Review: Winegard FlatWave Amped Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna



By Richard V. Burckhardt

Winegard FlatWave Amped Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna

Winegard FlatWave Amped Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna

Over the past few months, I’ve tested a number of indoor TV antennas, looking for one that would work well enough in my condo to make complete cord cutting reasonable for me. All I really want are the local channels (at least the ones in a language I speak) to supplement the streaming options that I get through my Roku and Boxee Box. I’m one of those people who resents paying for a cable TV “bundle” when I only watch a handful of channels.

I previously reviewed the FlatWave indoor TV antenna and found it OK as a backup option in case the cable goes out, but not adequate for everyday use, at least not in my location. I gave it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Good, but no cigar.

Now Winegard has introduced the FlatWave Amped Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna. Again, it’s a thin plastic antenna that can be hung on a wall or window or placed flat on a table. At 13″ x 12″ inches it’s not huge and comes with a cable that is 18.5 feet long so that you have flexibility of placement. The amplifier is powered either by a free USB port on your TV, which is energy efficient as it powers off when the TV does, or with a 110V adapter.

You just hook the cable up to your antenna outlet on your TV, plug in your preferred power source and run a channel scan. I tried in several locations. In my preferred spot, on the wall behind my flat screen TV, I only pulled in 24 channels. I tried moving it around the room with similar results. The box shows the antenna hung in a window, suggesting that as a good place. Naturally, I have no windows, just a sliding glass door on the OTHER side of the room from the TV. Just to see what would happen, I stretched the cable across the room and temporarily attached the antenna to the glass on the door and ran a channel scan. Voila, 38 channels.

Of course, that doesn’t really help in my case as there’s no way for that location to work for me, nor do I want an antenna stuck on the glass permanently or on a wall anywhere that would show. The box suggests that it “blends with any decor” but, at least for me, not well enough. The ONLY location I will be satisfied with is the one I want – behind the TV.

Sadly, the FlatWave Amped Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna and all of the other indoor antennas I have tried always send me back to when I was a child and all we had was over-the-air TV. My father had rabbit ears with the ever-present foil flags on them that were supposed to help with reception (they didn’t) and every time we changed channels, we adjusted the rabbit ears.

In many ways, indoor antennas haven’t changed that much. Unless you are very lucky, you have to locate them anywhere but the right place.

So, The FlatWave Amped Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna is an improvement over the FlatWave indoor TV antenna where I live – 38 vs 29 channels in an undesired spot – but still doesn’t work well enough for my location to drop basic cable. Although I get most of my local channels with the antenna, some that are “found” in the channel scan are just too weak to watch.

But, that’s just me. My bet is that this antenna will work great for some folks, especially those in areas with far more channels than I have in Palm Springs.

Yes, the amped version pulls in more channels than the non-amped. I’d give it 4 our of 5 stars for those who don’t mind the gymnastics to find the “sweet” spot.

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