If you’re living in an apartment block — especially an older one — chances are you’re stuck with a dodgy antenna connection. Digital TV switchover aside, dealing with distributing an antenna signal correctly along finicky coaxial cable to different apartments isn’t a simple task — and the end result is that often, apartments and other large buildings don’t have great TV reception throughout.
Indoor antennas are the solution to that problem — except they’re not especially good. Even more expensive antennas with powered boosters aren’t always a sure thing. We’ve spent a little time with a nifty alternative that we think might come in handy for some — it’s called the HD-QUAD. The HD-QUAD antenna, available in A3 and A2 sizes, has a dual-stacked phased-array antenna printed onto a sheet of flexible transparent plastic — so you can stick it in your window, where you’ll find the best possible TV signal.
We tried out both sizes; in Sydney’s inner west, where the TV signal is strong, we had no problem picking up every channel with 100 per cent signal strength reported. Using the HD-QUAD actually got us a better and more consistent signal — especially on the ABC’s suite of digital TV channels — than with the existing roof-mounted antenna and wiring. Our issue with the proper antenna already mounted on the roof isn’t its quality, since it’s a reasonably new antenna; it’s the cabling. Coaxial antenna cabling doesn’t handle interference very well, especially when the cable is cheap, and it’s entirely possible we’ve got some in-wall power cables disrupting the antenna’s signal.
HD-QUAD’s antenna came in handy for us in this situation, and it’s entirely possible apartment dwellers suffering with poor TV reception could use it as well. At $40, it’s not cheap, but it gets the job done. [HD-QUAD]