Clearstream Eclipse $59.99

One antenna that works for cord cutters

For many people, cutting the cord to cable or DirecTV means an antenna. Some must be moved around, depending on conditions, to work. Others require placement outside or on a window.

Wrong placement can mean fewer channels — or pixelization, when the picture isn’t fully formed.

The Clearstream Eclipse from Antennas Direct is about the size of a dinner plate with a hole in the middle. It’s black on one side and white on the other, so it can blend in (somewhat) on your wall.

There are two models of the Eclipse. The basic model can pull in stations from up to 35 miles, while the amplified model (the one being reviewed) can pull in stations from up to 50 miles.

The Eclipse includes a sticky pad called Sure Grip that holds it well to the wall. The Sure Grip pad can be repositioned, and it really does its job. For the test, the Eclipse was put up on the wall behind the TV. It works, and no pixelization.

SYNOLOGY DS416play $416

Safeguarding data on home computers

Synology might not be a name that you have heard much about, but it’s a technology company that makes network attached storage (NAS) appliances that can make your computing life easier and safer.

As our homes and lives become more connected, we find ourselves with some pretty specific needs in backing up data. Cheap external hard drives can be used for overflow memory, but don’t necessarily safeguard data.

On the DS416play, you can have six drives installed (it doesn’t come with the drives). Some of the space, though, is used to keep the data safe. Users can expand their storage space by adding drives to empty drive bays or by replacing an existing drive with a larger one.

The drives don’t have to match; you can use drives from different manufacturers and of differing sizes.

There is a package called Photo Station that can archive and catalog all your digital photos. You can store all your home video clips in Video Station and store and play back your music in Audio Station.

You can install an iTunes server to have a central place to store your music library. And there is a Plex server package so you can store and play back movies, TV shows and other media, even to Apple TV or other services on your big screen.

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