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Clear TV Antenna Reviews: Does it Really Work? (Jan. 2016 Update)

Clear TV Antenna Reviews: Does it Really Work? (Jan. 2016 Update)

Clear TV is an HDTV digital antenna, advertised as a way to receive broadcast television channels for free. We were one of the first to review the product back in 2013, and we offer updated observations for 2016.

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About Clear TV

Clear TV is a standard television antenna with a sleek design which allows you to watch HDTV over-the-air broadcast channels in your area. The advertising vaguely implies that you may be able to replace your cable television with this product, which many consumers have found to be inaccurate.

Although cleartv.com has been registered since 1997, a perusal of the Internet Archive reveals that this particular domain didn’t sell this product until 2013. BuyClearTV.com was used in advertising in mid-2013. That domain was registered in August 2012, and now forwards to the primary domain.

Clear TV is marketed by Tristar Products, Inc., which also markets such products as Genie Bra, Aqua Rug, Bandaloom, Power Juicer, and many others.

In 2014, Clear TV began advertising heavily on Spanish-language television as “Clear TV Antena Digital.” The website compracleartv.com is advertised on channels such as Univision. That website was registered in December 2012.

A second Clear TV branded product called Free TV Key was marketed beginning in 2015. It has been marketed under the name “Free TV Key” and “Clear TV Key.”

How much does Clear TV cost?

If you purchase Clear TV from the official website, it costs $19.95 plus $7.99 processing & handling for a total of $27.94. You can add a second “free” antenna to the offers above, which will add another $7.99 processing and handling. Delivery takes 3 to 4 weeks and there is a 60-day money-back guarantee, minus processing and handling.

In Stores

Clear TV is readily available in stores, typically in the As Seen on TV section. The photo below shows the product for sale at an As Seen on TV store in Las Vegas. It was available for $17.99 in April 2014. Other stores such as Walmart and Kmart offer Clear TV for sale. We have seen the in-store price as low as $14.99.

clear-tv-stores

Clear TV is now available in stores.

Website History

The website and advertising have changed for the product over the past three years, although the price and online offer have not. Below is a screenshot of the original Clear TV website, taken in June 2013. It featured the same spokesman that could be seen in the original Clear TV commercial.

Clear TV

Early 2014 Advertising

In early 2014, Clear TV began advertising with celebrity spokesman John Amos. The claims made in earlier advertising remained intact, with slightly different wording:

All you have to do is plug in Clear TV and scan to instantly receive the top-rated network shows, local news, weather, sporting events, and more all for free. Clear TV’s technology lets you bypass cable and satellite and enjoy crystal clear local and national network programming.

Below is Clear TV website in March 2014, with celebrity spokesman John Amos prominently featured.

cleartv2014

Below is the 2014 television commercial for Clear TV, uploaded to YouTube in March of that year.

Mid-2014 Minus-Amos

John Amos disappeared from the Clear TV website sometime in mid-2014, and it is unclear why he was no longer featured as the celebrity spokesman. By late 2014, the website did not feature Amos or the original unknown spokesman, as seen in the screenshot below. This is how the website appeared as of February 2015.

clear tv website nov 2014

Cleartv.com, as seen in February 2015.

Finally, below we can see the Clear TV website as it appears as of this most recent update, January 2016.

Clear TV 2016

Clear TV website in January 2016

Our Clear TV Review

In mid-2013, we tried out a Clear TV antenna – which was a new product at the time – alongside a standard set of rabbit ears. We found that the Clear TV antenna does work in receiving broadcast signals, but there isn’t anything particularly special about it when compared to standard – and less expensive – antennas. It functions the same as any standard television antenna, and we found it to be no better than a 20-year old set of rabbit ears we used for comparison.

Our test of Clear TV was performed in the greater Las Vegas Valley, and there are a wealth of broadcast channels in this area. In our tests, the picture looked crisp – perhaps better than the local (Cox) cable signal, which is compressed – and the audio was also clear. The 20-year old rabbit ears we tested also looked and sounded just as crisp as the Clear TV antenna.

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Most old antennas will still work with HD broadcast channels, and newer TV’s are already equipped to receive digital channels. If you have an old TV, however, you may need an analog-to-digital converter box.

If you’re within about 25 miles from broadcast antennas, the difference in quality between various television antennas will be negligible. It is only when you are at great distances from the broadcast towers that the type of antenna and placement will become important for quality of signal. Placement of the antenna can also affect the quality of the reception, with an exterior wall or window providing optimal performance.

AntennaWeb offers a useful calculator which will show you the types of antennas you may need in your area. See their color coded antenna types to determine which is right for you.

Clear TV also offers an amplifier, which we did not test out, and we have not seen in stores. It is said to increase weak or intermittent signals. The size of the Clear TV antenna is 7.75″ by 7.75″ and it can be mounted using enclosed suction cups, or stood on a base near the television.

One distinct advantage of Clear TV over regular rabbit ears is that of appearance. Clear TV has a more sleek and modern look.

In 2015, a second product under the Clear TV brand was released. It has been called both “Free TV Key” and “Clear TV Key” and is also a standard television antenna. The primary difference between this product and the original Clear TV is that it plugs directly into the back of a television without the use of wires. While this allows the antenna to be hidden from view, it raises a couple of potential problems such as wall clearance and antenna placement. See a full review of Free TV Key here.

What channels can I get with Clear TV?

Because Clear TV is just an antenna, you can only pick up those channels which are being broadcast in your area.

This claim on the Clear TV website is misleading.

The wording of this claim on the Clear TV website has changed several times since 2013.

Clear TV’s website, however, originally claimed: “Receive ‘hundreds’ of crystal clear digital and HD shows for FREE.” Note that they put quotation marks around the word “hundreds.” The use of the word “hundreds” was changed by late 2014. The website then read, “…with the opportunity to receive hundreds of crystal clear digital and HD shows.”

The wording was eventually changed to read, “Clear TV is easy to set up, and provide viewers with the opportunity to receive hundreds of crystal clear digital and HD shows.”

Check the AntennaWeb link above for available channels in your area.

Clear TV Television commercial

Below is the 2013 version of the Clear TV television commercial.

Clear TV ad

This ad for Clear TV ran in heavy rotation on Facebook for months.

Are you tired of paying cable and satellite companies just to watch your favorite broadcast network shows? Why spend hundreds of dollars per year for cable and satellite only channels when you can watch broadcast television for free with the Clear TV HD digital antenna. All you have to do is plug in Clear TV and let your television instantly receive top-rated network shows, local news and weather, sporting events and more all for free. That’s right, free digital TV. Thanks to a federal government mandate, all broadcasters are required to transmit a digital TV signal through the airwaves. Clear TV lets you bypass cable and satellite to bring network shows directly to your television so you can enjoy crystal-clear local and national free HDTV. Clear TV is amazing. If we’re just off the coast here in the Gulf of Mexico receiving free network broadcast HDTV, imagine all the free HDTV shows you’ll receive at home. Basic cable and satellite services can cost you up to $80 a month. That’s $960 a year and almost $10,000 over a 10-year period.  Why pay that much money for extra channels you may never even watch? But with Clear TV there’s no contract, no monthly fees, and no unexpected rate increases. Just free HDTV that can look as good or better than cable and satellite. Not available in stores. Order now.

Other Clear TV Reviews

  • On Amazon, Clear TV notches a 2.9-star rating.
  • Our editor summarizes Clear TV on his personal blog: “The only reason I’d pick Clear TV over a pair of rabbit ears is because it does look better.”
  • Ad Fibs notes that the Clear TV “commercial may lead some viewers to believe that only by using this particular antenna, they can get free TV when in reality, any simple UHF or ‘Digital’ antenna from the Radio Shack will work just as well.”
  • Ripoff Report has some complaints about the shipping and return process.
  • This site warns, “Should you decide to purchase Clear TV, please be aware of what you are purchasing, and don’t cancel your cable TV account just yet.”

History

The Google Trends chart below shows interest in the Clear TV antenna peaking around December 2013, with a recent up-tick in December 2014 and a downward turn in early 2015.

Video Review

Below is a short video summary of the information contained in this review.

Bottom Line

Clear TV is a standard television antenna which we did not find to be unique over a standard set of rabbit ears, except maybe in its appearance. Our evaluation showed that it works about as well as what you’d expect from an ordinary television antenna. If you’re in a hilly area or far away from broadcast antennas, Clear TV (or any TV antenna) may not be for you. A trip to your local Radio Shack may yield several options that are considerably less expensive and won’t require shipping charges or a month-long wait.

If you are intent on buying Clear TV, you should be able to find it locally for under $20.

Please see our article entitled The “HDTV Antenna” Myth for more info.

Your Clear TV Reviews

Have you used the Clear TV antenna? Let us hear from you in the comments below.

Leer este artículo en español

Updated January 5, 2016
Originally published June 2013

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  • Big Biscuit

    It drives me crazy because it is much ado about nothing. It’s already been 7 years since the digital requirements went into effect and these jackasses are acting like it’s an amazing discovery. It’s rabbit ears for godsake. They are cynical hucksters and are targeting the ignorant.

  • Ulrich Malloy

    You are just rude. This is about a product not politics.

  • richard

    Clear TV:
    Note if your not happy you pay the cost of shipping both ways. So if the products so great why don’t they refund the shipping cost? I will not buy any product that will not refund full cost I paid if returned. Beware!!

  • bob

    Of course Fox News is number 1 because it’s idiots like yourself who are brainwashed by right-wing media.

  • bob

    I tried three different HDTV antennas. They didn’t work. I live on top of hill, no buildings than three stories around me. Live in San Francisco/Bay Area. I did receive close to 66 channels. Only problem, the majority of the channels are either Spanish language or Chinese or other stations. I did receive METV, which is my favorite channel, Cozi TV, Decades, a movie channel and Antenna TV, plus a couple of PBS channels. I watch DW News from Berlin so I was happy to get that. Problem, I kept losing the signal on all the channels. I spent more time scanning and readjusting the antenna. So I contacted my cable Comcast, and they have Basic 25 Internet. It’s $74.00 a month with high-speed internet, plus I’m getting all the channels I would receive with a HDTV antenna and I’m not losing the signal. Before you decide to cut the cable, contact your provider and/or do a trial run for a week or so with a few different type antennas. Believe it gets very annoying when you are watching your favorite TV program and the signal keeps going out. My brother in Wisconsin also told me that if it is cloudy, windy, you lose the signal.

  • Patti

    We just bought one from Walgreens. “As seen on T.V.”, plugged it in and it works great. Not 100 percent perfect, but much better than paying 98.00 a month for Dish!

  • D. T.

    Time for a little instruction on how TV antennas work. Firstly, let me tell you I have been designing TV antennas as well as other types for well over 50 years. The claim that these or any other TV antennas are digital is a fallacy. The same design that goes into a TV antenna hasn’t changed in over 50 years. What has changed is the method of transmission. NOT the antenna. Do NOT waste your money on this crap. It’s equivalent to the old bowtie antenna of yesteryear. A cheap outdoor YAGI antenna will outperform this junk easily. You won’t get any better reception on one of these than you would if you connected a coat hanger to your antenna terminals.

  • D. T.

    The reason she is not getting a signal is because TV transmission is line of sight. Has nothing to do with being too close to a tower. These things are junk. TV antennas haven’t changed in over 50 years. The only thing that has changed is companies who make antennas claim they are digital. The signal transmission has changed. NOT the antenna. An indoor antenna will NEVER out do a cheap U/V outdoor yagi. Anyone who says different is full of crap.

  • D. T.

    You must work for Clear TV. I have been designing antennas for over 50 years as a communications engineer. These things are nothing bot a con job. If you think you’re getting such great reception, go buy a yagi tv antenna. You’ll throw your clear tv antenna in the trash.

  • Rob

    I bought one of these Clear TV antennas and you do get a signal with it. But I also agree that you might as well buy a cheap antenna. There’s no difference with this piece of crap. The thing that sucks about it is when the wind blows outside it screws up your signal big time. It scrambles and pauses the picture. It doesn’t matter if you move the crappie antenna around. When the wind is blowing, it does nothing. I would not recommend this at all. Big two thumbs down. P.U.

    • Stan

      The key to using this is to setup using your digital TV’s AIR connection. Do not use the cable setting. I am receiving approximately 50 HD channels with excellent clarity.

      • D. T.

        The key to using this is don’t fall for this crap to begin with. Although retired, I’ve designed communications antennas for 50 years. TV antennas have NOT changed. They’re the same old antennas we used 50 years ago. The ONLY thing that has changed is the method of signal transmission. An indoor antenna will NEVER work as well as a cheap VHF/UHF outdoor antenna

        • Ulrich Malloy

          Ah, shut up, Mr. 50 years experience.

  • verda walker

    I got a clear TV antenna from this company and it works no better than rabbit ears. If you do get this antenna, you will not see the picture clear like it is said to do. And watch your card because they are frauds and will bill you for things you didn’t order. I got them in 2013 and I will tell everyone to not get it.

  • mark harrison

    All you have to do is put a wire in the input and you will get the same channels you don’t need any antena at all. Any wire speaker wirer etc. Will work and wont cost you anything!!!

  • Mike

    What they do not tell you is that if your TV is an older model (pre-2006 or 2007. TVs manufacutured after ’06 or ’07 have the digital tuners built in), you will need a digital converter box to get TV channels. Beware of this. As for the people who are using rabbit ear antennas, the digital signal isn’t picked up by the old analog antennas (i.e. rabbit ears).

  • Bernie

    Guess I didn’t pay close enough attention. I expected more than just an antenna. Oh well.

  • Harrison Cloke

    If you want a decent antenna to give you quality reception, for up to $40 depending on where you buy it, purchase the RCA amplified flat antenna. You can either set it on top of your entertainment center or hang it on your wall. You can’t go wrong with it. Don’t fall for gimmicks,buy what you know is a sure thing.

  • ronald driver

    Reconnected my moms old rooftop antenna for her and could not believe the number of channels that came in. Some were duplicate channels like pbs but got some good movie channels. 10 bucks for a new piece of coax cable at Walmart. Yes the old rooftop antennas still work:-)

  • icyhotonmynuts

    I found the ClearTV antenna picked up 15 OTA (over the air) channels, 12 of which were in HD. Compared to another more expensive flat square antenna, this picked up more channels and clearer picture. I like I can stick it via suction cups to a nearby window, or wall mount it higher than just leaving it on the TV stand or floor.

  • kate19201

    Yeah they almost had me fooled, but what they do not stress to viewers is this Is just an ANTENNA. You won’t get all of what they claim you get. It is just a nicer fancier antenna compared to the ones in the 1970s or standard rabbit ears. Do not cancel your cable thinking you’re getting an entire cable network for free- you do not. You will only get basic local channels like fox news cbs abc and channel 20 I forget the name of that network. And depending on how close you are to broad cast towers that will determine how many you get. If you are too far away from the towers it won’t work. Don’t fall for these as seen on TV ads they are very convincing they know they are skilled marketers and word it enough in a way they snatch consumers, but are extremely misleading on their products. They are also telling you to return your DVR with your cable company and simply buy your own DVR like TiVo you have to be careful many cable networks are on contracts and you will pay $200-$300 cancel early termination fee. Also to buy a DVR it costs $100-$200 to buy your own TiVo. It’s not worth the switch if what they promised from ClearTV was honestly legit.

  • It does seem that they certainly chose their words very carefully, to give viewers the impression that they would receive hundreds of channels – without actually saying that.

  • Steve Oakland

    I would like to know if I could get an address to mail an order in, because I will not use credit card on the internet.

    • waffles

      They don’t offer an address on their order page or their customer care page, so it doesn’t look like they accept orders in this manner. You may want to try Bed, Bath, and Beyond or one of those As Seen on TV stores, as we have seen them for sale locally here in Nevada.

  • Valarie Young

    I would like to know where is my Clear TV antenna? It was shipped out on March 24, 2014. I havent received it as of yet. What is the tracking number and what is the order number.

  • Sandra

    I just receive two antennas and two boosters for 75.00 and just tried to connect them to my two televisions and they only give me 3 stations one in the area and two Spanish stations and I don’t speak Spanish so I guess I will keep my cable and try to get my money back.

  • Justin

    This is a scam. They will quote you one price and charge you another over the phone.

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