The word “free” is getting thrown around in the news a lot lately; free healthcare, free birth control, and now…free cable. But don’t cancel your cable subscription just yet.
Many people see the word free and react without doing the research behind the claims, product, and company. These are the people that usually fall victim to their false promises. Depending on Thursday’s Supreme Court decision, we may see more of this, but that is a different story. Advertised as free services or products that fall into the luxury or privilege category should raise skepticism. The underlying truth is that someone has to provide funding and make sure the system runs efficiently. If the funding or profits are not there, we get the knock-off version that lacks quality, good service and the fulfillment of our expectations. So who is this company offering free cable? Is it better than what we pay for and is it really free?
What is it?
The product behind the free cable ads, Clear-Cast X1 Digital Antenna, is a compact, razor-thin antenna that can be easily mounted to any window in your home. The company makes the following claims in their door mailer, print advertisement and on their website:
– Pulls free over-the-air digital and HDTV broadcasts in your area
– Receives crystal clear digital picture on any TV in the house
– No monthly bill, no installation, and no cable guy
– Ready in six easy steps: connect, mount, set, scan, adjust, enjoy
How are the reviews?
Not good. The print ad leads customers to believe they will receive up to 900+ channels, but those who bought it only received up to 53 channels. Customers also claimed that it was no better than basic antennas. In May, WSYR-TV in Syracuse ran a story on how many New Yorkers were mislead by the mailing they received. In response to the recent customer complaints in Syracuse, St. Louis, and Lafayette, to name a few, the Better Business Bureau started looking into their concerns and in the end gave the product a BBB “F” rating. The Wire Guys, a professional antenna installation and digital TV conversion company in Boise, ordered the product so they could see the results for themselves. They gave it a 90% failure rate.
Who is it?
The Clear-Cast X1 Digital Antenna was developed by a company called Brilliant Built Technologies. BBT is a direct marketing company that was created to market and distribute Clear-Cast. It is a subsidiary of Universal Media Syndicate, Inc., who is a part of Arthur Middleton Capitol Holdings. AMCH has also marketed portable heaters and dietary aides and is known for false advertising and raising concerns with the Better Business Bureau.
Is it free?
While it may pull in some channels, customers do not get the same type or amount of channels as with their current provider. The ad claims that customers can eliminate their cable or satellite bills but if they do, they will downsize the quantity and quality of their current cable set-up.
Now that we have some background information, it is safe to assume we are better off doing it the old fashioned way…paying for what we value with hard earned money.