If you have an HDTV or are thinking about getting one before the analog cutoff early next year, you may also want to consider picking up your digital TV via an antenna. Many of you are concerned that an antenna is an eye sore or that they are just too big to to deal with. Today we talk about an antenna that takes care of both these issues.
The ClearStream2 (C2) from Antennas Direct is less than 1 foot by 2 feet and has an advertised range of up to 50 miles. According to Antennas Direct, the C2 uses a new breakthrough in size and unmatched ultra efficient design and gain. So in typical HT Guys fashion, we look at this antenna empirically.
The test site for this review is 45 miles from the LA transmitters and 80 miles from the San Diego Transmitters. One San Diego station (Fox) is over a hundred miles away in Mexico. The current setup for OTA is a Winegard HD 9095P. This is a Yagi-style antenna rated for deep fringe. It costs about $115 including shipping. The antenna has a 9 foot boom and has a low "wife acceptance factor", not to mention HOA (Home Owners Association) and neighbor acceptance as well. This antenna is rated for deep fringe reception and with it Ara can receive all digital channels (45) from LA and a few from San Diego.
The testing was very straight forward. Put the C2 up against the monster Yagi and see how well it did. It should be noted that Ara lives in a hilly area and that there is a house directly behind and above him. So this is not a best case scenario to say the least.
There were three tests involved. The first was to stick the antenna in a window and scan for digital channels. We weren't expecting much success here but much to our surprise the C2 picked up 9 digital channels. Some of them were channels we actually watch. The interesting thing was that we picked up two channels from San Diego. Ara has mentioned it in the past but it warrants mentioning again that there are mountains off to the East and the antenna is probably picking up a reflection.
The next test was to actually aim the antenna in the direction of the transmitters and hold it outside the window. With this test we were able to pull in 12 channels. We were hoping for more because at this point it has not been a fair test and the only way to do so was to get up on the roof and put the C2 right next to the Yagi. Anything close to the 45 he currently receives would have kept Ara off the roof. It looks a lot higher when you are up there looking down.
For the third and final test we mounted the antenna in the same position as the Yagi and aimed it in the same direction. The scan was rerun and produced 25 digital channels. The channels that were missing were ones in the higher range. Channels 50 and higher. We could have done better if our topography was less hilly or we had no houses behind us. Even still, the C2 did a great job when you consider its size and our location.
If you live within 40 miles of the transmitters or you have a clean line of site and live within 50 miles of your transmitters, the C2 antenna is a great way to receive free over the air digital television.
Posted by The HT Guys, September 22, 2008 7:38 AM
About The HT GuysThe HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.
Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.
ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.
Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.