Two years ago, I was sent the Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse HDTV Amplified Indoor Antenna (35 mile range) to review. It worked well in my living room where it still resides, but I did struggle to get it to tune in all our channels in the den. The Gadgeteer was contacted by Antennas Direct about the recent improvements to the ClearStream Eclipse HDTV Amplified Indoor Antenna (Improved 50 mile range). I volunteered to review the new antenna to see if there were noticeable improvements. I found that it wasn’t a dramatic improvement, but I was able to tune in some difficult channels in our den that I was previously unable to pick up with the original ClearStream Eclipse.
- ClearStream Eclipse Antenna (50 mile range)
- 12 feet of high performance coaxial cable (black)
- 20dB In-line Amplifier (black)
- 3 ft. Coaxial Cable for the In- line Amplifier (black)
- Sure Grip Strip
- Power Supply
- Quick Start Assembly/Install Instructions (includes Troubleshooting/Lifetime Warranty/Technical Assistance information)
Design and Setup
The ClearStream Eclipse is a thin flexible antenna coated in textured matte plastic. One side is black, the other is white and may be painted to match your interior. One of the differences between the older Eclipse and the newer one, is that the coaxial cable is detachable from the newer antenna. The older Eclipse was permanently attached to the 12 foot coaxial cable. The benefit of this new design is that you may purchase another cable to use in place of the one provided. Some of the other noticeable differences between the old and new Eclipse are that the coax cable and in-line amplifier provided with the new antenna are all black whereas the original Eclipse came with white cables and a white in-line amplifier. And according to Antennas Direct, the new Eclipse has a new balun as well.
The antenna comes with a Sure Grip adhesive to hang the antenna on the wall. You must first peal off one of the protective plastic films to reveal the clear adhesive.
After removing the clear plastic film, I placed the adhesive on the side of the antenna I wished to afix to my wall. I chose to place it on the black side. Who wants a black ring displayed on the wall? I’d rather have a white ring displayed (plus I didn’t feel like painting the antenna). After placing the adhesive on the antenna, I then pealed the white backing off to expose the adhesive.
The Sure Grip adhesive allows you to remove the antenna and reposition it if necessary. Any debris may be washed off with water to restore it to “like-new performance”. The Sure Grip is really cool stuff. Just the fact that it is a strong, double sided adhesive that can be washed off and reused is awesome! I need this for other things around the house!
After applying the adhesive to the antenna, I then connected the in-line amplifier to the 12 foot coaxial cable leading to the antenna and the three foot cable leading to the TV. I also connected the power supply to the amplifier.
I then connected the three foot section of coaxial cable leading from my in-line amplifier to the TV in the den.
After checking on the Antennas Direct website for an updated list of my TV stations in the area, I found that they have not changed since I reviewed the original Eclipse in 2014; thus, this is the copy of my TV stations list from 2014 since I was unable to find a more succinct current list. This list also indicates the stations’ transmitters’ approximate distance from my house (33-36 miles from our house).
This list of stations comes from TV Fool’s website and confirms the approximate distance of the transmitters from our house (28-30 miles). I found that I could not pick up any of the weaker signal channels that are highlighted in the yellow, pink or grey.
After connecting everything, I then started the search for the optimal position for the antenna to receive all of the available channels (I did this before I performed the channel search to make sure that it would detect all possible channels when going through the channel searching process). I turned the TV on to a station that was difficult to tune in (ABC), then started to slowly move the antenna around the room to tune in that station. I spent days moving the antenna all along the wall in all possible places that the antenna would reach. When using the original Eclipse in the den, it failed to receive all of the stations from one position especially ABC and NBC even after searching for the optimal placement for a great deal of time.
This is the final setup. The black coaxial cable hanging down most of the length of my wall is especially attractive, don’t you think? In this position, I performed the channel search and found all the possible stations (with a strong signal) available in my area.
When I first tried to find an optimal position for our antenna, I struggled to tune in the ABC and NBC stations from one position of the antenna just as I had with the original Eclipse. This was disappointing, but I tried again the next day and found that I had better success. Once I found the position that worked for both of those stations, I found that most of the other stations came in nicely. The only two stations that had intermittent reception were channels 27 (KDFI) and 23 (KUNV). The next day I then thought I might be able to “fine tune” to the position by moving it slightly in one direction or another. When I did that I then had trouble tuning in the FOX and ION stations. Uuuuugh!!! It took me days to find a position that minimized my reception issues with the troublesome channels.
Just as I described in my original Eclipse review, we live in a single family home in a crowded subdivision where the houses are very close together (structures around your home effect reception – even a car driving by on the road just outside the front of our house where the den is located, would disrupt the reception of certain channels). The terrain of the Dallas Fort Worth area is relatively flat. I found that weather as well as daytime and nighttime hours are also factors that affect channel reception – the troublesome channels might exhibit pixelation or just not tune in at all due to these factors.
Even within our house there are differences in reception. For some reason our den has always been a troublesome area. We had been using a Mohu leaf antenna before using this new Eclipse antenna. We could never find an optimal position for the Mohu leaf to tune in both ABC and NBC. The Eclipse seems to perform better than the Mohu leaf since I was able to tune in ABC and NBC from one position of the antenna and I was able to tune in the FOX and ION channels much of the time from the same position.
I was also curious to see how the antenna would perform without the amplifier. To do this, it was necessary to disconnect the amplifier from the antenna and connect the antenna directly into the TV. Without the amplifier, the channel that had difficulty tuning in was channel 23 (KUNV) (that’s before I decided to “fine tune” the antenna’s position). In it’s current position I have no idea what channels do not come in without the amplifier and I’m too afraid to mess with the antenna anymore for fear of losing it’s current reception.
I found that the latest Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse HD Amplified Antenna (50 mile range) performed slightly better for me than the older Eclipse antenna (amplified 35 mile range) when used in the den. Although it took days to find an optimal position for the antenna, it eventually received all of the major channels available in our area with a few issues. There were a few stations that had intermittent reception issues based on the position of the antenna: channels 23 (KUNV), 27 (KDFI), 4 (FOX), and 68 (ION). It is important to note that many things effect antenna reception and should be considered before purchasing: terrain (topography), surroundings (dense neighborhoods, buildings, cars passing by), weather, daytime and nighttime effects, etc. It is very possible to obtain completely different results even within a home so it’s very possible that you may have better or worse results based on your environment.
Source: The sample used in this review was provided by Antennas Direct. Please visit their website for more information or to order one for yourself.