we (well, mostly me, because i’m the cheap one in the family) decided when we moved to riverdale to not get cable tv. we’d turned it off before moving from inwood, and had not missed it. a couple of months ago, we had a brief flirtation with getting basic cable tv channels (just broadcast channels), but then i thought, why pay for that when it comes over the air for free?
or so i thought. free is relative. the catch to this was finding an indoor antenna that would pick up the signals. it has to be indoor, because i don’t want to mess with getting my building to allow me to put an antenna on the roof. an outdoor antenna would get me signals with no problem, but that’s way too much trouble and expense.
time is money, and antennas aren’t free, and i spent a lot of time and money trying to find the right antenna. we live in riverdale, in the bronx, about 14 miles from the empire state building, from where the local stations broadcast their signal. and with all the tall buildings and such, it’s tricky to find the right indoor antenna. i tried the terk hdtva, and got nothing, zilch, nada, bupkus. i tried the rca ant525, and got some stations, but not others, and was constantly getting up to adjust the antenna.
i tried buying an antenna amplifier, but as i later learned, if the antenna isn’t getting a good signal, the amplifier can’t magically make it better. all it does is make your intermittent signal stronger, but still intermittent.
so then i called the folks at antennasdirect.com — their number is 877-825-5572. the very friendly, helpful, and informative agent (wish i had her name…) spent several minutes on the phone with me, asking me questions about my specific area and situation. she then recommended the clearstream 2, which she said should work for me just fine. if it didn’t, she said it would be no problem to return it, and there’s no restocking fee.
well, hot damn. the thing is amazing. i get every channel i could possibly get, at full strength (100% signal quality, nothing less than 85% signal strength), with no picture breakup or dropout. i put it by the window, on an old mike stand, and the thing is like a magnet for hdtv signals. i never have to move it ever to get a signal.
antennas direct designs their own antennas, and as far as i can tell they are doing a very good job of it. the best part is, the antenna is so good it doesn’t need an amplifier, which means that you don’t have to plug it in, like all the other ones i tried. so, it’s a green product on top of everything else.
awesome products + outstanding customer service = unsolicited recommendation.