My HT is in the basement, what do I need to get OTA HD broadcast?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Ottis Fletcher, Apr 9, 2003.

  1. Ottis Fletcher

    Ottis Fletcher Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, my HT is located in my basement, there are no windows except one glass block that is completely covered to keep light out. I would like to get a STB box so I can get OTA, there are many stations in my area that are sending out the signals. What equipment will I need, how much would it cost about, and how much work will it be? If it's going to be a pain I will just wait a few months and get a dish.
     
  2. Ottis Fletcher

    Ottis Fletcher Stunt Coordinator

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    My TV has a tuner built in that decodes all ATSC and NTSC standards.
     
  3. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    You just need an OTA-capable HD STB and a regular antenna--most likely UHF, but maybe VHF also depending on how the HD channels are broadcast. The exact type of antenna and how to locate it and where to point will depend on your exact location, etc.

    Check here for some key info about your local broadcasts and general antenna info as a starting point:

    www.antennaweb.org

    This site is also a good read for learning about how to get reception, including reviews of a few STBs and old antenna models:

    http://www.projectorexpert.com/

    For the most part, if you have no problems receiving regular analog OTA broadcasts, especially the UHF variety, you should be able to receive the HD ones w/ relative ease. If not, it will likely be much tougher. Still, it's worth a try if you arm yourself w/ the right info.

    If you're in the latter case, I suggest getting the most sensitive OTA tuner you can (maybe the Zenith 420 reviewed in the site above?) from a place that offers good return policy and try it w/ the various antenna types suggested at the sites above.

    Oops! Overlooked your 2nd post. Try it w/ the built-in tuner first, but if you have a tough case, you might still need to buy a new tuner. Have no idea how good built-in ones tend to be.

    For antennas, don't buy the Terk hype. A cheap RatShack one (maybe w/ built-in amp) is probably better, if it has to be indoor. However, it sounds like you need an outdoor antenna that you might put in your attic or on your roof.

    BTW, even if you get a Dish, you'll likely still need OTA reception for the locals. DirecTV doesn't do HD locals, and Dish only offers CBS HD for select markets, where CBS owns the local station. This situation might not change too much for a long while yet.

    Hope I haven't discouraged you too much.

    _Man_
     
  4. Ottis Fletcher

    Ottis Fletcher Stunt Coordinator

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    So I just need to go to my local Best Buy and pick up an antenna since my TV all ready has a built in tuner?
     
  5. Ottis Fletcher

    Ottis Fletcher Stunt Coordinator

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    My TV does not have a tuner built in. I don't have any idea why I said it did.
     
  6. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    Without a tuner you will need a set top box. These will run you from $400 and up. Make sure the STB receives terrestrial signals -- many STB's are for cable HD only (which uses different modulation).

    Alternately, you can build a PC with one of the various HDTV cards. The advantage is that you can record HD programming. But if you aren't somewhat PC literate, it may be difficult to set up and troubleshoot. I ended up spending over $1000 and hours upon hours before fixing all the major bugs, but it works great now.

    As for being in a basement -- the best solution is to get a rooftop antenna. If you want indoor, try out the Zenith Silver Sensor. It's $40 at Best Buy, and you can always return or exchange it if you don't happen to get much in the way of UHF signal. If you get clear reception of analog UHF channels, you have a good chance of getting good HD reception. Since HD is broadcast in UHF, don't bother with VHF/UHF combos -- a dedicated UHF antenna will work better.
     
  7. Ottis Fletcher

    Ottis Fletcher Stunt Coordinator

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    I all ready have digital cable so I don't need it to get analog channels, just HD. Thats why I'm thinking I should wait a few months till I get my satellite dish instead of spending $500 now, and another $500 for a dish receiver.
     
  8. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Have you tried getting HD service from your cable provider?

    _Man_
     
  9. Ottis Fletcher

    Ottis Fletcher Stunt Coordinator

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    HD Cable is not offered in my area. I picked up the STB (Zenith HDV420) and antenna (Trek TV55). I get all the channels that I was expected to get, and they all look great.
     

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