When streaming services go down, an over-the-air antenna can keep the game going.

The second semifinal of the 2018 FIFA Men's World Cup. England — looking to #BringItHome — is up 1-0. (That's pronounced "nil."

And YouTube TV — the streaming video giant's live streaming video service — is glitching to hell. The game is unwatchable. Croatia ties it up, and a lot of folks missed it.

You had one job, YouTube TV.

More: The best over-the-air antennas

This is a stark reminder that sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. And why it's absolutely worth taking the time and spending just a little bit of money and rigging up a good over-the-air antenna.

Like everything else online, it's all about the back end. It doesn't matter how many Ks your TV has, or how highly dynamic its range is. It doesn't matter how many megabits per second your network can move, or how many your ISP can pump into your home.

If the source is bad, everything that comes after it is moot.

And such was the case Wednesday when YouTube TV bit the turf. It wasn't the fault of any of the paying customers. Reboot your router, unplug your TV — it doesn't matter when YouTube TV itself was the source of the issue.

Fortunately, many of us had more tested solutions.


That's right, kids. Antennas. My go-to answer when anyone asks about cutting the cord. Because as great as streaming services are — even the ones that include local broadcast networks — you just can't beat an antenna.

The ClearStream 2MAX is an antenna we love, just $59 at Amazon.

For one, the back end of the nation's broadcast system is built out. It works. And it has fewer points of failure than streaming services, taking your home network and ISP out of the equation. For another — it's the sort of thing that doesn't really change unless you change it. There's no software update to break things. No real hardware to break down. Sure, an antenna is yet another expenditure — but we're talking from as low as around $30, to $100 or so on the high end. Take your time and set it up once — outside and higher is always better, and maybe toss in an amplifier if you need — and it'll last you for years.

To be fair, YouTube TV wasn't the only streaming service to have issues the last week of the World Cup. FuboTV began serving up a 4K stream of the Fox broadcast — HDR and all. It worked pretty well initially. But as the tournament ran from the quarters into the semis, and FuboTV opened up the 4K stream to more devices, it, too, became subject to issues.


A couple of clicks later, and the game was back as it should be. Albeit in 1080i instead of 4K resolution. But still in 60 frames per second. With the audio synced to the video. Ready to go — all I had to do was change inputs.

And the video watchable in the first place.

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