RCA’s Antenna Line: Not Your Father’s Rabbit Ears
Audiovox Accessories Corp. has begun the rollout of a seven-model range of RCA-branded digital flat antenna products. The antennas are designed to meet the needs of the one-third of all U.S. households that rely solely on terrestrial TV reception – when the curtain comes down on analog broadcasting next February.
“We’re calling this our ‘Better than Rabbit Ears’ solution,” said Hank Caskey, vice president/reception, whose company is now selling the first model in the line, the multi-directional RCA ANT1500 ($60), at Wal-Mart, with plans to deploy it soon in Circuit City and Best Buy stores. “Eighty percent of terrestrial antennas sold per year are indoor antennas,” he said, “and the biggest rabbit-ear antenna complaint is the look of the things – it’s just two pieces of wire in the air. Our goal with the line is to replace rabbit ears in much more acceptable form factors.”
The inaugural model ANT1500, which will also be available in a few weeks in the ANT1550 low-noise amplified version ($80), at less than an inch thick, looks like an ultra-slim, grooved whiteboard, and it can sit on a flat surface, be wall-mounted or work upright, using an included stand. “This is nothing like a simple analog antenna painted silver,” said Caskey, citing its patented omni-directionality as the design differentiator. Rabbit ears, Caskey pointed out, are highly directional, and making them work with a digital TV or a digital converter box often entails channel-scan re-do’s each time the antenna is moved. The 1500’s duo-plane design includes both VHF and UHF reception elements on two sides of an internal panel.