Yearly Archives: 2009


Posted in Antenna Update | Comments

Breaking News: Man buys every antenna in the store – none works, except one.

Great job by the LA Daily News of highlighting what we’ve been saying for 5 years; don’t waste your time with rabbit ears. We hear this story several times a day, “I wasted my time with several antennas and the only one that works is from Antennas Direct”.

Money Quote:

“I was in a tizzy when I bought my Sharp digital TV just before Christmas. I wound up going through three cheaper models of antenna at Best Buy without achieving success … I finally bought the most expensive antenna (I could find), for about $99.99, and I hit paydirt.

“And part of hitting paydirt was hooking up with the owner of the company, Antennas Direct (877-825-5572), and the model is the Clearstream C2.”

Save yourselves the aggravation and get a ClearStream or a bowtie. Now… will someone please explain to me why we only have 10% market share?


Posted in Antenna Update, Cut the Cord, Industry Update | Comments

We’ve been getting a surge of orders from Pay TV subscribers

I’m being told that most of our orders are now coming from Satellite and Cable subscribers. Much love to the customer who sent us this photo.


Posted in Antenna Update | Comments

Party Time!

Wow. Will ya look at these numbers! 2006 -2008 Sales up 161%! -1stQ 2009 alone up nearly 300% vs. last year. For the third year in a row we’ve been awarded title of one of the fastest growing companies in this week’s St. Louis Business Journal .


While antenna sales are exploding, the cable companies’ subscriber growth is declining or flat. Whats the old expression? you cant polish a turd? Or something like this?

I mean, there are times when you just gotta feel sorry for those guys, dont you?

No? Yeah, me neither.


Posted in Antenna Update, Cut the Cord, Industry Update | Comments

Attention all news outlets: The worlds most powerful indoor antenna is now shipping! Now at Best Buy

Finish up any non-ClearStream stories that you may be working on so you may devote 100% of your attention to the ClearStream Convertible. You may include the following words: “breakthrough,” “tremendous,” “awesome,” and “revolutionary.”

After nearly three years of development, the first of its kind C1Convertible is finally shipping! The C1C is the worlds first antenna that can be reconfigured for outdoors or indoor installations. So now you can bring the most powerful antenna for DTV reception indoors! Its ingenious mounting mechanism allows three installation options. Table top (pictured) , wall mount, or outdoors. Since indoor installations can be tricky depending on building materials and terrain, if needed, you will always have the option of an outside mast mounted installation to clear any obstacles you may encounter.

As with the other antennas in the Clearstream family, it is optimized for the the post 2009 core DTV frequencies and pricing will be just $79.99. Initial shipments will be made to Best Buy with availability to the rest of the reseller network by mid June.

You’re welcome, Again


Posted in Industry Update | Comments

DTV station wises up, decides to ditch VHF


For years, we have been warning about the problems with DTV broadcasting on VHF; lower fractional bandwidth, increased interference from noise, & adjacent markets and the reluctance of customers to install significantly larger, performance compromised combo UHF/VHF antennas. Making matters even worse, some VHF stations have cut their ERP by 95% making a difficult situation impossible. Our predictions were that a huge percentage of the country will lose VHF DTV reception. Turns out the mess is far, far worse than anyone could have predicted. Nothing like launching an exciting new form of broadcasting on interference riddled, bandwidth challenged frequency assignments with tiny transmitters, right?

Much love to the station engineer who alerted us to this gem which lays it out bare. Its amazing stuff, and in case you don’t what to read the whole thing, here are the essential parts from the VHF broadcaster who has given up on a losing effort:

“Viewers report that they formerly received WVUE’s digital signal on channel 29 but have not been able to receive the Station’s digital signal on channel 8. The complaints that the Station has received are from viewers residing in all parts of the New Orleans market and are not limited to particular geographic areas or neighborhoods. In fact, several complaints are from viewers residing within a few miles of WVUE’s transmitter site. Station personnel have visited the homes of several disenfranchised viewers in an attempt to resolve the reception quality issues but were unable to receive the Station’s signal on the viewers’ digital tuners.

Louisiana Media respectfully submits that the current limitations on WVUE’s operations, and the concomitant loss of service to former viewers, are untenable from both a public service and a competitive perspective. Therefore, Louisiana Media proposes to restore digital service on WVUE’s pre-transition digital facilities on channel 29 at its previously authorized ERP of 660 kW. The higher-power channel 29 facilities will enable WVUE to reach viewers who received the Station’s digital signal prior to the Station’s early transition and who currently are unable to receive service on digital channel 8 due to the poor propagation characteristics of the assigned facilities.

Prompted by the many complaints WVUE has received, Louisiana Media performed a study comparing the signal strength of its assigned digital channel 8 facility to the signal strength of the higher power digital facilities of other stations in the market. Based on the study and the significant number and distribution of viewer complaints, Louisiana Media has determined that the effective radiated power of WVUE’s channel 8 digital facilities is not sufficient for the signal to be received by a material number of viewers located within its {viewing area}

The assumption was that ATSC (digital) broadcasting was up to 10X more efficient than analog, that transmitter power could be cut, electric bills would be slashed, all while maintaining the same coverage area. Yes, ATSC does offer some efficiencies, but not nearly enough to make up for the dramatic reduction in transmitting power that we’re seeing across the country. Finally, we have the FCC, the NAB and the broadcasting community beginning to acknowledge, just because its digital doesn’t mean you can reduce power 90% and have the same coverage area.

The good news is while we are waiting for the remaining 400 or so VHF DTV broadcasters to increase power and/or move to the UHF band, we will soon be shipping the Clearstream 5 high band VHF antenna. The C5 will be the most powerful compact VHF antenna ever offered, and can makeup on the receive side much of what is being lost on the broadcast side. The C5 will ship late June and retail for $119. – Thank me later


Posted in Antenna Update, Industry Update | Comments

Surprise! People are buying antennas and canceling cable

The April 24 issue of the Investors Business Daily published an article featuring Antennas Direct.

Antenna Makers Put Free TV On Radar Of A Pay-TV Society

Finally the press is noticing, what we have been saying all along; people are moving from pay TV back to antennas. We are seeing a shift in our country as thousands have cancelled their cable subscriptions and bought an antenna.

Money quotes:

Besides being free, broadcast television offers the best high-definition picture quality, because it’s uncompressed. Cable and satellite operators compress their HD channels in order to squeeze in more channels on their bandwidth, which degrades their quality.”

“Last year, most customers buying over-the-air antennas were videophiles who wanted the best possible HD video for their high-end home theater systems, says Richard Schneider, president and founder of Antennas Direct, a St. Louis-based maker and distributor of antennas. Lately, more customers are buying antennas for economic reasons, he says.”

Still, There are are a few who haven’t gotten the message:

I really don’t see people going to over-the-air,” said Robert Serrano, an analyst with SNL Kagan.

Really Robert? Are you basing this “evidence” from subscriber surveys or any kind of analytics? You want to come out and answer some the hundreds of phone calls we get each week from disgruntled former cable customers? Really you don’t see it? Our sales volume has quadrupled over the last 6 months and you don’t think people are going back to antennas?

Turns out that Mr. Serrano is paid to follow the cable companies, despite the efforts of the cable industry, The word is getting around that antennas ain’t dead.


Posted in Antenna Update | Comments

Antennas Direct in IEEE Spectrum

This is one of the accomplishments we are most proud of. Dr. Ross and myself managed to get a paper published about the coming of age of the television antenna. Who would have though even 2 years ago that one of the most respected professional journals would be interested in TV antennas?

Its an honor to be selected to submit a paper. IEEE Spectrum; The magazine for the worlds largest professional technology association. Its readership includes hard core technophiles, engineers as well as busness leaders and the foremost technological innovators.

The article covers the planned shutdown of analog broadcast TV in the United States and how its bringing antenna technology back into the spotlight. We even mentioned some honored competitors.

I hope you find it useful.


Posted in AD Bus Tour, Antenna Update | Comments

KBMT Ch12, ABC Beaumont, TX

A brisk pre-dawn remote in South East Texas and at 5:45am we were ready for our closeup. Katie was sucessful in hypnotizing the staff at KBMT into extolling the virtues of Cleastream antennas as the greatest thing since Hot Pockets. We went live 5 times that morning and a Clearstream 2 sat on the anchor desk during most of the news cast.

After June, Ch12 KBMT will revert to their prior analog assignment but only broadcast with 12Kw of power, so it will be interesting to see how their coverage area will be affected. We have noticed a significant number of stations who revert back to a VHF frequency assignment actually decreasing their power significantly. (Yes, we know VHF propagates farther with less power) So before anyone calls to complain that they can no longer get their favorite channel, keep in mind many DTV stations who have VHF channels assignments are broadcasting with the power of a couple of hairdryers. Yes DTV can be more efficient and VHF has less resistance through the atmosphere, but you can’t cut the radiated power 60% – 90% and expect to have the same coverage area.

The Clearstream 5 will mitgate this issue for many people, but it would have been much easier for the DTV viewing public had the FCC kept everyone on a UHF channel assignment with the corresponding level of radiated power.

A well behaved and appreciative crowd was on hand at the “Market Basket” and the Antennas Direct crew was greeted with cheers and a few hugs. My faith has been restored.


Posted in AD Bus Tour | Comments


Holy Katie Anastasia Tewillager Brady in a prom dress! Whats going on here?

When we arrived at the station around 10am, there were already 100 people waiting for us; did we get the time wrong? The station’s receptionist said some had been camping out since 7am.

It turns out that the station, in an earlier promo had implied that everybody who showed up would get a ClearStream, but on a first come first serve basis. We didn’t bother with the prize wheel since some had driven over 100 miles and/or been there over 5 hours. Well 150 antennas didn’t last long and by 12:45pm we were all out of antennas, so we spent the next 45 minutes giving out signal meters, shirts, hats & discount coupons until we were cleaned out. We probably shipped out an additional 40 free antennas to people who called the office claiming to be aggrieved.

Most people were friendly and appreciative but to people who cry victim, a few things to keep in mind:

  • We don’t have control of the station’s editorial content
  • There is a finite capacity of antennas we can carry and/or ship ahead, so its unrealistic to think that there will be an unlimited supply.
  • We are a small company and the value of the antennas we give away is between $10,000 – $15,000 per city. (and over $20,000 worth of gear in Abilene) These aren’t Wal-Mart rabbit ears. This is a great expense for us, so you may want to consider this fact before getting worked up. Can you name any other Antenna company donating antennas to people with reception problems? I didn’t think so.

Out of everything including maps and literature, we left a little early as we had a 9 hour drive for a 5:30 am news shoot in Beaumont.

Currently both stations are on partial power until they get new parts for their transmitter. After the repairs are completed around early May , they will both transmit at 1MW of power and should be easier to receive. The head engineer joked that a paperclip shoved in to the back of the TV may be all that’s required for reception after May.


Posted in AD Bus Tour | Comments

KSLA CBS Ch12 Shreveport, LA

A rainy Saturday afternoon, but still over 400 people turned out for a chance to win a Clearstream antenna. KSLA was our host and offered advice and guidance for local viewers. Ch12 KSLA will be broadcasting their DTV signal on Ch17 after the transition, so there was a great deal of interest in antennas with good perfromance on the UHF band.

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