For the majority of inexpensive HD TV antennas available – and there are a lot of them – design aesthetics are a secondary consideration (if they're considered at all). The $19.95 Chaowei DVB66 is different, in that its compact stature and simple installation make it an easy addition to any living room or den.
While its indoor performance didn't match the reception of the best cheap TV antenna models that we've reviewed, such as the Mohu Leaf Metro and the 1byone Paper Thin antenna, the versatile indoor/outdoor design proved to be a smart choice for use in RVs and other vehicles.
Design: Polished and clean
The upright Chaowei DVB66 has a sturdy, compact design that we appreciated. It can fit into most living spaces without fuss and can even be used in some mobile situations. The small, 5-inch-high, thumb-shaped black antenna is unobtrusive, and it has a solid metal base that will nicely complement virtually any surroundings.
The antenna has a permanently attached thin black coaxial cable that can easily be tucked away. And there's no dangling in-line amplifier or power switches to worry about.
The weighted base allows it to stand upright on any surface. It is also mildly magnetized, which worked on a couple of metal surfaces we tested. However, if you're thinking you can leave the tiny Chaowei DVB66 on the roof of the RV while driving, think again. Chaowei indicates the antenna works indoors and out, but it's not meant for use on a moving vehicle. The magnetic base will adhere to the roof of a car or RV, but that magnetic force is not strong enough to keep it attached when the vehicle is going around corners. The DVB66 also uses a thinner-gauge coaxial cable that's more suitable for indoor installations, so you probably shouldn't leave it outside in inclement weather.
Setup: Two steps
To install the Chaowei DVB66, you simply screw the antenna into its metal base and plug the cable into your TV. Done.
The DVB66 could be great for glamping, and if you are going to use it on the road or in an RV park, we suggest checking with AntennaWeb.org to see what stations you should expect to receive in the particular area you may be visiting.
|Channels Received:||14 (indoor), 45 (outdoor)|
|Cable Length:||16.5 feet|
|Size:||2 x 5.1 inches|
Performance: Limited indoors
In our New York City test location, an initial scan with the Chaowei DVB66 tallied a mediocre 17 channels detected. After watching and listening to the received stations, we found just 14 that were actually watchable.
This meant we were able to watch such mainstays as the local CBS and ABC affiliates but missed out on Fox and NBC. Popular Spanish-language channels like Umas (with Laura on the schedule) and Univision with the news came in fine, but the reception results were about half those of at least two other under-$20 bargain antennas: the Mohu Leaf Metro (31 channels) and the 1byone Paper Thin TV antenna (46 channels).
Considering that the company suggests the DVB66 could be used outdoors, we decided to also check its reception in our exterior location. In that outdoor spot, an initial scan revealed 55 channels, 45 of which we deemed watchable. So, for campers or those traveling in RVs, the DVB66 may offer an excellent way to watch the occasional TV show.
With quality construction and a smooth design, we expected a lot from the Chaowei DVB66 antenna. We were underwhelmed by its sensitivity indoors, but the combination of outdoor performance and vehicle-friendly design make it a good choice for use on a car or RV.
There are less attractive but more receptive antennas available (see our Top Cheap TV Antennas) for about the same amount of money. Our current favorite is the Mohu Leaf Metro, which pulled in more channels in standard indoor settings and has a similarly affordable price. However, if you want an antenna that occasionally does double duty in an RV, the Chaowei DVB66 may be right for you.