Why the Mohu Leaf is my favorite antenna
The online reviews of the Mohu Leaf antenna have been stellar, so I decided to see what all of the commotion was about and try it myself after Mohu sent me samples of the Leaf and Leaf Plus (in full disclosure, I got these for free from Mohu to review).
The Leaf is a revolutionary new kind of antenna that is almost paper thin and tiny compared to a metal antenna. To give you an idea, Here is a photo of the Mohu Leaf next to my trusty old DB4 antenna (with a Sharpie to scale):
The Mohu antenna itself is just a little larger than a sheet of paper, at 11" x 9" and feels like thin plastic (the one shown above is an older version that feels like laminated cardstock; the new version is more sturdy plastic). The connector area is a about 3/8" thick. It is white on one side and black on the other. I also have their powered version called the Leaf Plus which looks exactly the same except that it has a power cable and a built-in amplifier, which is hidden inside the connector area.
I was eager to put the Leaf and Leaf Plus through their paces. How could these compete with a big bulky antenna many times its size?
I picked three different locations in my city to give a variety of results under different signal conditions. Here are the number of channels that each antenna "found" in each of the three locations:
|Antenna||Channels Found in
|Channels Found in
|Channels Found in
|Channels Found in
|Antennas Direct DB4||30||5||10 (TIE)||16|
|Mohu Leaf||29||18 (WINNER)||10 (TIE)||28|
|Mohu Leaf Plus||32 (WINNER)||11||10 (TIE)||30 (WINNER)|
As you can see, there is quite a variation in performance based on signal conditions. In locations 1 and 3, the three antennas performed about the same. Although the Mohu Leaf Plus "won" in two locations, it wasn't by much (within the margin of error).
Now, you might be wondering why the the unamplified Mohu Leaf beat the amplified Mohu Leaf Plus so handily in location #2. In general, when the antenna is indoor and the cable run to the antenna is short, amplification doesn't give much benefit. In fact, if strong TV signals are present, a powered antenna can actually over-amplify the signal and distort the weaker channels which are part of the same signal. Here is an article describing why an indoor powered antenna is often no better than a passive one. I confirmed these conclusions with an antenna engineer that I talked to!
Just as a sanity check, I also tried a cheap rabbit ear antenna and confirmed that all of these antennas are way, way better than a rabbit-ear antenna. Steer clear of rabbit-ear antennas or any kind of antennas with telescoping arms. They are a pain to adjust and give poor reception.
So, to sum up, I would recommend the regular Mohu Leaf for most people. If your antenna is going to be far from your TV, or if you want to drive multiple TV's, go with the Leaf Plus or Ultimate. If you are just using your antenna with one TV, go with the regular Leaf. It's just as good (or better) for a lot less money. I personally have both, and I use the regular Mohu Leaf while my Mohu Leaf Plus sits unused. Save your money!!
Let's talk about prices. As of this writing, the Mohu Leaf was a STEAL at around $40 on Amazon. The Leaf Plus is around $85. A big metal antenna like the DB4 is around $60, making the Mohu Leaf the winner when it comes to value! Check the Leaf out on Amazon here:
Finally, the Leaf is made in the U.S.A., which is a nice bonus.
So for me, the Leaf was the winner. I have packed away my DB4 and am using the much less obtrusive Leaf now. The Mohu Leaf is my new favorite antenna!! - Brian 6/29/2012
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