Adding more TV channels through the use of a digital TV Antenna is a very easy complement to your existing digital media options. Unless you have an antenna on the roof, however, you will need an indoor antenna in order to access the over-the-air channels in your area. For a more discreet alternative to old-fashioned “bunny ears”, you may want to consider the Antennas Direct ClearStream View Amplified Indoor TV Antenna. It’s a digital TV antenna hidden inside of a nine image picture frame. In my review, I will take a look at the hardware, installation and use of the antenna.
Antennas Direct ClearStream View: Hardware
In the box, you will find everything you need to use the antenna and nothing more; you will get the frame, a power cable and amplifier as well as two coaxial cables totalling 15ft (one five foot cable and one ten foot cable). The frame itself very cleverly hides the antenna in the backing of the frame. Outside of the technological use of the frame, opening it up to put in new photos was pretty slick. Instead of the typical and cheap backing of an inexpensive picture frame, the back of this device was pretty robust (something I did not expect to see). To place your physical photos inside of the Antennas Direct ClearStream View frame, you simply need to unlatch the four corner latching mechanisms on the back of the frame. They open and lock quite easily.
Antennas Direct ClearStream View: Installation
Installing this frame is a breeze. Imagine the setup time of a picture frame combined with the time required to plug in a new device to your television. In total, between putting a nail in the wall, hanging the device, plugging it in and setting up new channels on my television took me about ten minutes. Very simple to use and install without instructions.
I have one pretty big make-or-break reservation about the product to share; outside of the product’s premium price, how you feel about having a wire hang down from a picture frame next to your TV will likely be your most important purchasing factor. If your television is wall-mounted, you will have wires hanging down from your TV (unless they’re hidden in the wall). Therefore, having a second device with a hanging cable will likely not be a big deal. However, having a wire hang down from a picture frame was a little strange to see, to be honest. I setup the frame about five and a half feet off of the ground from my TV that stood on a stand about two feet off the ground. Because the frame is smaller than even the smallest wall-mounted TV, it looked a little sloppy in my room. This is an incredibly subjective opinion; next to a large wall-mounted TV, this may not look out of place at all.
Antennas Direct ClearStream View: Product Use
After you have plugged in the antenna, you will have to go through your television’s settings to access the device’s channel search function. This may be buried in the settings of your TV under channel seek, channel search or auto-scan depending on the make and model of your TV. Once completed, you should be able to use your new Antennas Direct ClearStream View. I was able to compare the product and its 50 mile/80 kilometre range to my existing outdoor antenna with a 100 mile/160 kilometre range. Living in Windsor, Ontario, this 160km antenna could receive channels in Michigan, Ontario and even Toledo, Ohio. This meant getting the larger networks, but also some smaller niche local channels. The Antennas Direct ClearStream View could only receive channels from Michigan and Ontario. The important thing was that all of my essentials came in clearly and without issue (like CTV, FOX, CBS and ABC). I may have missed out on some of the smaller Ohio channels, but for the pricepoint, this was adequate. The channels I received within that radius came in crystal clear.
One other piece of useful information to share about this device is share how many pictures you can fit in the frame itself. This 30.5cm x 40.6cm (12 in x 16 in) frame can hold a total of nine pictures:
- Four – 3.5 in x 5 in (8.9 cm x 12.7 cm) photos
- Two – 3.5 in x 4 in (8.9 cm x 10.2 cm) photos
- Two – 3.5 in x 3.5 in (8.9 cm x 8.9 cm) photos
- One – 3.5 in x 5.5 in (8.9 cm x 14.0 cm) photos
I can still get channels over-the-air?
In 2019, can a digital TV antenna still be useful? The short answer to this question is: “yes”! You may already be getting local TV channels through your cable subscriptions or media through a digital set-top box (if you have already cut the cord), but an antenna is a great way to supplement your existing media options. With an DTV antenna, you should easily be able to get Canadian channels like Global or CTV and American channels (like FOX, ABC or CBS) if you live near the U.S.-Canada border. In order to get an idea of the channels that you will have access to with an antenna, check out a variety of OTA (over the air) tower locator websites (here is one that many people use).
This web page can let you know what channels you can receive based on the range of your antenna. As mentioned previously, I live in Windsor, Ontario and therefore, per this tool, the Antennas Direct ClearStream View’s 50 mile/80 kilometre range should let me access channels from a few surrounding markets. Your personal experience with a digital over-the-air antenna will vary wildly based on where you’re located; use the tool before you buy an antenna for your home.
Antennas Direct ClearStream View: Final Thoughts
The Antennas Direct ClearStream View is a little bit pricier than some comparable outdoor antennas, but if you’re renting and looking to avoid having some distracting, old-school bunny ears sitting in your apartment or condo, take a look at this product. In addition to masking your antenna, it doubles as a way to share some of your best memories.