HDTV in apartment...possible???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by jeff lam, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    I'm looking into getting HDTV but it may be a challenge since I live in an apartment. The complex does have an antenna routed to all the units but it doesn't even pick up the SD channels very well at all and I'm assuming the antenna is no good for HD signals anyway. Is there any way I can get good HD from all available OTA channels without a huge antenna?
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    You mainly need a good UHF antenna (since most OTA HDTV is broadcasted on UHF), and good antenna direction towards the broadcasting towers.
     
  3. Matt Goddard

    Matt Goddard Stunt Coordinator

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    When I moved into my house I was forced to wait a week for my cable installation so I experimented with an antenna in my basement entertainment room. I couldn't pick up a thing, however. Two weeks ago I bought an OTA HDTV receiver and an antenna with amplifier and I have no problems picking up the two stations broadcasting locally in HDTV. I still can't pick up any of the analog stations, though. I'm just using a $50 Jensen antenna from Best Buy, so I wouldn't be discouraged just because you can't currently pick up analog channels.
     
  4. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    You never know until you actually try.

    For starters, you should check this site to get a rough idea what's possible:

    www.antennaweb.org

    _Man_
     
  5. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    I could pick up a receiver and try out the antenna already connected, but my question now is: will sharing the antenna between 12 apartments going to affect anything? (At least that's how I think it's hooked up).
     
  6. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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    Hi Jeff,

    I live in Oakland, and have a building with 12 units as well. We all share this old rusted antenna that's on the top of the roof. It never picked up regular SD TV too well, but it works perfectly for HDTV.

    I had to go up on the roof and point the UHF antenna toward Mt. Sutro (which you will have to do the same).

    The only HD channel I can't get in NBC, but that's because of their antenna location in the Bay Area. Give it a shot, most likely you will be fine if you can go up on the roof to make some minor positioning adjustments. Also, you could always offer the landlord to purchase a new antenna for the building if you were really out of luck with making adjustments. Once you see HDTV, its hard to go back. Good luck!
     
  7. Chris S

    Chris S Cinematographer

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    I lived in an apartment about 15 miles away from the main towers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. With a clean line of sight I was about to get pretty good reception with a regular pair of rabbit ears.

    Chris S.
     
  8. Daniel Mai

    Daniel Mai Stunt Coordinator

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    Try the complex antenna, if that doesn't work, try the ever popular Radio Shack double bowtie ($18) and it'll work great.

    Like Patrick said, just a UHF antenna is all you need. Ironically, I bought a Terk amplified indoor antenna from Best Buy for $100, hooked it up and had troubles receiving signals. Then I read about the RS double bowtie, tried that and it works great. It's so small that you can leave on top of your TV to make minor adjustments for better reception. I actually have mine in the attic (fixed location) and it picks up all the local OTA HDTV.

    Good luck and get ready to be stunned by the images!!:b
     
  9. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    You'll be amazed at what's possible for free (after the upfront costs, of course). Good luck, and keep us posted please.
     
  10. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the help guys! I'll look into it.

    One more question... Will I still need to subscribe to local channels through Directv if I have HDTV locals? Do the HDTV towers send out the SD signal when there isn't an HD program on?

    Also, what's the item # of that popular Radio Shack double bowtie?
     
  11. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Unfortunately, the RS Double Bowtie antenna is discontinued. It is in the printed catalog (you'll know it when you see it - look in the antenna section), but I don't think it's on the website anymore.

    Many people have lucked out by getting them on clearance (like $5) but most RS stores are sold out of them. You never know unless you call your local RS stores or visit them.

    I had to resort to other online means to get mine (I think I got mine from another HTFer). With the 10dB booster, mine works pretty well.
     
  12. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Jeff, you probably are hosed. You don't live that far from me (Cambrian Park district) and I found that I needed a big rooftop antenna to get DTV from Sutro Towers. A medium-sized antenna wasn't good enough. Sutro's about 50 miles away in San Francisco.
     
  13. NatL

    NatL Stunt Coordinator

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    Am I missing something in all this - it seems that there are OTA-HDTV receivers that cost hundreds. But I don't need one of those - I can just buy a good UHF antenna and I'll get HDTV? (I do have an HDTV-ready TV).

    N
     
  14. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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    NatL, unless you have an HDTV receiver built into your set, you NEED an external Set Top Box (STB) in order to receive the HD signal.

    Just having a "HDTV-Ready" TV is 1/3 of the process. You then need 2. A Receiver, and 3. An HD Signal from Over The Air Antenna, Cable, or Sattelite.
     
  15. Joe6pack99

    Joe6pack99 Second Unit

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    Whats interesting is I just found out Time Warner now has a cable box with a decoder built in...it sends the decoded hd video too the hd ready tv via the component output.All the tv has too do is be able too accept and display hd video.
     
  16. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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  17. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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