ClearStream ECLIPSE REVIEW - 7 FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW
The Clearstream Eclipse is a small, flat TV antenna designed for reception in areas where TV signals are strong or very strong: Typically that’s anywhere up to about 20 miles from a TV transmitter (although local topography can reduce that).
The circular antenna is meant to be used indoors, stuck up against a window or wall. For best reception, you should place it as high as possible and in a window facing the direction of the TV broadcast tower for your area.
The Eclipse can be purchased with or without a signal amplifier, for a difference of $20. We opted for the Amplified model to get maximum performance.
But while the amplifier might help some, the small size of the antenna is itself a limitation to pulling in weaker distant stations. For that, you’ll need a larger antenna.
The Eclipse Amplified is supplied with 12 feet of coaxial cable, an amplifier, power supply for the amplifier, a sticky strip to put adhere the antenna to a window or wall, and an additional 3 feet of coaxial cable to run from the amplifier to your TV.
Older versions used a dedicated power supply for the amplifier but newer versions use USB power. This means you can plug the amplifier into a USB socket on your TV, if it has one, and then it’s only powered when the TV is on. If your TV doesn’t have USB, a power adapter is included for use in an outlet.
TechHive tests antennas by performing a number of scans to see how many channels are received. Over the course of the scans a pattern emerges and we get to see how well an antenna pulls in the various strong and weak channels on air in the San Francisco and Sacramento areas.
The Eclipse did well in tests, successfully receiving seven broadcast channels for a total of 38 digital TV stations. An additional channel was decoded but wasn’t strong enough for constant viewing.
The Eclipse is only designed for UHF reception and its size means it will only work well in areas where there are strong broadcast signals. The lack of VHF-High reception is an unfortunate omission. The band is used by major TV networks in many cities across the U.S. and it seems many customers will be disappointed if they can’t be received.
- The ClearStream Eclipse has a small, lightweight form factor with a Sure Grip strip that makes it easy to hang. It's also paintable to match your decor.
- The antenna comes with a detachable 12-foot coaxial cable with easy-to-twist connectors. Since the cable is detachable, you can substitute longer cable.
- The package includes an optional amplifier.
- The ClearStream antenna successfully tuned in all the major broadcast networks, and it provided solid reliability.
- My signal was not as reliable as I'd likely get from a larger outdoor antenna.
- The three-foot coaxial cable that comes with the amplifier does not have the same smooth twist-on connectors as the main coaxial cable.
- The amplifier does not come with a USB power option, as some competing models do.
- It would be nice if Antennas Direct included extra Sure Grip strips. If you have to move antenna around to find the best, most reliable signal (as you will probably have to do), the strip will lose its stickiness, causing the antenna to fall off the wall--although admittedly, the antenna is so light, you can hold it in place with tape or a thumbtack.
Cable, satellite, and FiOS TV subscriptions can be expensive, but often we forget that broadcast TV (which features some of the most popular programs) is still free. Anyone who wants a cheap and easy way to get HD programming from major and local networks should give an indoor TV antenna a try.
TV antennas are perfect for people who are fed up with expensive cable TV subscriptions and get most of their viewing fix from online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Sling TV. Streaming will get you lots of great TV programming, but an antenna will get you free live programs from the major networks like CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, The CW, Univision, Telemundo, and PBS. Depending on your metropolitan area, an antenna is also a good way to get free foreign language channels in both standard definition and high definition.
The antennas we tested are the best fit for people who can’t or won’t install a roof or attic antenna. We looked at models that require little-to-no assembly and can be placed in your window, on a wall, or behind your TV. We focused on indoor and smaller indoor/outdoor antennas for this piece, but depending on your location, you may get better performance with a bulkier outdoor antenna.
I assembled an extensive list of indoor antennas based on top recommendations on Amazon, as well as antennas recommended by respected reviewers from sources like Digital Trends, CNET, Tom’s Guide, and other publications. Then I focused on products that met most of the following criteria:
- Both UHF and VHF: All the antennas on our final list were rated for both UHF and VHF reception, even though most stations are now broadcast in the UHF band.
- Simple to assemble and install: You shouldn’t need tools to put together an indoor antenna.
- Easy to mount and move: You should be able to hang the antenna on a wall without needing tools or causing major damage to your wall, and it should easily move for better reception.
- At least a 10-foot cable: Because location is the key for good reception, a 10-foot cable give you more flexibility.
- Unobtrusive design: Your antenna may need to be in a visible location for the best reception, so it shouldn’t be ugly.
Gone are the days of ugly rabbit ear antennas, and mostly gone are the days of oddly shaped directional antennas. Most indoor antennas today—and most of the ones we looked at—are flat, a trend that started with the original Mohu Leaf antenna. Flat antennas are omnidirectional (no aiming required in most cases), easy to hide, paintable, and inexpensive, since they can be made very cheaply.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Among the flat antennas, the Antennas Direct model is the least flat. The point where the cable meets the antenna (called the balun) is about a half-inch thick. This isn’t thick enough to cause a fit problem when you place the antenna behind a wall-mounted TV, but it does cause the bottom of the antenna to stick out a bit on the wall.
BUY HDTV ANTENNAS ONLINE AND LOCALLY
Antennas Direct distributes its brand of high-quality HDTV antennas to resellers and dealers across the United States. It is more convenient than ever to purchase a high quality Antennas Direct brand product both online and in retail stores.
You may always buy direct from Antennas Direct by shopping on our online store or you can choose from the options below to find a dealer or online outlet near you!
Our antennas can be found at popular retail outlets including Best Buy, Walmart, Lowe’s Home Improvement, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Amazon. Use our interactive map to find an authorized Antennas Direct retailer near you.
Shop Antennas Direct from your home with one of our online sellers. Distributors that ship to Canada can also be found here!
View our list of authorized Antennas Direct installers. Or view the antenna installation tips and tutorials if you want to install your antenna yourself.
Website: ClearStream ECLIPSE
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