Made specifically for indoor use, the Clear TV Antenna is claimed to provide you with HD broadcast TV shows at no charge. But what does this mean? In other words, Clear TV will help you receive local network channels (e.g. NBC, ABC, FOX, etc.), but will not allow you to receive premium cable channels (e.g. HBO, TBS, ESPN, etc. – we’ll talk about this more in a moment).
For now though, at only $19.95 plus $7.95 S&H, we’ve got to admit that Clear TV sounds like a fantastic bargain, especially considering that other HD antennas generally cost more, are required to be mounted outside you home, and involve a lengthy installation process. Important note: At the time of this writing, Clear TV was being sold at Walgreens and Walmart for $14.99. This could potentially not only save you money, but could also save you time and frustration if you’re dissatisfied and decide to return it.
With this in mind, you’re here to find out if the Clear TV Antenna is worth your hard-earned money or if it’s a dud, so we’ll get right to the point.
Switching on the Light: Does Clear TV Antenna Work As Well As it Claims?
Like so many of the products we feature here at BrightReviews, the answer to this question largely depends on your expectations. Why? Because the number one complaint related to Clear TV is that it doesn’t perform as advertised—and honestly, we can’t say that we blame customers, considering the manufacturer’s claims like:
“Allows you to bypass cable & satellite companies.”
“… eliminates expensive and unnecessary cable bills…”
“…receive hundreds of crystal clear digital and HD shows.”
But here’s the truth: Despite the fact the product’s website clearly states that the Clear TV Antenna only receives broadcast channels, it’s easy to interpret these to mean you’ll be able to use Clear TV to replace your cable service (after all, who could possibly receive hundreds of broadcast channels?), which simply isn’t the case. As a result, many consumers have called Clear TV a “scam,” although it may be the case that the manufacturer simply didn’t do a good job of making the antenna’s usefulness clear.
In other words, in most instances you can reasonably expect to receive 8-10 over-the-air channels using Clear TV, not the hundreds you’d receive with cable. Although this may not always be the case, because…
Thinking of Clear TV? If So, Mind Your Signal.
Second only to working differently than expected, the next biggest complaint related to Clear TV Antenna is poor signal strength. This is because, even among customers who live in urban and suburban locations that are within 25-30 miles of a tower, many claimed to have had difficulty picking up even one or two stations.
In order to potentially avoid this from happening to you, we’d recommend checking the FCC’s DTV Reception Maps page, which can help you find out how far your nearest towers are, what band they’re operating on (e.g. UHF or VHF), and their signal strength. However, the Clear TV website does mention that mountains, tall buildings, trees, etc. can impact reception at your specific home.
On top of this, it’s important to note that numerous customers claimed to have been unable to receive any channels using their Clear TV, even though the FCC Reception Map indicated they were within range. This could mean that, at times, the problem is with the product and not with the level of reception.
Why You May Not Need the Clear TV Antenna
If your TV was manufactured in 2008 or afterward, then it should contain something known as an ATSC tuner, which is a device that allows your TV to display digital television signals. Even if this is the case, you’ll still need a device that “grabs” these signals out of the air, although this can be accomplished using something as simple as old-school rabbit ears.
In other words, if your TV was built after 2008, you can probably pick up many of the same stations provided by Clear TV Antenna, but using an alternate device that costs much less.
Who Manufactures the Clear TV Antenna?
Clear TV is manufactured by Tristar Products, one of the main players within the ASOTV industry, who makes popular products such as Copper Wear, Perfecter Fusion Styler, and Power Pressure Cooker XL. Among nearly 400 HighYa reader reviews for these products, they hold an average rating of 2.25 stars, with common complaints citing poor quality, failure to work as advertised, and poor customer service (e.g. difficulty processing returns, staff unwilling to help, numerous upsells during calls, etc.).
From a company perspective, Tristar holds a B- rating with the Better Business Bureau (as of 12/20/14), based on a whopping 909 complaints, most of which appear to reference the same concerns noted above. While all of this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll experience the same with Clear TV, it’s worth noting.
Bottom Line: Is Clear TV Worth Your Money?
Considering everything we’ve discussed, the answer to this question ultimately depends on what you’ll use Clear TV for, and what your expectation are. In other words, if you’re expecting it to replace your cable subscription, you’ll almost certainly be disappointed. But if you’re looking to get a few broadcast channels from major networks using a slick-looking device, Clear TV Antenna may be worthwhile, although we’d strongly recommend purchasing it from a local retailer.
You may also want to read: Bye Bye Cable? The Who, What, Where, Why and HOW Guide to Cutting the Cord!