GE Enlighten HD Antenna Assessment

Today’s best GE Enlighten HD antenna with PureBia’s LED lighting offerings

GE Enlighten HD Antenna: Specifications

Range: 45 miles
Received channels: 24
Reinforced: No
1080p reception: Yes
Cable length: 5.4 feet
Size: 2.7 x 21.2 in

Most TV antennas work strictly by shape, regardless of how they look in your living room or next to your brand new big screen TV. Hence, the GE Enlighten HD antenna (manufactured by Jasco) is an exception, with a trick you won’t see on any of the best TV antennas. It’s designed to sit flat on top of a TV and create a soft glow behind the device to reduce eye strain.

The price of the GE Enlighten antenna for $ 29.99 is sure to be right, and its design is more appealing than the usual flat antennas that need to be attached to a wall or window. Furthermore, despite our initial skepticism, we found the PureBias light effect surprisingly relaxing. Unfortunately, the receiving performance of the Enlighten antenna couldn’t keep up with other models like the RCA ANT3ME, which were only a few dollars more.

GE Enlighten HD Antenna Review: Design

The Enlighten HD antenna can be attached to the top or bezel of a large screen television with the antenna portion lying flat over the top of the device. Part of the adjustable bracket that hangs on the back contains an LED backlight, the aforementioned bias lighting. You can turn the light on or off using a cable switch.

(Image credit: GE)

The color temperature of the LED light of 6500 K (degrees Kelvin) was chosen because it is in the daylight temperature range, which is often referred to as “cool” white light, as it tends towards the blue rather than the yellow end of the spectrum.

(Image credit: GE)

Bias light is based on the theory that watching a large, bright TV in a darkened room, for example for a movie night, can cause eye strain as the pupils of your eyes change in response to what is on the screen will, rapidly expand and narrow.

(Image credit: GE)

Having a diffuse light source directly behind the screen and creating a soft white halo can reduce the stress by normalizing the overall lighting in the room. Some film purists may turn against anything that takes focus off the screen, others may find that the oblique lighting reduces eye fatigue.

GE Enlighten HD Antenna Review: Setup

Having the antenna right on top of the TV is a design you will either love or hate. Most LCD TVs have a bezel wide enough for the arrangement to work, and after a few days we got used to the look of the antenna strip on the screen.

(Image credit: GE)

However, for the light to work, your device must be on a tabletop about 6 inches or more from the back wall, or on a tilting wall mount. The antenna will not fit devices that are flush-mounted on a wall. And super-thin OLEDs, prized for their narrow bezels or frames, are likely to be compromised by the antenna bracket that hangs over the top edge.

The other problem with such a design is that sitting on top of a television may not be the ideal position for watching channels near you. In fact, at our test location in New York City, we moved all of the antennas to a more convenient location away from the test TV for a better view of the local transmission towers. Unfortunately, the GE Enlighten’s relatively short solid coaxial cable means you’re no further than a few feet from the TV to improve reception (which would also destroy the bias lighting effect if you wanted to use it).

GE Enlighten HD Antenna Review: Performance

For comparison purposes, we were able to test the non-amplified GE Enlighten HD antenna both in the intended set-top position and in our standard test position. Unfortunately, things didn’t go particularly well in either area.

(Image credit: GE)

In addition to our test TV, we really liked the bias lighting effect. Unfortunately we can’t say that for signal reception. It was an inconsistent performer who registered up to 40 channels and only 26 channels, but never switched on more than 24 channels reliably. For example, in one scan, the GE Enlighten counted 39 stations, but an examination of the stations revealed that only two dozen were seen. The antenna was unable to pick up a difficult signal for the local CBS partner but had no issues with ABC’s 1080i broadcasts. It also failed to hire any of the PBS partners in the area but had no trouble getting mid-band retro channels like MeTV with programs like Adam-12.

To see if we could improve the picture, we also tested the GE Enlighten at our standard test location for reception. With the use of a cable extension and the complete loss of the bias lighting function, 47 channels could be registered. That meant better reception from more popular Spanish-language channels at the top of the dial, but many other channels were still distorted and unseen.

Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that 30 stations were visible in this cumbersome and unintentional installation setup. That’s a more respectable reception number – and it beats our long-time budget favorite, the Mohu Leaf Metro (12 stations) – but few buyers will put as much effort into improving GE antenna reception and it would be better to choose an antenna for which it is intended such an installation. For example, flat plastic indoor antennas like the RCA ANT3ME, with similar prices, generally pull in around 33 stations in our tests. Other recommended models are the Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301 and the Mohu Arc Pro, which received 33 and 34 stations respectively in our tests. And it’s not uncommon for larger, more expensive models like the Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro to easily capture 42 or more channels.

GE Enlighten HD Antenna Review: Verdict

For less than $ 30, the GE Enlighten is a nice antenna that should work with lots of large screens. And if you find that eye strain or fatigue is an issue, the pre-stress lighting feature can provide some relief.

Conversely, if you are facing the challenge of receiving wireless broadcasts in your area, this model may not be suitable for you. Instead, a reinforced model like the Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301 or the Mohu Arc Pro would be a better choice.

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