The Good: Looks good, Includes necessary components, Generally well-written manual.
The Bad: Hardly useful "gain" function, Large footprint, Uses electricity, Requires user to manually activate.
The Basics: Taking up a little more space than some digital antennas, the MANT510 has an awkward function more likely to confuse than please most common consumers.
When I write about electronics, I write as a layperson operating under the philosophy of "if it's not obvious, the device is poorly designed." In the case of the Philips MANT510 Indoor Amplified Antenna, there's a mix of being perfectly constructed (easy-to-install) and pointlessly complicated for the common television user (dB gain buttons).
My brother purchased a new HDTV television a while back (it’s reviewed here!) and with it, the MANT510 Antenna. Living twenty-five miles outside both Syracuse and Utica, NY, our house gets reception from both cities in the area. The MANT510 is an antenna intended for use inside to pick up analog and digital television signals.
The base of the antenna array is 5" deep, 9" wide with a height of 6 1/2". With the two "rabbit ears" antennas adjusted for maximum length, each one is 3 1/2 feet long. The size of the base and the central antenna make it less-than ideal for wall-mounted televisions, especially the flatscreen high-definition televisions that seek to capitalize on using minimal space and leave less of a footprint.
The MANT510 is silver plastic with silver "rabbit ears."
The MANT510 is completely intuitive to install. It comes with a six foot coaxial cable, which allows one to hook it directly into the coaxial port on the television. For those running cable and using the antenna as a back up, there is an additional port for the cable to run in. As well, the MANT510 comes with the necessary AC power adapter which plugs into the only possible port in the back of the unit. Anyone will be able to figure out how to connect this to their television, it is that easy!
If one has cable connected through the MANT510, it may be utilized by flipping a switch on the back of the unit. The MANT510 turns on using an identical switch on the back left of the unit. There is no remote for turning the unit on, so each time one activates it they must get up and turn it on or off.
Turning the unit on activates a panel of LEDs on the top of the base. These LEDs indicate the strength of the gain the MANT510 is using to capture the signals in the air. Far more useful would be a display showing what the strength of the signal being received was (a sensor, instead of a display) to help calibrate the antenna properly. Instead, one has to use trial-and-error to point the unit toward a signal's source. The MANT510 is intended for use within twenty miles from the digital source, but we get great picture using it at twenty-five miles.
I tend to dislike devices that use unnecessary power; the MANT510 is one. Activating the unit only gives us four digital stations that we don't get while the unit is connected to the television unpowered! Between that and the display that assumes most people will know the best amount of gain, this is a tough sell for most consumers.
For other television-related electronics, please check out my reviews of:
SONY Bravia 40” HDTV
SONY DVP-NS57P DVD Player
For other electronics reviews, please visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.