After a decade of cablecutting, I subscribed to Comcast for the past year just to remind myself what I was missing. These days, it’s unnecessary – with the wide variety of streaming services, smart TVs, and cable alternatives, there simply wasn’t a need. What I did do, however, was set up Antop’s latest HD Smart Panel antenna to feed into my Toshiba Fire TV.
This brought in over 65 OTA channels I could feed into my HDHomerun and Tablo devices to create watchable live streams and DVR content. Let’s walk through the antenna and how it works.
Antop sent us a free unit for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are my own. As always, I’m free to give my honest opinion, good or bad. Here’s what we found using the Antop HD Smart Panel AT-800SBS for the past month.
Under the Hood
Priced at $169.99, this antenna includes Antop’s Smart Boost System, can connect two devices, and has built-in 4G LTE filter to increase picture clarity. There’s also an integrated FM antenna and an adjustement dial for you to get the optimal reception without having to continuosly climb into the roof or attic.
It’s a multi-directional antenna that can handle HI-V, LO-V, and UHF signals with a 100dBuV maximum output level. Its scannable frequency range goes from 87.5-230MHz for FM radio and 470-700MHz for OTA TV signals. There’s 40 feet of cable included, and the gain can be adjusted from 7 to 22 decibles when pulling signals from an 8.5-mile range.
Measuring 10.83 x 6.5 by 22.44 inches and weighing in at nearly 10 pounds, this antenna is massive. It comes with a stand to setup indoors and a bracket to mount outdoors. There are also plenty of nuts, bolts, and cables to get everything setup easily out the box.
Setup and Usability
Setup is easy, regardless of how you decide to mount it. Because of my townhome’s location, I can easily receive a signal from the two major towers in Tucson, but I have to put this on top of my roof because of the architectural design. Its plastic design shields it from temperatures up to 140 degrees, according to the website, and we’ll certainly test its limits come July.
The Smart Boost really comes in handy, providing a notable difference from several other antennas we tested, like the Mohu Releaf, ChannelMaster SMARTenna+, and GE Pro Outdoor. While they all got roughly the same number of channels (sans the Releaf, which could only reach one or the other broadcast tower at any given time), the reception is much less grainy on my 55-inch TV.
There are 114 stations, with about 30% either HD or Spanish channels. In fact, PBS and Spanish-language channels are about the easiest signals to pick up in Tucson. It also gives me an opportunity to stream local radio and even a few Phoenix FM stations. It was easy enough to pull the signal through the Fire TV, although I didn’t have a standalone radio to see if it acted as a repeater.
Despite its bulky size and awkward plastic design, Antop’s AT 800SBS is a sharp and reliable antenna. It picks up a great signal for both TV and radio and makes a solid addition to your house. I wouldn’t mount it on an RV, but it could definitely be used inside of it or a van.
The only downsides are the aesthetics, size, and weight – if this power and reliability could be boiled into a smaller form-factor, it would be a solid A+, but it does the job well enough that its ugliness can be forgiven.
Final Grade: B+