About Clear TV

Sold by Tristar Products, Clear TV is a digital HD indoor Antenna that can help you watch live high-definition broadcast television without an expensive cable bill.

Clear TV might be past its prime, but it’s still a big seller.

Maybe you’re thinking about buying Clear TV Antenna, canceling your cable subscription (known as cutting the cord), and saving a ton of money. Maybe you bought one of these digital antennas in the past and want to know if any improvements have been made. Or, maybe you’re just confused and need some advice.

In any instance, you’ve come to the right place! Here, we’ll explain how Clear TV works, how it might help you save money, other options for cutting the cord, how you can get the most content for your money, and more.

Let’s begin by understanding the basic concept of how the Clear TV Antenna works.

How Does Clear TV Antenna Work and Where Are the Rabbit Ears?

Remember those clunky rabbit ears you had a long time ago? The ones that sat on top of your TV and were several feet long?

Well, Clear TV Antenna is essentially just a modern version of these, with one major difference: instead of picking up analog signals and displaying them on your TV, Clear TV captures digital signals floating around in the air.

What’s the difference? Without getting too technical, from a user experience perspective, it's all about picture quality.

Imagine there’s a jigsaw puzzle sitting on your desk. In order to send it to your friend across town, you have to break it smaller pieces, so they can easily fit into an envelope. Then, once your friend receives the puzzle, they’ll put it back together and see the picture it contains.

This is similar to how video is sent from a broadcast tower to your TV. It’s first broken down into smaller pieces and transmitted through the air, and pieced back together by an antenna or your cable box, forming a picture on your screen.

When analog signals are broadcast through the air, pieces of information easily get lost. On the other hand, digital signals are much more “stable.” So by the time everything reaches your TV, digital signals still contain much of what was originally broadcast, resulting in a crisper, clearer picture than analog.

You probably noticed that the Clear TV website used the word “broadcast” a lot. And we’ve used it here even more. But why?

What Channels & Content Does Clear TV Antenna Provide?

The Digital Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 required that all broadcasters switch from analog to digital signals as of February 17, 2009. Why is this important?

This meant that if most of your favorite programming was on broadcast TV, such as NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, and others, you would need to purchase a new digital antenna like Clear TV to continue watching television.

Pro tip: If you purchased your TV prior to 2007, you might also require a digital converter box.

However, premium content (e.g. HBO, TNT, Disney Channel, Lifetime, etc.) is not broadcast over the air, so it’s still a subscription-only service. What’s this mean for you?

The Clear TV Antenna gives you access to over-the-air channels like CBS, FOX, NBC, ABC, CW, etc., and nothing extra. Do you enjoy shows like Law & Order, The Tonight Show, America’s Got Talent, and the Good Wife? Since these are aired on major networks, Clear TV can help.

But if you also like to watch cable-only channels like HBO, Nickelodeon, Lifetime, etc., Clear TV will not provide access. For this, you’ll need a cable subscription through companies like Uverse, Charter, Comcast, COX, etc.

In short? Clear TV can help you save thousands by cutting your cable bill, but you’ll also lose access to much of your favorite content (which might not be too bad if you didn’t watch most of your channels anyway).

Keep an Eye On Your Tower Distance & Signal Strength

Up to now, we’ve learned that Clear TV Antenna basically works like any other antenna. It picks up broadcasts sent from local towers, puts them together, and displays them on your TV. And because these digital signals don’t lose information, you’ll get much better picture quality.

Digital signals aren’t perfect though. In an ideal scenario, digital signals can reach 150+ miles, but you have to have a perfect line of sight. In normal terms? Your digital signal can be scrambled if you’re on the other side of a hill, ridge, or even a tall building.

This is why tower location is so important. Your chance of getting good reception with Clear TV depends on 1) how close you are to the nearest tower, and 2) if you’re directly in the path of its signal.

To find out how close you are to a TV broadcast tower, we’d recommend visiting AntennaPoint.com or the FCC Reception Map.

Here’s the catch though: Many Clear TV customers complained that—even though they were within range of a transmission tower—they still couldn’t get good reception.

What Is the True Cost of Clear TV Antenna?

If bought directly from the company, the Clear TV Antenna will cost $19.95 plus $7.99 S&H (you can order another antenna for an additional $7.99 S&H), plug it into your TV, and you’re good to go.

However, Clear TV is available through numerous retailers, including Walmart, Walgreens, Target, and more, for as little as $15 plus tax. This means you’d pay about $33 for two antennas, after tax (we calculated tax at a 10% rate).

Sure, this is only a difference of about $2 when compared to purchasing it directly through the manufacturer. But you’ll be able to take your antenna home immediately, it could make the return process easier if you’re not satisfied, and you’d be saving about $16 in non-refundable S&H fees!

Thinking about pay an extra $14.99 for Clear TV’s amplifier? If so, remember that amplified antennas are generally only useful if you live 50+ miles from a tower. They also won’t necessarily help you tune into channels any better, so if you’re barely getting a signal, an amplifier may or may not help.

What Is the Cheapest Way of the Getting the Most Content with Clear TV?

Taking all of your expenses together (we’ll come back around to this in the final section), this means you’d have a one-time cost of $15 for Clear TV, an $8 monthly fee for a Netflix subscription, and an $8 monthly fee for a monthly Hulu membership (or $12 monthly for a commercial-free experience), and perhaps another $10 monthly fee if you wanted HBO and its premium content through their own app.

Alright, if you wanted to go even fancier, you can always add on another monthly $20 charge for Sling TV that will bring you bring premium cable network channels such as Food Network, Travel Channel, AMC, ESPN, etc.

In total, this means you could cancel your cable subscription and still get most of your favorite content for as little as $46-$50 per month plus a one-time cost for $15 for the Clear TV antenna!

At first glance, this might seem too good to be true. Does Clear TV really provide access to free TV for this low price? In most instances, yes (more about this shortly). Is it right for you, though? This requires some explanation.

Our Review: Are Customers Bashing the Clear TV Antenna?

We can talk about the technology behind Clear TV all day, but what ultimately matters is how the antenna performs in real life.

Since writing our original Clear TV review, a whopping 575 HighYa readers have chimed in about their experiences. Overall? Clear TV had an average rating of 1.9 stars.

Common complaints revolved around:

  • Failure to work as advertised. Primarily poor signal strength, as well as very few channels; often only 1-2.
  • Low quality.
  • Poor customer service experiences. This included the high, non-refundable S&H charges (keep this in mind if you’re thinking about the BOGO offer!) and difficulty obtaining refunds.

For these reasons, a lot of people call Clear TV a “scam.” Often times, this has less to do with the antenna than it does with peoples’ expectations, since they often believe that Clear TV will allow them to cancel their cable subscription, but still keep access to all their favorite cable-only programming.

And when they call the company to complain, many are met with poor customer service, which adds more fuel to the fire and makes them feel “scammed” even more.

A Note about Installing Your Clear TV

While a relatively small number of Clear TV customers complained about the installation process, how you choose to install your antenna can make a big difference in the reception you get.

For this reason alone, you’ll likely want to install your Clear TV near a window or outward facing a wall, lay the antenna flat (horizontally), angle your antenna in the direction of the broadcast tower, use a better cable, and more.

What can you ultimately expect with Clear TV? Let’s wrap everything up.

Bottom Line: The Clear Picture on Clear TV

Since launching in mid-2013, not much has changed about Clear TV Antenna, including its relatively low online customer reputation. It has largely been a success for the company, so they’ve also released several spin-off products, such as Clear TV Black Box and Free TV Key.

But there have been some minor (and important) changes:

  • Tristar Products (the company behind Clear TV) has added an FAQ to the website
  • A longer 60-day refund policy is available, and perhaps most importantly,
  • Clear TV is available at hundreds of third-party retailers.

In a nutshell? Clear TV may not necessarily be a bad option since it looks sleek and works basically like any other antenna.

But given the product’s reputation for shaky performance, we’d recommend shopping for the antenna at a local retailer, such as Walmart, Walgreens, Target, etc. Beforehand, you’ll definitely want to learn more about other popular digital antennas, including the Mohu Leaf, Winegard Flatwave AIR, Winegard Rayzar Air, and more.

Pro tip: For help choosing the right HD antenna for you, be sure to read this Digital Trends article. And to see how Clear TV stacks up against digital antennas from other manufacturers, Toms Guide provides an in-depth look.

If you’re not satisfied, this means you can easily return it, without worrying about losing money in excessive S&H charges or dealing with any customer service headaches.

Interested in learning more about reducing your cable bills? Be sure to read our article about cutting the cord. There, you’ll learn about all the options for getting the content you want for less than you pay for cable, using services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Sling Television, and more!

See Also: 3 Easy Steps for Cutting the Cord & Saving Money

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694 Consumer Reviews for Clear TV

Average Consumer Rating: 1.9
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 110 4 star: 41 3 star: 27 2 star: 26 1 star:  490
Bottom Line: 25% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 694
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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Still waiting for delivery after paying a month ago

    • Hanover, Ontario, Canada,
    • Jan 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    On December 13, 2017, I ordered and paid nearly $100.00 for two antennas and one amplifier. A month later I still have not received my order. I contacted support numerous times and get the same reply every time stating it is in transit and they will notify me after contacting the courier, which never happens. I have requested a refund but never get a reply.

    This company should be made to cancel all ads, and the state should charge them with fraud. They are cheating the public out of money and should be held responsible for their actions.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Works better than I expected. Pleasantly surprised!

    • Bradenton, FL,
    • Jan 3, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Clear TV does work if you know how and just where to install it. My husband bought one and honestly I was very skeptical about it even working. Once we installed the antenna and located the best location to position it in, it worked perfectly. I'd suggest you suction cup your antenna to a window facing the sun. We now have over 60 local and digital channels with no cable bills ever again. It has shows for everyone, including children. I'd suggest trying it before you knock it. Good luck.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Don't waste your money!

    • Billings, MT,
    • Jan 3, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    It does NOT work as promised and advertised. They wouldn't give me a refund. Don't buy them. False advertisement. DO NOT waste your time and money on this bad product!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Satisfied

    I canceled my cable service earlier this year, and someone told me about Clear TV. When I saw it at the local Walgreens, I thought it couldn't hurt to give it a try, and it's just under $15.00. I brought it home and my husband hooked it up. I ran a scan of the channels it would pick up, and we have 22. I was surprised at how clear the picture was. I plan to buy another one for my small television in my craft room.

    I would definitely recommend it to anyone who would want to see television clearly again without the huge bills.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Cheap and doesn’t work worth at all in Wyoming and wouldn’t work in northeast Montana.

    • Powell, WY,
    • Dec 26, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I wouldn’t recommend buying these cheap antennas. We have three of the damn things and none of them work in Powell, Wyoming or Scobey, Montana. They might work in big cities but sure and heck don’t work around here. A very disappointed customer.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 23 out 23 people found this review helpful

    Bad company

    • Mears, MI,
    • Dec 8, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I bought this antenna for my winter home in Florida. It did not get any more channels than I was getting with my antenna. It was supposed to come with a 30-day money back guarantee. Good luck with that; you can't even contact anyone by phone or email. I will be filing a complaint against Clear with the Attorney General's office as well as the BBB. Something has to put an end to this scam.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 22 out 25 people found this review helpful

    You have to be realistic

    • Pennsylvania,
    • Dec 6, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    When I purchased this, I lived in Washington, Pennsylvania. I was a single parent who could not afford cable but wanted to receive the local channels clearly. When I bought it, it was on special, and I thought 40 bucks was worth it for the two TVs. It gave me 5 channels when I could not afford any.

    Being in the mountains drastically reduced my reception. I have not tried it in Jacksonville, but if you're looking to eliminate a cable bill because you're struggling then get rid of cable, you can at least enjoy a couple of regular channels until things improve. A few channels is better than no channels when you are financially challenged.

    Most everyone has WiFi these days and if you have WiFi join Netflix because it's cheaper than cable. This product is not perfect but it really depends on the job you're trying to complete and how you look at whether it is a good deal or not. For me, it provided just enough for my daughter to go without having nothing.

    My bottom line is yes, I would recommend it to her friend but the experience of how many channels is different from person to person and how much effort they put into finding the best location. Just because your TV is set up in a specific spot, it doesn't mean that's the best spot for the antenna. You may have to move the TV around so that you can move the antenna too and face it in the best direction to pick up the most.

    In recommending the product I would explain how I felt in the conversation and then let the person decide where they are in life and what they really need. What we all need is some competition no matter what state you live in for the cable companies. If a few more cable companies would come out just like with the cell phones, the wars would begin, and we would begin getting better prices. Of course, if all of us would remove cable TV from our homes, in a couple of months, as they are going bankrupt, they would begin offering better prices.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 15 out 16 people found this review helpful

    Misleading ads

    I live three blocks away from three of our local major stations and cannot pick them up. All we get is the Spanish channels (which we don't speak or understand) and church stations. We have yet to get ABC, Fox, CBS, NBC, CW, Ion and the other stations they said their product would pick up.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Return

    • Bunnell, FL,
    • Dec 4, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am trying to talk to someone about returning this product. It does not work for me. I am afraid I won't get my refund; they said something about a percentage refund. Please let me know as I am beginning to wonder if this an honest operation on their part.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 17 out 17 people found this review helpful

    Sucks

    The antenna is horrible and it doesn't get any TV stations well, or even tolerable. Channels scramble or are constantly going to scramble. Two other antennas for similar prices that stick on the window with suction cups are better but still poor performers. Forget these applications, unfortunately, subscribe to cable or satellite. But of all, this Clear TV is the worst and I have 4 of them.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 12 out 13 people found this review helpful

    A scam, does not work

    I purchased this and it does not work. I called and could not to speak with anyone. Six times I emailed them and they finally answered with an offer to give me 65 percent of the price.

    This is junk. A scam. You cannot get your money back. Do not waste your money.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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