NorthVu NV20 Pro Indoor Fractal Digital Antenna Review

Not every consumer electronics product need be complicated to understand or use. Such is the case with the NorthVu NV20 Pro Indoor Fractal HDTV Antenna. What’s its “mission statement?” To gather in digital television signals so that a digital television (i.e., HDTV, flat-panel, call it what you will) can present them to the viewer.

Let’s back up for a second. For those who wonder, cable and satellite television service providers are not the be-all, end-all that they seem. These companies were created to provide an alternative to the free over-the-air television signals that continue to crisscross our nation. It’s because this free signal reception hasn’t been available in varied locales due to interference issues, physical location and political pressure, that a pay-for-view procedure first came into play. Of course now it’s exploded to the point where most folks think it’s this way or the highway. As someone who used to live on the 94th floor of a NY apartment building, I can sympathize with not being able to plug in an antenna and get a free TV picture. Heck, I had a clear view of New Jersey but that didn’t mean squat. Not that I long for the days when my loft’s view consisted of a crows line-of-sight with the Empire State building that used to house the broadcast network’s antennas prior to going over to the World Trade Center back in the day.

The thing is that for a myriad of reasons people have gotten lazy and assumed that an antenna can’t do the job of getting broadcast television signals for them. Or that the antenna will be unwieldy, ugly and complicated to use. All of which is wrong.

Case in point is the NV20 Pro Indoor Fractal HDTV Antenna. It’s not paper thin, but merely a few inches deep and barely any weight at all helps to keep it standing upright and unobtrusive. All glossy black and slightly curved for that “euro” look. So putting it on a table or shelf is not only doable but practical. And if the company’s claim of omni-directional fractal technology is correct, getting a high-definition, 1080p digital broadcast TV image should be a snap.

The coaxial cable is connected to the NV20 Pro Indoor Fractal HDTV Antenna and utilizes a skinny design rather than clunky. Oh — there’s no power supply needed either: powered amplification which some digital antennas employ might seem good for cranking up the signal — but one thing can make it totally unnecessary. That one thing is that with a digital signal you either get it or not; there’s no in-between with ghosting and other artifact issues that plagued analog TV. So it’s more of a matter of your location relative to that of the broadcast towers.

In my case, now that I’m in SoCal, I don’t have the signal interference issues that I did when I was in Manhattan. I know that if I place the NV20 Pro Indoor Fractal HDTV Antenna near the window leading to the balcony in my living room, I shouldn’t have any problems in getting a digital broadcast signal. But instead of doing that first, I’ll place the NV20 Pro Indoor Fractal HDTV Antenna just a foot or two away from the Mitsubishi 82-inch HDTV that I’m in the midst of reviewing (you get 10+ feet of cable to work with). Lets see how the antenna performs here first.

So of course that means connecting the antenna to the HDTV before anything else. With flashlight in hand, I locate the coaxial antenna “in” on the back of the Mitsu and screw the antenna’s cable on until it is finger-tight. I then stand up the antenna nearby on the floor. That concludes the installation part of our feature.

Turning the Mitsu on, I navigate to the “Input” menu and select the antenna. No surprise here — the Mitsu want me to now scan the available channels. I sit back and let the algorithms do their thing. While waiting, I hit my web browser to see what channels are available in my area, according to NorthVue. That’s a helpful addition to the slim manual which basically assumes you can understand simple diagrams because there’s not really much to say other than a few reminders not to get the antenna wet or stick it in the microwave oven (last part is my tip).

I’m hearing sound so I return to the Mitsu, which now is displaying the Olympics on NBC. It’s water polo and looks splendid in high-definition. The picture looks as good as if it was coming from my satellite receiver, and the sound is indistinguishable as well. I flip through a few other channels and while I’m no fan of The View, I can’t fault the closeups of the ladies there — although the makeup artists must now be working overtime since HD is now part of the mix.

I also tried moving the NV20 Pro Indoor Fractal HDTV Antenna closer to the window to see if the signal strength would improve to the point where I could discern a difference. Big not surprise — it didn’t change anything. But that’s good in this case since I don’t have to be concerned with the antenna calling attention to itself.

A little more time spent watching shows me that I can be bored as easily when the TV signal is coming from a digital antenna as I can when it’s not. Not the fault of the antenna, but you know what I mean. Vast wasteland, indeed. But the best part is that you’re not paying for what you’re seeing here — well, as a a taxpayer that might not be totally accurate but you know what I mean. It’s free TV and doesn’t that taste good?

Editor’s Rating:

[rating:4/5]

Great

Bottom line:  Of course the location where the HDTV resides relative to the television broadcast towers will influence how well that signal is received (or not at all) — but that’s not the fault of the NV20 Pro Indoor Fractal HDTV Antenna. $59 retail  buys you the means to see free high-definition television on your HDTV with  no fuss and no real effort on your part.

Pros

  • Receives VHF-High and UHF digital broadcast TV channels 7-69
  • Interior fractal antenna array
  • Can receive FM signals

Cons

  • Coaxial cable permanently attached

Marshal Rosenthal

Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.

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5 Comments

  1. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for your comments. This is David from Northvu.
    I am
    always interested to learn what is important to you as a consumer and what
    additional information you seek about the NV20 Pro. Marshal has done a great job of objectively
    assessing the antenna on its own merits.
    Perhaps I can provide more information in response to your
    questions. The NV20 Pro incorporates
    NorthVu’s patent-pending fractal antenna system. Have a look at NorthVu’s Blog post “NV20
    Pro – A Look at Fractals” which sheds more light on the significance of
    fractals and NorthVu’s use of fractals in the NV20 Pro. Also, we’ve received a number of reviews from customers
    on Amazon that highlight their experiences with the NV20 Pro in relation to the
    Mohu Leaf and other antennas. You can
    find the US reviews here
    and the Canadian reviews here. Should you have any additional questions or require more information, do not hesitate to contact me at david.mosley@northvu.com. I would be more than happy to continue our conversation off-line at your convenience.

    All my best, David Mosley

  2. What a lousy review. How is this better than the $30 Mohu Leaf? On that note, is it any better than a $10 RadioShack rabbit ears antenna? What is the significance of the “fractal” in the name? Does it actually have a fractal-shaped antenna inside the case?

    Seriously, sans one or two paragraphs, you could have bought almost any $10-$70 off-the-shelf antenna and written the exact same review.

    1. Hi Jim,

      This is David from Northvu. Thanks for your comments. I am always interested to learn what is important to you as a consumer and what additional information you seek about the NV20 Pro. Marshal has done a great job of objectively assessing the antenna on its own merits.

      Perhaps I can provide more information in response to your questions. The NV20 Pro incorporates NorthVu’s patent-pending fractal antenna system. Have a look at NorthVu’s Blog post “NV20 Pro – A Look at Fractals” which sheds more light on the significance of fractals and NorthVu’s use of fractals in the NV20 Pro.

      Also, we’ve received a number of reviews from customers on Amazon that highlight their experiences with the NV20 Pro in relation to the Mohu Leaf and other antennas. You can find the US reviews hereand the Canadian reviews here. I would be more than happy to continue this discussion off-line at your convenience. Do not hesitate to contact me at david.mosley@northvu.com if I can be of further assistance.

      All my best,

      David Mosley

      1. Hi David,
        What fractal does it use and how do you avoid infringing on Dr Nathan Cohens patents? Just saying it is pat pending means nothing. What is new here? Why is it better? How do you know the fractal used is the best for that form factor? Convince us please.

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