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Friday
Apr132018

Podcast #839: Channel Master SMARTenna+ Review

Channel Master has introduced a new indoor antenna that gives the Mohu Leaf a run for the money. The Channel Master SMARTenna+ is a mostly paper thin amplified antenna that can easily be placed inside your home and pulls in quite a few channels. There is a processor built into the bottom of the antenna which helps “Steer” the antenna to maximize the reception. No more moving the antenna around until you find the right position. Just press a button and the signal is locked in.

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Channel Master SMARTenna+

We have been receiving HD OTA signals since almost the beginning. As such we have tried over twenty five different antennas from about five or six different companies. To date our favorite is the Mohu Sky. It works great for extreme fringe reception. But if you live close to the towers you may get away with an indoor antenna and for that our favorite is the Mohu Leaf.

Channel Master has introduced a new indoor antenna that gives the Mohu Leaf a run for the money. The Channel Master SMARTenna+ is a mostly paper thin amplified antenna that can easily be placed inside your home and pulls in quite a few channels. There is a processor built into the bottom of the antenna which helps “Steer” the antenna to maximize the reception.  No more moving the antenna around until you find the right position. Just press a button and the signal is locked in.


Setup

Channel master has come up with a “Push-On” connector to make connecting the SMARTenna trivial. You just push on the cable connector to the antenna and then push on the other end to the amplifier. Then you connect the output of the amplifier to the TV and finally plug the amplifier into a wall socket. You will see an LED blinking for about two minutes while it scans for signals. Once it completes the scan the LED will stop blinking. Now go ahead and scan for channels on your TV.

Prior to installing the SMARTenna we did a scan with the existing Mohu Leaf which found 72 channels. We did the same scan two minutes later with the SMARTenna and found 70 Channels.


Performance

You would think that the performance would be the same since they both found about the same number of channels. But there were some differences that made us quite pleased with the SMARTenna. Even though the Mohu Leaf found more channels watching some of those channels could get annoying due to dropouts. Everything would be going OK and then it would just pixelate. In one case the Antenna could not reliably pick up the local CBS affiliate with the Leaf.

With the SMARTEnna we had the same issue. However, the SMARTenna has a magic button that virtually moves the antenna to a more optimal position. And just like that CBS is on screen and no pixelation. The new antenna fixes the age old problem of trying to maximize the location of the antenna to pull in the most channels possible. Now you can have all the channels and not have to move the antenna around.

Another issue you may experience with OTA signals is that the signal is fine for about an hour or so and then it's just starts acting up. This could be for a variety of things interfering with the signal. This did happen while watching a show on a channel that was a bit farther away than the main channels. When that happened we just hit the LED button until the signal came back!


Room for Improvement

While we can attest that the SMARTennas does live up to its name, there are a few things we’d like to see improved. The scan button is a great idea if you are in front of the TV watching. But if you are recording something and the signal goes away or if you want to record things on different channels that need the antenna to be steered it won’t work. If the antenna was truly smart it would scan the frequencies and auto steer to get the strongest signal possible. Or at the very least it would be nice if there was a remote control that allows you to steer the antenna from your remote control. Then you can build it into you automation so that recording would still work.


Conclusion

We have a new favorite antenna. If you live within 35 miles of your TV transmitters and suffer from multipath interference this may be the best $90 you spend on your TV!

 

 

Download Episode #839

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