Cutting the cord and watching live TV don’t have to be mutually exclusive. A growing number of cord cutters are realizing that they can get major networks and HD programming for free over the air. That’s led to some real competition between antenna companies and an increased number of options for cord cutters looking to add an antenna to their entertainment setup.
For urban cord cutters, rabbit ears may do. For far-flung cord cutters, large outdoor antennas are the only way to go. But for huge numbers of suburban cord cutters, amplified indoor antennas make the most sense – and that’s created a very competitive business space. Into that space steps the Winegard FlatWave, a big, thin, rectangle that promises a 50-mile range. Is it any good? We’ve got the scoop.
A Quick Disclosure
As always, we’re disclosing right off the bat that we got a free product to review. And, as always, that won’t affect our objectivity at all. You can check out our full policy on free review copies and more here.
The Winegard FlatWave is pretty big, but it’s not particularly ugly. It has a simple rectangular design, which makes it a little utilitarian looking, but also makes it less conspicuous than some more futuristic-looking models. It comes in white, which is good news for folks (like me) who have white walls. And it’s very, very thin, which means that its footprint remains pretty much two-dimensional. The amplifier is built onto the cable, so you can’t detach it to replace it or use it with another antenna.
About the size – the antenna itself is roughly 12″ by 13″, so it’s fairly large. But as indoor antennas go, it’s alright-looking.
Range and Reception
Antenna companies love to talk a big game about their products’ range, but our brutal testing environment makes mincemeat of most products. Your faithful blogger lives on the edge of a gorge in a hilly area with tall buildings, and that has been enough to foil an awful lot of antennas.
And, to be fair, the Winegard FlatWave fell a little short of its advertised range (I couldn’t pick up one station that was about 30 miles away, for instance, despite the FlatWave’s advertised range of 50 miles). But relative to similar products we’ve reviewed on this site, the FlatWave showed an impressive ability to pick up far-flung stations. It was able to grab several stations that its competitors could not, and it was able to hold on consistently and deliver smooth reception.
The FlatWave comes in several different sizes at several different price points. The version we reviewed is the full-size amplified antenna, which is currently going for $57.99 on Amazon. That’s more or less in line with the price of most amplified indoor antennas, and less than many products that (in our trials) showed inferior ranges. At the current price, we think the FlatWave is a very good value.
Aesthetics are nice, and price is important, but reception is everything with antennas. And in that one department, the Winegard FlatWave really impressed. On that basis alone, we highly recommend this antenna.
The fact that it’s currently selling for $57.99 sweetens the deal – we’ve seen worse antennas retail for much more. For suburban cord cutters who can pick up local stations with an amplified indoor antenna, the Winegard FlatWave amplified indoor HDTV antenna is the way to go.
Please like us on Facebook to keep up to date on what's new in the world of cord cutting: