Sometimes, plain vanilla is the best choice: simple and predictable. That describes the $90 Antop AT-402B antenna, an indoor/outdoor model with more than respectable performance. We found that the AT-402B even compared favorably to other indoor/outdoor models, such as the ClearStream 2Max, which Antop's device nearly matched in performance, and the Winegard Elite 7550, which is roughly $30 more than the AT-402B.
Design: Ivory tower
While Antop calls the AT-402B a "flat panel" antenna, it's actually a white, monolithic, glossy tower of plastic. It stands about 24 inches tall on its supplied plastic, tabletop pedestal. So, it's definitely going to be a conversation piece in most living rooms.
A round, snap-on plastic stand keeps this monster steady on a cabinet or shelf. Antop also includes some hardware for installing the antenna outside. The all-plastic enclosure should prevent the elements from interfering with reception, although this setup may not fair as well in extreme northern winters.
Another part of the AT-402B is an inline, detachable amplifier. It has an on/off switch, which can be handy given the vicissitudes of scanning for and capturing over-the-air broadcasts. This antenna also boasts a Smartpass amplifier, which is supposed to offer a balance between short- and long-range reception, and a 4G LTE filter to reduce noise from cell towers.
Setup: Three options
If you are planning to position the antenna outside, the 402B comes with enough cabling to get you there — 40 feet of it — and has outdoor mounting equipment, such as a rubber cover for the outdoor coaxial connection to keep the antenna dry. There's also a clamping kit with metal brackets and screws to attach the Antop 402B to a mast pole, but you have to supply the mast yourself.
The ideal situation, taking into account the antenna's construction, size and aesthetics, would be to install the 402B in an attic where it would be out of site, out of the elements and yet high enough to get decent reception. Some of the company's literature also suggests that you could use the Antop 402B in mobile and RV settings. Ignore that; this device is far too bulky for such setups.
As with any TV antenna, we recommend checking out AntennaWeb.org to get a clear idea of what channels are available in your area. For help in positioning the antenna for optimal reception, check out our handy guide to better antenna reception.
|Channels Received (indoor/outdoor):||41/60|
|Cable Length:||40 feet|
|Size:||4.53 x 5.12 x 23.82 inches|
|Performance:||Worthy of respect|
For our first set of tests, we placed the Antop 402B in our usual indoor position. Initial scans rendered 43 channels. We had, frankly, hoped for more given the size of this antenna, but reception was solid, with only two of the 43 stations deemed unwatchable. Another indoor/outdoor model we reviewed, the ClearStream 2Max, captured a couple more channels (44 versus 41) inside than the Antop did.
Everything from Drew Carey hosting The Price Is Right in all of its Day-Glo glory on CBS to talk shows on the local Fox affiliate came in crisp and sharp in 720p. There were also plenty of subchannels with repeats and old shows from the '70s and '80s. All the community channels also appeared without a glitch. Several Cantonese and Korean channels were also in the lineup, along with major Spanish-language stations.
To gauge its outdoor performance, we installed the Antop 402B in our standard exterior test spot, still connected to the Samsung KS9000 4K TV. This time, the antenna captured 67 stations, six of which had too many dropouts to be watched consistently. That still left 61 clear channels, with plenty to watch ranging from Walker, Texas Ranger and retro game channel Buzzr with Match Game to the major local affiliates from CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox.
The outdoor-only Winegard Elite 7550, for comparison, tuned in more stations than the Antop (73 versus 61), but it costs $30 more.
The Antop 402B isn't the sleekest or sexiest HD TV antenna on the market, but it's priced very competitively and delivers more than respectable performance. Pricewise, it falls between the ClearStream 2Max indoor/outdoor model ($79) and the outdoor-only Winegard Elite 7550 ($119), but both manage to eke out slightly better performance, pulling in two or three additional channels when used indoors and outdoors, respectively.
But if you want a solid performer that has a more compact, contained design than either of those larger aerials, the Antop 402B is a respectable performer. It's a solid choice for anyone looking at indoor/outdoor models.
Credit: Tom's Guide