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The Holisouse HD Antenna ($27) is for cord cutters on a budget who find themselves a little outside the range of a nonamplified antenna but who don't want to go to the expense or hassle of installing an outdoor antenna.
The design is two-faced, but in the best sense possible. One side of the flat, 13 x 12-inch antenna is basic black, the standard for most consumer electronics today. The flip side is white, in case you want the antenna to blend in with a similarly colored wall.
The Holisouse antenna comes with a generous 16-foot coaxial cable. However, the amplifier is permanently attached to the cord, and the 38-inch USB cable for power doesn't include its own power adapter. It has to draw said power from the USB port on your TV; otherwise, you have to supply your own adapter and plug it into a nearby outlet.
Channels Received: 48
Range: 50 miles
1080p Reception: Yes
Cable Length: 16 feet
Size: 13 x 12 inches
Like many antennae that include amplifiers, this model is rated to pull in stations from as far as 50 miles away. Most models claim a 15-decibel signal boost; Holisouse says this model delivers a 20-dB gain, although our tests did not reflect that difference.
An initial scan on the Samsung KS9000 4K TV's tuner delivered a total of 56 channels, fewer than what some other models provide. However, the Holisouse antenna successfully pulled in most of those stations. (Other antennas may have higher initial channel counts but in fact produce fewer watchable stations.) The Holisouse received a total of 48 watchable channels, a respectable number in our crowded test market.
All of the primary network-affiliate stations came in clearly, including ABC, CBS and NBC, in up to 1080i resolution. Some marginal stations could also be tuned in without difficulty, including Buzzr and stations showing old-time TV fare, such as Bonanza, Sea Hunt and The Joey Bishop Show (not even a hit back in its day).
All the major channels were imminently watchable. The few that were not so watchable numbered less than half a dozen and included an HSN shopping channel and a Korean TV station with intermittent reception.
Although it lacks a few niceties (like a power adapter) that one should expect to be included, the Holisouse amplified antenna performs respectably and sits in a sweet spot price-wise. To get better performance, you'll have to spend roughly twice as much for a model such as the Mohu Curve 50, making the Holisouse a good option for people on a budget.
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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.