Diminutive, flat HDTV antennas can be an inexpensive, worthwhile investment. There are dozens available, with most priced under $30. The SkyLink TV antenna is an exception, however, with a higher price and lower performance results than we've seen from models costing as little as $10.
Design: Simple and Straightforward
The Skylink TV antenna is a non-amplified, indoor model. Its small, black, flat plastic design is fairly unobtrusive. And while it's intended to be stuck on a wall, as with other models that use an omni-directional antenna, it can also be placed flat on a surface (although this could further diminish its reception).
The coaxial cable for hooking up to a TV is permanently affixed to the bottom edge of the SkyLink antenna. Typically, the cable screws into the coaxial/RF input on the back of a TV, but the manufacturer also includes an adapter to accommodate push-in European-style plugs. The coaxial cable itself is thinner than most, which makes it easier to stow if you're going to take it with you, but it also makes it less durable than heavier-gauge cables.
Setup: Not Much Flexibility
Skylink doesn't offer neophytes much help during setup. You get a single sheet of instructions that amount to just three steps: plug it into your TV, stick it somewhere and then scan for channels. Fortunately, there's not much more to it, since the cable is permanently attached to the antenna and it doesn't include an amplifier.
Skylink doesn't offer neophytes much help during set up.
One sticking point is that the adhesive pads on the back of the antenna are on slightly different vertical planes. Two are located on the upper right and left corners of the antenna itself, while a third is on the back of the thicker attachment point where the cable connects to the antenna. It makes for a slightly awkward installation with no option of repositioning the stickers to get a better purchase on a wall or window.
Since the stickers also make the installation semi permanent, before you settle on a final resting place, we suggest experimenting with different locations around your TV to find the best reception spot. We also recommend checking with AntennaWeb.org to see what stations you should expect to receive in your area.
SkyLink TV Antenna Key Specs
|Rated Range||30 miles|
|Cable Length||9.75 feet|
|Size||8.38 by 4.75 inches|
Performance: Rather Limited
To assess the SkyLink TV antenna's reception, we used our standard testing setup with a 55-inch Samsung KS9000 4K TV in our New York City location where scores of over-the-air stations are available.
An initial scan using the antenna produced a list of 24 channels, a not-unreasonable number given the small size of the antenna. Unfortunately, fewer than half of those stations – just 10 in all – turned out to be watchable. The local Fox affiliates, for example, had clear and consistent reception. Some channels from across the Hudson in New Jersey were also captured by the antenna, as were a couple of popular Spanish language stations.
By way of comparison, there are smaller, cheaper antennas that have performed better in our tests, such as the less-than-$10 Antop Paper Thin AT-140 (14 channels received). And there are certainly some excellent alternatives, such as the Mohu Leaf Metro that is about $15 and pulled in three times as many stations (31) as the SkyLink model.
An initial scan using the SkyLink TV antenna produced a list of 24 channels, a not-unreasonable number given the small size of the antenna. Unfortunately, fewer than half of those stations – just 10 in all – turned out to be watchable.
With the Skylink, however, the local ABC affiliate's programming was too distorted to watch. Further up the dial, channels such as MeTV also proved to be unwatchable, as were the two versions of the HSN shopping network that we can usually tune in. We were also disappointed that popular stations such as CBS and PBS didn't come in at all.
To confirm the results, we did additional scans at different times of the day and found that subsequent scans registered the same number or fewer channels.
On the company's website, it says the antenna will work "even in the country side" (sic), but given how weak the reception is, it's unlikely you'll be able to pull in distant stations. The SkyLink TV antenna was clearly a disappointment in our testing. It was easy enough to set up and encompassed a basic, flat antenna design. Still, given its high price, we had higher expectations for it than just the 10 stations we received. The Antop Paper Thin AT-140 and the Mohu Leaf Metro both offer better performance at a lower price, so why pay more?