted; reception of the Antenna retro station, for example, was so poor that it made a rerun of Mork & Mindy look like it was being broadcast from Mars. Surprisingly, some stations that are not usually a challenge to pull in — such as the local PBS affiliate — were marginal; sometimes, it would look acceptable, but 30 minutes later, it would have short audio and picture glitches that made the programs if not unwatchable at least irritating.
On the other hand, the 1byone antenna did receive several popular Spanish-language stations in the area, including UniMas and Azteca, as well shopping channels like HSN that most antennas usually capture.
There are many choices for indoor HDTV antennas, and many of them are better than this 1byone antenna. For a little more money (just $17.95), for example, there's the Mohu Leaf Metro, which delivered 31 stations in our tests and is even smaller (just 11.5 by 3.5 inches). But if you absolutely insist on staying below $15, you can get a modest, but not outstanding performer in the 1byone.
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John R. Quain has been reviewing and testing video and audio equipment for more than 20 years. For Tom's Guide, he has reviewed televisions, HDTV antennas, electric bikes, electric cars, as well as other outdoor equipment. He is currently a contributor to The New York Times and the CBS News television program.