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Who's It For?
Urban cord cutters who need a powered antenna that offers more placement options so they can get the best reception.
Design: Svelte and Sticky
The Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse eschews conventional black, rectangular antenna configurations in favor of a flat, white doughnut design that's about the size of a Frisbee (the circular shape gives it the "Eclipse" title). That look makes it less of an eyesore should you have to leave the antenna exposed, but better still is that the Eclipse doesn't require adhesive Velcro stickers or screw-on brackets. Instead, the amplified, indoor HDTV antenna itself has a nonmarking adhesive back that the company calls "Sure Grip." The sticky side has enough adhesive to ensure it will cling to a window or painted wall, while still allowing you to easily reposition the antenna without having to peel off stickers that can damage paint and plaster.
To help you find the right spot, the Antennas Direct model comes with a 12-foot-long cable, which gives you more flexibility for finding the optimal location for signal reception (or for concealing the antenna behind a bookcase or blinds). To boost the signal, there's an in-line preamp that the main cable plugs into and then another 3-foot-long coaxial cable that plugs directly into your set. For power, there's an AC adapter that plugs into the preamp. Unlike on some other designs, you cannot power the Eclipse via a USB port.
Performance: Good In The City
The ClearStream Eclipse has a 50-plus-mile range rating. In our metropolitan location tests, channel scans produced a list of 45 digital channels. That's more than the average 31 channels received by amplified antennas. However, as with just about every other antenna we've tested, not all the stations came in clearly enough to make them watchable.
The local CBS affiliate came in clearly at 720p, as did some local 1080i broadcasts. But the intransigent ABC affiliate that few antennas can capture also thwarted the Eclipse. Nevertheless, the ClearStream Eclipse managed to pull in 25 channels that we deemed good enough to view; only the Terk Trinity and RCA Ultra-Thin antennas we've reviewed could capture more stations.
Antennas Direct's ClearStream Eclipse commands a premium price ($74.99 MSRP) based not only on performance but also on design. Those who want to hide their antennas and who don't want to fuss with stickers or screws will find the Eclipse worth it.
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John R. Quain has been reviewing and testing video and audio equipment for more than 20 years. For Tom's Guide, he has reviewed televisions, HDTV antennas, electric bikes, electric cars, as well as other outdoor equipment. He is currently a contributor to The New York Times and the CBS News television program.