PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Chris Patterson and his family cut the cord years ago and started using an antenna to watch things like sports on Sunday and their local news.

“There’s no monthly fees, and you don’t have to have any sort of contract with a cable company or any other company,” Patterson said.

Consumer Reports recently tested indoor antennas of different shapes and sizes in homes in the city and the suburbs.

TV antenna

“In our tests, most models were able to receive dozens of free over-the-air channels,” says Chris Wilcox with Consumer Reports.

One that did well is the Winegard FlatWave Amped. It has a super-thin design you can mount on a wall or a window. And there’s some good news for bargain shoppers.

“Our tests found little correlation between price and performance,” Wilcox said.

One example is a budget model from Naxa that combines the rabbit-ears-and-loop design of classic antennas with more modern features. No matter which antenna you choose, several factors impact the number of channels you’ll get. Some you have control over, others you don’t.

“Where you place your antenna can be really important. We suggest placing it as high as you can and preferably close to a window,” Wilcox said.

Other factors, like where you live and what’s around your home, like buildings or trees, can also impact reception. Which means you may need to try several models before finding the best antenna for your space. So, Consumer Reports suggests you shop somewhere with free returns and exchanges.

As for Patterson, he found another benefit to his antenna.

“A couple of years ago when there was a major storm, and the cable went out in town for a couple of days. If you had an antenna, you could still watch TV,” Patterson explained.

 

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