By Melissa Scheffler
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
8:10 PM CDT, August 8, 2012
Did you know you don't have to rely on satellite or cable... to watch TV. You don't even need those options to get a clear HD picture, if you have an HD TV set. All you need is an antenna.
When we have "technical" questions at KWCH, we rely on our engineers for the answers. That's why we asked one of them--Mark Statzer -- to test the Clear-Cast X1 Digital Antenna. After the extension table and shipping, you’ll pay close to 82-dollars for the antenna.
The product’s website says with it, you will "receive (a) crystal clear digital picture in your house." To test the clarity of the Clear-Cast's claims, Mark sets-up our comparative experiment. He'll check the Clear-Cast against good 'ole fashioned rabbit ears and a large outside antenna that’s attached to his roof.
The testing begins with the outside antenna. Mark picked-up 28 stations with his outside antenna. Next, Mark checked the signal strength.
"The taller the signal is on this spectrum analyzer, the more signal strength we have,” Mark said.
It's strong on the 60-dollar outside antenna. His total set-up runs about 90-dollars, which includes his 30-dollar mount.
Next up, rabbit ears, for under 20 dollars. After re-scanning, Mark found 21 channels.
"And we got channel 8, that was pretty good,” Mark said.
As for the signal strength, it's not as strong
"Remember how you used to stand in place to get the picture? That's part of the problem with indoor antennas. It actually bounces off of you,” Mark said.
So now it’s time to test the Clear-Cast antenna. Mark gets 17 channels.
"The rabbit ears did better. That's disturbing,” Mark said.
As for its signal strength...
"It looks about the same that we were getting with the rabbit ears. And, it doesn't seem to be as irritated by me walking around the room,” Mark said.
But we're not done. We learned from Mark, the Clear-Cast is more directional than the rabbit ears. So, you might need to move it around and place it up higher to get it to work better. We re-scan again and get 22 channels, one better than the rabbit ears.
Mark says it works!
Mark's advice, if you're watching your pennies, check-out the set-top--or what we call rabbit ears--first. It's cheaper and it could get you close to what a fancy "digital antenna" promises. He also adds... if you can add an outside antenna to your home... it will always pick-up the most stations.
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