The Best OTA Antennas and TV Tuners Money Can Buy in 2018
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With cord cutting on the rise, many people are learning how to ditch cable and satellite. Yet while streaming sources thrive, over-the-air (OTA) antennas have also witnessed a resurgence.

According to DSL Reports, 20 percent of broadband homes still receive TV from an OTA antenna.

Using an OTA antenna and a TV tuner, it’s simple to make a do-it-yourself DVR. This allows for free television programming from local broadcast stations. Check out the best OTA antennas and TV tuners available, and learn why this is essential cord cutting hardware.

Cord Cutting: Why Use an OTA Antenna?

Cutting the cord can result in massive savings. However, you’ll need to calculate the true cost of cutting the cord Considering Canceling Cable? The True Cost of Cutting the Cord Considering Canceling Cable? The True Cost of Cutting the Cord When you add everything up, do you really save money by cutting the cord? We do the math involved with cancelling cable in favor of Internet services. Read More . Canceling satellite or cable puts an onus on streaming and often leaves a void for live coverage and sports. If you’re considering snipping the cord, be wary of the several cord cutting pitfalls 7 Pitfalls of Cord-Cutting You Should Consider First 7 Pitfalls of Cord-Cutting You Should Consider First Before you cut the cord to save yourself some money, there are a few things you should be aware of. Read More first. Then, determine if you should keep cable or cut the cord Should You Cut the Cord or Keep Your Cable TV? Should You Cut the Cord or Keep Your Cable TV? If you're still holding on to your cable subscription, but are debating if its time to make a change, we're here to help. This guide should help you make your mind up. Read More .

The Benefits of OTA Antennas

While there are plenty of free streaming news channels for cord cutters 5 Free Streaming News Channels for Cord-Cutters 5 Free Streaming News Channels for Cord-Cutters One of the biggest drawbacks of canceling cable TV is the availability of news. Or lack thereof. Thankfully, things are changing, and here are now plenty of free news channels for cord-cutters. Read More , an over-the-air antenna is an inexpensive means to obtain free broadcast television. For a one-time fee, you gain a device that delivers live television directly to your home. Even with a streaming cable replacement service, an over-the-air antenna may be a necessity since streaming broadcast networks is difficult.

Yet, OTA antennas vary quite a bit. Primarily, channel lineups range a lot. Antenna Web features an excellent tool to help you browse your local broadcast networks.

Because over-the-air antennas rely on broadcast signals, placement is key. As such, you may need to hang an antenna on a window or prominent wall space. This could result in an unsightly antenna your precious natural light or cluttering a wall. But the free channels make this totally worth it.

Pros:

  • Monetary savings
  • Free live TV
  • Affordable
  • Simple to install

Cons:

  • No over-the-top channels
  • Signal strength is variable
  • Channel lineups vary

The Best OTA Antennas

An over-the-air antenna is one of the best ways to reduce your cable bill. So check out the best OTA antennas you can buy.

Mohu ReLeaf

Mohu ReLeaf Indoor TV Antenna, Made with Recycled Materials, 4K-Ready HDTV, 30 Mile Range Mohu ReLeaf Indoor TV Antenna, Made with Recycled Materials, 4K-Ready HDTV, 30 Mile Range Buy Now At Amazon $34.94

Although there are tons of over-the-air antennas available, Mohu rose to prominence as a household name. The Mohu ReLeaf yeilds superb reception, muted design, and eco-friendly components.

Unfortunately, there’s no amplified iteration. You may also consider the amplified Mohu Leaf which doesn’t come with the eco-friendly characteristics of the ReLeaf but offers similar specs.

Pros:

  • Great reception
  • Made of 100 percent recycled materials
  • Multi-directional

Cons:

  • Non-amplified

Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse

ClearStream Eclipse TV Antenna, 35+ Mile Range, Multi-Directional, Grips to Walls and Windows, 12 ft. Coaxial Cable, Black or White ClearStream Eclipse TV Antenna, 35+ Mile Range, Multi-Directional, Grips to Walls and Windows, 12 ft. Coaxial Cable, Black or White Buy Now At Amazon $35.00

With its bold styling, the ClearStream Eclipse is an awesome over-the-air antenna. You’ll find the ClearStream Eclipse in 35-mile and 50-mile variants. Both include detachable coaxial cables, and the 50-mile ClearStream Eclipse is amplified.

The ClearStream Eclipse is as much eye candy as it is high performing. Adhesive and a replaceable coaxial cable come bundled, and its reception is top notch. However, the non-amplified version didn’t pull in many more channels than budget options such as the RCA111Z or Channel Master Flatenna. Still, the ClearStream Eclipse is a comprehensive antenna kit with spiffy styling.

Pros:

  • Bold styling
  • Amplified version available
  • Great reception
  • Includes adhesive
  • Detachable coaxial cable

Cons:

  • Average reception on non-amplified version

Mohu Curve

Mohu Curve 50 TV Antenna, Indoor, Amplified, 50 Mile Range, Modern Design, Tabletop, Paintable, 4K-Ready HDTV, 16 Foot Detachable Cable, Premium Materials for Performance, Includes Stand, MH-110603 Mohu Curve 50 TV Antenna, Indoor, Amplified, 50 Mile Range, Modern Design, Tabletop, Paintable, 4K-Ready HDTV, 16 Foot Detachable Cable, Premium Materials for Performance, Includes Stand, MH-110603 Buy Now At Amazon $69.95

Once again, Mohu dominates with the Curve. You’ll love the Mohu Curve for its excellent build materials, phenomenal reception, and modern, minimalist aesthetic.

The only downside of the Mohu Curve is that it’s pricey compared to competing OTA antennas. Sure, the Curve includes a USB power adapter for its amplifier, and sports a lengthy coaxial cable at 73 inches long. Still, for less money you can snag plenty of 50-mile antennas with detachable coax cables.

Pros:

  • Great reception
  • Lovely modern aesthetic
  • Long (73 inches) coaxial cable
  • Detachable coaxial cable

Cons:

  • Expensive

ClearStream 4 Max

ClearStream 4MAX TV Antenna, 70+ Mile Range, Multi-Directional, Indoor, Attic, Outdoor, 20-inch Mast with Pivoting Base, All-Weather Mounting Hardware, 4K Ready, Black ClearStream 4MAX TV Antenna, 70+ Mile Range, Multi-Directional, Indoor, Attic, Outdoor, 20-inch Mast with Pivoting Base, All-Weather Mounting Hardware, 4K Ready, Black Buy Now At Amazon $129.49

Although it’s listed as an indoor antenna, the ClearStream 4 Max is suitable to mounting outdoors as well. This OTA antenna features a whopping 70-mile range. Unlike flat, unobtrusive over-the-air antennas, the ClearStream 4 Max is a behemoth with a 20-inch mast, and multi-directional UHF and VHF antennas.

Oddly, especially for its substantial price, there’s no included coaxial cable. Regardless, the ClearStream 4 Max might be an expensive eyesore, but its performance is unrivaled. For a smaller option, check out the 60-mile 2Max.

Pros:

  • 70 mile range
  • 4K capable
  • Indoor and outdoor mounting

Cons:

  • Massive
  • Expensive
  • No coaxial cable included

The Best TV Tuner Devices

Just because everyone else is cutting the cord doesn’t mean you should too. Among the biggest cord-cutting pain points is the lack of live content. Pairing an OTA antenna with a TV tuner affords the ability to create a DVR, alleviating that challenge. These are the best TV tuners you can buy.

Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB

Mediasonic HomeWorx ATSC Digital Converter Box w/ Recording and Media Player Function (2018 Version) (HW180STB-Y18) Mediasonic HomeWorx ATSC Digital Converter Box w/ Recording and Media Player Function (2018 Version) (HW180STB-Y18) Buy Now At Amazon $34.99

An affordable TV tuner, the Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB is an amazing budget DVR. Although the Homeworx lacks advanced features as found on pricier models from Tablo or TiVo, it’s a capable, no-frills DVR. There’s no required subscription or software.

What’s more, since the Homeworx uses a standard hard drive to store recordings, you can transfer files to virtually any device. Disappointingly, the menu is difficult to navigate and scheduling conflicts are tough to resolve. Aside from minor shortcomings, the Mediasonic Homeworx is an awesome, barebones DVR.

Pros:

  • Super affordable
  • No subscription/paid software
  • Can transfer recordings easily

Cons:

  • Awkward interface
  • Lacks advanced features

Hauppauge WinTV-dualHD TV Tuner

Hauppauge WinTV-DualHD Dual USB 2.0 HD TV Tuner for Windows PC 1595 Hauppauge WinTV-DualHD Dual USB 2.0 HD TV Tuner for Windows PC 1595 Buy Now At Amazon $64.77

This stick TV tuner is capable of handling two television streams. Therefore, you can watch one channel while recording another, run picture-in-picture, or watch two channels simultaneously. It’s easy to set up with a small form factor.

In addition to PC compatibility, the Hauppauge WinTV-dualHD TV Tuner is compatible with the Nvidia Shield TV and Plex. Alternatively, you may want to consider the Tablo Dual TV tuner, which offers a similar feature set. Unfortunately, the Tablo is only compatible with the Shield TV, so it’s not the best option for PC users.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Works with Plex and Nvidia Shield TV
  • Dual tuner

Cons:

  • Barebones TV tuner

HDHomeRun Connect DUO

SiliconDust HDHomeRun CONNECT DUO 2-Tuner LiveTV for Cord Cutters (HDHR5-2US) SiliconDust HDHomeRun CONNECT DUO 2-Tuner LiveTV for Cord Cutters (HDHR5-2US) Buy Now At Amazon $99.99

The HDHomeRun Connect DUO by Silicon Dust is a top-tier DVR with dual-tuners. Thus, you can watch and record from two sources at once. It’s capable of handling 1080p resolutions and includes DLNA for network streaming.

While it’s a solid hardware choice, the Silicon Dust software is clunky. What’s more, the Duo lacks built-in video transcoding capabilities. For that, you’ll need to step up to the HDHomeRun Extend. Nevertheless, the HDHomeRun Connect Duo is a good bet as a solid television tuner.

Pros:

  • Dual tuner
  • DLNA streaming
  • Works with Plex

Cons:

  • HDHomeRun software is clunky

Tablo Dual OTA DVR

Tablo DUAL 64GB OTA DVR for Cord Cutters - with WiFi - For use with HDTV Antennas Tablo DUAL 64GB OTA DVR for Cord Cutters - with WiFi - For use with HDTV Antennas Buy Now At Amazon $209.95

With its superb hardware options, Tablo has become a go-to in the DVR space. The Tablo Dual OTA DVR is its top choice for the average cord cutter. You’ll find two tuners, easy networking with Wi-Fi and Ethernet, and 64GB of storage space. Plus, it’s expandable via USB for additional storage space.

The Tablo Dual OTA DVR features intuitive set up, robust streaming apps, and the lack of a paid subscription. However, standard storage fills up quickly especially when recording in high definition. Moreover, storage is a bit limited and some live channels load slowly.

Still, it’s easily the best DVR you can find. If you need four tuners, check out the Tablo Quad DVR.

Pros:

  • Dual tuner
  • Easy set up
  • Good networking
  • 64GB storage space

Cons:

  • Live channels sometimes slow to load
  • Built-in storage fills up fast

Final Thoughts on OTA Antennas and TV Tuners

With loads of streaming sites, over-the-air antennas, and TV tuner devices, this is an ideal time to cut the cord. Notably, the WeTek Play 2 ranks among the best Android TV boxes for any budget, largely because of its built-in TV tuner capabilities.

Simply hook up an OTA antenna to use your WeTek Play 2 streaming box as a media player and live TV with DVR unit. Mohu and ClearStream generally provide the best antennas, while Tablo, Silicon Dust, and Hauppauge provide the top TV tuners on the market.

Are you still merely considering cutting the cord? Perhaps you should ignore set top boxes and use a PC instead Cord Cutters: Ignore Set Top Boxes & Use A PC Instead Cord Cutters: Ignore Set Top Boxes & Use A PC Instead Ditching cable? Stay away from dedicated media center devices. Your spare PC makes for an excellent alternative because it's cheap to set up, more powerful, and forever flexible. Read More .

Explore more about: Cord Cutting, Television.

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