OTA HDTV Questions Please!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark Booth, Oct 21, 2001.

  1. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 1999
    Messages:
    1,750
    Likes Received:
    787
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    I'm researching the viability of adding a HDTV STB receiver and OTA antenna to my Pioneer SD-582-HD5. I've been to the antennaweb.org and titantv.com sites and there are currently 5 digital OTA channels in my area; WB (19), Fox (23), ABC (25), NBC (40), CBS (55).
    If my home is the center of a clock face, the above digital station towers are located around the clock as follows:
    WB & NBC - roughly at the 4:30 position
    ABC & CBS - roughly at the 10:00 position
    Fox - roughly at the 7:00 position
    The WB and NBC towers are only about 7 or 8 miles away. The ABC & CBS towers are over 20 miles away.
    The Fox tower is also about 20-25 miles away.
    I am least interested in the Fox signal and most interested in the ABC signal (NYPD Blue).
    Antenna: Given the above, what is everyone's opinion on the use of the Radio Shack double-bow tie UHF antenna, placed in my attic? Is the Radio Shack relatively ominidirectional or would a rotor be needed? Or, given that WB/NBC and ABC/CBS are just about 180 degrees in opposite directions, could the Radio Shack bow tie be "aimed" at ABC/CBS towers but still easily get the closer WB/NBC signals via the "back" of the antenna?
    Basically, how much antenna twisting and turning do folks have to do to receive a variety of digital OTA signals from different directions using the RS bow tie?
    STB: Because of its RGB output and low price, I am leaning toward a RCA DTC-100. However, I am concerned about the need to connect it to a dish to receive the latest firmware.
    Which version of the DTC-100 installed firmware should be the MINIMUM needed to work properly with my Pioneer TV? (I recall that some older versions of the firmware proved problematic for the Pioneer.)
    Are there any current disadvantages to having only RGB out and NOT having component out? As mentioned, it will work fine with my Pioneer and I don't plan to get a new TV for at least 8-10 years. Will I regret the lack of component out down the road?
    Finally, the other STB I might consider is the Toshiba 3000. Are there DISADVANTAGES to using this with my Pioneer TV? Also, how does the Toshiba compare to the RCA in ability to lock a signal (fringe area), etc.?
    Any and all advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!
    Mark
    ------------------
    Our Home Theater
    Our DVD Collection
     
  2. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 1999
    Messages:
    1,750
    Likes Received:
    787
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    After some further research here in the forum and at AVS, I have added the Samsung SIR-T150 to my list of possible HD tuners. Given that I have a cable modem and the cable company requires me to have extended cable services, I have just about zero interest in also paying for any dish programming.
    However, I did read one message where someone was having trouble using the Samsung's RBG out with a Pioneer HDTV set. Has anyone had any success in this regard? Perhaps he simply had the output switch on the Samsung set incorrectly (720P)? I don't believe the Pioneer can handle 720P.
    Especially interested in comments re: the RS double-bow tie antenna (the rectangular one that sells for about $17). I have a hill directly behind my house in the direction of the WB & NBC stations. It's not a mountain or anything but it begins a slow rise right at my rear property line and goes up to maybe 6 times the height of my house. From the top of the hill, it is line of sight to the towers for WB and NBC just 7 or 8 miles away. After further reading, I am a little concerned about multipath problems due to the hill. Would a more directional antenna (plus rotor) be advised for helping to eliminate multipath reflections?
    Also, due to the possible multipath problems, I am now placing stronger consideration on the Samsung and Toshiba STBs because of their better tuners (multipath rejection).
    Thanks in advance for any help!
    Mark
    ------------------
    Our Home Theater
    Our DVD Collection
     
  3. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 1998
    Messages:
    12,608
    Likes Received:
    1,271
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Mark,
    The Radio Shack double bowtie antenna did not work very well for me, with or without an external amplifier. I am having the most success with a Radio Shack amplified indoor antenna (can't remember the model number, but it looks somewhat like a satellite dish). I am about 20 miles from the transmitters in Southfield, MI. Even though all six stations are in the same general area, I still need to reposition the antenna slightly when I change between a few channels. For that reason alone, placing an antenna in the attic would be a risky proposition.
    I own the Samsung SIR-T150, but use the component video outputs to my Toshiba 56H80. If you go with the Samsung, there is a firmware update that is supposed to correct a minor audio problem. I have the patch, but have not yet applied it (I need to bring a laptop PC home from work, since my home PC is a real pain to move into the family room).
    ------------------
    My DVD Collection
    AFI 100 Films to watch: 40 -> 4
    [Edited last by Scott Merryfield on October 22, 2001 at 10:01 AM]
     
  4. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 1999
    Messages:
    1,750
    Likes Received:
    787
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Thanks Scott! I read about the Samsung rev upgrade already. I'm hopeful that any newer units will already include the patch as I use a Macintosh and would have to borrow a friend's laptop PC to install the rev upgrade to the Samsung.
    I spent most of last night and much of this AM reading as much as I could about HDTV reception in 3 different forums. Since the main station I am intersted in (ABC) is also one of the farthest away, right now, I'm leaning toward a Channel Master 3021 UHF antenna mounted to a rotor in the attic. Some folks around San Diego are actually receiving the LA stations via this antenna in the attic. (I'm not really expecting to receive the LA stations, that would just be a bonus.)
    Still, it might be reasonable for me to at least try the inexpensive RS double-bow tie. It can always be returned and I might be quite surprised given the success folks have been having.
    Mark
    ------------------
    Our Home Theater
    Our DVD Collection
     
  5. Gary Williamson

    Gary Williamson Auditioning

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2000
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm currently using a Radio Shack double-bowtie antenna, mounted in the attic, for OTA reception of all of the local digital channels in my area. STB is Toshiba DST3000. Antenna is sensitive to direction. Fortunately, in my case, all 5 of the digital transmitters are located in the same direction about 12-15 miles away. So, I could 'hard-mount' the antenna to the attic struts without worrying about rotation. That said, the antenna works quite well. I obtain a 100 signal strength on all channels, even in heavy downpours, on both UHF and VHF digital channels.
     
  6. John Tyrone

    John Tyrone Agent

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2000
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi. I've got the bow-tie from Radio Shack which pulls analog stations from Lexington,Ky, which is about 25 miles from my house. I couldn't get digital channels from Cincinnati which is wierd because my other antenna in the bedroom gets analog channels from cincy, so I'll be up on the roof with an omnidirectional.
    I also just hooked up the tosh hd stb last night and everything looks great, especially hbohd. It also has a search for local channels and adds them to your menu. One thing though is I also plugged in a s-video cable from the stb to the tv so I can watch 480i material a little easier.
    You see when you have the box in hd mode it locks the picture in full or cropped for watching 480i(4x3) material which looks crappy. So I switch to the svideo for 480i viewing and use theatermode 1 on my tosh50h81.
    Just try out the bowtie and see how it goes, you can always return it and I think it works well for channels 14-69 from about 20-25miles out, and I'm out in the country on a hill sorta...
    John
     
  7. errol

    errol Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 1999
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi ya Mark,
    Antenna: Try the RS bowtie antenna. If it doesn't work then, you can always easily and conveniently return it. You can also consider an omnidirectional to avoid having to rotate the antenna.
    STB: Version 4.037 is the very minimum you should have on the DTC. Option 2 on retrace timing should work fine with your set.
    Lots of useful antenna, local reception, and STB info at my site.
    Thanks,
    Errol
    ------------------
    Keohi HDTV
    Your Friendly HDTV Tips Site
     
  8. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 1999
    Messages:
    1,750
    Likes Received:
    787
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Errol,
    Thanks for the tips! Yes, I've already been to Kehoi, many times! Thanks for the great site!
    Well, now I am leaning toward the Toshiba DST3000. I figure, if I'm going to spend half a grand, I might as well get the possibility of satellite down the road. My main interest in any DirectTV programming would be HBO-HD for The Sopranos. Questions:
    1) Do I understand correctly that if I purchase my own STB and my own oval dish, I can subscribe to JUST HBO-HD? That cost runs $15 per month?
    2) Is The Sopranos in HD or is it just digital?
    3) Other than The Sopranos, is there much else worth watching on HBO-HD? I might just subscribe only during the months that The Sopranos is playing and go "dark" the rest of the time. [​IMG]
    4) I recall a "free" satellite HD channel being mentioned somewhere (don't recall the name of the channel but, as I recall, it was mostly sports). Would that channel be available to me if I only subscribed to HBO-HD, or, would I have to subscribe to a full monthly service menu of DirectTV.
    As mentioned earlier, I have a cable modem with the cable company requiring me to carry full extended basic service. I don't wish to double-pay for a bunch of channels I already have and, besides, I don't watch that much regular TV anyway. DVD is still the primary source material that makes its way to my Pioneer HDTV.
    Thanks!
    Mark
     
  9. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2000
    Messages:
    720
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The Soprano's are HD and HBO HD runs just about 24/7 with HD movies.
    ------------------
     
  10. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 1999
    Messages:
    1,750
    Likes Received:
    787
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Thanks Mike! Guess I'm gonna have to go with a DirectTV compatible STB. [​IMG]
    Mark
     
  11. errol

    errol Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 1999
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi Mark,
    Yes, about $12 for HBO-HD which runs 24/7.
    HDnet is the "free" HD channel.
    Thanks,
    Errol
    ------------------
    Keohi HDTV
    Your Friendly HDTV Tips Site
     
  12. PaulKH

    PaulKH Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2001
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mark, interesting thread... I'm in a similar boat.
    I'm not that interested in satelite, so I'm considering the Samsung SIRT150 box (Outpost has for $499 after $100 rebate). Have you heard/read anything bad about this box?
    One other thing - of the research I did on satelite and HDTV, it seemed like Dish is a better deal than DirecTV - any thoughts?
    Thanks!
     
  13. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have only one ota digital channel and already had DirecTV, so I went with the Tosh box to get HBOHD and HD net.
    HBO HD is 24/7, but pretty much duplicates what's on the east coast ntsc feed, so most of the non-movie, and some of the movie content is upconverted ntsc, with black bars on the sides. Quality of the true HD stuff can vary from really great to only about dvd quality. Newer movies, and oddly enough Starman, look very good indeed and they do have a couple of excellent concerts in HD. Sopranos is very good, Band of Brothers is also great but the directors have done some playing around with the color to try to "date" the look.
    HDNet is included with any basic Directv package. Programming is mainly sports and HD-demo stuff like nature shows, documentarys, travelogues, etc, but they are just starting out so program content should get better in the future.
    To me HDNet is a must because it consistently has the most beautiful HD picture available anywhere, including the demo loops in the stores. Colors and detail are truly amazing.
    If anyone questions your decision to spend so much money to get HDTV, a few minutes of HDNet will convince them.
    ------------------
    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
     
  14. PaulKH

    PaulKH Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2001
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That Toshiba STB doesn't sound as good as the Samsung (which I now have) when it comes to adapting material to one's TV. The Samsung box detects the aspect ratio of incoming material and formats it automatically for your TV, so no need to futz with interlaced and non-interlaced feeds.
    My TV locks to 'full' 16:9 mode on the 480p/1080i inputs, but so far this Samsung box seems amazing.
    When I saw college football yesterday on CBS in widescreen 1080i, I was breathless for a while!
     

Share This Page