I recently made the decision to cut the cord and be done with tyranny that is the modern cable company. Ok...a bit overdramatic, I know! However, that said, my young family spends most of our time watching things on netflix, hulu, and amazon prime at this point. The biggest issue with cutting the cord for us is losing the news and sports that come with the network channels. Lucky for us, we live close enough to a city that has all of the major networks in one place, however it’s far enough away that it forced me to do research and get a bit more creative than a simple indoor antenna. After a lot of research, I found that the Antennas Direct ClearStream 4 was the way to go, and I’ve been EXTREMELY happy with it, and it is my recommendation of choice in long range digital antennas.
What to look for when buying a long range antenna
When I am doing research I always try to find some key things that are important and focus on the products that best this these features. With digital antennas I found these to be:
- Does it work with VHF and UHF
- Multi directional vs directional
- The Range
- Ease of Installation
- Customer Support
Antennas are something that you need to think and plan out ahead of time. Don’t expect to just throw something onto the house without doing proper research first. I highly recommend going to a signal locator site like tvfool.com in order to find exactly which direction signals are coming from. That way you can use a compass or google satellite imagery to figure out exactly where you need to aim your long range antenna. With that said, let’s just into our features!
VHF and UHF what? ...isn’t that a movie?
VHF and UHF are the two frequencies that HDTV is broadcast in. You don’t necessarily need to know much about this, just that it’s important that the antenna has both. The ClearStream 4 does in fact come with both and does a marvelous job picking each up.
Multi Directional vs Directional
This is important to note, but for this recommendation, it’s key to realize that any good long range antenna is going to be Directional. The Antennas Direct ClearStream 4 HDTV antenna is obviously directional with a directional width of 45 degrees. This is nice because you can aim it at a city and have it be wide enough to pick up the different towers around the city while still maintaining great range.
Yes, but will it reach where I need it to reach!!!
The range of the ClearStream 4 is quite impressive. Obviously this depends on where you live and what physical objects (ie mountains, trees, etc) are between you and your target. Depending on where you mount this one your home, you can reach up to 100 miles away. If you look at reviews on Amazon, there are plenty people picking up that kind of range. I really didn’t need to pick up stations from that far and so I installed mine in the rafters of my garage and it picks up stations fine from about 45 miles away and closer. From my research, this is one of the best antennas for picking up long range targets.
Yes, all this sounds great...but can I put it together without being a rocket scientist?
This is one area where I was quite pleasantly surprised. The only negative I thought I would run into with this antenna was the potential for a difficult installation. I had read around about some people that had specific difficulties, and were warning others about the order that they put the pieces together in. The only thing I can think of, is that they simply were not reading the directions. It had super simple directions that were similar to lego directions...hard to imagine messing up if you read them at all. Installation was a complete breeze.
Don’t overlook the Customer Support!!
As I stated before, you have to have a little knowledge of what you’re doing in order to properly set up a directional antenna. However, that said, Antennas Direct has amazing support. I spoke with them to do this review and find out some things, and have heard numerous reviews from others about how pleased they were with the support. The have their phone number plastered all over the packaging so if you have any issue at all, you can call them. I talked earlier about using tvfool.com to find which way to point your antenna, however Antennas Direct Customer Support is more than happy to help you with this part of the installation. Give them a call and they will help to make sure you finish with a spot on installation.
How Much Should You Expect to Pay?
The Antennas Direct ClearStream 4 retails for about $150, however don’t pay retail! Amazon has some great prices on these antennas for under $100. You also need to make sure you pick up a proper mount for it. I can’t recommend the 30” Antennas Direct STM-715 J mount enough. The smaller mount isn’t quite as sturdy, and for this unit you are much better off with the larger mount. I’ve been quite happy with it.
Specifications for the ClearStream 4
- 65 mile range
- gain of 12.2 dBi
- consistent gain through the entire UHF DTV channel spectrum
- Great for indoor, outdoor and attic use
- Dimensions 20”L x 28”W x 5”D
Does it include a Warranty?
As if you weren’t comfortable enough already with this antenna, but it also comes with a Lifetime Limited Warranty. Hard to beat that!
What Others Are Saying
The ClearStream 4 received 4.4 out of 5 from reviewers on Amazon and from all the reviews I read, as well as research, I think most of the complaints were issues with people not doing the proper research to install the Antenna properly for their location.
Here are some of the comments that stand out:
- “Great DTV Antenna”
- “Believe the Reviews!”
- “Strong signal about 50 miles away from the station”
- “Nice compact unit, great reception”
- “Excellent Choice”
- “Superb Wide-Angle Long Distance Reception”
I touched on this a bit earlier, but most complaints seem to be centered around faulty installs. Nothing is perfect, and I would love to get this kind of range with a multi directional antenna, but apparently we’re not to the point technologically where we get to have our cake and eat it too!
Shut up and tell me where to buy it already!
Well, fine, if you put it that way! I searched around to decide where to make this purchase. They were full retail at my local BestBuy and I almost paid it. Luckily I got smart and realized that the best price was definitely on Amazon.com. You really can’t beat the price, and it qualifies for free shipping as well. Prime will get you the free 2 day shipping as well.
Where Can You Read More Reviews for the Antennas Direct ClearStream 4 HDTV Antenna?
As usual, the best reviews are on Amazon. You can read a few on Antennas Direct’s website, but I’m always reluctant to trust the manufacturer’s site for reviews. Click here to read more reviews.