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TV Antennas Reappear in New Forms at CES

The small booths with manufacturers from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong provided a glimpse of the products that may be showing up under familiar brand names later in the year. I was both surprised and pleased by the large number of companies showing off-air TV antennas. However, most of these antennas were not the big outdoor Yagi types. While there were numerous VHF rabbit ear (dual whip) / UHF loop style indoor antennas, there were many more designed for greater portability or to be less obtrusive.

TV Technology readers may remember that I lamented RadioShack's discontinuing their portable preamplified dipole antenna. If distributors pick up the products I saw, there may be alternatives. Designs included panels that could be mounted on the wall, post card-sized flat antennas with built in USB-powered preamplifiers, dipole antennas mounted with suction cups mounted on car windows for mobile reception and laptop antennas.

Some designs have already made it to market. Audiovox was showing CEA-909 controllable smart antennas from both Terk and RCA for indoor and outdoor use. A compact three-section GE indoor antenna model won a CES Innovation award.

Walking by one of the smaller booths, I heard a buyer asking the person in the booth if their product supported ATSC. These and similar discussions seem to show there is an increasing interest in free wireless TV!