Want HDTV, need antenna and .... ?

Joined
Jun 16, 2005
Messages
21
I just dropped my cable TV service (Comcast) down to the most basic level, becuase:
1. They raised the rates yet again,
2. We didn't get that many HDTV stations,
3. Their "On-Demand" quality is AWFUL (think: 3 frames per second),
4. We didn't really watch it that much anyway

So, now I've got my wonderful HDTV-ready home theater, with no HD programming to watch. A friend said there are tons of HDTV stations available over the air. I want to see them!

So I went to antennaweb.org and checked out what is available. Looks decent. I'm gonig to get a large multidirectional antenna, and mount it on my roof.

I'm looking for any advice you guys might have regarding:
1. Antenna brands/types (do the special "HDTV" ones really matter?)
2. Connection information: Can I just plug it into my VCR?
3. Goodies: Recommendations on HD DVR technology

Thanks in advance!
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2005
Messages
21
One small additional question: So I'll have my cable TV signal as well, but with reduced channels (no digital, and no HDTV, I'm pretty sure). Plus I'll have the channels from the antenna. There is probably no simple way to combine the two sources, I would imagine. Does switching between them work at all?
 

Robert_J

Senior HTF Member
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Mississippi
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Robert
Combining doesn't work. They use the same frequencies so they would just get all scrambled. Switching works but it may be a pain in the rear. Your STB/TV may have different inputs. It's always best to run lines directly from the source (cable and antenna).

-Robert
 

Jim Mcc

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1) I went with a Winegard antenna. Channelmaster is also highly regarded. I don't know what HTDT is. 2) If your TV doesn't have a built-in HD tuner, you need a HD OTA decoder(receiver). 3) I don't know much about HD-DVR's, I use the 811 HD receiver from Dish Network(which my OTA antenna hooks up to).
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2005
Messages
21
Robert,

Thanks for the quick reply!

Here's my antennaweb.org results:
http://wadhome.org/~wad/eric_stations.html

Jim,

Sorry, I meant "HDTV". I fixed my edit.

So, it looks like I'll need to plug my antenna into something with an ATSC tuner, which can feed by home theater system. I'd like to output the signal via HDMI... I'll poke around online and see what I can find.
 

Robert_J

Senior HTF Member
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Mississippi
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Robert
If you only want the digital channels via OTA, then the Radio Shack UHF antenna should work fine. You average about 20 miles from the transmitters and they are all in the 280 degree area. You should get all of the networks and PBS. You may even pick up a few of the other stations but you may want a rotor to move the antenna for them. If you don't want to fool with that, then there is a "jointenna" that allows you to combine the feed of multiple directional antennas.

There are a number of set top boxes with an ATSC tuner. Even older DirecTV HD receivers will work without a subscription or a connection to a dish.

Here are some links for you:
OTA FAQ
HDTV STB Synopsis

-Robert
 

Grant B

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2000
Messages
3,209
TitanTV.com has a HD channel guide which is helpful.
You put in your info and what channels you want to receive and they tell you what kind of antenna you'll need

Terk is the Bose of the antenna world. Looks good, premium price but marginal performance.
Hmmmmm they sell a $400 dipole?
Good Luck
Grant
 

BrianTwig

Second Unit
Joined
May 1, 2006
Messages
252
I am in a similar, but different situation. I would like to get an antenna for OTA HD broadcasts so I can watch Football and some other things in HD. I did the antennaweb.org thingy and all of the stations are under 15 miles from me. Well, there are a few that are more, but they are not channels I would watch.

But I do not want to put an antenna on my roof. Basically, i don't want to have to install the dam thing up there, and I don't want to run wires upto my attic for an antenna.

There is a sizable closet directly behind my TV and one of its walls is an exterior wall. Would putting an antenna in that closet work?

Thanks!

Oh, zipcode is 27526 is you need to look something up at antenna web to give me advice.
 

Robert_J

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2000
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Location
Mississippi
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Robert
A closet antenna might work. Does the exterior wall face anywhere close to the 74 degree direction? Do you have any type of metalic insulation barrier inside the walls? Even if the exterior wall isn't the proper direction, a ChannelMaster 4224 should would fine. Maybe a UHF only antenna from Radio Shack ($24). If the closet isn't that big, then the Shack's Double Bow Tie antenna ($15) or the Silver Sensor set top antennas should work as well.

-Robert
 

BrianTwig

Second Unit
Joined
May 1, 2006
Messages
252
Robert,

Being an idiot, I can't answer a single one of your questions. In fact, I don't even know what most of what you said means.
 

BrianTwig

Second Unit
Joined
May 1, 2006
Messages
252
Robert,

On direction of the house, the front of the house is facing east and thus the rear of the house facing west. The exterior wall that I could mount on is facing south.
 

Robert_J

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2000
Messages
8,351
Location
Mississippi
Real Name
Robert
Your antenna farm is around 74 degrees on the compass. North is zero. East is 90. South is 180. West is 270. So the antenna should be facing east north east (more easterly).

Some roofs have a thermal barrier barrier made out of a metalic material. Around here, it's not used anywhere else. I'm not familiar with building processes outside of the mid-south. If you don't think you have it, then you probably don't. Out west, indoor antennas don't work because of stucco construction. They use a wire mesh on the walls to hold the material.

If I were you, I'd start off with the Double Bow Tie antenna. If you can't find one, I'll send you mine for $10 to cover shipping. I just upgraded to this antenna installed in my attic. I got good reception with the bow tie but NBC wasn't steady. It's perfect now. I'm 23 miles from the tower farm. Since you are closer, the bow tie should work better for you.

There are other choices. Don't fall for the marketing though. There is no HDTV antenna. There are antennas that pick up UHF, VHF or both. Your HD channels are broadcast on the UHF band. Also, an antenna's shape is directly proportional to it's functionality. That means an antenna should look like one. Stealth models sacrifice performance for looks.

-Robert
 

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