The great thing about digital, over-the-air broadcasts is that you can receive them using unobtrusive, flat indoor antennas. However, as the Antop AT-108 Paper-Thin antenna demonstrates, not all of these models perform equally.
Costing less than $13, the Antop AT-108 should attract shoppers' attention for its budget price alone. But we've found better performers, such as the 1byOne Super-Thin model OUS00-0569, that cost even less and perform better.
Design: Familiar form factor
The Antop AT-108 is a black, flat, plastic indoor design with a fixed coaxial cable. That last feature means that if the cable gets damaged, it's curtains for the antenna. The AT-108 is smaller than some other similar configurations, such as Antop's own AT-100, and measuring 9.37 by 5.43 inches, it's also small enough to take with you when you go glamping or traveling in an RV.
The AT-108 doesn't include an amplifier. It comes with a sticker that you use to adhere the antenna to a wall or window, or you can simply prop up the AT-108 on a bookcase or shelf. The company also says the Antop AT-108 can be painted to match your decor, although we don't recommend doing this as it could damage the antenna's surface and affect reception.
|Rated range||30 miles|
|Cable length||10 feet|
|Size||9.37 x 5.43 inches|
Setup: Stick to it
The simplest and most effective method of installation is to the use the included double-sided sticker to position the Antop AT-108 on a plaster wall. You can also just lay the antenna flat on a table or next to your TV. But however you choose to set it up, try several different spots and scan available stations each time to determine the best location.
Like most HD TV antennas, the Antop AT-108 is a multidirectional antenna, so it doesn't have to be pointed in the direction of a specific broadcast tower. We do suggest, however, that you learn where the broadcast towers are and what stations are available in your area. A great resource is AntennaWeb.org.
We found the indoor Antop AT-108's overall reception unexceptional, if not downright disappointing. Antop claims that the antenna has a 30-mile range, but that seems hyperbolic given our test results.
Using our regular test bed — a Samsung KS9000 4K TV in our New York City location — we put the Antop AT-108 through a series of scans and auditions. Initially, the Samsung tuner found 18 stations using the AT-108, but we found that far fewer, just eight, were actually watchable.
The Antop AT-108 doesn't stack up well against the leaders. For example, the less expensive 1byone Super-Thin model OUS00-0569 ($9), our favorite antenna selling for under $20, got 30 more stations (receiving 38) than the Antop in our tests. If you want something smaller, there's also the $14 Mohu Leaf Metro, which received 31 stations in our tests.
The Antop AT-108 managed to capture the strongest signals in our area, currently from the local ABC affiliate, as well as popular Spanish language channels nearer the top of the dial. Unfortunately, the antenna completely missed channels like the local PBS stations and was unable to consistently tune in stations in the middle of the listings. (Slightly adjusting the antenna within our test position's parameters did not improve the results.)
The Antop AT-108 has a basic, flat design with a straightforward look and easy setup, but the performance is frankly a letdown. When other inexpensive models offer significantly better performance, the nonamplified Antop AT-108 mostly left us feeling disappointed.
There are a lot of options in the small-and-cheap HDTV antenna category, like the excellent 1byOne Super-Thin model OUS00-0569. Ultimately, shoppers have access to more-competitive, less-expensive options, such as the aforementioned Mohu Leaf Metro, and so can skip the unexceptional Antop AT-108.