Update of Returning to Rabbit Ears TV, posted October 14, 2013.
A few weeks ago, I noticed my son and his family, who live about 10 miles away, use a flat, amplified TV antenna for the occasionally used TV in the guest bedroom but still have commercial cable for their main viewing elsewhere in the house. I briefly borrowed it to try at my location, and it worked well. I bought the same one from Amazon for about $35 and now have it set up in my bedroom.
Just for the record, it is a Terk FDTV2A amplified indoor antenna. There may be other brands that work even better, but this one did the job for me. The photo shows it lying down, but it should be upright to work and it comes with a snap-on stand. I mounted mine high up on a wall. I like the idea that even if my cable goes out temporarily, I will still have this.
I get the big three network channels, although not my favorite PBS. I also get about half a dozen channels I never heard of. Mostly they are religious channels, but one is the Japanese channel, NRK, which we often watch on cable. I never expected to get that by antenna.
The amplifier for the Terk antenna is a separate unit, shown in the photo, that attaches to the antenna cable. Their instructions say to try the antenna alone first and then add the amplifier if needed. I did need, and it worked much better with the amplifier. Like rabbit ears, position of the antenna is important, but it can be difficult to find the best orientation with digital signals. A digital picture is either perfect or not there at all. Picture snow and roll-over from a weak signal are gone forever.
Some of the minor channels I get perfectly at night disappear during the day. They may only broadcast in the evenings, or it just may be typical of broadcast radio waves that require the nighttime ionosphere to hold them down.