Monday, December 3, 2012

The Leaf and Leaf Plus Indoor HDTV Antenna Review

So, It's becoming the cool thing to cut cable these days.  I've never been cool.  We've never had cable.  Our TV has always been a blank screen that occasionally gets used to watch movies.  My kids, for the longest time, didn't know what a commercial was and now that we've had the pleasure to view regular TV in our home together, they can't seem to wrap their heads around the fact they they can't watch whatever they want, on demand. So for us, getting the Leaf antenna wasn't so much about cutting costs as it was an upgrade! 

I first stumbled across the idea of an HDTV indoor antenna when I read an article about cutting cable and replacing it with an HDTV antenna as well as a streaming box like Roku or Apple TV.  Well, since we're renting, and since I know my husband isn't jazzed about getting on the roof to put up an antenna, I searched for a decent indoor antenna.  Lo and behold, they exist!

I checked the reviews on Amazon and settled on the Mohu Leaf indoor antenna.  They have two kinds, regular and amplified. I'll review my experience with both.

First, Here's my disclaimer:  I do not, in any way get paid or compensated for my reviews.  I buy the stuff with my own money. I like to share the great products I find with others.

What is it?
The Leaf antenna is just about the size of a piece of paper and looks like it is laminated with some really thick plastic.  It's white on one side and black on the other.  You can hang it with either side.  It doesn't matter.  The Leaf is attached to a cable that hooks into your TV.  With the amplified Leaf, there is the option of hooking it up the amplification via usb or power connection. You hang the Leaf to your wall or window in the place where it receives optimal reception.  This takes trial and error (AKA: TIME), so I just used some tape and taped my antenna up in different places, had my TV do a channel scan, and found the best place for the best picture.  The Leaf comes with some Velcro mounting tape, but I prefer 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips because they are easy to remove and don't damage the surface.  The regular Leaf is $39.99 and the Amplified Leaf is $73.49.  It's free shipping form Mohu or Amazon.  But, just an FYI, if you buy through Mohu, you can search Google for a coupon code and get a better deal. 

Which one do I need?
Mohu has a great guide to help you decided if the Leaf will work for you.  I only stumbled accross it AFTER I had ordered mine.  It's pretty accurate in helping you know what stations you can expect to get in.  If I had studied this guide I probably would have deducted that the amplified Leaf would be best for us.

My Review
I got the regular Leaf first.  I live about 30-40 miles away from most of the station transmitters, far enough away that according to Mohu, I should buy the amplified Leaf.  But, since I'm a natural skeptic and because I live in the flatlands of Kanas, with no mountains in the way, I thought maybe I could go with the regular Leaf.  And, it worked pretty well.  I received stations that were over 45 miles away pretty well, but the picture would go in and out and wasn't consistent, so I figured I would be better off with the amplified Leaf.  Mohu has a 30-day money back guarantee and it was only under $4 to ship it back, so it wasn't much of a loss for me.  When my amplified Leaf came, I tried that out and found it interesting that the sweet spot on my wall that worked for the regular Leaf didn't work as well with the amplified Leaf.  However, I did find a place that worked well and got in the major networks: FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC, and a few local stations.  The signal is nice and clear.  The only time there is a problem with the picture now is if we use the microwave with we are watching TV.  The picture clears up again as soon as the microwave is off.  This isn't a big deal for us, but something to be aware of.

Final Thoughts 
The Leaf is a great option for those like me who were looking to upgrade their TV or for those who want to cut cable but not be left completely in the dark.  The Leaf works as advertised.  It's important to read Mohu's documentation first to know if you live in a place that will benefit from an indoor HDTV antenna. We're still not avid TV watchers.  There is so much junk on TV, but I do like it occasionally so this was a very cost effective solution for our family.

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