Clear TV HD Black Box from Tristar Products is an indoor HD antenna that promises to save you time and thousands of dollars by allowing you to watch your favorite broadcast shows for free without an expensive cable subscription. But we’d like to save YOU time and money by explaining a little more clearly as to what Clear TV HD Black Box can and cannot do for you.
The Clear TV HD Black Box Pitch
Clear TV HD Black Box’s main pitch is that it will help you “bypass cable and satellite” and that there are “no contracts, monthly fees, or price hikes.” They point to the fact that a cable bill is $80 per month, which adds up to over a thousand dollars a year and more than $10,000 over a decade.
They also state that you will get an uncompressed HD signal that is clearer than cable or satellite.
This is all true… BUT.
Clear TV HD Black Box will not let you watch shows or sports exclusively on cable channels like hbo, showtime, espn, or amc.
We put this in all caps and bold because it’s one of the main complaints consumers have about Clear TV HD Black Box (which appears to be a re-branding and slight re-design of Clear TV based on 485 reviews that average 2-stars at our sister publication HighYa).
How Clear TV HD Black Box Works
Clear TV HD Black Box is a small, black antenna that measures 4” x 7” x 1” that has a suction cup on the back to mount on a window or wall and a cable which attaches to your antenna IN or cable IN port on the back of your TV.
Ever since 2009, local and network television stations in the US have been sending out a digital signal instead of the old-fashioned analog broadcasts that we used to rely on. Most analog signals have been discontinued, so unless you have a newer television or digital converter box, you could experience static.
Clear TV HD Black Box asserts that you will be able to access your favorite local and network (meaning ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and CW) shows in crystal-clear HD when using their device, but suggest putting it near a window for best reception.
Clear TV HD Black Box Cost:
$35.97 is the default, which includes 2 Clear TV HD Black Boxes (listed as $19.99 plus $7.99 shipping for each unit). You may opt to buy just one Clear TV HD Black Box, but you need to switch the radio box; then you will be charged $27.98.
Clear TV HD Black Box comes with a 60-day money back guarantee minus those fees and what it costs to send back. It also comes with a 60-day limited warranty, but you must include $7.99 per defective unit to get it replaced.
Bottom Line: Is Clear TV HD Black Box a Scam?
Clear TV HD Black Box is an HD antenna that may give you a clearer signal to local and network television, but because of the way it’s presented some consumers have labeled it a “scam.” Primarily, this is because they expect to get access to their favorite cable shows like “Walking Dead” or “Game of Thrones.”
Clear TV HD Black Box never promises this, but by saying you can “bypass cable and satellite” may make you think you can get something for free that others pay for. But let us put it this way: putting a fence around my house allows you to “bypass” my yard but doesn’t give you access to my property!
Here’s some other things to consider: if your TV is newer than 2007, you most likely have a built-in ATSC tuner, which acts as an indoor antenna. Here’s how to check. If you have an older TV, a product like Clear TV HD Black Box may help you.
BUT if you have a newer TV and you still can’t get your local or network you may be better served by an outdoor antenna mounted on your roof. According to Best Buy, “Building materials like metal roofing, aluminum siding, household wiring and foil-backed insulation can weaken or entirely block incoming TV signals.” Your geographic location – being in the mountains or far from a transmitting station – can affect your signal as well.
SO – if you are having trouble with reception:
1. First check to see if you have a built-in ATSC tuner.
2. Then visit Antennaweb.org and put in your zip; it will list channels in your area, along with a color code. Any station that isn’t in green or yellow will most likely need a more powerful (and more expensive) rooftop antenna to come in clearly.
3. If you don’t have a built-in tuner and there are channels in green or yellow that you are not getting, Antennaweb suggests looking for an antenna that has been certified by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). They certify both indoor and outdoor antennas with a red checkmark logo. More information can be found here.
Clear TV HD Black Box does not have a CEA certification.
If you want shows that are on HBO, AMC, Showtime, ESPN, etc. you’re going to have to talk to a cable or satellite provider or buy subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime – learn more by reading Cutting the Cord (Highya).
We hope this helps. Let us know your experience with Clear TV HD Black Box below!
You may also want to read: Bye Bye Cable? The Who, What, Where, Why and HOW Guide to Cutting the Cord!