Customer Review

61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A alternative to commercial cable service costs, April 12, 2009
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This review is from: Antennas Direct STM-715 30-Inch Antenna J-Mount (Electronics)
This purchase was part of a project to save money on cable company bills, which previously were adding up to almost $150/month for internet service, cable programming and converter box. The solution gives me high-definition TV for over $100/month less. I ordered the Antennas Direct CLEARSTREAM4 Antenna and the 75 Cm J-mount/mast to attach the antenna to my roof eave. I used 50 feet of 75-ohm tv cabling to run the signal to my TiVo TCD652160 HD Digital Video Recorder and I was in business. I quit using the converter box and cable tv programming (keeping only high speed internet service) and signed up with TiVO and Netflix at much more reasonable monthly rates.

The Clearstream 4 antenna assembled without major hassles. The illustrations provided were more helpful than the written directions, but in the end it will go together only one way. The antenna itself is made of lightweight but well-engineered materials and it has not shown any problems in the strong local winds common in this area. The television stations in my area use mountaintop transmitters to send their signals. I went online to [...], plugged in my address, and was provided with a map showing the directions from my house to the various transmitters. The Clearstream4 antenna has a wide signal reception range, so I found that turning the antenna to an azimuth of about 300 degrees (NNW direction) worked very well and I was able to get clear signals of all the local stations. The antenna mounted securely to the 75-cm J-mount mast with a couple of U-bolt assemblies provided with the antenna. The mast was attached to the roof with 5/16" carriage bolts. I attached it near the eave line of my house so that the mounting holes were drilled under the eave and not into the interior of the house, but the bolts and holes were caulked with roofing compound for weather protection. I attached the curved, J-portion of the mast down, closest to the mounting plate at the roof, although it appears you can mount it in whichever manner that works for the roofline slope or mounting location. I ran the antenna cable down the side of the house, into a vent space at the foundation and then through the crawl space of the house to the location of my home entertainment center. I now receive over a dozen broadcast channels OTA (over the air), most in high-definition. There are a few cable shows I miss having, but for $100/month, I'm coping. By the way, I ordered the 75 Cm J-mount/mast, Antennas Direct CLEARSTREAM4 Antenna and TiVo TCD652160 HD Digital Video Recorder through Amazon. The prices were competitive, products received were as-described, and everything arrived on time and in good condition.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 28, 2010 4:08:25 AM PDT
To save real money dump the Tivo too and use the superior DVR capabilities of Win 7 Windows Media Center. NO subscriptions (the way it used to be).

Posted on Mar 29, 2010 9:44:13 AM PDT
GB says:
I've gone both routes - TiVo and Vista Media Center with HD Homerun Dual tuner. For about a year we actually used Media Center in our living room and a TiVo HD in the bedroom so we got a great comparison of the two and their benefits and drawbacks. Yes, there are no subscription fees for Windows Media Center so it can be "cheaper". That being said, it takes much more time to set up and configure a Media Center solution than a TiVo HD. We were frequently fighting little Media Center quirks (such as channels disappearing from the channel guide, etc) that we never had to to with the TiVo HD - it is just rock solid. If the TV was out for some reason and I wasn't home, the wife and kids would have no clue about whether to fiddle with the PC, the Media Center Extender, or the Network Dual-tuner to resolve the issue.

My system may have been a bit underpowered and not dedicated enough (we still used it as our primary PC) to be our Media Center server. But we spent a lot more on it than the $250 we spent on our TiVo HD. After Christmas, we just bought another TiVo HD for the living room and haven't looked back. Like the OP, ditching cable was the way to go for us as well. We've got to have our HD and DVRs - but recording regular network programming and Netflix gives us enough hours of television to watch a week. A few shows we missed from cable (Psych and Burn Notice), we set up with Amazon subscriptions that automatically buy the show and download them to the TiVo each week. The only thing I miss on cable is live sporting events that might be on TNT, ESPN or Fox Sports. We've got a lot of extra money after dropping cable to where we can go have a steak dinner and watch them in a sports bar if we really want to see the game that badly. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2010 4:06:35 PM PST
post like these are very helpful for someone like me. I had a few extra questions, if you have a spare minute please email me at jppcomputers@yahoo.com . I want to know all that you needed to make pc a tv workstation.
Im shopping around and looks like I need to pick up an high gain antenna / an Amp / and a converter box for each tv? I have an xbox as well = netflix / wmc for my bedroom so as you can see im confused with what I need.

Posted on Feb 10, 2011 9:52:31 PM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2011 3:51:01 PM PST
R. Rundio says:
Yeah, I'm sure most people are buying the mast with no intention of using it with an antenna. Who on earth would like the review to include all parts and pieces of an HD antenna setup...

The reviewer described his entire setup. How that is deemed useless is beyond me. Then again, your comment was useless so to each their own.

Posted on Jun 3, 2012 5:42:30 AM PDT
C. Wolfe says:
thank you for the info. I cut the cord yesterday and evaluating options (of course I'm still stuck with the same stupid Atlantic Cable here in Miami). I'm getting the inside antenna because I live in an apartment. I will definitely order TIVO from Amazon, because it offers a rock solid warranty, and TIVO is very buggy after a year, the hard drive is no good and you have to pay $150 for a downgraded obsolete box.

Posted on Jul 15, 2012 1:29:02 PM PDT
PooBear says:
Its a great antenna mount, very sturdy, and went well with our Clearstream 4 digital antenna and looks good on our house, much better than those old pre-digital TV masts.
CAUTION! my husband noticed that a magnetic compass near this mast will case the compass to be in error. He said this is common among metal things and that the error was like 25-45 degrees so mind your compass if you use one to point your antenna with.

We axed Comcast after getting a rate increase notice and then found that while you can add services to your Comcast account online you cannot reduce services without talking with someone. Is that an anti-customer barb or what? We immediately chopped Comcast & now get awesome OTA digital hi-def for free, which we pipe into our Beyond TV-4 DVR software. There are a lot of free online sources for shows, especially from the studio websites.

p.s. Comcast said it was for our 'protection' and our account's 'security' that they required us to talk with them when removing services..what a laugh, when I can add all the Comcast services in the world with a click of my mouse.

Its garbage attitudes and anti-customer policies like this that made us cancel forever from them and any other TV provider.

I must thank them, though, for forcing us to see all of this amazing free hi-def digital content thats been floating by us all this time.
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N. Waters
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Location: Carson City, NV United States

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