Winegard Platinum Series HD7694P Antenna Review

Winegard Platinum Series HD7694P Long Range TV Antenna Product Review

The Winegard Platinum Series HD7694P is a Yagi-style, unidirectional antenna with a 45-mile range. It offers a weather-resistant frame for mounting outdoors and features high gain on both UHF and VFH frequencies.

Customers appreciate its ease of installation and reliable television reception; due to its Yagi design, the antenna is able to pick up signals from distant transmitters (when aimed correctly).

Please keep in mind however that the reception characteristics and signal quality of your antenna will be unique and dependent upon local conditions (e.g., whether you’re located on top of a hill or behind one, etc.).

What’s Included?

As with the RCA ANT 751 Compact Yagi HDTV Antenna, this HD7694P antenna doesn’t come with a preamplifier. The reception characteristics of this product’s Yagi design often preclude one, as many users attest.

Once oriented towards transmission sources, Yagi antennas specialize in picking up signals of low strength. Such antennas also come with a reflector element that increases gain in a given direction.

The Winegard Platinum Series HD7694P Antenna is ATSC 3.0 ready. ATSC 3.0 is variously described as “next generation television,” and promises higher refresh rates up to 120 Hz, better picture and higher dynamic ranges (i.e., better contrast, greater brightness levels, wider color palette), as well as improved indoor reception, among other things. 

Winegard Co. is an American company that’s been manufacturing antennas since 1955. The company has a long history of producing innovative antennas for customers such as NASA, and for introducing groundbreaking designs.

The antenna is weatherproof, and comes with a rubber weather boot for protecting the coaxial connection from the elements. Although rated for outdoor use, many customers install it in their attic with no reported reception issues. 

The antenna itself is compact and manageable in terms of height, width, and weight (7 pounds), but as with any Yagi antenna it has a long, extruding axis (in this case several feet in length). In fact, if mounting on a pole make sure the pole is sturdy, as the antenna’s mount location doesn’t correspond with its center of gravity.

Channel and Frequency Types

The Winegard Platinum Series HD7694P Antenna receives UHF and high VHF (VHF frequencies 174 – 216 MHz, or real channels 7 – 13). It’s not intended for receiving low VHF or FM radio signals.

It receives broadcasts of up to full HD (1080p), and is Ultra HD 4K compatible — this will be useful when the latter technology becomes mainstream. It also receives signals in Dolby Digital Surround Sound.

Setting Up the Winegard Platinum Series HD7694P Antenna

Before purchasing any antenna, you should consult tvfool.com or DTV.gov/maps to get the distance and direction of the nearest transmission towers. These websites should also give an indication of what type of antenna you should buy, that is, the range of reception and whether the antenna should be uni-, multi-, or omnidirectional (based on how far apart the towers are).

Assembling the HD 7694P antenna consists of removing the preassembled parts from the box and using a screwdriver to attach the UHF and VHF elements to the axis. Some of the parts have sharp edges so you should use caution.

You must purchase a coaxial cable separately (preferably tri- or quad-shielded cable of the RG6 variety) in order to connect the antenna with a television. The antenna features a built-in transformer or balun (300 to 75 Ohm) for reducing the impedance between the antenna’s elements and the coaxial cable. 

The antenna’s mast clamp allows you to easily mount it on a mast and tighten the attachments with a crescent wrench. Winegard recommends you mount the antenna at least 30 feet above the ground for optimal reception.

If you previously had satellite service, you might consider installing the antenna using any pre-existing mast and coaxial cable.

Once set up, you should test the antenna by connecting it to your television and doing a channel scan. If you aren’t satisfied with the number of channels received, change the antenna’s orientation or position to try for better reception.

Aiming the Antenna

Make sure to point the long part or axis of the antenna in the direction of towers. A compass (whether a real one or a smartphone app) can come in handy for accurate orientation.

On tvfool.com, you can use the magnetic azimuth heading of the towers to aim the antenna with a compass or compass smartphone app. You can use a carpenter’s level tool or the level feature of software like the iPhone Measure app to ensure the mast or antenna is perfectly vertically level.

NOTE: Winegard Co. has also developed a smartphone app that shows the direction and distance of nearby towers. The app is useful because it displays this information directly in the field of view of the smartphone’s camera, using augmented reality. As you turn your phone in different directions, the app shows the picture from the phone’s camera along with this information superimposed on the view.

If installing the antenna outdoors, you should ground it using either a coaxial grounding block or lightning arrester. See my guide on grounding antennas for more information.

Signal Reception

If you’re not satisfied with reception, you may want to consider purchasing and installing a preamplifier. Winegard recommends their Boost XT HDTV Preamplifier but in truth you can use any other brand.

Keep in mind that a preamplifier is mainly for improving signal gain for long coaxial cable runs, rather than for receiving signals from far-away towers.

Before buying a preamplifier you may consider the following:

  • How long is your existing coaxial? If it’s longer than 50 feet from antenna to TV, then a preamplifier may be justified for minimizing signal attenuation along the cable
  • How far away is the tower you’re trying to receive? If it’s less than 10 miles away, a preamplifier may not be useful and may even add more noise, distorting the signal

Connecting Multiple TVs

A preamplifier may also be justified in cases where you’re connecting more than one television to your antenna. In this case, you would attach a splitter to the coaxial, and run separate coaxial cables out of the splitter to the TVs.

A splitter always causes signal loss, so if you find that the television signal to each of the TVs has been weakened after adding the splitter, installing either a preamplifier (outdoors, closer to the antenna) or a distribution amplifier (before the splitter) will help.

A number of customers also hook up the antenna to a streaming device such as Xbox One or HDHomeRun to stream television signals to multiple devices like iPads or computers in the home. Besides making TV watching more convenient, such devices also provide programming guides and allow pausing of live shows. 

Pros

  • Yagi design offers unidirectional reception and decent antenna gain
  • Many customers have also installed this antenna in the attic
  • Sturdy and weather-resistant frame

Cons

  • If mounted on a pole outdoors, the antenna should be securely fastened to prevent swaying during wind gusts
  • Doesn't receive low VHF frequencies

Verdict

If you’re in need of a unidirectional outdoor antenna with reliable reception, then I can recommend the Winegard Platinum Series HD7694P Antenna. Manufactured for outdoor use, it also has surprisingly good reception in the closed confines of an attic.

With a central axis measuring nearly five-and-a-half feet long, be sure to attach it as firmly as possible (preferably with guy wires if mounting it on a pole) in order minimize possible movements or swaying.

The antenna’s manufacturer has been producing reliable antenna technology for well over half a century, and offers both email and phone support in case of issues.

Specs

Design

Direction

Unidirectional

Coaxial cable length (feet)

Dimensions in inches (H x W x L)

13 x 35 x 65

Preamplifier

Reception

Antenna range (miles)

45

Channels

Full HD (1080p)

Frequencies

UHF/VHF

Help & Support

Warranty

90 days

Email support

Phone support

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