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Review: Philips PHDTV1 Indoor Antenna

I feel really strange reviewing an antenna, but I’m so happy with this purchase that I feel compelled to try and do it justice.

Background: When I upgraded to a new laptop, I also picked up a USB ATSC TV Tuner (this one, which I’m also very pleased with) with the objective of using the computer as a DVR. I really wanted to use it to record HD broadcasts, something my well-aged VCR can’t handle. Not wanting to pay an extra $60 a month for an HD DVR from my cable company, this seemed like a great solution. I decided I’d experiment with the freely available over the air HD stations.

I started experimenting with a few cheap antennas, but didn’t like what I saw. Then, I discovered this beauty: The Philips PHDTV1 Indoor Antenna. I have it set on my dresser, and it picks up every HD station in the area – each major network, a local weather station, 3 PBS stations, and The Tube. The Tube in particular was a great surprise – a channel that shows music videos 24 hours a day. I leave it on in the background all the time. And all these stations are in crystal clear quality. In fact, reception is so good that now I’m thinking of cancelling my regular cable entirely – most of what I watch is on the networks anyway.

I now own two of the antennas – one for the laptop, the other for my main tv. One minor oddity – I get better reception if I balance the antenna on it’s back (so the orientation is vertical instead of the default horizontal). The PHDTV1’s price goes between $20 and $30, depending where you get it. Worth every penny. Who’d have thought that my leap into the future of TV would involve cancelling cable and setting up an antenna? My brain can’t quite comprehend yet that this apparent step backwards is a good thing.