Forums: Television Hardware: Antenna Questions

 
  • Avatar of robcleveland3

    robcleveland3

    [1]Jan 9, 2008
    • member since: 01/10/08
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    Thanks for reading.....

    I have no cable or satellite service. I have a standard television that I get a signal with rabbit ears (through my VCR). Anyhow, my wife recently broke the rabbit ears. I've started looking for a new, more powerful antenna and am very overwhelmed to say the least. Apparently my television (and rabbit ears antenna) will be completely unusable in February of '09 when things go digital.

    So, long story short, I want to buy an antenna that can pick up digital (and HD, I guess) channels but would prefer something that does a better job than rabbit ears.

    I found an antenna that picks up UHF only, which I'm told is channels higher than 8 on the dial. I was then told that, for instance, one of my local channels is 13.1 and another is 25.1. This only confuses me more because I am certain my old, cheap television only picks up standard channels and not something with a .1.

    Can anyone help with the myriad of questions I have? Thanks again for reading!

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  • Avatar of belial_77

    belial_77

    [2]Jan 9, 2008
    • member since: 06/02/07
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    well, first off, your old set-up will still work after the 09 switch, however you will have to use a digital to analog converter box which will retail for between $50-$100... but to alleviate the price, each household will get two $40 vouchers per household, so the cost per box will only be $10-$60...

    Any ateena that picks up UHF and I believe most VHF will be able to pick up the new digital signals...

    the X.1 you were asking about: each digital station will have enough bandwith to broadcast multipule signals on the same band... usually the extra station will be for different languages, or even different sub-channels (for example- on a PBS station, X.1 could be for regular broadcasting, X.2 could be do-it-yourself shows, X.3 could be for Kids, etc...)

    A good thing about Digital vs Anlog broadcasting is you won't have to worry about static or ghosting in the picture (w/ Digital, either you get the station or you don't... also its resiliant against noise in the signal)...

    also there is talk of incorperating interactive features into the broadcasts... Say your watching a cooking show... you could chose a sub0channel that would provide an ingrediant list for the dish... or in a sporting event, each sub-channel could be a different seat or camera angle...

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  • Avatar of EJamison

    EJamison

    [3]Jan 9, 2008
    • member since: 07/09/05
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    belial_77 wrote:
    A good thing about Digital vs Anlog broadcasting is you won't have to worry about static or ghosting in the picture (w/ Digital, either you get the station or you don't... also its resiliant against noise in the signal)
    It is good that it's resilient, however, I don't think it's good that you either get the signal or you don't. Sometimes a snowy / ghosting picture is better than none at all.
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  • Avatar of ImKagetsu

    ImKagetsu

    [4]Jan 16, 2008
    • member since: 01/05/05
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    EJamison wrote:
    belial_77 wrote:
    A good thing about Digital vs Anlog broadcasting is you won't have to worry about static or ghosting in the picture (w/ Digital, either you get the station or you don't... also its resiliant against noise in the signal)
    It is good that it's resilient, however, I don't think it's good that you either get the signal or you don't. Sometimes a snowy / ghosting picture is better than none at all.
    I agree about the static. An antenna is depndant on the frequency it is tuned to recieve, the element length decides that, the higher the frenquency, the shorter the elements. Line of sight decides how much signal to static gets through. The stuff (buildings/trees) that are in the way, the more often a digital signal will break into pixels and skip. I'll be very surprised if anyone will still be able to use a digi-tv without cable or dish.
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  • Avatar of belial_77

    belial_77

    [5]Jan 16, 2008
    • member since: 06/02/07
    • level: 17
    • rank: The Crazy Neighbor
    • posts: 2,484
    ImKagetsu wrote:
    I agree about the static. An antenna is depndant on the frequency it is tuned to recieve, the element length decides that, the higher the frenquency, the shorter the elements. Line of sight decides how much signal to static gets through. The stuff (buildings/trees) that are in the way, the more often a digital signal will break into pixels and skip. I'll be very surprised if anyone will still be able to use a digi-tv without cable or dish.


    What you say is true... however, most of the people I've talked to who are using off the air antennas for digital signals, haven't had that many problems w/ them... Personally, I do b/c the apartment I live in is made of cinder-block and metal and the rental company won't let me mount an external antenna... I've thought about just moving the cheap rabbit-ears I got next to a window... but as is, no digital OR analog signal...

    everyone I've talked to have been able to pick-up all the normal stations in the area's digital broadcasts... and I live way out in the middle of no-where
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  • Avatar of ronmartella

    ronmartella

    [6]Jun 23, 2009
    • member since: 06/24/09
    • level: 1
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    I have a very old rooftop antenna (at least 20+ years old). How do I find where to connect a dual lead antenna wire (not coaxial) to it?
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  • Avatar of RCC2K5

    RCC2K5

    [7]Jul 16, 2009
    • member since: 08/24/05
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    While I'm forced to have Cable TV service as I get no OTA signals (due to living in an apartment building next to an electric generator facility from the power company), I have had experiences with DTV and antennas, as I helped my mom get ready for the DTV transition.

    First and foremost, an outdoor antenna mounted on the roof will always get you better reception than an indoor one. That said, if you have (or just prefer) to use indoor antennas, here's what I've found.

    1. Check the DTV reception maps on the FCC's website at www.dtv.gov. Click on the resulting stations' call signs and check what's the RF channel for each. If all of the RF channels are above 13, you'll be good to go with a UHF-only antenna, otherwise you need a VHF+UHF antenna. The reason RF channel is important is because many stations, especially those between Channel 2 and Channel 6 are not really broadcasting in those channels anymore. The RF channel is the true channel they are broadcasting on.

    2. Try basic antennna setups first: Get a "cheap" indoor antenna whose rods and loop are metallic, looking like traditional rabbit ears and UHF loops look. Avoid antennas whose rods and loop are either painted or covered in a dark grey or black coating. Also, if possible, avoid antennas with tuning knobs as these are like rocket science to adjust!

    3. If the simple antenna isn't good enough, then get an amplified indoor antenna. Don't plug the power cord yet. First, try it out without connecting the power - you might get lucky. If you still don't get many channels after adjusting the antenna without power, then connect the power cord and turn on the antenna. Don't set amplification all the way to the max, unless you have to. While amplified antennas will give you some signal boost, they also boost interfering signals, so only use as much amplification as needed, not more.

    In my mom's house, the antenna that gave her the most channels was one I thought would not work at all. It's an antenna that unless you see it has a coaxial cable attached, you'd swear it's from a portable FM radio. It's just a metallic rod with the coaxial cable and the plastic base to stick it in the hole for the rabbit ears on the TV, only this one is not technically like rabbit ears, but more like just one rabbit ear. Unfortunately that antenna came with an old TV and I can't find anything like it in stores.
    Edited on 07/17/2009 6:56am
    Edited 2 total times.
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