While waiting for DBS: I'm doing OTA and I feel A-OK.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jack Briggs, Feb 19, 2002.

  1. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    When AT&T Broadband removed Turner Classic Movies, Fox Movie Classics, Sundance, and IFC from its analog roster and relegated the channels over to AT&T's "digital" cable lineup, I had had enough. Even though I subscribed to both feeds, the "digital" receiver resided in the home theater, while the analog cable box served the 27-inch Toshiba in my bedroom

    Replacing the film channels on the analog lineup were obscure, special-niche networks for which I had zero interest. Can't even remember what they were.

    As a result, I said the hell with cable. Screw it. I terminated the subscriptions, and toted the two cable boxes back to AT&T Broadband.

    In March, I plan to subscribe to DirecTV.

    Meanwhile, I have been living with free, over-the-air television broadcasts. And the thing is, since I spend about eighty percent of my viewing time watching PBS anyway, I can't really say I miss the cable offerings all that much. Yet. Well, maybe I miss MSNBC a little.

    Here's what I definitely don't miss: the super-aggressive station-bug logos on many cable channels (TNN was the worst), the washed-out pictures, and the dull sound.

    And consider this: PBS actually looks better as an OTA signal than it does either through analog or "digital" cable--colors are sharper and better saturated, the picture's not as soft, and the entire presentation looks less "processed." When viewed through my AT&T "digital" cable feed, PBS looked washed out and soft. Now it's a joy to watch from a technical standpoint.

    Talk about getting more for less.

    All along, the only reason I am considering DBS is because I want a better picture, not more channels.

    So, after nearly twenty straight years of watching cable images, I'm strangely pleased with what I'm seeing during this cable/DBS interlude.

    Not bad. Not bad at all.
     
  2. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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    I dropped cable as well recently.

    However, that May 1 deadline can't come fast enough. I've only got NBC and PBS OTA HD and am dying for ABC and CBS to step up service. No southern access, so I'm out of DBS service.
     
  3. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Funny; I was getting FREE cable at the place I moved into 4 months ago, but just a few weeks ago they finally figured out the guy who lived here before had moved out and turned it off. I still haven't unpacked my rabbit ears yet, so for a couple weeks I've been getting NO TV at all, and you know what- I don't miss it one bit!
     
  4. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Stunt Coordinator

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    OTA is great, that's all I have and frankly have no desire to upgrade. Why pay $40 (or more) for 40 channels of stuff you never watch when the antenna will get 10 or so, again most of which I don't watch.

    Also, one thing which I've noticed at friends' houses with cable is that the OTA just sounds better. DPL over an antenna is pretty damn good in my opinion.

    Andrej
     
  5. Darren H

    Darren H Second Unit

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    My wife and I have been debating this move for months now. The problem is that doing so would effectively mean no TV, as Knoxville is a small market, and mountainous to boot. I'm getting tired of paying nearly $50/month to watch Gilmore Girls, Good Eats, and Undeclared, the only shows that really interest me.

    And to think of the wasted hours I'd reclaim by eliminating Behind the Music, Headline News, and Sports Center from my life.
     
  6. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

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    The best signals, especially with HD is OTA which does not suffer any compression problems you get with cable and DBS...
     
  7. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    I've been "cable free" for over 20 years now. It's amazing how people forget that a good antenna, with new downlead every few years, can produce a very good picture.
    I've got the RCA DTC-100 tuner, which is 3 tuners in 1 box: an OTA analog NTSC tuner; an OTA digital ATSC tuner, and a DirecTV tuner. PBS OTA HDTV is fantastic, and they use small and low-contrast ratio "bugs". The DTC-100 is a fantastic box for use with a CRT projector like mine because its native output is RGBS/VGA.[​IMG]
    Edit: Yeah I'm getting old and whatnot.....
     
  8. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Dennis, that's digital ATSC tuner. But we know what you mean. [​IMG]
    Jack, I was also going to say go with a DTC-100 if you go DirecTV and can afford the DTC box. Getting the OTA ATSC stuff is even better. Pair it with a set that can do HDTV and really enjoy PBS (I'm sure you guys get PBS HD, we don't - but I saw the feed at work...beautiful).
    I'm starting to go back to network TV from cable. I barely watch TV at all (stick to movies) but when I do half of it is network, the other half is mostly TCM or HBO/Starz.
     
  9. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the input--as this year I plan on upgrading a lot of things, including a move that could relegate my FV-series WEGA to bedroom duty. The debate raging in my head is RPTV versus direct-view. You guys with front projectors: that shade of green you see is my envy! [​IMG]
     
  10. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I would love to be able to order the few cable channels we watch ala carte. That would mean only ESPN, ESPN2, TCM and CNN for me, along with HGTV for my wife. We can do without most of the other channels that we never watch (okay, I do like Nick at Night and TVLand, and CNBC has been nice during the Winter Olympics). Of course, the cable companies do not want this because it would mean less revenue.

    If Comcast forces me to buy digital cable for any of the above stations, I'll be looking into a small dish. The only reasons we have cable instead right now are (1) cable modem Internet access and (2) six TV's connected to cable at no extra charge.
     
  11. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Same here! That would be a perfect alternative if such existed. If it did, I'd be content with The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, the so-called "Learning Channel," A&E, Turner Classic Movies, CNN, Sundance, IFC, MCNBC, and the Fox Movie Channel.

    As I said, I'm going to subscribe to DBS for the simple reason that I want a cleaner picture via S-Video.
     
  12. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    And I thought that being cable free was my dirty little secret here at HTF. [​IMG]
    I'm currently OTA even thought the house that we recently bought has DirecTV equipment installed. All I have to do is make a phone call and start a subscription. Problem is, I just don't need all the extra stations.
    When I had cable before I only watched ESPN, NESN (the in-market sports station), History Channel, and CNN. $40 a month just doesn't seem worth it to me to get them back. Sure, the OTA reception isn't always that hot but I can live with it. Again, $40 a month just doesn't seem worth it.
    Slightly OT:
    I've tried to find a better antenna to improve reception but haven't had any luck. I don't want to have one of those monsters that sits on the roof. I'd much prefer a small interior antenna that works well. Any suggestions?
     
  13. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I'll add to the recommendations for the DTC100. I get it all--DirectTV channels, including HDNet and HBO HD, and all the LA digital stations (Jack, I hope you get to check out series such as Nova in HD!).
     
  14. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Robert: I've watched some PBS telecasts that obviously were intended for HD--the camera work and 16:9 aspect ratio bely that. If they look that good and well-photographed in NTSC, I can only lust after the ATSC images. Well, sir, that will be my reality in a short, short while. As I said, I'm debating the merits of direct-view versus rear-projection. I can only imagine the images you are seeing with your front projector. Lucky you! JB
     
  15. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    Unfortunately, I had to get cable in order to get any channels. My apartment building is a downtown cement monstrosity (formerly a hotel) built in the 20's. Cincinnati isn't that big of a city, but the buildings downtown are tall enough to block reception. [​IMG]
    Fortunately, Time Warner's "LifeLine" package runs me just $11 a month, and I somehow manage to get several channels I shouldn't, like The Travel Channel, Food Network, and TCM. With the exception of "24" and "The Simpsons" on FOX, I pretty much watch those three exclusively. One of these days, Food Network is going to teach me how to cook.
     
  16. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Jack,
    You will be amazed at the video quality of HDTV. Digital PBS does have some fine programming. It is different than the programming on the standard analog PBS station, though. Since the DTV schedule is not listed in our TV guide, I just turn on the channel when I have some free time and hope for the best. I get some pleasant surprises that way. [​IMG]
     
  17. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Jack,
    Don't forget that your FIRST DirecTV hardware configuration purchase is subsidized by DirecTV. Therefore choose wisely. Don't get a "cheapie" and plan to upgrade later, because then you will pay "full price" for the more expensive system. Let them get you a deal on the better system first. You can get the DTC-100, DSA8900 oval dish, and self-install kit for $500 online as a new subscriber.
    By the way, you can get a decent CRT front projector for $1000-$1500 such as an Electrohome ECP4500. This is the same price range as a RPTV, as long as you are not risk-adverse to buying an old used piece of gear.....
     
  18. Craig S

    Craig S Producer

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    I've always been reluctant to admit it here on HTF [​IMG], but I've been OTA since I moved into my house 15 years ago. I HATE monthly charges, and I have never been able to justify $30 - $40 a month for cable/satellite.
    The way I look at it, I've saved anywhere from $5000 to $7000 over that time by forgoing pay TV. Of course, that's about what I've spent on DVDs over the past few years... [​IMG]
     
  19. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Jack,

    If you're getting clean NTSC OTA reception then I doubt you'll get better quuality from satellite. I would recommend sticking with the basic "cable channels" only from your satellite provider and using OTA for locals.
     

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