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HDTV Antennas

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Chris Huber, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. Chris Huber

    Chris Huber Second Unit

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    Do any of you guys use them? How well do they perform? Would the channels be close the quality of HD Cable TV?

    Are there any roundup reviews of many antennas online?
     
  2. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    They are UHF antennas. The quality is the same as Cable or better. I could not tell a difference, but some claimed the Olympics looked compressed in Cable.

    Go to antennaweb.org and place you address to get an idea of what level antenna you need and what you can pick up. Good Luck
     
  3. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Technically there is no such thing as an "HD antenna" -- any standard VHF or UHF antenna will work to pick up HD over-the-air frequencies. I myself use a $20.00 UHF Radio Shack antenna, mounted on my roof. Performance ultimately depends more on the distance you are from the broadcast towers and the strength at which the stations are broadcasting.
     
  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    OTA potentially offers the best possible HD picture as there can be no compression of the original broadcast. Some cable companies compress HD, some don't, an ota local HD signal will not be compressed beyond what the originating broadcaster does.

    Analog tv signals degrade and get snowy with weak reception.

    Digital signals either come in perfectly or the picture breaks up into multicolored blocks, drops out intermittently, or disappears altogether. As long as an ota digital picture is stable it's as good as it gets.
     
  5. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Most HDTV stations broadcast over the UHF band, although in Chicago, the CBS channel broadcasts on channel 3-- a frequency that is difficult, if not impossible to pick up with a UHF-only antenna. It's best to follow the recommendations of antennaweb.

    I live in a Red zone-- but I can receive HDTV (without dropouts) using a silver sensor pointed in the right direction. It has an amplifier attached, but that's mostly to facilitate use of a long cable-- one of my rooms has a window facing in the direction of the broadcasting towers, and that room is not my home theater. Ahem...

    YMMV, of course-- I've heard that antennaweb only recommends indoor antennas for green and yellow zones.

    As for antenna reviews, this collection of antenna simulations might prove useful.
     
  6. Chris Huber

    Chris Huber Second Unit

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  7. Ryan_W

    Ryan_W Auditioning

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    I'm a bit confused. Are the HD and SD signals broadcast on the same frequecy?
     
  8. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Chris, you sure waited long enough to reply.

    A stations analog and digital signals are broadcast on different frequencies but still in the same frequency band designated for TV stations. For example, my local CBS station is channel 3 (UHF). Their digital channel is 28 (UHF). Since all of my local digital channels are in the UHF band, I'm using the Radio Shack Double Bow Tie to pick them up. Lately I've been having trouble with NBC dropping out so I'm upgrading to another UHF antenna mounted in the attic.

    -Robert
     
  9. Chris Huber

    Chris Huber Second Unit

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    Thread resurrection! I've had Digital HD cable, so I haven't really needed to reply. But I am interested in getting rid of the HD box($12/m) and cable all together (~50/m).
    I am about 19 miles away from the stations. Will this work in the basement? If not, would sitting the antenna upstairs work and run a long cable down?
     
  10. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    I'm 25 miles away with my little RS antenna. It's OK so that's why I'm upgrading. Try the little bow-tie first. At least you can take it back to RS if it doesn't work. And yes, the higher you mount your antenna, the better the reception will be.

    -Robert
     
  11. Chris Huber

    Chris Huber Second Unit

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    Do you have a link to want antenna it is at RS? Thanks.

    Also, are there any local places to purchase the Zenith? Haven't been able to find any...
     
  12. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    The zenith, iirc, can be had at sears.

    Oh. A pet peeve of mine.

    ATSC Digital Television supports 18 different formats, using five different resolutions: 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, and 480i.

    The 1080p, 1080i, and 720p formats are called HDTV
    The 480p format is called EDTV
    and the 480i format is called SDTV

    The old analog format, NTSC, is composed of 525 intelarced scanning lines, 480 of which are visible. However, NTSC uses a different (broken) color schema. If given enough bits, SDTV images will look superior to NTSC.
     
  13. Chris Huber

    Chris Huber Second Unit

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    Ok, now i can drop by sears and pick up the antenna to try it out.

    What cable do I need to go from the antenna to the TV? Can I make that 20-30ft longer without loosing signal to reach upstairs?
     
  14. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Maybe. If you are only getting a marginal signal, any increase in wire length will cause the strength to drop. Maybe a little and it's not noticable. Maybe a lot and you can't get any picture at all.

    -Robert
     
  15. Ryan_W

    Ryan_W Auditioning

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    You have to run it through an hd set box right?
     
  16. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    You haven't posted any details about your setup so I can't answer that question. I run my antenna through my DirecTV receiver because I only have an HD ready TV and I want to record HD on my HR10-250 (aka HD DirecTivo). If your TV has an ATSC tuner, then you can connect the antenna directly to its digital input.

    -Robert
     
  17. Chris Huber

    Chris Huber Second Unit

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    My TV comes with an ATSC tuner, so I am set as far as that goes.
     
  18. Ryan_W

    Ryan_W Auditioning

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    My television is a 52" GE that unfortunately does not have a digital input. My cable box is a Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300.

    My local cable company stupidly doesn't carry ABC and FOX in HD so this is something I would love to do. I purchased an HD antenna but haven't figured out how to get it to work.

    I need my Monday Night Football High-Def style. [​IMG]
     
  19. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Since your TV doesn't have an ATSC tuner and no one makes a cable box with an ATSC tuner, you need a STB (set top box) that has one. The cheapest out right now is the clearance model from Radio Shack. There's a little discussion about it at AVS. If you can't find one in your area, look for older DirecTV HD receivers. They will work just fine as OTA models without a subscription. eBay and the For Sale section here are two good places. In fact, there may be a Hughes E86 for sale here by Friday.

    -Robert
     
  20. Ryan_W

    Ryan_W Auditioning

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    I live about 7 miles due west of where all of the stations broadcast in Indianapolis. It looks as though all of the networks are all broadcast digitally and all of the ones I need are UHF.

    Is signal strength an issue with digital or is it just a hit or miss deal?

    Sorry for my complete lack of knowledge on this subject...
     

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