PROS / It scans a 50-mile radius for channels.
CONS / The antenna struggles to receive a clear signal when obstructions are near.
VERDICT / You don’t have to be close to a TV tower to reap the benefits of this HDTV antenna, but it has better success in areas with few structural obstacles such as buildings and trees.
There are a lot of reasons to like the Winegard FlatWave. This HDTV antenna has the greatest signal searching range in our comparison. The amplified signal helps the HDTV antenna snatch many free TV channels with clear reception. If you are looking for an alternative to your costly cable subscription, this Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner is a contender.
All of the indoor HDTV antennas in our lineup were tested in two separate locations: in our downtown office and in a second-story apartment a few miles south of downtown.
Our office building is surrounded by taller structures as and trees. These are obstructions to television signals since the signal doesn’t have direct line of sight to the antenna. This was a good test for the HDTV antenna to see how well it could obtain signal with obstructions around.
The HD digital antenna was able to receive 18 channels in our office. Some other models were able to get as many as 32 channels while others received as few as 12 channels, placing the FlatWave near the middle of the pack. This was a little surprising considering that this long-range HDTV antenna reaches out farther than any other in our comparison. It searches in a 50-mile radius, best in our comparison, but this didn't translate to stellar performance.
In our office we weren’t able to pick up CBS, and NBC had really poor quality. We were able to pick up ABC, but it looked more like standard quality as opposed to HD. PBS came in with great HD quality. The FlatWave also didn’t pick up many of the subchannels that others usually receive. It seems as though the obstructions surrounding our office caused the FlatWave to struggle with reception a bit more than other antennas.
The antenna posted much different results in the apartment testing. The apartment is on the second floor, and there are no obstructions outside the window – just an open field. Here the HDTV digital antenna was able to receive 36 channels – significantly more than it did at our office. This was also far more than most antennas in our tests managed to pull in.
The reception was good on the majority of the channels. Here, we were able to receive all the major networks including CBS, ABC, NBC and PBS. The stations were streaming in good HD quality with little to no breakup in the signal. Most of the bad reception came from subchannels of major networks, which is a common occurrence. Keep in mind that the number of channels and what channels you receive will vary based on your location. In our experience, this antenna is great as long as you don’t live in the heart of a downtown area.
The Winegard FlatWave is an amplified model. In all cases, amplified antennas got better range and better reception than non-amplified models. Amplified models will generally pick up more TV channels when you are further away from a TV tower.
When you are first installing your HDTV antenna, you’ll want to move it around in your home to find the best spot for TV reception. The attached coaxial cable is 18.5 feet long. This gives you plenty of leeway to find the best spot for the antenna in your home. A handful of others in our comparison only boast 5-foot attached cables. Shorter cables can restrict you from getting the best reception possible.
The FlatWave is lightweight and thin, measuring less than 0.6 inches deep. This makes it easy for you to mount it on a wall or, if you don’t want it to be seen, behind the TV. This is one of the best-designed HDTV antennas that we reviewed.
Help & Support
A standard warranty on indoor HD antennas is usually one year. Winegard offers a lifetime warranty on this product. This is impressive. It gives you piece of mind that if your antenna unexpectedly stops working, you’ll be able to have it replaced. That’s extra incentive to own the FlatWave.
This is one of the best HDTV antennas in our lineup. It has a great design and searches for channels in a 50-mile radius. The antenna did much better when there were fewer obstructions outside, so in rural or suburban areas the antenna will perform at its best. If that’s where you are, you should strongly consider this HDTV antenna for your home.