Indoor Antenna?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by GarrettL1979, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. GarrettL1979 macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2012
    I live about 10-15 miles outside the city (yellow territory according to antenna web). Do you think an amplified antenna would be needed or preferable? I'd like to spend around $30. Here are the two I'm considering:

    Mohu Leaf (unamplified):

    RCA ant1650 (amplified)

  2. pavelbure macrumors 6502a

    Feb 22, 2007
    I'm in yellow a lot too and the amplified leaf works good for me. I also have a lot of hills around me, if your somewhere flat you'll be better off than me.
  3. GarrettL1979 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2012
    I'm hoping not to buy the amplified one...

    Basically, it boils down to this: Unamplified Leaf vs. Amplified RCA
  4. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    I and on the very fringe of the tv towers (40mi away, not sure what color that is) but the MOHU has been the only antenna I have found that picks up many of the tv stations. Admittedly sometime sketchy but still, it picks them up. I tried the amplified MOHU and it did nothing better for me than the plain one. My understanding is that an amplifier just amplifies the signal and the noise. So maybe that's why nothing improved.

    Anyway, if purchased from MOHU, they have an excellent return policy. I just shipped the amplified one back for a full refund.
  5. GarrettL1979 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2012
    Thanks, mic! Think I'll go with the unamplified Mohu then.
  6. trinigen macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2008
    I live in Providence RI and I am able to get the Boston stations (towers are 35 miles away) with the unamplified Leaf.
  7. jeff92k7 macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2012
    This is correct. An antenna preamplifier amplifies anything that the antenna receives. They are mainly intended to overcome signal loss in cabling due to splits to multiple TVs and not to improve reception quality. Only antenna placement will improve reception quality.

    To over exaggerate this, imagine if the antenna was inside a lead box. It would not receive any signals. You could still put an amplifier on the line, but the antenna still gets no signal. The amplifier will allow you to split the feed to multiple TVs, but will not remove the obstruction to receiving the signal to begin with (the lead box).

    You should take care to place the antenna where it will receive the best quality signal regardless of any amplifiers. An amplifier "can" improve the signal if the antenna is receiving a weak signal. For example, on the fringe of the broadcast area, but the amplifier cannot create a signal if the antenna isn't receiving it.

    My view is that indoor antennas are only good if you're within about 15 miles of the broadcast towers. Indoor antennas receive less signal due to lower height and wall obstructions and thus need to have a strong signal to begin with. If you're over 15 miles away, the broadcast signal may no longer be strong enough to overcome losses from walls and such. At that point, you should consider placing the antenna outside.

    Of course, radio waves act screwy sometimes and you may find that indoor antennas work well for some people who are much farther away, while some people even closer can't get anything without an outdoor antenna. The more obstructions between you and the broadcast tower (tall trees, other buildings, hills, mountains, rain clouds), the more likely you are to need an outdoor antenna.
  8. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Nice summary...thanks.

    I tried a couple of other indoor antennas and they picked up absolutely nothing. And I was not surprised as I am 40 miles away from the broadcast towers and my tv is in my basement. So I got everything going against me. Then I seen this YouTube video about how to make an antenna out of a cd case, paper clips, and those black paper spring clips (those ones for thick bunches of paper). Since I had all the materials, I gave it a go. Lo and behold, I picked up all but one of my local stations! So I thought if this rugged thing can work, maybe the MOHU Leaf would work better. And lots of good reviews from people picking up stations they had not Picked up before. And it did work better. Picked up the missing station and in general signal on all of them is stronger than with the homemade one.

    And, I can confirm your suggestions about positioning. There is actually a sweet spot on the wall behind the tv and to the left. Move it a couple inches up/down/right left and the signal decreases. I even tried a longer coax to see if I could find a better spot and I couldn't.

    Not sure what MOHU is doing but the thing sure seems to work well.
  9. Icculus macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    Frisco, TX
    I also bought into the hype of the MOHU Leaf, and I was extremely disappointed. I could never get a good enough signal with that and within a day it was on its way back to amazon. I also tried the RCA Amplified antenna (black square box) and that did a little bit better but still nothing. My ultimate solution was to buy this from best buy (you can obviously find better deals but I needed it locally for ahem...American Ninja Warrior.)

    I ended up putting that in the attic, which luckily I had coax up there leading down to the junction box where I put in a amplified splitter and now have 3 TV's using 1 antenna without signal loss. Wish you the best as it can be frustrating getting an antenna to work!
  10. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Yeah, I would definitely put something in my attic (which I know I could get a lot better reception from) but the thought of running coax from there to my basement is well....daunting!
  11. Icculus macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    Frisco, TX
    Yeah....that doesn't sound like fun. I have had to drop cable only once between the 3 houses I have owned. It wasn't even very far but it was still a pain to drill through crossbeams and yeah I can understand that.

    Wish you the best with the Leaf...let me know how it works, because with all those excellent reviews it has to be excellent for someone! :)
  12. GarrettL1979 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2012
    Thanks all. Very interesting. I went ahead and ordered the Mohu,
  13. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    Let us know how it works. I was about to say buy it locally so it's easy to return and try something else. It's been hard for me to find an antenna that works well as I live in the low flight path.
  14. GarrettL1979 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2012
    Will do.

    Also, considered buying one locally, but Amazon was significantly cheaper
  15. Ubele macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2008
    I recently bought an unamplified Mohu Leaf, and it works great for me. I live about 7 miles southwest of where most of the main broadcast antennas are (on top of a big hill just west of Portland, Oregon), and there are some hills and many tall Douglas firs in between. I also get duplicates of some of the Portland channels from other stations farther away. The HD channels are crystal clear. This is the first step prior to "cutting the cable." I wanted to make sure I could get local HD channels with an OTA antenna.
  16. avaloncourt macrumors 65816

    Oct 18, 2007
    I bought a MOHU a while back on a prayer that it would luck out and be usable. It wasn't even a realistic hope because I live 35 miles from the towers and very poor terrain.

    I was surprised that I could get 2 channels out of five but that wasn't enough for me to keep it. Considering the odds were entirely stacked against it, it did a reasonable job.

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