Over The Air HDTV: Antenna and equipment questions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by RAF, Jul 16, 2001.

  1. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    O.K. Here's the deal. I'm 95% certain (I'll know for sure tomorrow) that a Dish (Dish or DirecTV) is not an option for me due to the lack of a line of sight to the birds in the sky.
    Those of you who know me, know I'm using an HDTV capable SONY VW10HT projector in my Home Theater which is a tremendous performer. In fact, the only thing missing up until this point has been an HDTV source. (My fellow VW10HT owners are amazed that I've waited so long - over 1.5 years to add HDTV to the mix!).
    Assuming that I must go for OTA as my only HDTV option, what do I need in the way of hardware and an antenna? I am located about 30 miles north (line of sight) of NYC and its antennas and, back in pre-cable days (you should pardon the expression, "cable" in this message since it's Cablevision [​IMG] ) I was able to get a decent OTA picture from VHS and UHF sources with roof antennas (long gone).
    It's been a while since I looked at HDTV boxes, so what's the latest and the greatest? Prices? Features? Sources to purchase?
    And what about the antenna? What kind? Sources, model numbers, prices, etc.
    Anything else I'm going to need? I guess I'm forced to keep cable for my regular sources, but I'm set for HDTV in other respects. I even have a separate dedicated 5 conductor component cable already in place to feed the projector. All that's missing is the gathering and processing of the HDTV signal.
    All suggestions and/or other advice would be greatly appreciated ASAP. If DISH were an option (very small chance) then this would be relatively easy. But it looks like I might have to mount an antenna on the roof (which I'm willing to do for HDTV if this is viable).
    Thanks in advance.
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    RAF
    [Demented Video Dude since 1997]
    [Computer Maven since 1956]
    ["PITA" since 1942]
    My HT (latest update 02/05/01)
     
  2. Kevin Coleman

    Kevin Coleman Second Unit

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    Robert,
    As long as you have good line of site to the City a UHF bowtie antenna should do the trickfor only 30 miles. Are any of the digital stations in your area broadcsating HDTV on VHF? If they are you will have to know that when you go to get an antenna.
    As far as HDTV STB's go you will probably get the newest OTA ATSC tuners in the small dish boxes. I don't think there has been any new STB's lately that doesn't have either DTV or E* satellitte built in. I have the Dish 6000 unit and had it hooked up to my Sony 400Q before I sold it and the picture quality was amazing with 1080I. Almost as good as my CRT projector that I have now.
    Kevin C. [​IMG]
     
  3. Howard Williams

    Howard Williams Supporting Actor

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    Although many reccommend the smaller bowtie types, I would say get the biggest outdoor antenna you can get your hands on. The Channel Master 4242 can often be found locally. The 3671 has even more range and a little more gain, I think, but it's hard to find and shipping is expensive. A big antenna can give you more signal strength which can make all the difference between those rock solid stations and the ones that drop in and out. Just going from a CM 3020 to the CM 4242 raised my strength about 10 points.
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    "Some people can read 'War & Peace' and walk away with just an adventure story. Some people can read a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the keys to the universe"
     
  4. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    Robert, first thought is your line of sight for Dish HD material is 61.5, kind of a southerly direction. For Dish SD material, line of sight is 110/119 or a westerly direction. Whatever or whoever checks your ability to receive a signal needs to know that if you are thinking HD, 61.5 is all that matters.
    I went with Dishnetwork because they are committed to HD and Direct TV is not. Therefore, I use a Dish 6000 and OTA card. Some people trash the user interface but it works for me.
    When I needed antenna gear I simply looked in the yellow pages for a channelmaster dealer in my area. I told him where I live and what my conditions are and he sold me a 1162 combination (vhf/fm/uhf) unit with an amp/rotor and mounting hardware.
    At this time, I'm about 35 miles from NYC on the LI north shore. We receive all the networks with PBS starting up just last week. They all look great with the exception of fox which does not broadcast 1080i at this time.
    As far as reception I can only offer this advice, location, location, location. If you got it, you got it. If you don't you don't. If you received good reception in pre-cable days, you probably have it. The only finicky channel seems to be PBS (WNET). There are a couple of threads over on AVS in which several people get everything just fine, but not PBS. My location gets it just fine so I don't know what the problem is.
    Good luck, hope this helps.
     
  5. Philip

    Philip Extra

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    Howard...Radio Shack also sells a 70" and 80" antenna...is there anything different about the Channel Master...such as the 3023 which is 80" long, which makes it a better unit then the one at my local RS?
    I am not sure if the unit you mentioned is an indoor one...I want to mount it in my attic, not on the roof, if possible.
    Philip in Philadelphia
     
  6. Chip_Slattery

    Chip_Slattery Stunt Coordinator

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    Philip,
    I'm getting off topic here but I thought you might be interested in my antenna installation. I recently installed a CM3023 w/rotor in my attic. Pictures available at site and please feel free to ask any questions.
    We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread...
    Chip
     
  7. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the feedback, gang.
    A couple of questions & comments based on the responses.
    [*] I realize that the 61.5 satellite is the DISH HD source and I think (I'll know shortly) that this line of sight is fine. It's the 110-119 birds that are the potential problem. But don't you really need to be able to see both for cost effective DISH Network HD? I'd hate to pay all that money for service if I'd not be able to get the channels found on 110-119. If that were the case I'd prefer getting a good outdoor antenna and a Dish 6000 + OTA card.
    [*] Even though I'm about 30-40 miles from the World Trade Center and Empire State Building I'd like to get a good UHF antenna and rotor to allow for the best possible signal (if OTA is the best option.) I believe the NYC area also transmits on the VHF band as well. Is there any reason to prefer one (VHF or UHF) over the other?
    [*] Any antenna installation would have to be on the roof, not inside the roof, because of air conditioning ductwork in the attic.
    [*] I am aware of the differences between DISH and DirecTV and, if line of sight allows, prefer DISH over DirecTV for HD commitment.
    [*] What's the deal with Cable (in my case Cablevision) not providing a HD capable signal? Is it a matter of bandwidth over older wires? Will any possible HD local network rulings alter this situation?
    Thanks again.
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    RAF
    [Demented Video Dude since 1997]
    [Computer Maven since 1956]
    ["PITA" since 1942]
    My HT (latest update 02/05/01)
     
  8. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    ***UPDATE***
    I found out that if I install a 10' pole on my property about 50' away from my house (in a traffic-controlled environment) I can get a clear line of sight to both the 110-119 and 61.5 birds! So DISHNetwork is a viable option.
    I'm currently working out all the logistics (underground cable conduit, etc.) but I think this might actually work out. And, yes, I realize that DISHnetwork is not a substitute for OTA HDTV local programming (although if certain legal matters run their course I expect to see local DTV programming offered via DISH soon just as local analog stations are). In other words, an external antenna might still be something I look at in the future.
    However, one step at a time. In the next few weeks I'll be weighing all the options and I'll keep you posted.
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    RAF
    [Demented Video Dude since 1997]
    [Computer Maven since 1956]
    ["PITA" since 1942]
    My HT (latest update 02/05/01)
     
  9. KenA

    KenA Stunt Coordinator

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    This is an excellent thread. I will be asking the same questions in September when I move into my new house. Rob, please keep us posted with your progress.
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    »ken«
     
  10. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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