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Here’s how to enjoy local channels after you’ve cut the cord.
You don’t need to pay for a streaming TV subscription to enjoy your favorite local channels after you’ve cut the cord. With a digital HD antenna, you can pick up all your favorite major local networks along with a ton of other smaller channels. You may not realize the wealth of oddities that live on local TV, from classic movie channels to international shows, but you can unlock the potential flying over the air. Here are the best HD antennas of 2019.
The best HD antenna of 2019
When it comes to picking the right HD antenna for you, you’ll want to keep in mind a couple of factors, like antenna size and signal quality. Many of these models are flat, making them easy to hide on the wall near your windows or behind your TV. And many of these models support 4K digital signals. Whether you’ll be able to pick up 4K signals depends on if they’re broadcast in your area. But for sporting events, it’s a true treat, especially since most streaming TV apps still don’t support 4K picture.
Range: 25 miles
Users looking for the lowest-profile digital antenna will want to consider the Mohu Leaf. This paper thin model is reversible, allowing you to choose between having a white or black outward-facing side. This gives you even more flexibility in keeping it hidden. The Leaf also supports 4K digital playback. Keep in mind that this model is designed for people who live in cities. The short range makes it ideal for apartments, but if you’re in the suburbs, try another model.
Range: 30 miles
Do you live in the city but worry about the environmental impact of your plastic use? The Mohu ReLeaf is just the device for you. Made from recycled materials, this 4K-ready HD antenna has a slightly larger range than the standard Leaf model. Is it worth an extra $10 bucks to buy a more environmentally friendly model? We’d like to think so.
Range: 35-plus miles
ClearStream’s Eclipse is a subtle, small circular antenna that attaches to your wall for a simple HD picture. The Eclipse may not offer 4K, but its consistently sharp picture makes it ideal for HD TV owners who just want local channels. In my tests, this model performed slightly better than the ReLeaf when it came to picking up channels with a weak signal. However, for most users, the difference will be negligible.
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Cost: $69.99 (regularly on sale for as low as $27.85)
Range: 65-80 miles
The best all-around HD antenna I found was from a company that sounds like it has a fake name. U Must Have’s Amplified HD Digital TV antenna is a beast of a device, offering beautiful picture from signals ranging from 65 to 80 miles away. It accomplishes this via a powered amplifier that helps boost its ability to pick up far away and weak signals. Heck, it even supports 4K. You don’t even need to keep it near the TV to get its benefits, thanks to an 18-foot coaxial cable. The true dark horse of the HD digital antenna experiment, U Must Have has earned a permanent place in this writer’s home.
Best HD antenna for rural families
Range: 150 miles
If you live in a rural area, picking up a digital signal can be a giant pain. But pingbingding is here to help for a shockingly low price. Delivering up to 4K quality from over 100 miles away, pingbingding’s antenna brings the city to you, even if the city is hours away. Since this is an outdoor model, you’ll need to occasionally adjust the antenna to ensure a clear picture. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean climbing up on the roof, since this model comes with a wireless remote that allows you to rotate your antenna from the ground up to 360 degrees. Obviously, this model requires the most work of anything included on this list. But when you’re far from society, it’s worth the effort.
New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2019 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for premium services, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, and Starz online. Want a specific channel? Here’s how to stream A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC, Bravo, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, CNN, CNBC, C-SPAN, Comedy Central, the CW, Discovery, Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, Food Network, Fox News, Freeform, FS1 and FS2, FX, Golf Channel, Hallmark, HGTV, History Channel, HLN, Lifetime, MSNBC, MTV, National Geographic, NBA TV, Nickelodeon, PBS, Sundance TV, Syfy, TBS, Tennis Channel, TLC, TNT, the Weather Channel, Willow, VH1, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports.
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John-Michael Bond is a tech reporter and culture writer for Daily Dot. A longtime cord-cutter and early adopter, he's an expert on streaming services (Hulu with Live TV), devices (Roku, Amazon Fire), and anime. A former staff writer for TUAW, he's knowledgeable on all things Apple and Android. You can also also find him regularly performing standup comedy in Los Angeles.