HD OTA Signal Strength Question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Shawn C, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    Ok,
    I am currently receiving HD from a Terk antenna mounted on my elliptical dish. Am I correct in assuming that the stronger signal I get, the better picture I will get? Is it like my satellite when you only have a signal strength in the 70's, you generally get a blotchy picture due to the incomplete signal and the MPEG compression?

    Or, am I wrong and it's really an all-or-nothing deal? The reason I ask is that FOX NBC and ABC, for me, look REALLY bad. CBS and PBS look very good. This are the same results I got with NON-HD signals as well. Should I be looking for a better antenna?

    (FOX and NBC aren't broadcasting HD content in my area, but are trasmitting an up-converted signal digitally)
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Shawn, as usual the real answer is, ‘It depends’. But I hope that this helps.

    First, some of how good your OTA signal needs to be is a function of your STB, among other factors, including things like multi-path signals. So you could consider getting a new, state-of-the-art STB. I find that OTA signals in the 50-60 range give me a pretty reliable picture, but of course a problem is that a weaker signal is less tolerant of fluctuations, so a dip can cause a problem that would not be seen otherwise. I have watched shows where the signal hovered around 40, without too much problem, but suffered with one that started in the 50s.

    My next move is to go from an indoor antenna (on top of my set) to a large one mounted in the attic. I’d try this, as there have been several reports that the Trek antenna is about as good as an indifferent indoor antenna.

    When I am getting a weak signal, I may get a momentary ‘blotchy’ or ‘frozen’ picture. Weaker yet and it goes out completely.

    ABC ought to look as good as CBS, although it is possible that your local stations may be the source of some problems. Fox will never look as well, as their digital signals are never true HD, but 480—this is not a ‘your area’ thing—it is their decision on digital telecasting. I can’t comment on NBC, as the telecast HD in my area (it looks good, btw).

    Look for a better antenna.
     
  3. Aaron Whitaker

    Aaron Whitaker Stunt Coordinator

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    It's all or nothing. There is no better or worse. There is however dropouts on weak signals which result in a frezing or pixellating of the image and loss of digital sound for however long the signal comes back.

    As far as the content looking good or bad, most stuff on the digital channels are not hd, they're sd where they are upconverted. I get 4 PBS channels, ABC, FOX, and PAX currently. Most the stuff just looks like a decent cable channel but when they air HD content of which ABC is the only one doing it right now in my area, it looks unbelievable.

    You should be able to press an info button that tells you whether you're watching hd or sd content.
     
  4. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    My T.V. always says "HD Standard" when viewing an HD signal, whether it be 1080 or upconverted 480. I don't use an STB since I am using the built-in decoder in my Mits. It does not have a signal strength meter.

    I don't get signal drop-out. What I get (not on CBS) is a real 'blocky' picture, that looks something like a low-bitrate movie on the internet. It's not THAT bad, but it looks ALOT worse than the picture on my old NON-HDTV set.

    Is this pretty much the norm with HDTV's? Anything NOT HD looks bad? The picture from my satellite is pretty awful now. It looked fine on my Sony, but now with the Mits., it's that 'low-bitrate' picture.
     

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