Any suggestions for improving OTA HDTV reception

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by DanielKellmii, May 8, 2005.

  1. DanielKellmii

    DanielKellmii Supporting Actor

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    I finally attached my HDTV to the antenna that is in my attic and I am getting lousy results. Here is the story:
    The previous owners of the house mounted a 120" Radio Shack antenna in the attic. It can't be mounted outside because of the home owner association rules. For years it was unused. Actually, I didn't even know it was there. Previously, I had used some cheap rabbit ears and then I borrowed a Terk set-top antenna that a friend bought from BestBuy. I expected that the 120" antenna would be the best, but I was wrong. It was the Terk. Now I am confused. Any ideas why? Any suggestions on how to improve my reception.

    Some tech details:
    The antenna is connect via 50 feet of (black) coax from radio shack.
    I am in the suburbs between Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach Florida.
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Try typing your address into www.antennaweb.org . It will tell you about the HD stations in your area and what direction you should be pointing to.

    Next: Your antenna in the attic may not be designed for HDTV signals. I have heard of a "Silver Sensor" antenna that is said to be very good.
     
  3. DanielKellmii

    DanielKellmii Supporting Actor

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    I have gone to that website. My antenna is large enough according to it, but not ideally oriented. I cannot change the orientation of the antenna in the attic, so I am stuck with that.
    Is there really such a thing as an antenna that picks up HDTV signals differently from analog signals? From my limited understanding of radio transmission and reception both signals must be the same and the difference comes after the signal is received and processed. Are there any Electrical Engineers out there?
     
  4. GregC

    GregC Stunt Coordinator

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    There is no such thing as a "HDTV" or "Digital" antenna. After you have checked out antennaweb, you will know the direction and channel numbers of your local digital channels. If they are all UHF (common) you won't get good reception with a VHF antenna and visa-versa. Once you know your needs, you may need to invest in a good antenna. Terk isn't one of them ........
     
  5. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Typing in a random zip code from Lake Worth reveals that the local HDTV channels are broadcasting on the uhf band, from multiple directions. The miami towers are located due south, but are purple-- hard to pick up.

    The silver sensor is a decent directional uhf antenna. Not the best, but certainly better than a UFH loop.
     
  6. ScottHH

    ScottHH Stunt Coordinator

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    "It can't be mounted outside because of the home owner association rules."

    You probably won't make any friends, but the home owner's association is not legally allowed to prevent you from installing a dish or an antenna:

    "On August 5, 1996, the Commission adopted the Rule, which prohibits governmental and
    private restrictions that impair the ability of antenna users to install, maintain, or use over-the-air
    reception devices." The FCC rule upheld in a fight for an 18" dish

    "A federal appeals court has rejected a court challenge to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule which limits the ability of property owners to prohibit tenants from installing satellite dishes and other antennas." link
     
  7. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    The rule only affects "protected" antennnae-- antenna capable of receiving local broadcast stations (with an acceptable quality signal), and satellite dishes less than one meter in diameter. Now, it is true that DTV removes some of the fuzziness surrounding "acceptable quality"-- you either get it without dropouts, or you don't, but it not is quite obvious what "local" means, and whether low-powered stations are covered under this rule.

    Mounting your present antenna on the roof may improve your reception, but a smaller, omnidirectional UHF-only antenna could provide better reception, without irritating the neighborhood committees.
     
  8. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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  9. Eric Stuckey

    Eric Stuckey Second Unit

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    I am about 60 miles away from any major network.Only PBSHD is here in my town.Can someone point me to a good antenna ,Inside or outside.
     
  10. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Go to antenna web, and type in your address. (be sure to opt out of the spam offers). Then select your antenna based on the color code. Indoor antennas are not color coded, although in my case, I can say that the Zenith Silver Sensor, if well placed, and if there are no intervening thunderstorms, can receive "Red" and (with a great deal of trouble and a dose of luck) sometimes "Blue". The farthest station I can receive with anything approaching reliability is 50 miles away. It must be rather high powered. Most of my locals are closer than 20 miles away.

    Distance isn't the only consideration; intervening terrain and the transmission power are also factors--and antennaweb takes these into account.
     
  11. Eric Stuckey

    Eric Stuckey Second Unit

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    So would a outdoor ...say a 80" Boom Length, 32 Element Antenna be ok? Or what about a Clip-On Amplified VHF/UHF/HD Antenna for Multi-Satellite Dish ?
     
  12. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    The Color code explained.

    So would a outdoor ...say a 80" Boom Length, 32 Element Antenna be ok?

    Sounds like a medium directional to me. You probably need a large directional.
    Generally, HDTV is broadcast over the UHF band. If that's the case in your location (check with antennaweb), you can get a physically smaller, antenna with only UFH elements-- a 32 UFH element antenna is more usable than an antenna with 20 VHF elements and 12 UHF elements.
     

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