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New antenna a boon for channel surfers

March 27, 1996
Web posted at: 4:40 p.m. EST

From Correspondent Dick Wilson

BOYLSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Two British-American inventors are unveiling MegaWave, the first development in antenna technology in nearly 50 years, designed to improve television reception for cableless TVs.

Glynda and John Benham designed MegaWave to alleviate the hassle of older "rabbit ear" antennas, which require the viewer to manually adjust the antenna to a different position for every channel.

Glynda Benham

Even if one has the patience to manipulate older antennas, there is no guarantee that a clear picture will result.

The Benhams, who have many years of antenna design experience with major communications companies, decided to introduce their new design on their own.

John Benham

The inventors await patent approval for the MegaWave, but the partial secrecy surrounding the device did not restrain them from discussing its advantages over traditional antennas. (196K AIFF sound or 196K WAV sound)

While nearly two-thirds of all American homes have cable, most rely on antennas for their second TVs. In addition, homes with direct satellite hookups do not receive local channels, so they use antennas as well.

Unfortunately, say the Benhams, neither of these options provides the viewer with a quality picture. They speculate that people would be more likely to pay for direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) services if they could get local stations with an antenna.

"A lot of people are looking at their local TV stations and saying, 'if I had a decent antenna, maybe I'd use DBS and an antenna with the DBS dish to receive local stations,'" John Benham says.


The Benhams plan to market the antenna to television viewers who enjoy accessing channels with a remote control.

"We think our antenna is ideal for people who like to sit with their remote control and surf the channels. You don't have to get up and fiddle," Glynda Benham explains.

While the MegaWave has its limitations, it seems to be a huge leap from the antennas of old. The antenna will be released late this year and will retail for as little as $40, just above the price of a standard antenna.

The MegaWave isn't the only project the Benhams have in the works. They are designing a car antenna that combines antennas for radios, cellular phones and two-way radios into one device that is installed in the car's body, hidden from view.

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