Recently I wrote about the current landscape of the home entertainment market, including carriage disputes between media companies and service providers, and rate hikes from the streaming companies.
In the writeup I mentioned OTA (over the air) broadcast media as a possible solution for homeowners looking for a free and easy way to bring video entertainment into their living rooms. As part of the writeup I provided my own experience with OTA and purchasing an indoor TV antenna from Antennas Direct.
Summarizing that experience, I had a mostly positive experience with the Antennas Direct product. It was affordable, easy-to-setup, and with the content it could pull in, the content looked great. My issue was that I thought the antenna distance locations provided by Antennas Direct website were a bit off, which caused me to buy the wrong model antenna.
Well, Antennas Direct saw my writeup and the company was gracious enough to send along a new antenna with the premise that I use its companion app to help guide me through the setup process.
ClearStream Max-V Antenna Indoor/Outdoor Antenna
Giving me the option of choosing from several models from its product line, I chose to look at the ClearStream Max-V Indoor/Outdoor antenna, which carries a retail price of $70.
This model provides the option of mounting outdoors in a variety of locations, as well as its ability to reside indoors. Supporting the ClearStream Max-V’s indoor mounting options, the company also offers an optional indoor base unit.
Once the antenna arrived at my house, I downloaded Antennas Direct’s companion AntennaPoint app.
Before getting into how I used the app, I’ll briefly outline the assembly of the antenna, which took I would estimate about 20 to 30 minutes. I started by affixing the main vertical bar of the antenna to the metal base of the antenna. I then assembled the center hub portion of the antenna and mounted the central hub to the vertical bar. The next stage of the assembly process was to mount the horizontal antenna piece that spans across the upper third of the central assembly.
Finishing the assembly of the antenna, I ran the RG59 cable from my Sony TV’s antenna input into the already terminated cable end that was mounted to the antenna. Allowing for reliable connections outdoors, the ClearStream Max-V Antenna Indoor/Outdoor antenna’s cabling connection is protected by a rubber boot that slides up and down the cable to allow for the threaded connection to be secured. With the connection secured, I simply slid the rubber boot back over the RG59 connections.
I’ll note because I was moving from one antenna to another, I did not have to scan OTA channels, so I was off and running with the ClearStream Max-V antenna.
Here’s where the app comes in. Because of the mobility of the new antenna—the ClearStream Flex antenna I had ordered while more unobtrusive in my home was limited in its capabilities because it lies flat on a wall surface. Using the AntennaPoint app like a compass, I was able to point the ClearStream Max-V antenna towards the tower I needed for a particular station through the direction the app provided using the app as a guide.
With everything setup, the holiday season and the plethora of football games were the perfect opportunity for me to see if there was any improvement in performance of my OTA reception. I’ll note just for the sake of explaining why I initially installed an antenna in my home, my service provider—Dish—is in the midst of a carriage dispute with the local, Boston area Fox affiliate. This has resulted in me unsuccessfully trying to watch college and NFL football games on the Fox and Fox Sports apps.
Summarizing my difficulties with the apps, because my Dish service excludes the local Fox affiliate, I cannot access Fox streaming services. Rather than starting another subscription I decided the investment into an antenna would be the best course of action for me to gain access to Fox 25 in Boston.
Now, to summarize my experience with the ClearStream Max-V antenna, this product solved my reception issues. With the app and the ability to rotate the antenna several degrees towards the respective broadcast antennas I need to watch local OTA signals I was able to watch the Fox broadcasts, as well as the CBS broadcasts of holiday football without an issue.
Since installing the ClearStream Max-V regardless of whether it’s been cloud or sunny I’ve been able to pull in a bunch of channels that honestly, I’ve never heard of, but they offer a range of content. One important element for me is the fact that during the holidays for example, it would have been an awkward, almost embarrassing conversation telling family members that we can’t watch “the game” because we don’t have the channel. The antenna has saved me from going down the rabbit hole of explaining today’s home media landscape to family and friends.
Taking a different perspective on this, for the retail cost of the ClearStream Max-V antenna, a year of ownership amounts to about $5.83 cents per month for a year, which is well below the amount of streaming services such as Netflix, Max, Disney+ and others.
I’ll add that from an aesthetic point-of-view, perhaps adding the optional base to the antenna would look more home friendly, but in my opinion, it doesn’t matter. I’ve found the base to be stable just the way it is without having to add any support, and I can rotate the antenna the 15- to 20-degrees necessary in either direction for me to pull in my local OTA signals.
I can’t recommend OTA enough and for those in the market interesting in trying this inexpensive format for themselves. Helping to bring this free content in, Antennas Direct offers a range of products for reasonable money to begin that broadcast media journey.
Moreover, for professional integrators, Antennas Direct’s dealer program provides special access to participating dealers to access products like the ClearStream Max-V antenna, along with many other antennas and supporting accessories.
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