Antennas Direct ClearStream4 Long Range HDTV Antenna Review
So you’ve bought into a solution for the upcoming transition into digital transmission. Whether that was purchasing a brand new HDTV or purchasing an ATSC tuner for your computer or purchasing a converter box for your old CRT analogue television then you’ll need a couple of accessories. One of the must have accessories you’ll want to purchase is an antenna if you don’t already own one.
I’m pretty sure everyone has had experience with a television antenna. It looks like a simple device but yet very complex having various types such as log periodic, loop-element, bow-tie, dipole, yagi and they all have different characteristics being either directional or Omni-directional or really great on UHF band but not so much for VHF. So you can see why picking an antenna could be a hard choice for some people.
Most people are familiar with indoor antennas but sometimes these just don’t cut it anymore providing less gain than outdoor variants. Also some indoor antennas I’ve seen in retail stores cost about the same as getting one that was made for outdoor online so I’d say it makes sense to get an outdoor model. Even if you don’t want to mount the antenna outside, you can always mount it on some type of tripod and face it outside your window – that would be better than any indoor antenna you could buy.
Today I will be looking the long range, multi-directional, UHF/VHF ClearStream 4 HDTV antenna from Antennas Direct.
About Antennas Direct
“Antennas Direct was founded on and operates under the premise of providing true, ultra high-performance Digital and HDTV Antenna systems. With effective designs, we have always believed that high quality antennas can deliver performance and reliability at a very affordable price. As such, we would like to extend the opportunity for you to try antennas that offer the highest gain and reliability at a reasonable price.
Because we sell direct to consumers and installation professionals, we hear first hand the problems that people experience trying to receive HDTV signals. This constant feedback pushes us to continually innovate and improve our products and designs while still keeping our eye on the goal of providing the best value possible.
We are so confident in our products that we happily back them with one of the industry's most comprehensive guarantees and staff our customer service department with antenna specialists that can help select the best product for your needs.”
“ClearStream antennas represent a new breakthrough in size and unmatched ultra efficient design and directionality. Advanced design software allows these 20” x 28” antennas to be smaller and powerful across the core UHF DTV spectrum offering consistent high gain. This advancement in antenna efficiency allows up to 98% of the available broadcast signal to actually reach the incoming antenna cable rather than being lost to impedance mismatches. The ClearStream4 Quad-Loop design receives all core DTV channels available with a range up to 65 +miles. There is also additional capability on higher level VHF frequencies. They are engineered for extra strength and durability, using anodized aluminum for corrosion resistance and are easy to assemble.”
The ClearStream4 antenna retails for $149.99 directly from Antennas Direct but can be found cheaper on Amazon.com for under $100US. For your purchase you’ll be presented with a corrugated box featuring product image and features.
The ClearStream4 corrugated box arrived in great condition but I noticed that things were rattling inside the box. There were clanging noises and metal hitting on metal. Upon opening the box I was very disappointed to see that Antennas Direct has done nothing to protect the contents of this box in any capacity. There was no cardboard support or foam support on any item. There was nothing to protect from damage. In fact the nuts and bolts were the ones clanging and moving around within the box. Laying down every item revealed scuff marks and damages to paint and the actual antenna plastic exterior. I don’t know if this is a common characteristic of Antennas Direct packaging philosophy but it’s I hope they change their habits.
Regardless, every item for the most part sustained no major physical damage other than to their exterior. With your purchase you will find…
For the most part, assembly was relatively easy and all you really need is a Phillips screwdriver and up to 30 minutes to put this antenna together. The assembly instructions have images and instructions so all go without many problems but you might have to improvise as I found in step 6 I could not get that to work as there were clearance issues preventing me from connecting the combiner bars. In any case it only takes a simple minute to fix.
Once everything was assembled, I mounted it on my old camera tripod and placed it outside my window where the old antenna was before. At this point I connected some RG6 cable from the antenna to the HDTV and scanned for channels.
As I scanned for channels, the ClearStream4 provided spectacular results bringing in four more channels that I could not previous receive because they were situated in Buffalo whereas I was in Canada. The ClearStream4 also boosted the signal quality of existing channels.
New channels are in bold. Old antenna was an older indoor RCA antenna.
(Bars between 1-10, 1 lowest, 10 highest)
Before I could get local Canadian content but I could not reach the transmitter in Buffalo that provided US content such as CW, NBC, WNED, FOX but with the ClearStream4, I could pick it up while I was an estimated 65+ miles away from the transmitters. With the ClearStream4 I gained on every channel.
With OTA HD you can expect to receive digital picture and the ABC channel was simply amazing to watch since it’s the best looking channel from the ones I receive followed by FOX since they are really broadcasting in HD. The picture is sharp and the sound is lively. Most of the Canadian stations don’t stack up other than CBC and City TV since we don’t switch until 2011.
I really like the Antennas Direct ClearStream4 antenna, it does everything it says it would do and it can pull channels miles away. The construction of the tapered-loop antennas are covered in solid plastic and will take a beating. Being covered in plastic means it’ll last longer outdoors and not be covered in rust if it were made out of metal. The only thing that would rust overtime is the metal reflectors and unfortunately would get worse if the paint was chipped off like this unit was.
The only thing I don’t like about the ClearStream4 is not the antenna itself, it’s the packaging. There is no packaging basically. Antennas Direct really needs to put some foam support in the box, put the nuts and bolts in a bag and keep everything from hitting each other.
The only other downside is that this antenna includes no mast/pole to mount it on your roof or like a satellite dish, that is extra.
I have no problems recommending the Antennas Direct ClearStream4 antenna for your HDTV needs.
Pros and Cons