OTA HD Tuners need suggestions!

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by RickRO, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    Trying to get some input and recommendations on OTA HD tuners and have't been able to find out much info. Performed a search here and still did not come up with a lot of info.

    What are you using and how's it working for ya?

    I would like to stay in the less than $300 ballbark.

    Any suggestions, comments, recommendations would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    I use the dual ATSC tuner built into my DirecTV HR10-250 (HD DirecTivo) connected to a Radio Shack Double Bow Tie antenna ($5). Works fine for everything except NBC so I'm upgrading the antenna to a larger model mounted in the attic.

    You may be able to find the Radio Shack OTA receiver if you look around. It was closed out a few months ago and they were dumping it for aroud $80. Wal-Mart sells an OTA HD receiver for around $200.

    Picking out a reciever is easy. The antenna is the difficult part.

    -Robert
     
  3. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert well the antenna actually has not been the problem I have searched the web and found a lot of info on antennas. I live about 45 and 65 miles respectfully from two different broadcast cities. I figure for me to get both of them reliably will take one of the bigger antennas from the (fringe/deep) area of the antenna spectrum.

    I have had less success finding info on OTA receivers. Lots on Samsung and the LG models but less so on others. I'm on Dish SD now but planning on going HD in near future and really for right now wanting just OTA HD and not so ready for Dish HD. I will wait for more HD channels and a better incentive package before upgrading.

    OTA is FREE and I like that price for now! [​IMG]
     
  4. Brian R

    Brian R Stunt Coordinator

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    Have you checked out the deals Dish is offering to existing subscribers? You can get the new ViP211(single tuner HD receiver)for $49.00 or the new Vip622 (dual tuner HD DVR) for $299.00. The ViP622 apparently is not available yet but they are taking preorders.
     
  5. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    Brian,

    No I have not done that yet....
    Still in the process of building my HT and don't own a HDTV yet[​IMG] .......still in the SD CRT TV "stone age" so not even checked the incentives yet from Dish.

    Which leads me to another question. Can some of the satellite tuners also decode OTA HD signals as well as the HD Dish signals. If I could find a sat box that did that it might be worth 300 or so to eliminate the OTA box for my planned FP and run everything through the Dish box.

    My immediate plans for my HT is the FP then directly above that is the family room which is currently the main TV watching area now.

    Maybe if I could get a dual HD tuner capable of OTA signals too I could get my HD FP for my HT in the basement (as planned) and then maybe convince the wife to open the purse strings a little more for the 37" plasma I have had my eye on [​IMG] for the family room for "regular" tv watching!
     
  6. Brian R

    Brian R Stunt Coordinator

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    Both the 211 and 622 decode OTA HD.
     
  7. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    Brian

    Went to the Dish website and read some info on the 622. The primary TV out had all of the HDTV settings 720p 1080i etc. etc. and the secondary TV only had 480i out and I assuming that is through composite video. I also think I read that it will decode OTA HDTV signals but not analog. Still want to have the ability to get those. Also with the secondary TV out being only 480i kinda shoots down Dish HD for the 2nd TV.

    Guess I'm still on the hunt for a HDTV OTA set top box.....keep the recommendations coming guys!
     
  8. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Then connect your antenna directly to your TV's tuner.

    -Robert
     
  9. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert



    Would do that but I'm going to be using a FP that doesn't have a built in tuner so I'll need some type of STB for OTA signals.

    That is an option for the family room though were are regular TV watching is done. Just not the basement HT in the works.
     
  10. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    Sorry, I cannot direct you to something here but AVS has an entire forum on HDTV Reception Hardware and a "sticky" on the currently available HDTV set top boxes. It does not list the PC card options however for HTPC applications. (this is what I use for my InFocus SP4805 FP)
     
  11. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Or a cheap VCR.

    If I get off my lazy rear and put my Hughes E-86 in the For Sale section, then it would work for you since it will tune in both OTA digital and analog along with DirecTV (if subscribed).

    -Robert
     
  12. Teddy TD

    Teddy TD Extra

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    I also need a good OTA tuner, I will take a look at AVS and see what others recommend, though if anyone here has one that they like please let me know. Thanks
     
  13. Mike_P

    Mike_P Agent

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    I use the Samsung SIR-351. It is ok, but I have trouble with sound dropouts when it is set to output Dolby Digital sound. I set the digital sound output to PCM, and it works fine. Analog sound output also works. Supposedly there is a problem with these Samsung units and the way the tv stations encode their sound, but I don't know the details. The 351 is an older unit, and has been replaced by the 451.

    A useful site is antennaweb.org. It will tell you what tv channels you can expect to receive, but it is now pretty conservative. At 45 miles away, I can receive 4 channels from Fort Wayne, In, but antennaweb doesn't show them. I cheat and put in a Fort Wayne zip code so I get all the channels listed. It is useful because it lists all the current analog tv stations AND their corresponding digital channel numbers.

    Most digital stations are uhf in my area, so I got a uhf only antenna. I am using a Winegard PR-9032, which is a yagi antenna. I am also using a Winegard uhf preamp. I found it convenient to use a Channel Master antenna rotor. Sometimes rotating the antenna a few degrees one way or the other improves the reception. The Channel Master even has an ir remote control. I will eventually add it into my Pronto remote program. With the rotor, I can also aim the antenna at South Bend and receive a couple of stations from there. Getting the antenna up as high as possible will help your reception. I can't receive stations 60 miles away with my setup, and I'm not sure what else I can do to make that possible.

    It is nice if the ota receiver has a signal strength meter. The Samsung has a meter, but you must manually tune to the channel if the signal is too weak to lock on. This is why the antennaweb site is useful, it tells me what channels to tune to. Then I can look at the signal strength meter and use the rotor to search for the station. You may want to check the sensitivity of the receiver before you buy it, as that will affect the number of channels you can receive.
     
  14. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    Teddy


    That is where I started to look and just became even more confused at that forums thread.......came back here to seek advice.

    If you can make heads or tails out of that mess let me know!
     
  15. Shane Harg

    Shane Harg Second Unit

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    I don't know if this will help, but while I was living over there, I had digital phone and broadband Internet services through Comcast. I never really had an interest in getting any TV through cable or satellite services - I really don't like to sit and watch the tube or have my kids watch it, either. But anyway, Comcast called me up with an offer I couldn't refuse, which really amounted to extortion. I could either have my existing monthly services go up about $20 a month or I could subscribe ot basic digital cable and have it only go up a few dollars more.

    I went ahead and took them up on the offer (what choice did I have?) and they actually set me up with an HD tuner for no initial charge and no monthly rental fee for the first few months. The deal also came with (apparently) trying out every channel they had to offer. The adult channels were pretty nasty, so I had to eventually call and tell them to just give me what I was paying for - basic with a few of the local channels in HD. I got to enjoy a few movies in HD on the Showtime and HBO HD channels until they shut them off. What I miss the most now, though, is watching Leno - about the only show I watched with any regularity - in HD.

    So, what I'm saying here is, you may also want to check out what your local cable companies have to offer, as well. Sorry for the long-winded post. Took me forever just to say what I could have said with one sentence. LOL. Good luck.

    Shane
    Yamanashi prefecture, Japan
     
  16. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    What may be your best bet is to go to a local store and find out what they have in stock. The HD receivers are unrepairable (for a number of reasons) so if they break they must be exchanged or sent to the factory for exchange. It might be important to have a local place to deal with if that would happen. Unless you want it, make sure you specify no subscription fee (this means no TIVO or Satellite versions). While the stores are selling lots of HDTV ready sets, their selection of tuners has been abominable.
     
  17. Brian R

    Brian R Stunt Coordinator

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    Rick

    Here are a couple more ideas.

    Get a used DISH 811 receiver from eBay, make sure there is not a balance due on it. They have come down in price since the release of the 211 and 622 receivers; it looks like they are selling for around $200. They receive both OTA HD and analog signals.

    You could replace your existing Dish receiver with one or add it as an additional receiver. You would not have to buy the DISH HD programming package to receive OTA HD programming. I've had an 811 for close to 2 years and its worked fine. Early on it would lock up and have to be reset frequently but the latest firmware seems stable and I haven’t had any problems for the last year or so.

    I also have a Sony DHG-HDD250 ]Sony DHG-HDD250[/url] and love it. It’s more than you want to spend but it's worth every penny. It tunes OTA HD, analog, QAM cable signals and its a 250gb DVR too. They were discontinued late last year and are now hard to find. Crutchfield currently has some Scratch & Dent units in stock. I've read over at AVS that Tweeter is clearancing out the Sony DHG-HDD500, the 500gb version, for $249, none of the Tweeters in my area had any left.

    I tried a
    Samsung SIR-T451 before getting the Sony but I wasn’t real happy with it. It tuned channels fine but it would "forget" the channels I had programmed and it doesn't receiver analog signals.
     
  18. Teddy TD

    Teddy TD Extra

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    Thanks I will take a look at the Sony models.
     
  19. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    Brian is this what you are talking about here?

    If I replace my 311? with the 811 and not upgrade to the Dish HD is there any fee? If I could get a unit such as this, use it for satellite and OTA SD analog and HD digital signals it just may work for me and I wouldn't have an additional box to mess with.

    I will read up on the 811 and also the Sony....however as you stated the 811 is more my price range.

    Thanks
     

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