I've had a lot of success with RCA's A1500, a flat, living room friendly UHF/VHF antenna that's capable of receiving OTA HD. But it's not amplified, meaning it won't be right for many viewers who want to pump their signal a bit. Now RCA is expanding their flat antenna line with amplified and "smart" antennas. The amplified antennas look identical to the A1500 of yore, but start at even smaller sizes and come bundled with removable low-noise amplifiers to boost signals (these start at a palatable $45). The smart antenna ($100) is designed for urban areas where buildings block/redirect signals, so it uses a set-top converter box to best tune the antenna to desired frequencies. All new models appear to be available now. [RCA]
RCA FLAT ANTENNA LINE EXPANDS TO REACH MORE VIEWERS WITH AMPLIFIED AND SMART ANTENNA OPTIONS High End Model Responds to Electronic Commands from Converter Boxes Equipped with Smart Antenna CEA-909 Interface Indianapolis, September 17, 2008 – With antenna sales booming because of the nation's transition to all-digital full-power TV broadcasting, Audiovox Accessories Corporation is expanding its assortment of patented RCA Flat Multi-Directional Digital TV Antenna products to include models featuring removable amplifiers, new discrete sizes and the Smart Antenna control interface for improved reception. Created in the company's radio-frequency design laboratories near Indianapolis, four new flat antenna designs are now reaching retail stores to complement an initial RCA Flat Multi-Directional Digital TV Antenna model shipped in early summer. [Click here to download photo] The new RCA Flat antenna line is designed to solve the two biggest reception problems consumers will face with existing antennas in the market: "multipath" problems created by receiving signals bouncing from multiple locations and effective management of over-saturated signals from typical antenna amplifiers. "Our new line is the result of an 18-month development effort to improve antenna reception of notoriously finicky digital TV signals, which are either perfectly received and tuned by a TV or converter box, or the signals break up and make TV unwatchable," said Lou Lenzi, Senior Vice President of Product Development for Audiovox Accessories Corporation. "Viewers need to make sure their home over-the-air Digital TV setup includes an antenna designed to best receive the new signals that broadcasters are now sending. Our Flat Antenna lineup has an antenna for every situation." In addition to the highly acclaimed 10"x 11" RCA ANT1500 Flat Multi-Directional Digital TV Antenna, which is now widely available at mass merchant and electronics stores nationwide, Audiovox has started retail shipments of the RCA ANT1400, a smaller 8"x 9" flat model. The ANT1400 incorporates the same patented technology that makes it possible to reshape the traditional VHF dipole "rabbit ears" into a compact, wide frequency range VHF/UHF rectangular design. The ANT1400 has a suggested retail price of $29.99. Smart Antenna Shipping Now Urban areas pose some of the most difficult areas for Digital TV reception, with signals bouncing off buildings and other obstacles between the transmitter and receiver. To address these "multipath" problems and issues with weak signals, Audiovox is introducing the RCA Smart Indoor Antenna (Model ANT2000) designed to meet Smart Antenna specification CEA-909. The Smart Indoor Antenna relies on a special set-top converter box interface for precise reception. The viewer simply tunes to the desired channel and the specially-equipped converter box electronically commands the ANT2000 to activate the appropriate elements inside the antenna best for ideal reception of that particular channel. Converter boxes with the Smart Antenna interface are now widely available throughout the U.S. and the ANT2000 is the perfect complement for precise reception. The ANT2000 has a suggested retail price of $99.99. Amplified Options Amplified signals may help with reception of distant broadcasts, or in areas where terrain makes it difficult to receive TV. Additionally, a frequent problem with poor reception is too much signal, overloading the tuner in the Digital TV set or converter box. However, with removable amplifiers, viewers can test to see which components are best for their invididual home. [Click here to download photo] Both the amplified RCA ANT1450 (8"x9") and the larger amplified RCA ANT1550 (10" x 11") antennas offer viewers the flexibility of a removable low-noise signal amplifier to boost weak signals and improve reception in most situations. The RCA ANT1450 has a suggested retail price of $44.99, while the RCA ANT1550 has a suggested retail price of $79.99. Designed to blend in with any room décor, the new RCA Flat Multi-Directional Antenna products can be placed flat next to a TV and most can be hung on a wall. The Smart Indoor Antenna is designed to work horizontally. In addition to receiving pristine uncompressed digital TV signals, over-the-air reception offers consumers local broadcasting multicast channels not available via cable or satellite. In some markets, an over-the-air antenna and digital TV receiver will be the viewer's only option for receiving vital weather, traffic, and news information. And with the Digital TV transition now entering its final months, millions of viewers are now making important decisions about how to stay tuned to their favorite channels once analog TV broadcasting comes to an end in February. In addition to buying a new digital TV or converter box, viewers may also need to think about updating their over-the-air antenna as well. A new RCA Antenna website – www.StayTuned2tv.com – now gives consumers an easy reference for selecting the proper antenna during the digital TV transition. The site includes easy-to-understand answers to common questions and links to popular digital TV destinations such as AntennaWeb.org and other industry and government websites.