Doug Lung / RF Report
08.21.2014 11:18 AM
Channel Master Offering $10 Flat Antenna With Paid Shipping
Company using marketing campaign to educate consumers about over-the-air TV
and Winegard's FlatWave
antennas, which sell for just under $40, are being challenged by Channel
Master's FLATenna, which sells for only $10, with free shipping!
Coty Youtsey, president and CEO of Channel Master, said,
“"We get a lot of calls and emails from people who want to know more about
broadcast TV. They want to know if they can get their local news or The Super
Bowl, and the answer to that is 'Yes', which tells us there's still a lot of
marketing to be done. Instead of filling mailboxes with literature, we're
offering a popular-style antenna at an ultra-low cost to encourage people to
try the experience at very little risk to their pocketbooks.”
Master implies their $10 antenna will work as well as similar antennas costing
over 3 times as much. Joe Bingochea, executive vice president of product
development, explained, “Reception from a TV antenna is limited by physics, so
there's not a lot of room for innovation. An outdoor antenna will deliver more
range and reliability. If your indoor antenna is getting all of the major
broadcast networks and that's all that you need, then FLATenna will be
sufficient and it's priced well below competitive products.”
If you spend $10 on the FLATenna and decide you need an
outdoor antenna, no problem. Channel Master said owners who choose to upgrade
to an outdoor antenna or purchase the DVR+ (a subscription-free DVR for
broadcast TV sold by Channel Master) can receive a credit for the FLATenna cost
towards the new purchase and you can keep the FLATenna. Youtsey said, “The
consumer benefits either way and more antennas are entering the market to
promote the industry. It's a win-win scenario.”
4001HD FLATenna technical specifications on the Channel Master
website are very limited, compared to what they provide for their other antennas.
“Gain” is specified as 3 – 6 dB (no reference provided – hard to see how they
came up with these numbers) and “Reception Range” is listed as up to 35 miles
(UHF) and up to 10 miles (VHF). The antenna measures 13” x 9” by 0.25” and
includes 6' of coax.
I'll be ordering one of these antennas to give it a try up
against my Mohu Leaf, but I suspect I'll continue to travel with my Mohu Leaf
Ultimate (with preamplifier and filter) to handle those cases where some extra
gain is needed. I'll also be watching to see if anyone peels it apart or uses
some other technique to see what the antenna element looks like. While I
generally agree with Bingochea's comments, because this antenna does not
include a preamplifier, the match to the coax and the tuner will be more
important. It will be interesting to see how the FLATenna fares in reaching a
compromise between efficiency, bandwidth and matching.
Note that the $10 CM 4001HD FLATenna is a flexible antenna.
Channel Master sells a more expensive indoor antenna, the CM-4045 HD, which is
also called a FLATenna but is in a hard case.