Review of Antennas Direct’s ClearStream 2V and ClearStream Eclipse

Review of Antennas Direct’s ClearStream 2V and ClearStream Eclipse

As cord cutters, we spend a lot of time using services and technologies that didn’t exist 10 or 20 years ago. Services and devices like Netflix and Roku go a long way towards replacing the content that we lose when we cut the cord, and we spend a lot of time on this blog talking about them.

But not all cord cutting solutions are new ideas. And one of the oldest ways to watch TV is rapidly becoming a favorite of cord cutters. We’re talking, of course, about antennas.

We don’t mean to imply that antennas can’t be cutting-edge. New HD digital antennas are different from the ones that your grandparents used. But they still serve the same basic purpose: they give you access to free content over the air.

We’ve written extensively on antennas before. If you need help choosing the right type of antenna for you, trust our how-to guide. And if you decide that you need an amplified indoor antenna or a small outdoor antenna, then read on, because we’re here to review two products from Antennas Direct that are designed to suit your needs. This is our full review of Antennas Direct’s ClearStream Eclipse (an amplified omnidirectional indoor antenna) and their ClearStream 2V (a small indoor/outdoor antenna).

 

A Quick Disclosure

We have a strict policy of always letting our readers know when we get freebies for a review. Both the ClearStream Eclipse and ClearStream 2V were sent to us for free by representatives from Antennas Direct. As always, we won’t let this affect the impartiality of our review.

 

The Devices

The first thing we noticed about these two products was their appearance. They share some design elements, but they give off a different vibe.

The ClearStream Eclipse

The ClearStream Eclipse

First, the ClearStream Eclipse: we loved the design of this antenna. If your walls are white (like the ones in your faithful blogger’s apartment), this model will be very unobtrusive. The design is nice – we liked the circular look, especially compared to the rectangles that most indoor antennas sport.

The Eclipse is designed to stick anywhere. You peel a backing off and slap it on a wall or window, and it stays put. We didn’t experience any issues with it staying up there, though the review period was only a couple of days long.

The ClearStream 2V

The ClearStream 2V

The Clearstream 2V is a larger antenna, and it’s not quite as easy on the eyes. The circular design elements are still there, but it kind of looks like something you’d put into orbit. This is supposed to be an indoor/outdoor antenna, but it looked pretty funny in our living room.

Unlike the Eclipse, you’ll need to put the 2V together – which is very easy. Here’s a look at the assembled product, with a laptop and Roku 4 thrown in there for scale:

Everything you need to work for Cordcutting.com

Everything you need to work for Cordcutting.com

 

Reception and Picture Quality

Aesthetics are nice, but what we really care about is function. Let’s take a look at how both antennas performed. From our top-secret blogquarters, we get signals of just about every strength – yellow, green, red, and blue (for more information on what these color codes mean, check out our piece on choosing an antenna). Here’s how each antenna did at picking them up. It’s important to note that our testing environment is really tough on antennas: we’re in an area with a lot of hills and buildings in the way of the signals.

The Eclipse antenna did a solid job of picking up most yellow channels, which you’d expect from a multi-directional indoor antenna. It missed one channel that AntennaWeb pegged as Yellow (a major network station about 24 miles away).

On green channels, the Eclipse didn’t fare as well. It failed to pick up two stations that were 9 and 34 miles away, respectively, in different directions. This isn’t as bad as it seems – it’s actually fairly typical for our testing area. Overall, the Eclipse was able to pick up more than 20 channels, which is on the high end of average for amplified indoor antennas in this space. It didn’t live up to its advertised range, but few antennas do, especially in our tough area.

So what about the larger ClearStream 2V? When we tried it inside, it outperformed the Eclipse, but not by as much as we expected. We tried the antenna in a few different spots, and we were able to pick up some channels that Antenna Web categorized as green or light green. But for the most part, the channels we got with the ClearStream 2V and not with the ClearStream Eclipse were a little choppy and sometimes got pixelated on us. Positioning the antenna mattered more with the 2V than with the Eclipse, which makes sense given their respective designs. The 2V clearly fared better when aimed at the station without walls in the way, so those using it as an outdoor antenna would have better luck. But no matter how you slice it, the ClearStream 2V seriously underperformed its advertised range of 60 miles in our trials.

It should be noted that our testing spot is a rough one for antennas. For comparison, the cheap rabbit ears that we often recommend to city dwellers pick up nothing here – even when we add an aftermarket amplifier.

 

Price

The ClearStream Eclipse goes for $80 on Amazon. The Clearstream 2V will cost you about $98. These prices are both more or less in line for antennas of their type.

 

Verdict

The ClearStream Eclipse may not have lived up to its advertised range, but it did quite well for an indoor antenna in our tough testing area. For it’s price range, we consider it a very solid deal. It gets extra point for its appearance, which is the most aesthetically pleasing of any antenna we’ve reviewed. The Eclipse offers steady performance, reasonable range, and a sleek design. We recommend it.

We weren’t blown away by the ClearStream 2V, though – it just didn’t seem to offer a significant step up in range to go with its higher price tag. The 2V is clunkier, too – for an “indoor/outdoor” antenna, it sure looks ugly indoors. While we’ve noted that our test area makes for a kind of trial by fire for antennas, we still expected more from the 2V.

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About the Author

Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely

Stephen Lovely is a freelance writer and a longtime cord cutter with a passion for technology and entertainment. You can find his work on Cordcutting.com and his tweets at @stephenlovely.

6 Comments on "Review of Antennas Direct’s ClearStream 2V and ClearStream Eclipse"

  1. I have been using ClearStream since 4 years. The CS 2V previously also had the same issues. It is very dependent on direction and orientation, and, yes, it does give me PIXELATION occassionally. But the point missed above is that it gets SIGNIFICANTLY LARGER number of channels than the Eclipse. I use it indoors all the time and I am a happy customer since 4 years. I would love to learn if there is any amplifier that could be used with this antenna so as to improve its performance.

    Thanks,
    Sam

  2. I replaced an Eclipse inside, with a V2 in the attic. Tried the Eclipse in the attic first and it worked fine, however it required an inline amplifier. (Radio Shack inline TV amp worked great, and is what I could get at the time without a long mail-order.)

    With the Eclipse I had trouble getting stable signal to the farthest TV cable runs on all TVs, but it was also more forgiving with respect to omni-direction reception. With the V2 I have stable signals on all channels and all cable lengths, but required more adjusting because it is more directional (which is good for the more distant signals).

    The simple Eclipse hanging in the attic worked exceptionally well when feeding one TV over long cable runs with RS inline amp. However, I needed the V2 to stabilize all signals to all TVs through a splitter arrangement.

    If the simple Eclipse works for what you need, the V2 will give little improvement.

    V2 advantage is more rugged/outdoors capable and more directional with the screen attached.

    Inline amplifier was unnecessary for either antenna for local signals within 20 miles. It was very necessary to push the channels 60 miles away through average 50ft cable runs through splitter to 5 TV locations.

    Using basic power pass-through 75 Ohm TV splitters, left-over from sat-TV cabling, nothing too fancy there.

    Place the amp part of the in-line system as close to the antennae as possible, like within 1ft-2ft.

  3. I have 2V and pull in 30 channels only mounted about 12 feet up… outside… no booster.

  4. I have the V2 – with a Wally World ONN ($19.88) outside amplifier attached to it. I have it mounted about 12 ft on a pole at street level. We live on a ridge on a lake – I have the antenna pointing to the Greenville, SC area towers – I get 27 channels crystal clear in 1080p. The furthest tower is in Ashville – about 66 miles away (WLOS). I have trees and foliage as well now in the summer. For what it is I’d say I’m getting about as many channels I can get with this antenna. I pulled in channels as far as Charolette, NC on the meter, but when I tried to tune them in to watch them I got no signal. Turns out the channels would have been repeated from the ones I get crystal clear in 1080p. I should mention my cable run from the antenna to the one TV I have it hooked up to is over 100 ft. Should I go full blown “cut the cord” I will add a 4 port distributing amplifier. Over all this antenna is very good and would recommend it to anyone. I have not tried any other outdoor antennas, so I have nothing to compare it to… I get all the Alphabet Networks – MeTV, AntennaeTV, Create, Escape, a lot of PBS channels, LightTV, GetTV, MoviesChannel, very few televangelism channels, plus others.

  5. I bought the ClearStream and couldn’t get it to work as well as the old analog antenna I already had. I tried everything I know. Went back to the old antenna and get twice the channels. Now I have a new ClearStream collecting dust. Would like any opinions on why this could be.

    • The 2V is a directional antenna, and best suited as a rooftop or attic antenna. Rooftop will give the best results. Mine pulls about 100 channels in Atlanta… though most were garbage. I kept about 40 good channels. I have mine running to an inline amp, then a three-way distribution to feed the whole house.

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