Eric is always on the lookout for creative products and ideas that make life better and might even help save a little money.
The ClearStream HDTV Antenna
The ClearStream 2v Long-range HDTV Antenna from Antennas Direct is a powerful unit that's easy to set up. It can save you a few dollars every month, and still allow you to see many of the shows you love. With an HDTV antenna, you can receive high-definition channels over the air at no cost.
Free television is out there, just bouncing around for the taking. All you need is the correct antenna and an HD television, and as long as you're within range of a broadcast tower you're in luck.
With a ClearStream Antenna, you can leave the satellite or cable behind. Or, you can add that extra television you always wanted but didn't want to deal with the expense of a higher cable or satellite bill.
You'll be able and enjoy a world with free, clear, reliable television, just as our forefathers imagined back in days of yore. If you're my age you might remember those days of yore, and they often weren't a lot of fun.
In the old days when you had an antenna it probably received some channels well, and others not so much. To watch a certain program you might have had to adjust the antenna itself or convince a low-ranking family member to stand near the TV wearing some kind of tinfoil helmet so you could get better reception.
Those days are gone, and today anyone wearing a tinfoil helmet does so of their own volition. Signals are crystal clear, in HD, and as good or better than you'd get from your satellite or cable.
2V Long Range Antenna
I discovered the ClearStream 2V Long Range antenna when I decided to go without my satellite TV system a few years back. If you have already done some research you know there are a whole bunch of different options out there when it comes to HDTV antennas, including trying to build your own.
I wasn't about to build my own, and I didn't want something so complicated that I needed to hire someone with a degree from MIT to figure it out. I was simply looking for an antenna that let me get the basic channels without having to install some kind of massive setup capable of signaling extraterrestrials.
I first tried smaller, indoor antennas and, while they got some channels, they were not capable of bringing in signals from broadcast towers a bit further away.
I had hoped the ClearStream 2V would provide a solid solution to my problem with minimal hassle. Manufacturer specs list a range of 50+ miles, so I expected it would do the job. However, due to my experience with some other brands, part of me was dubious.
A few years later, I've been pretty darned happy with it. I didn't even put in on the roof; I just mounted it on the side of our wooden deck and pointed it at the nearest towers. We get 20 channels (up from the original 16), totally clear, and the nearest broadcast tower is some 20+ miles away. We even get signals from some stations that are 40-50 miles out!
I imagine if I decided to climb up on the roof and mount this thing up there it would work even better, but it's doing so well I hate to move it. And nothing good ever comes of it when I go up on the roof.
Of course, it's not perfect. There sometimes can be hiccups on stormy days, but then again our satellite used to go out when the weather got rough too. You won't get as many channels as with cable or satellite, and just how many you get will be determined by the quality of your signal. It's a good bet you can get the major networks plus local channels and a few public broadcasting stations.
This is the trade-off you make when you switch to an HDTV antenna. All in all, it's been pretty reliable, even through the stormy summer months.
These days I use my antenna in conjunction with an AirTV Unit. The benefit is that I don't have to run wires all over my house. Using AirTV I can send the antenna signal wirelessly to any capable receiver in the house. You can learn more about my setup in my AirTV Review.
I'll be honest, there was a bit of a learning curve to figuring out how to use this thing correctly. While the setup was very easy, there are few things you need to think about if you want to get the most out of your HDTV antenna. Here are some tips I learned along the way:
- Find out where your local towers are located. You can't just point your antenna in any old direction and expect it to work. You need to point it toward where the signals are coming from. You can use Antennas Direct's Locator Tool to figure this out.
- Higher isn't always better: Of course, if you can mount your antenna on your roof you'll likely get great results. But if you are putting it lower you need to consider everything around it. I actually got better results by dropping mine a few inches so the eves of the house had less of an impact on the signal.
- Take advantage of clear spots on the horizon: Once you've got the general direction of your towers worked out, it makes no sense to point your antenna in that direction, but straight at a tree. As much as possible you need a clear line of sight from you to the horizon for best results.
- Protect your antenna: This one may seem counter-intuitive, but setting my antenna up under the eve of my deck protects it from weather damage. It still gets a great signal, but it doesn't get rained and snowed on.
Installing the ClearStream HDTV Antenna is Easy!
More ClearStream Options
Maybe you need more power! Or less power for that matter. There are other ClearStream models too, including an impressive until with a range of 65+ miles! Why pay for TV ever again when you can get free HDTV with a ClearStream antenna?
Antennas Direct ClearStream C1
This is a smaller HDTV antenna with a listed range of up to 30 miles. While any ClearStream can be mounted indoors or outdoors, in my opinion, most of the other models are too bulky to look good inside.
This is a small unit that doesn't take up a lot of space but does a great job for its tiny footprint. It gets a lot of positive reviews, like all ClearStream units. There are a lot of small indoor antennas on the market today, and some of them promise amazing things. If I were looking for something compact I'd go with the ClearStream C1.
Particularly for people who live in apartments or homes with limited access to outdoor mounting options, this may be a perfect choice. You also may wish to keep one around in case you lose cable or satellite for long periods of time. It only takes a few minutes to plug it into your TV and do a channel scan, and you're ready for action!
The ClearStream 4 HDTV Antenna
This monster brings in signals from 65+ miles away, according to specs. I considered it before choosing the ClearStream 2, and partially expected I'd have to upgrade eventually.
Of course, I didn't, but if I lived further from civilization and broadcast towers I'd look to this bad boy to get the job done. I still might try switching up to this version just to see if I can get more channels. It's a thought that's been floating around my head, though I'd hate to mess with my current setup.
While you can install it anywhere, I suspect this unit would be at its most powerful up on the roof with a clear shot at the sky. On the other hand, there is something to be said for installing an HDTV antenna where you can reach it so that you can adjust it if the signal gets a little sketchy.
As with any antenna you have to experiment to see what works best, but it seems like the ClearStream 4 would work well in all but the most remote locations.
How to Choose the Best Antenna for You
So which ClearStream should you get? As I said earlier, I started small and moved up until I found something that worked. Thinking back, perhaps I was just being naively optimistic. Had I to do it again, I think I would start with the best antenna I could afford and not mess around with smaller units.
The other option is to figure out where your local nearest broadcast towers are and use that information to choose your antenna. However, don't just go by distance. You also need to consider your local landscape and anything that might be between you and the tower.
That's one reason mounting a powerful antenna outdoors will generally work better than the same antenna indoors. The walls of your home make it tougher for the antenna to zero in on the incoming signals. You'll get something, but it may not be as good as if you'd chosen an outdoor model.
Finally, if you have no choice but to go with a small unit indoors, I think the ClearStream C1 is superior to other small antennas on the market. I know it'd be my choice.
For me, the Antennas Direct C2-V-CJM ClearStream 2-V Long Range Antenna has been a perfect choice and a solid compromise between power and simplicity. I suspect it will work for many others as well.
Which ClearStream is Right for You?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Jim D Gilbert Arizona on September 26, 2019:
My a tenna from Heartland America cost $29.95 I get sometimes 80 to 90 chanmels and out towers are 50 plus miles away
Don Maise on July 07, 2019:
A 4 bay bowtie antenna like the Channel Master 4221 will out distance the clear streams on UHF and perform equally on high VHF.
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on February 26, 2017:
Thanks, Glenn ! I appreciate the kind words!
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on February 26, 2017:
Those days of yore hold a special place in my heart, and that attracted me to your hub Eric. Not so much for wanting to switch back to broadcast TV, but for the delight in reading about the options.
I was one of those crazy kids in my teens. I actually went up on the roof to play with the antenna — turning it around to pick up broadcasts from a different location, and upsetting my parents when they discovered they couldn't get the normal channels anymore. But I had fun with that, and learned a lot about antenna theory.
Going forward in time to the present, I'm stuck now because there are certain channels on cable that I want to keep that I can't get on broadcast, but the idea of freeing myself from cable intrigues me.
If I ever decide to give it a try, I now know what to do, thanks to your informative review of ClearStream digital antennas. You did a great job explaining the options too, as well as the requirements to pick up broadcast TV at various distances.