If you were to ask a person on the street about the kind of technology companies that get named to fastest-growing lists, they would probably drop some names like Facebook, Google or Netflix. Few of them would probably associate “TV antennas” with “high-growth industry.” But that is the reality. Our antennas flying off the shelves of Walmart and Best Buy at a rate that doubles our sales every nine months.
So we were honored to be named among the fastest growing companies in St. Louis by the St. Louis Business Journal. We owe so much to our team, our customers and to the crazy people out there who have believed in us for the past 12 years.
Our founder Richard Schneider says it best:
“Last year, we nearly doubled in size, mostly because we have been touting the benefits of over-the-air television for the past 12 years, so we were well-positioned from a brand perspective when the demand shot up. Every year, some well-intentioned person tells me why we will be out of business, but every year, we just keep growing.”
We know some of you out there have some reservations about saying goodbye to pay television. You write us and call us explaining how much happier you would be. Although we know more of you out there are receiving TV for free just based on our sales numbers, there are still a lot of Americans who hold out each year.
In case you lack the motivation, take a couple minutes and check out Shia LeBeouf’s advice. It may be the fuel you need to make the decision that leads to happiness and free TV.
For the real backstory on how this gloriousness came about, check out this Relevant article.
Personal Finance Editor Adam Mayers helps his readers on their journey toward financial freedom, and, just a few days ago, that freedom included cutting the constraining pay television cord. Mayers has been a cord cutter for a few years now, and when he wanted to strengthen his over-the-air hardware, he found our good friend Karim Sunderani at saveandreplay. Sunderani urged Mayers to make a deeper investment in the quality of his antenna. And when he thought of quality, he thought of Antennas Direct.
Mayers quotes Sunderami:
“Spend a little more, but spend it once, not twice, or three times,” he [Sunderani] advised when we met at saveandreplay.com the Mississauga store he runs with his wife Grace. “How many times do you want to climb onto your roof?”
Pete Putman is a renowned television technology expert. The articles he pens on HDTVexpert.com find their way into the TV industry’s leading publications, and, if you frequent technology conferences, chances are you’ve seen him at the front of the room. So when a guy like Pete has great things to say about one of your products, you listen.
“I also found a new inline signal preamplifier from Antennas Direct. The Juice UHF/VHF Amplifier ($79.99 from www.antennasdirect.com) can be used inside or outside and provides about 18 dB of signal boost with a low noise figure, which is real handy in areas where TV reception can be problematic. (Successful digital TV reception is all about signal-to-noise ratio!)”
And, with every spectrum analysis, Pete found our Juice™ Amplifier made for the juiciest reception.
“Finally, the Antennas Direct’s Juice amplifier is a solid performer and delivers the goods. A noise figure approaching 2 dB in the UHF TV band is excellent in performance for the price.”
Boosting the signal is the easy part. You can get boosted signal from any amplifier, but what is difficult, and we have managed to conquer, is low noise. Our Juice amplifier is a commercial grade amplifier available to consumers!
Read all of Pete’s words (complete with spectrum analysis) HERE.
At Antennas Direct, we are not shy about our history of mother loving. We can’t help it. We were founded by a bunch of socially awkward engineers – a group of males who remained basement dwellers in our parent’s houses for years. While we slaved away at on the latest antenna technology, our mothers supplied us with pizza rolls, Hot Pockets and occasional bowl of ice cream.
We would not be a company had it not been for the unconditional love from our moms.
Over the years, we have created products specifically aimed at making the home life better for moms everywhere. Some moms have written us praises and others have encouraged other mothers to cut the cord and live the kind of family life they had always dreamed of. Knowing we provide that for mothers out there makes us feel all warm inside.
Eclipse of the Heart
It was out of this warmth that, last year, we released the ultimate over-the-air mother lover, the ClearStream Eclipse. While most indoor antennas require installation or pose some interior decorating challenges, the Eclipse antenna’s Sure Grip worry-free silicon backing means Mom can relocate the antenna as many times as she desires – the perfect combination of reception and décor. Check out this video we released to explain the ease of its use.
So, to the moms everywhere, we encourage you to take a look at the ClearStream Eclipse. Cutting the cord can liberate your home and make the family budget a lot easier to handle.
And to the mothers of our Antennas Direct engineers, we wish you the happiest of Mother’s Days. And thanks for always having the best stocked freezer on the block.
We have some truly amazing customers. We love hearing from our Antennas Direct clients with their feedback on their latest purchase. Patrick recently sent us a video of him reviewing his C2V antenna, and we were so excited with his feedback that we had to share it with all of you.
On Friday, it became official. Comcast rolled out the old “it’s not you it’s me” with Time Warner. The cable giant announced that it was no longer going to go through with the merger deal and left Time Warner standing at the monopoly alter.
It’s sad to see something like this happen to such a perfect pair. They both were among the top of the Worst Companies in America list. Both had the same philosophy of customer service including little pet names. And both companies received a pre-wedding cake present from none other than Antennas Direct (check out the delivery here and here).
But, in the end, it didn’t work out. We hope they will remain friends and still agree to at least swap customers.
Honestly, we know that this is better for the American consumer. The joining of these two companies would have created a Cable Voltron, customer service would get even worse and broadcasters’ abilities to negotiate for fair retransmission of their content would have been compromised. So this break up is a good thing.
Still, there was this small part of us that would have loved to see just how astoundingly dismal they could make the customer experience. The worse they become, the more people feel compelled to cut the cord and receive free, over-the-air television with a digital TV antenna.
We wish them both the best. And, just for the record, we are not choosing sides. This too shall pass. Luckily, we wont have any trouble returning your antenna wedding present.
Last week, 100,000 broadcast radio and television industry shapers from 150 countries gathered in Las Vegas for the 2015 NAB Show, the world’s largest electronic media show. Perennially, the event has been the host of the latest technology surrounding broadcast media and journalism attracting brands such as CBS, Apple, HP, Samsung and, of course, Antennas Direct.
More than just passively attending, we love being a part of the show and learning about the future of television from some of the best minds in broadcast. Here are some of our biggest takeaways.
There’s (still) no better journalism than broadcast news.
“Broadcasters are more relevant, vital and trusted than ever,” said Gordon Smith, president of the NAB who also challenged show-goers to imagine a world without free over-the-air television. “In times of emergency, while other media may crash and fail, local television is there to connect the community.”
Broadcasters also continue to innovate how they deliver content to the community. Bart Feder, senior vice president of Tribune Media, pointed out that his stations are facing greater realities about how media is consumed, and they are taking steps to meet the demand.
“The reality is that people turn on Facebook before they turn on their TV,” said Feder. “We are the second screen in the two-screen household. The onus is on us to call the audience back. We need authenticity and a way to give the news greater context and meaning.”
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is a fan of free, broadcast TV.
While it may come as a shock to some in the industry, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is a big fan of over-the-air television. In his opening remarks on the second day of the NAB Show, Wheeler recounted the story of installing an indoor, flat panel digital antenna in his daughter’s home. He said she was floored when she realized she could get her favorite shows in high definition for free.
“Broadcast is an important part of our lives. And over-the-air provides our uniquely diverse communities with a shared experience,” he said. “With the high cost of cable bundles, consumers are perusing alternatives. One alternative they are perusing is broadcast TV. The number of households relying on over-the-air exclusively went up last year. We also see a growing number of people cutting the cord and pairing an over-the-air antenna with OTT services.”
The broadcast incentive auction is happening in 2016 (after five years of talking).
For several years, the FCC has been working on a plan to auction a portion of the broadcast spectrum to wireless providers. And, though it has been a long time in the making, there appears to be an end in sight. By Spring of 2016, television broadcasters will have the option to offer their spectrum for the auction. This means they may have to do a “repacking” of their broadcast. Wheeler says this is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for broadcasters and the auction will yield the greatest value for their spectrum.
What does this mean to fans of broadcast television from a viewer perspective? That remains to be seen. There are still some unanswered questions for the FCC and pending lawsuits. However, there is a potential for more broadcasters engaging in “channel sharing” and switching to a VHF frequency.
What is known is this auction is yet another business decision broadcasters need to make within the next several months to better meet the shifting demands of media consumption.
We have seen the future. And it was from a drone camera.
On perhaps a lighter note, the future of broadcast television will involve drones. The NAB Show featured an entire display and several vendors allowed engineers to try out the drone capabilities. As the technology stands, the drone will not replace the traffic helicopter, but it can add a degree of storytelling enhancement to broadcast news.
The FAA has yet to create a final list of rules regarding the safe use of drones and the companies who are licensed to pilot them are very few. However, with the fast scalability of the technology, most industry experts predict the drone coverage and usage will be an integrated part of storytelling by the next NAB Show.
Future for broadcasters includes deep investments in IT.
A broadcaster’s programming used to be simpler. You would create video for television consumption and this would be your single outlet. However, broadcasters now distribute content to websites, social media, Roku players, and mobile apps. And currently most internal workflows do not allow this to be managed in an efficient way.
However, Disney Corporation, which encompasses ABC, ESPN and seemingly most of the known world, has switched to an IP (Internet Protocol) format for their content. Currently, they are transitioning to a real-time distribute digital video to 150 different outlets. You can see the full panel discussion here.
Broadcasters face a lot of challenges to both their bottom line and their business models in the next year. And despite all of it, they are steadfast in their desire to provide free, over-the-air, high-definition television. Stay tuned as we create new ways to make more consumers aware of the choices they have to receive the best entertainment and news without a hefty cable bill.
Earlier this week, Mike Farrell of Multichannel News stated something we have known for years: the biggest threat to cable is an over-the-air TV antenna.
In the article, Farrell outlines the ways in which viewers are taking back their freedom and reclaiming their cordless roots with antennas that do not resemble the old thyme-y rabbit ears of yesteryear. It’s a message we have broadcast repeatedly on the web and in your neighborhood broadcast television station. And last year, we doubled our sales (not modest growth).
Confirmation. It feels so good. Check out the full article on the victory of over-the-air.
As you most likely can tell, we are extremely passionate about cord cutting and offering our customers advice on breaking ties with the cable companies while still enjoying the television they love. Antennas Direct president, Richard Schneider, was recently interviewed by USA Today’s Technology Writer Mike Snider regarding his thoughts on antennas, OTA television and how to get started with cutting the cord. You can read the article, Cutting the Cord: How do I get started?, in its entirety HERE.
Thanks to USA Today, and especially to Mike Snider, for offering your readers advice and tips on severing ties with the cable company and for including Antennas Direct as an industry expert. We look forward to sharing our thoughts and insights with you again in the very near future!
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It’s pretty obvious that we’re passionate about cutting the cord and receiving OTA television for FREE, the way it was meant to be. But it’s refreshing to see that other people share our passion! One of those people is Robert Garrett: math teacher, coach and downright cool dude. Robert recently shared an install and review […]
LeBron James is not short on confidence. Even after the crushing defeat of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Oakland last night, James was quoted as saying he is the “best player in the world.” While that may be debatable, one thing is not: When sports matter, they are on broadcast television. Leading up to the championship […]