In the fall of 2016, I called the DIRECTV support line for the last time. After 14 years as a Directv satellite customer, I was finally cutting the cord
The timing of my move was a reaction to the announcement of the availability of AT&T’s new live streaming TV service DIRECTV NOW. At just $35 per month for over a hundred channels, including a brand new Apple TV, I decided that I would give it a shot to replace my trusted, but expensive, satellite service.
At this time last year, Birmingham did not yet have local network affiliates carried on the service. So my first task was to set out in search for an over the air HD Antenna to receive the local over the air broadcasts for the “Big 4” networks in our area ABC3340, CBS42, NBC13 and Fox6.
After some extensive research online, I found an antenna that looked not much different than the satellite dish that I had just taken down. An AntennaCraft HDX1000 VHF/UHF Outdoor Antenna.
Encouraged by the look and the performance claims of the unit, I made the purchase and a few days later, the antenna arrived at my door step, ready for assembly and testing.
The antenna came with a 2 foot roof angled mast and a baseplate with all screws and bolts needed for attachment of the antenna. In my case, since I wanted to attach it to an 8 foot pole secured to one of my rooftop vent pipes, I only needed to attach the antenna to the mast, aim and tune it for reception. Update: I now have the antenna mounted to my chimney via a proper chimney mount bracket. I do not recommend installing an antenna to a vent pipe stack.
My main TV room cordcutter setup consists of:
- Vizio 70 inch LED TV with local dimming
- Apple TV 4K – Replaces the previous generation Apple TV that came with the DIRECTV NOW “Go Big” promotion.
- An HDHomeRun device for translating the over the air channels onto my wireless network and into the Apple TV (via the Channels app)
- I’m also using the excellent “Channels” app for the Apple TV in order to view my local channels inside the Apple TV interface
In my setup above, the HDHomeRun device serves as the over the air tuner that receives the channels obtained by the rooftop mounted antenna. So, inside the Apple TV, the Channels app is where I go to initiate a channel scan of the HDHomeRun tuner.
After running the scan, and with some pointing help from Google maps, I was able to get a pretty solid lock on 31 local channels, including most importantly, all of the major broadcast networks in my area.
I’m extremely pleased with the performance of this antenna. There are occasions when I get dropouts, usually during periods of high wind that cause the large trees between my home and the downtown TV towers to alter the multipath signals. However, I’m able to get a solid signal lock in all but the most extreme weather conditions.
Its only about 18 inches in diameter and the gray color and form factor make it look not much different from satellite equipment. This is also an amplified antenna, however, since I’m not using the amplifier (I simply don’t have it plugged in), I can attest that it works in passive mode without issue.
I can recommend this antenna for anyone who may want the performance of a larger outdoor antenna, in a relatively small and attractive (wife pleasing) package that will not detract from the look of your home. Its frequently in and out of stock at Amazon, but if you can catch it in stock you will not be disappointed.
What are your experiences with over the air TV? Share your thoughts in the comments below: