In the era of glamping, no self-respecting RV owner (or car camper for that matter) would travel without a TV. Thankfully, there are some easy, inexpensive ways to tune in local TV stations.
Rather than hauling around some expensive satellite TV receiver (and paying for service), you can use a cheap HD TV antenna to pull in local, over-the-air broadcasts. All you need is a TV set with a digital tuner, a coaxial cable input–and the antenna. Fortunately, HD antennas today are very inexpensive (some less than $10) and a snap to set up; simply plug them into your TV and then scan for stations.
I’ve tested scores of antennas over the past couple of years, primarily in a large metropolitan city where there are dozens of over-the-air broadcast stations available. However, in more rural areas you may find the options are scant. So before you leave home, I suggest checking on what stations might be available in the areas you’ll be visiting by going to the Antenna Web site.
For travelers, there are a few antennas that can easily fit in a car window and do a reasonable job tuning in TV channels. Here are three tiny examples–all meant to be used inside not stuck outside–that won’t stretch your budget.
Mohu offers a variety of HD TV antennas, with the Leaf Metro being one of its most inexpensive models. This non-amplified, less-than-$20 model is reversible (black on one side, white on the other), of modest dimensions (11.5 x 3.4 inches), and can be temporarily attached to a window using supplied sticky Velcro-like patches. Also included with the flat, flexible antenna is a detachable 10-foot cable, so it should reach your TV and still give you enough flexibility in terms of positioning it for the best reception. In my tests, the Mohu Leaf Metro was one of the best diminutive performers, pulling in over two dozen channels.
For about $7, the cyan HomeWorx non-amplified antenna is a respectable performer, especially considering the price. It comes with a clip-on stand, allowing the 8.25 x 4.75-inch antenna to sit on a tabletop or, with the aid of an included suction cup, adhere to any window. In my tests, it pulled in about two-thirds the number of stations that the Mohu Leaf Metro captured. The one notable limitation: a very short 56-inch cable, which will restrict your placement options for receiving signals.
The $13 Antop Paper Thin AT-140 indoor TV antenna is an easy, no-nonsense way to test the cord-cutting waters. The compact design won’t pull in every station, but it did tune in more than a dozen watchable stations in my tests. The bow-tie doughnut-shaped 10.24 by 1.77-inch antenna is small enough for RVs, car camping or glamping.