TVs & Home Theaters forum


Best new HDTV for OTA Channels and Cord-Cutter Lifestyle

by Jaije902 / February 28, 2016 7:56 PM PST

I don't have a TV and have been watching shows on my laptop via 50mbps wifi, Netflix and Amazon Prime. (FYI, I have no Apple products in my ecosystem and won't be getting cable. ) I want to buy a new TV about $500ish plus ROKU and perhaps soundbar. It doesn't have to be a smartTV but I am strongly considering Vizio E40 or a comparable size Samsung, SONY or LG, (Picture quality is important so TLC Roku isn't on the list.) While I want to watch Netflix on the screen, I also want to watch PBS, NBC and other OTA. I am finding little on the performance of the built-in TV antenna on Consumer Reports and CNET. I have heard that Samsung's built-in antennas problems. Does anyone have a 2014 or newer TV with similiar cord-cutter arrangement? How do you rate Samsung, SONY, LG or Vizio on built-in antenna? Is a smart tv really easier for a cord-cutter life? Any suggestions or recommendation?

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Clarification Request
It's a built in *tuner*, not antenna.
by Pepe7 / February 28, 2016 10:47 PM PST

Without a doubt you will be utilizing some sort of external antenna for optimal OTA viewing. Preferably, this means you would mount something outside your home in order to bring in the best signal, etc. Second choice would be upstairs in a window location/unobstructed downstairs location. Attics can be a bit rough IME. Mounting it near the HDTV would actually be my last choice (too clustered generally to be the most useful IME) unless that perfect window was close by.

You unfortunately won't be finding anything useful anywhere regarding how the built in tuners function from one HDTV to another. Why? Because most folks are using cable or satellite boxes. Also, the location of the dwelling/location of HDTV inside the dwelling/building materials greatly affects reception, throwing a wrench in any sort of useful review of how a particular built in tuner suffices. Most perform adequately though.

All that said, I would shoot for the HDTV w/ best PQ that fits your budget. Vizio would probably be my last choice in that price bracket. YMMV. Sony is fine. Don't avoid Samsung either since you can often find last year's model with better PQ and post-sales support than Vizio can offer (usually).

My preference is to grab a Roku or something similar vs worrying about the lack of support for a 'smart' <ahem> tv's built in apps. Updates typically come more frequently w/ external boxes than they do using the built in apps. Trial and error is required though. In no way is the 'cord cutter' life easier in any way, shape or form. (Cheaper, yes)

Hint: for other types of internet streaming you might also consider grabbing a cheap laptop with HDMI output and remote. It's provides a heck of a lot of flexibility when you are looking for something not found on the Roku, etc.

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Better way to ask the question
by laxlush / December 19, 2016 8:49 AM PST

When I bought a new car stereo I was interested in HD radio and regular radio but the manufacturers seem to focus on things like Pandora.
I bought my stereo system off Crutchfield and they did have an antenna reception rating system.
Even though the car has a built-in antenna that works with all radios, some radios pick up weaker signals off the same antenna.
It is called
FM Sensitivity 8.2 dBf

Now here's the problem, the same site also sells tvs, but doesn't put the ota sensitivity to uhf, vhf, dtv whatever.

I also get annoyed tablets no longer show ram quantities or speed.
Cell phones don't show antenna strength, my S5 is much better than my brothers iPhone 6 in the same network.

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You must be new to electromagnetic waves
by Pepe7 / December 19, 2016 9:04 AM PST

What you actually meant to write is 'my S5 <works> better than my brother's iPhone 6 on the same network AT MY PARTICULAR LOCATION'.

Understand, precisely *where* someone uses a device that includes/requires an antenna can make a huge difference. You can rate something all you want but real world performance trumps all. The Samsung vs Apple battle is a tired one at best.

Ditto for OTA. Worry about the antenna placement and we can have an actual production conversation about such matters.

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For one thing,
by Oldartq / December 20, 2016 10:00 AM PST

how good the OTA reception will depend on your location and the antenna that you use (mostly). If those are good/great...then any TV should do.

All Answers

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I cheated.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 19, 2016 9:10 AM PST

While putting the antenna outside is best I cheated by placing an outdoor antenna behind my set.

And no, I have yet to find reviews that list dB sensitivity for the tuners.

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The answer to your questions
by kethompson03 / February 14, 2017 1:18 PM PST

1. 46" Fhd 1920X1080 with speakers, **** not bad price but everything you need
2. NEC Monitor E325 32-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor, ****

**** Note: 80% of your posts had that store's site. Editing all by moderator.

Post was last edited on February 14, 2017 1:56 PM PST

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TV type does make a difference in number of channels you get
by pccstudent / January 28, 2018 1:32 PM PST

Here is my experience. I set up a very moderately priced, amplified antenna on a 15 ft pole. I had about 6 different TV's to test with. First model was the 12V type you would find in an older motor home, no reception at all. I worked my way through different age TV's. The channel lock got better the newer the TV used. I went from a minimum 5 channels all the way up to 12 channel reception. I post not to tell you which TV worked best but to say that some TV's are definitely better than others. So much emphasis is being put on antenna choice but my testing says you also need to test with the actual TV to be used. My question. I wonder if a TV tuner card for a desktop PC can turn a TV that gets poor channel selection into a TV that gets a good number of channels. The TV (more so the tuner) does matter here.

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Vizio IMHO .!
by JD-FORD-HD / March 2, 2018 4:46 AM PST

We are 100% "cord free" at home and office. A Panasonic 60” plasma was our main TV that had great picture quality with OTA signals. Being centrally located between 4 different cities that broadcast OTA, we use an antenna rotor. Moving the antenna between cities required a new "channel search" and all previous channels found were lost on the Panasonic. Very annoying. I found that the Vizio TV's in our other rooms had a built in feature "Partial Channel or Additional Channel Search" that allows all channels from all cities to be stored. Sold the Panasonic bought a Vizio 60” which developed a dark spot within a few months. Contacted Vizio, emailed pic of screen with problem visible. They shipped a newer, 4HD replacement since our model was no longer available..! Also, since our set was a large wall mount, Vizio sent a two man crew to do the work.! Very happy with Vizio Customer Service. We now have 1 Vizio in our motorhome, 2 Vizios at the office and 6 Vizio TV's at home.! All of these are used for OTA reception. We use an "HD Stacker" antenna (google it) on a 50’ tower and would not consider cable or dish, EVER, even if they offered to pay us a $100/month to switch.!

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