By Jason Weisberger at 8:08 am Fri, Nov 16, 2012
While looking for some way to add an interesting touch of forgotten tech to my living room, I remembered Rabbit Ears.
Just a simple dipole antenna, rabbit ears could be beautiful! I'm looking to add something like this to my silly LCD flatpanel tv -- for show.
I found them on TGL, where there is a small selection. Do you think the white ball is bakelite?
This item was made from styrene plastic, most likely. Bakelite was only dark brown. The super-desirable plastic is colored Catalin, which the jewelry collectors mistakenly call Bakelite.
This model is new enough to have a UHF antenna, so it’s no older than the mid-Fifties.
75$ ?! If you can’t find those in a junk shop for 75 times less, I’d be shocked.
Actually I’ve been having a hard time finding used non-roof antennas. It’s good to have some around for emergencies.
Why not just buy brand new ones?
I just bought an “RCA Basic Indoor Antenna” for about ten bucks from Amazon.
Just plain ol’ rabbit ears and a UHF loop. Not the most stylish rabbit ears ever, but they work just fine on my big digital flat panel – better than some of the swoopy-looking “digital” things that cost 5-10 times as much.
The funny thing is, I figured they would look amusingly retro attached to a modern TV – but it turns it out the best location for reception in my living room is right behind the TV – and the TV’s big enough that you don’t even see the antenna. :-)
I just figured since there’s been an explosion of tvs in thrift stores since the digital-broadcast/HDTV age there should be some rabbit ears laying around for basically nothing, but maybe they just chuck them. On the other hand I’ve seen a few brass monstrosity roof ones (maybe I should look if they fold up or can be stripped down)
Heck I bought brand new set top antenna (looks more like a crashed space ship then rabbit ears) for $35
The concept of rabbit ears as nostalgic vintage decoration is so weird to me. We had rabbit ears up until a few years ago. My parents had rabbit ears up until last year. We’re not technologically backwards — we just didn’t watch enough TV to spring for cable, but still occasionally wanted to tune in broadcast channels. (Rabbit ears still work, even after the digital-TV transition.)
While that’s a particularly nicely designed set of rabbit ears, I still can’t quite wrap my mind around the idea of sitting rabbit ears on top of a flat-panel TV for show. I had real, boring, utilitarian rabbit ears much too recently for that to make sense to me.
I hear you. I have a couple clip leads running out from the back of my flat-panel TV and clipped onto some 50s vintage metal wall hanging art, as rabbit ear equivalents, to get a decent signal for the three times a year that I watch broadcast TV.
But I am a radio engineer, so I know the electrical difference between genuine RCA rabbit ears and Radio Shack clip leads: none.
I bet you’d make some money designing decorative antennas.
This listing has better photographs. The “white ball” looks plastic in the photographs. It also has a different selector knob.
If you just toss something like this on top of your flat panel I don’t know that it’ll look retro and fun so much as junky and out of place. Maybe if you mount that tv (and anything else connected to it) flush inside a big retro wood panel box. Get the whole thing looking like this:
It doesn’t have to be just for show. If you’re close enough or in line-of-sight of a digital broadcast antenna, you can hook a simple dipole antenna to your digital TV or set-top box and pick up free HD. I did this myself recently. The quality is amazing, provided you can pick up the signal.
Nice! My ancient rabbit ears pull in digital TV signals just fine, since the tuner is in the TV. I think they may be older than I am. I receive like 18 channels, but mostly it’s for watching the local news.
Great idea! Next, get one of those square old beige desktop Macs for your desk! Ooh, I know, maybe wire a carburator next to the fuel injection computer of your car! Y’know, for show? It’d be totally retro-cool!
You’re so right. Much better to purchase brand new petroleum and metal based products that hopefully will stand the test of time. Consume. Consume. Consume.
Jason isn’t actually proposing on using the older products for anything but style, he’s planning on putting it on his new petroleum-based LCD TV, so not sure what your point is.
Eh. You could also glue some random cogs on the screen and stick a brass dial on the side, so it’s atom-punk and steam-punk at the same time…
yeah, because other peoples art and taste are just random, and everything you don’t like is just posing for todays cool-word tag. Gotcha.
Awesome post! We have a few more available as well. Thanks for the mention. We are a small growing company and this post has brought many smiles :). Help us continue to grow and follow our passion.
Aren’t these all over ebay for $5 each?
Even Google TV has rabbit ears!. I guess they must be for the wifi signal. http://www.digitaltrends.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/url37.jpg
These things only work if you have a child to position in relation to them.
That isn’t a TV antenna. It’s actually a gynecological instrument from the 1890s whose purpose and operation are embarrassing to describe.
Rabbit ears work fine as HDTV antennas.
OK, we have strong signals here. Your mileage may vary.
But where I live, rabbit ears do the job. I laugh at the people buying special “digital HD” antennas.
I have a set of rabbit ears of this style sitting in my garage, waiting for one of us to get around to restoring. It sounds like you would get it done… If you want them let me know how to contact you. I’ll send them to you and you can pay what you think they are worth. The base is heavy cast iron, the ball is a heavy brown plastic, the ears are brass.
Rabbit ear antennas still have one very solid use if you like to listen to FM radio in your home on your home stereo with a clear signal. They work great, and the RCA-like (really more like coax) connector on the end of the cable generally plugs straight into the FM antenna port on the back of your home receiver.
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