Antenna for OTA HDTV

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by NathanM, Jan 8, 2003.

  1. NathanM

    NathanM Auditioning

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    I'm in a situation where I'm going to have a Samsung SIR-T150 for the next couple weeks, and probably need a new antenna. According to www.antennaweb.org I only need the lowest grade of antenna to get my local digital stations. So, 2 quick questions. First, how strong is the correlation between good/bad analog TV pickup and good/bad DTV pickup? I get modest reception for analog channels with my existing indoor antenna, and if I can stick with that, great. Second, if I do have to replace my current antenna, does anyone have a decent but inexpensive recommendation for an antenna? Especially one that supports a somewhat temporary mounting scheme (AKA, I'm too lazy to put an antenna on the roof for 3 weeks of TV). Thanks for your advice.
    Nathan
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I've been just playing around with indoor antennas for now (from Radio Shack, amplified model #15-1838), and gotten decent results, but you'll be very lucky if you actually find the sweet spot that pulls in all the available OTA HDTV channels.

    For me, I can pull in all of the channels except for NBC (which is on VHF channel 10) in one position (and I have to turn off the amplified portion of the antenna in this setup), then to get NBC, I had to position the antenna a little differently and turn on the amplified portion to pull in channel 10. (Thus I keep it in the non-channel 10 position for the most part). But every person's experience will be different based on location.

    I also played with an older non-amplified antenna, but was never ever able to pull in CBS (a must for NFL playoff games this weekend), nor NBC.

    An outdoor antenna will be a better long-term solution provided it gets positioned correctly (or a rotor is used if mutliple tuning positions are required for different channels).

    Picking up analog channels isn't really all that good an indicator of signal strength because DTV is usually an "all or nothing" proposition (with the middle being pixellated break-ups that go into a "no signal" status for the most part).
     
  3. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Probably the closest you're gonna get to guesstimating whether your existing antenna will work is to compare the UHF analog broadcasts w/ the UHF digital broadcasts for similar "compass orientation" and then see if your antenna can pick up a moderately watchable signal from the UHF analog broadcasts. Since your search results say you can get digital reception w/ the lowest grade antenna, I'd assume distance and signal strength is not an issue.

    Without issues w/ distance and signal strength, I'd think you're very likely to be able to get a good digital signal from a certain direction, if you can get a watchable analog signal from that same direction.

    Do the same for VHF if you have VHF digital broadcasts.

    Note that this is just based on my limited understanding of what I've read. It's just "theory". I haven't tested it for myself yet--and probably won't until I switch from cable to Directv.

    So as Pat said, you're really gonna have to try it and see.

    _Man_
     
  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I have several ota digital stations available, along with their analog counterparts. The ones that come in decently in analog also come in quite well in their digital versions. Only one of these available digital stations is doing any HD at this time. Reception of their signal is always good, but at times the picture is bad due to problems between the network and the station.

    Sometimes the signal strength from this particular station is maxed out, yet the HD picture is badly blocky and pixellated during network fed programming. Locally originated commercials during station breaks during these poor feeds look fine.

    The only digital station that's consistently poor is also poor from it's analog feed.

    If you get fairly snow-free analog reception of a given analog channel, your digital feed from the same channel should be fine assuming they are running full power on the digital transmitter (some stations are only doing low power digital transmission).
     
  5. It depends on how far from the transmitter you are. With indoor antennas and amplifiers I was able to get a good signal on all but one channel in the SF bay area. I went with a fairly large unamplified roof top antenna and I get every channel with nearly a full meter strength. I would always say go with a large antennae if you can and if it is too powerful you can use an attenuator
     
  6. RossTerry

    RossTerry Guest

    how much will an amplififed indoor antenna improve over a non-amplified indoor antenna?
     
  7. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Again, it's one of those YMMV because sometimes you get too much signal, and you don't get a clean signal that's needed for HDTV.

    Each amplified antenna should tell you how much gain you'll get when you flip the switch on it.

    You'd be surprised what a normal antenna can pull in if you're pointed in the right direction and have the telescoping leads pointed just right. I've learned that fully extending the leads doesn't always produce the best results due to the wavelength being captured by the antenna. It's a trial and error process.
     
  8. RossTerry

    RossTerry Guest

    the reason i ask is because there are 4 digital stations broadcasting in the area. with a simple $9.99 RCA antenna i can pull in 3 of the stations and have about half of a signal strength bar. but i cant even get a sniff of the 4th channel. its the fox channel. i had emailed them awhile back and this is the response i got

    "KTBC has a DTV station on Channel 56. This is a low-power, city-grade coverage signal broadcasting a 480P DTV signal. We are currently upconverting our existing NTSC signal to the 480P Digital signal."

    what would that mean by upconverting their existing signal?

    im waiting for a reply from them.

    i only live a few miles from the towers...

    we'll see
     
  9. Jerry Dreiss

    Jerry Dreiss Stunt Coordinator

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    I used Antennaweb.org and found that I am in the center of a number of stations here in Brighton Center, a semi-suburban western part of Boston. They say I can get the most basic antenna (yellow), but I clearly need an omnidirectional one. None of the antennas that I've seen advertised for HDTV mention omnidirectionality. I'm thinking sepecificly the Terk TV-35, TV-55, or the TV-42 one that hooks onto your satellite dish. That last one you clearly can't put on a mast and rotate.
    Because I live on a hill, with the southern facing being the uphill part where most of the stations are coming from, I was thinking of the roof mounted option.
    Any suggestions for antennas for under $100 for my situation?
     
  10. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  11. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Second Unit

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    Winegard. [​IMG]
     
  12. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  13. Ken_F

    Ken_F Stunt Coordinator

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    Nathan,

    If you'd like to try a good indoor, set-top antenna for digital reception, pick up the Silver Sensor from Circuit City. I've had good results with this particular model in my testing.
     
  14. NathanM

    NathanM Auditioning

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    Quick follow-up: I ended up picking up the Radio Shack antenna recommended above (15-1838), and it is like night and day compared to the Terk I had originally tried. Even in my basement (where the TV is) the RS picks up about 3 times the signal that the Terk was getting from my top floor. I haven't even turned on the amplifier yet, because the signal is WAY too strong if I do.

    It's wierd that I have to fiddle around with the antenna for just about every channel I want to watch. They're all broadcasting from the exact same location, so I would have thought that there would one antenna position that would get them all pretty well. I guess not!
     
  15. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I'm glad that 15-1838 antenna is working out.

    I thought I was happy with it too...but, I got lucky and had someone offer to sell me a discontinued Radio Shack Double Bowtie antenna. I jumped at the chance and got it in the mail on Friday. It worked so well that I went ahead and returned the 15-1838 because the RS Double Bowtie only requires rotating the antenna around its vertical axis, there's no fidgeting with the telescoping elements, or the round UHF portion of the antenna.
     
  16. RossTerry

    RossTerry Guest

    a follow-up from me:

    i tried out a amplified model and found a sweet spot to receive all the channels being broadcast across the city

    hopefuly it stays working
     
  17. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Second Unit

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    Patrick -- how's that double bowtie antenna working out? Is it really doing better than the 15-1838?

    And does anyone here have the Rat Shack 15-1862 powered antenna? Wondering how it stacks up against the others.
     

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