Gadgets: RCA ultra-thin antenna

Twitter.com/greggellmanJuly 11, 2014 

The RCA ultra-thin indoor antenna receives local HD and digital TV broadcasts but looks nothing like those old intrusive rabbit-ear antennas my dad had on the family TV decades ago.

Instead, it's an 11-by-13-inch flat antenna that you mount on a window within 12 feet of the TV - only because the cable attached is 12-feet long.

It mounts with double-sided tape or you can be creative and use Velcro if you want it removed at times. One side is black, the other white for a choice of the color facing the room.

Digital TV can be received in resolutions up to 1080; lower signals are enhanced to better quality since the antenna amplifies weak signals.

The setup was simple; connect the other end of the 12-foot cable, which has a coaxial connection, to your TV.

A USB port needs to be connected to a power source. This can be into an outlet or even into your TV if it has one.

I tried this on an older TV that sits collecting dust in my guest room. Also, I might add, guests haven't been able to watch TV in that room for more than 10 years.

You'll have to do a channel search and read the dreaded instructions to tweak the antenna settings but it was pretty easy, just not as simple as plug-and-play. I did end up putting it up higher on the window for better reception.

My future house guests can head on down, knowing that bedtime TV does exist once again.

www.rcaaudiovideo.com $69.99

WIRELESS BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS DELIVER

At the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, iLuv gave me a demonstration of the SyrenPro wireless (Bluetooth) speaker.

While testing out audio on a trade show floor is never a true test of the quality, it more than passed the test once I had a review unit in my possession.

From my family room to poolside, the speaker cranked out music with superior audio at any volume.

Since my years of blasting rock 'n' roll are long over, I seem to gravitate to lower levels with great clarity, which the SyrenPro gave me indoors.

Outdoors, I cranked up the 360-degree sound and it held its own in clarity and great amounts of bass. All this is a result of iLuv's jAura sound technology, which produces a balance of low, middle and high range frequencies.

I love that it's equipped with TrueWireless Stereo, allowing easy pairing ofSyrenPro's for stereo sound.

An internal rechargeable battery will last for up to 4 hours of playtime in each speaker.

The body is weather- and UV-resistant, which makes it great for outdoors but that doesn't mean it's waterproof. It can probably handle a quick, light sprinkle but get it indoors before the downpour.

www.iLuv.com $129.99

FROM LAPTOP TO DESKTOP IN A SNAP

The BookArc from Twelve South is for select Apple laptops to be used on your desktop in a space-saving manner.

While many laptop owners love the portability of them away from home, there's nothing like having a bigger monitor for home use and this hardware allows you to have both.

The directions are simple; park your laptop in the stand, run the cables you need connected through the bottom cable management system and your laptop becomes a desktop computer. And since the laptop is in a vertical position, look at all the desktop space saved.

The cable management system has hooks to hold the cables when the laptop is unplugged, preventing them from falling behind your desk.

No need to transfer files since you're actually still working off the same computer.

According to Twelve South, the BookArc is designed exclusively for the MacBook Pro (unibody) and MacBook Pro with Retina display.

www.TwelveSouth.com $49.99 for the BookArc; you're on your own for the larger desktop monitor and external keyboard.

Contact Gregg Ellman at greggellman@mac.com. Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.

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