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The GE Enlighten HD Antenna with Bias Lighting is a good-looking, compact, indoor antenna with built-in bias lighting that makes evening TV viewing easier on your eyes. The antenna features a small stand, so it can sit on top of a flat-panel TV, which makes installation a breeze.
Unfortunately, both the bias lighting and the set-top stand give rise to the two main problems with the antenna. The feature themselves are fine, but the light is only effective on a smaller TV, and the stand limits placement, so you’ll need a good TV signal where your TV is set up for it to work.
If you have both, this could be a worthwhile investment; if not, then you’re probably best looking at other competing antennas.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best TV antennas, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
Being limited to the top of my TV, reception was mediocre. The GE Enlighten managed to pull in two local VHF channels and one local UHF channel for a total of 15 TV stations. In my location, that meant ABC, CBS, and Univision among the national networks, plus a handful of digital channels. The other stations, including the usually reliable and strong public-TV signal, were missing.
Needless to say, this isn’t great. The antenna can be swiveled around on the stand, and that helped bring in the local Fox affiliate, but nothing more. I had to physically move the antenna from above the TV to a position higher up on the wall to receive a few more channels. But that ruined the bias lighting feature.
If you have ever used an indoor antenna, this will be familiar. The antenna often must be moved around a room to find an optimum location; even then, you’re likely missing some channels. This is why TechHive always recommends an external antenna where possible.
But with the GE Enlighten, you cannot move it if you want to use the bias lighting feature. Your chance of the antenna working well is increased if your TV is against an outside wall of your house, on an upper floor, and on the side of the house towards the local TV towers. You’ll also need to be in an area with strong or very strong TV signals. You can check this latter one out on Rabbit Ears.
Bias lighting feature
Bias lighting involves illuminating the wall behind a TV to reduce the contrast between the TV screen and wall and therefore reduce eye strain. It’s a good idea and also helps create a nice ambience in a room in the evening, but it needs to be done correctly.
This is usually accomplished with an LED strip of some 50 to 80 lights, so the 10 embedded in the antenna are already small by comparison. That, coupled with their positioning in the stand at the top of the television means the light isn’t as bright as a proper bias lighting kit, and it doesn’t spread as well behind a larger TV.
I tried this out on a 55-inch television and the result wasn’t satisfactory. This will work best on a smaller TV, perhaps in the 20- to 30-inch class. Read this story for a more in-depth exploration of bias lighting, plus reviews of the some of the best products in that category.
The GE Enlighten is a good-looking antenna with an innovative design, although it is ultimately hobbled by the requirement that it be placed on top of a television. Because of this, your success in using it will be mostly based on whether you have a strong TV signal at that specific location.
Best Prices Today: GE Enlighten HD Antenna with Bias LED Lighting
Martyn Williams produces technology news and product reviews in text and video for PC World, Macworld, and TechHive from his home outside Washington D.C.. He previously worked for IDG News Service as a correspondent in San Francisco and Tokyo and has reported on technology news from across Asia and Europe.