Cord cutting test drive: We tried Mohu antenna for free TV channels

Home » Blog » Cord cutting test drive: We tried Mohu antenna for free TV channels
  • -

Cord cutting test drive: We tried Mohu antenna for free TV channels

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – We’d tried other over-the-air antennas before, and the results were dismal. A fuzzy picture, at best.

The Mohu TV antenna has impressed USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham with its picture quality. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY, USA TODAY

Hence, we continued paying the $110 monthly for internet service and hundreds of cable channels, the majority of which we rarely, if ever, watch.

So I was eager to review the Mohu Glide, which a friend recommended as having the first, really reliable indoor reception. It sells for $90 and promises access to 160 channels.

The good news: The picture looks fantastic, better than we’re getting with cable. That’s in an urban setting, of course, my house here in the suburbs of Los Angeles. I didn’t get the chance to try it out in a rural community.

With the Mohu antennas, you don’t have to jump on top of the house to install anything or go up there again to fiddle with its direction. You just connect the supplied coaxial cable into the back of the antenna and TV, then plug in the supplied digital receiver into a wall outlet.

The Mohu indoor TV antenna brings over-the-air programming into your home. Talking Tech’s Jefferson Graham is impressed with the picture quality. (Photo: Robert Hanashiro, USAT)

Then you need to tune your flat-panel TV, asking the unit to search for available digital channels. This could take some time. For me, it was about 20 minutes. To do this, go into the settings on the TV menu, and look for “add channels.”

Once it was done, via the Mohu Glide, my TV found not 160 channels, but 60. The roster included the broadcast TV stations, which includes the networks, independents and PBS, foreign language (Spanish, Japanese, even Jerusalem TV) religious, shopping and a whole lot of digital channels most people probably haven’t heard of. Buzzr plays old game shows from the 1950s and ’60s. MeTV is all reruns, all the time such “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “The Love Boat”. Laff TV has more current (relatively) shows from the 1980s and 1990s, such as “3rd Rock from the Sun” and “Home Improvement.”

So far, so good. Great picture, lots of channels, no cable box to contend with and a potential savings every month from the cable bill.

Now to the bad news.

There’s a gap of about 30 to 45 seconds every time you change the channel, compared to instantly seeing a channel on cable. Sometimes the channels look great, other times they are fuzzy and take some time to clear up.

Unlike cable, there’s no program listings. So if you’re the type of couch potato that likes to zap open the guide to see what’s on, get descriptions of the episodes and then tune in, you’re out of luck. Instead, you’ll need to depend on the many websites offering these services, including TVGuide and

And if you like having the cable DVR to record shows and watch them later, well, you’ll need to spring for your own model. The Tablo Dual Lite OTA 2 DVR is a popular alternative. It can record up to two shows at once and sells for $140. You’ll also need to add a USB hard drive. Look to spend $50 to $100 for a model with at least 1 terabyte of storage.

Bottom line: the antenna works almost like advertised. One hundred of the promised channels didn’t appear, but that’s OK. Sixty is plenty.

The Glide is perfect for the light viewer, who only wants to see a little local news, network TV shows and PBS, and pick up the rest from Netflix, Amazon and other streamers. If there’s a show on cable TV you want to see, you can always buy the season worth of shows on iTunes or Amazon for $20 or $30.

Remember that if you have two TVs, you’ll either need to run wire all over your house and split the antenna signal, or buy another antenna. Ditto for three TVs.

At $90 a pop, that’s pricey, but amortized over the year, it comes to $7.50 monthly.

Compare that to $1,320 I’m currently paying for cable and internet yearly, or the $480 yearly it would cost for just TV service.

If you can live without the program guide, slow channel selections and cable TV channels, the Mohu Glide may be for you.

Source –