Free TV is good TV. It’s a simple mantra that is all but lost in today’s world of cable TV boxes, satellite receivers and Internet apps accessing TV programs. But the fact remains that watching a high-definition TV show doesn’t require a payout — provided you have a digital over-the-air antenna to “catch” the signal with. That’s the problem though: far too many of the digital antennas beings sold can’t “catch” that signal and as a result have been tossed into a closet and forgotten about.
The mohu company aims to change that with the JOLT TV Antenna Amplifier. The device is basically the missing “link” between the technology needed by a digital antenna to function optimally. So rather than buying one of their digital antennas, the one already paid for can be pulled back out of the closet and used.
So I called my friend Steve and asked if he still had that passive (non-powered) indoor digital antenna that was supposed to pick up TV signals but failed completely. He pulled it out from the back of a closet, dusted it off and placed it on a table next to a window a few feet from the flat panel in the living room. We connected its coaxial cable to the TV, accessed the channel auto-search menu and sat back. Twenty minutes went by with no results.
I placed the JOLT (about half the size of a paperback book) at the back of the TV. The attached output coaxial cable was then connected to the TV in place of the antenna’s cable. A decision then had to be made: should the JOLT take its power from one of the TVs USB slots or be plugged into an outlet using the included AC adapter? We went with the USB slot since there was 2 more that could still be used. The last thing to do was to connect the antenna’s coaxial to the JOLT’s input.
The TV was then turned on and again set to auto-search. This time, after six minutes had passed, the local ABC, CBS and NBC stations appeared. We then left the menu and spent a few minutes flipping through the stations to see if the pictures not only looked good but remained stable. They did. Over the course of a week, the JOLT did the job that the digital antenna alone wasn’t capable of — letting the viewer watch free high-definition television. The JOLT ended up in the work section of my friend’s garage to provide free TV.