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The Cord-Cutter‘s Guide to TV Antennas: Mohu Leaf vs Winegard

The humble TV antenna has come a long way from the old-school "rabbit ears" sitting atop grandma‘s wood-panel TV. With millions of Americans cutting the cord on expensive cable subscriptions, antennas are experiencing a high-tech resurgence as an essential tool to pull in free HDTV broadcasts. Two brands leading the charge in the reinvented antenna market are Mohu and Winegard.

As a digital technology expert, I‘ll take you through an in-depth comparison of Mohu‘s famous flat Leaf antennas vs Winegard‘s elite models to help determine which is best to snag all your local channels with perfect picture quality. But first, a quick history lesson and antenna primer to set the stage…

The Evolution of TV Antennas

Antennas were once a mainstay in every American household during the golden age of television. According to the Consumer Technology Association, 99% of U.S. homes relied on antennas to receive analog broadcasts in the 1950s. With the advent of cable TV in the 1970s and 80s, antennas steadily fell out of favor.

But cut to 2009, and a monumental shift flipped the script. The federally-mandated switch from analog to digital broadcasting meant old-fashioned antennas could suddenly pick up crystal-clear high definition signals, breathing new life into a technology once deemed obsolete.

So how exactly do modern antennas pull off this magic? It all comes down to radio frequency (RF) signals. Digital TV is broadcast on ultra high frequency (UHF) channels between 470-698 MHz. Most antennas are optimized for this UHF spectrum, though some also incorporate very high frequency (VHF) elements to pick up additional low-band channels.

When you connect an antenna to your digital TV‘s coax input, it captures these RF signals and translates them into the 1s and 0s that recreate the picture on your screen. Here‘s where things get tricky though – the vast majority of antennas are unidirectional, meaning they need to be pointed directly at broadcast towers to work. Reflections off obstacles like walls, trees, and buildings can interfere with the line-of-sight signal and degrade your reception.

This is where Mohu and Winegard distinguish themselves from the glut of generic flat antennas that all look alike. Their designs employ special technology to filter out interference. Mohu uses military-grade SignalMax tech in its Leaf models, while Winegard has what it calls ClearCircuit to block cellular and FM signals for less distortion. Both brands also offer amplified models to boost weak signals.

Mohu Leaf vs Winegard: Tale of the Tape

Let‘s get down to brass tacks with a head-to-head comparison of the two brands‘ flagship indoor antennas. Note that actual reception may vary based on your location and environment.

Spec Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro Winegard FlatWave Amped
Range 65 miles 60 miles
Amplified Yes – 15 dB Yes – 18 dB
Dimensions 12 x 21.5 inches 12 x 13 inches
Cable Length 16 feet 18.5 feet
Price (MSRP) $89.99 $64.99
Looks Black/white reversible Black

The Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro earns its "pro" title with an edge in range and a sleeker, reversible finish to match decor. However, some users complain that its paper-thin material can tear easily if not careful when mounting. The FlatWave Amped is a bit smaller with a more rugged design. It also has a slight advantage in amplifier strength, which could make a difference if you‘re dozens of miles from towers.

Both models plug into an outlet or USB port for power and include sticky tabs for wall mounting near a window. In general, higher is better for placement to minimize obstructions. As with all antennas, you‘ll need to run a channel scan on your TV to find available broadcasts.

Outdoor Alternative: The Winegard Elite 7550

Maybe you live in an outlying area with signals too weak for an indoor model. Or perhaps you want the absolute maximum number of channels. In that case, it‘s time to consider an outdoor antenna. And for my money, the Winegard Elite 7550 is the gold standard.

With a range up to 70 miles in ideal conditions, this bad boy will pull in signals most indoor antennas can only dream of. Its special VHF dipoles pick up tough low-band channels, while its TwinAmp technology uses two independently amplified stages to balance UHF and VHF signals.

Granted, it costs a bit more at $150 retail and requires a trip up to the roof or attic for installation. But once you lock in that position, you can expect uncompromising reception in rain, snow or shine according to dozens of glowing Amazon reviews. It‘s no wonder expert site named it the best outdoor TV antenna of 2023.

The Future of Free TV

So is spending $50-$150 on an antenna still a wise investment when streaming reigns supreme? Absolutely, and I‘d argue they‘re more relevant than ever.

Consider that 40 million US households now use an antenna according to market research firm Parks Associates. Hordes of cord-cutters are realizing they can get the same broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS in HD for free over-the-air. These channels still have the most popular programming between prime-time shows, sports and local news.

What‘s more, a new broadcast standard called ATSC 3.0 (aka Next Gen TV) is rolling out to many cities promising 4K resolutions, HDR, Dolby Atmos sound and even mobile viewing. Antennas are critical to receiving these next-gen signals.

"Free over-the-air TV is actually growing alongside the streaming revolution," says Eric Pendleton, Senior Product Manager at Winegard. "Savvy cord-cutters recognize the value of getting their local channels for live must-see TV without paying a dime more. The upcoming ATSC 3.0 standard will make antenna viewing an even richer 4K experience on par with streaming quality."

Troubleshooting Tips

A quick disclaimer that antenna reception can be hit or miss depending on your location. If you‘re having trouble with spotty channels, try these troubleshooting tips:

  • Re-scan for channels on your TV menu
  • Move the antenna to a higher position like an attic or second floor
  • Face it in the direction of broadcast towers (find their location at
  • Upgrade to an amplified antenna if over 30 miles from towers
  • Switch to an outdoor model if indoor doesn‘t cut it

With some trial and error and the right antenna, you may be surprised how many free channels you can unlock. Mohu and Winegard offer some of the best-performing, well-reviewed models on the market.

The Leaf and FlatWave are excellent choices for most urban and suburban dwellers within 40 miles of towers. For rural residents or those seeking max channels, the Winegard Elite outdoor line is worth the extra setup.

The bottom line? Don‘t sleep on the digital antenna in the age of streaming. It could be your ticket to cutting the cord for good.