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Need Help with an AM21 DirecTV Install

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by mavs-fan, Mar 7, 2014.

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  1. Mar 7, 2014 #1 of 17
    mavs-fan

    mavs-fan Mentor

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    We're helping a family member get set up with DirecTV. They're probably getting a Genie, HR24 DVR (hopefully) and a Genie client. They would also like an AM21 OTA to go with either the Genie or the HR24 DVR.

    I'm not real familiar with the AM21 antenna and need some advice...

    (1) Can this be added to the DirecTV order (via a phone call perhaps) or does it need to be ordered separately?

    (2) What is required for installing the AM21? I don't believe there are any outside antennas installed at the house. Is an outside antenna needed or will the AM21 box do the job?

    (3) Will an AM21 detect local channels at full broadcast resolution without DirecTV compression?

    Thanks in advance for the help.
     
  2. Mar 7, 2014 #2 of 17
    Yoda-DBSguy

    Yoda-DBSguy Hall Of Fame

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    A Galaxy...
    1. An AM21 can only be ordered directly from DirecTV after an HD or HD DVR receiver is activated on the account. They can buy one before the installation if they purchase it from a 3rd party reseller like solidsignal or weaknessnow (either one is .com).

    2. An am 21 requires an a local UVF/VHF antenna (either inside or outside as determined by your location and distance from the transmission towers. It can be a yagi style antenna, a grid style antenna a flat antenna or Omni direction (again determined by your location, terrain etc.). An AM21 is only a dual OTA add-on tuner thus requiring an antenna to work.

    3. Yes, an AM21 will display full resolution as well as integrate the local channels in the guide. However it does NOT scan for stations and will only pick up the ones that are in the database for that zip code or 2ndary markets close enough to be pulled in also needing to be in the database)
     
  3. Mar 7, 2014 #3 of 17
    coconut13

    coconut13 Member

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    To try and help you answer your questions. 1. I would call D* and try and get them to send me one for free. If they don't want to do that $50 is the cost. If you don't like going through D*, Solid Signal or Amazon has "new units" for sale. Or you can buy new or used on E-BAY. 2. You need some kind of antenna for the AM21. If you don't have an antenna currently it's kind of hard to tell "what kind" you will need for maximum reception. If you have an antenna in place, my AM21 receive's signals about the same as my TV tuner, so that's a place to start. I will say this, a good antenna is crucial to making the AM21 work well. 3.Yes, If you have a local channel broadcast in HD the AM21 will receive it in HD at local broadcast resolution.
     
  4. Mar 7, 2014 #4 of 17
    coconut13

    coconut13 Member

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    It is true about D* database. You can check the channels in D* database for your DMA (Designated Market Area) by going to a post on these forums. Look for Transponder Maps: Domestic & LatinAM. Go to that post and you can find D* database of channels, by opening the attached files and using the OTA tab. You can view what channels are in your DMA. First off, you will only get local channels that your antenna and AM21 pick-up. 2nd, you will only get the local channels that are in the database for your DMA. Now there is a possibility of receiving channels not in the database, but you have to match remote zip codes to channel and RF channel numbers. Every situation is different, but in my case I receive 6 out of 7 channels not in D* database by using remote zip codes. So it is possible.
     
  5. Mar 7, 2014 #5 of 17
    mavs-fan

    mavs-fan Mentor

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    The install will be in 76262 in Roanoke, Texas a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth.
     
  6. Mar 7, 2014 #6 of 17
    coconut13

    coconut13 Member

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    Just by doing a quick look. you are in the DFW DMA. That is the 5th biggest market in the US. Now, by checking, I only see 3 channels 27.2 MOVIES, 27.3 BOUNCE and 33.3 THIS that are not in D* database for DFW. Most of the other channels are in. 33 channels to be exact, in the database for DFW. Now I know for a fact that you can get the 3 channels listed by using remote zip codes. Now by using this method you will have the wrong guide info for those channels. But in your instance, I know you can match-up to get 1 of the channels with the correct guide and maybe a 2nd one. So an AM21 should work pretty well in the DFW area. Remember your antenna has to pick-up the signal for any channel you desire, if you signal is to weak the AM21 won't pick-up the channel. Alot of people make this mistake in thinking the AM21 is not working correctly.
     
  7. Mar 7, 2014 #7 of 17
    harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Salem, OR
    Using the provided Zip code on tvfool.com suggests that a modest VHF/UHF antenna (perhaps even a high quality indoor model) will work. Don't go for the UHF-only units as you'll probably not get KXAS (NBC) and you may also have trouble with WFAA (ABC).

    You should run the full address through tvfool or antennaweb to get a more specific report.

    Note that "full broadcast resolution" isn't what it used to be now that so many stations offer one or more subchannels. Depending on DIRECTV's reception arrangement (whether they get a direct program feed or an OTA feed), the program quality could conceivably appear better than what you get OTA.
     
  8. Mar 7, 2014 #8 of 17
    peds48

    peds48 DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    I don't think this was mentioned, so I throw out there. you will have to install the OTA antenna and AM21 yourself DirecTV won't install this sort of stuff
     
  9. Mar 7, 2014 #9 of 17
    texasbrit

    texasbrit DIRECTV A-Team

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    Pretty well all the DFW locals come from antenna farms at Cedar Hill, which means they are all in the same direction.Using your zip it's about 33 miles, input your actual address at TVfool to see the actual distance.

    Your only problem channel (everyone's problem channel in DFW) is WFAA channel 8. That's on VHF, everything else of any relevance is on UHF. To give you a reference, I'm in Allen about 42 miles from Cedar Hill and a UHF-only antenna will not give me WFAA. I had to add a separate VHF antenna to get reliable reception of WFAA.
    The problem with most "modest" antennas is their VHF performance is lacking. For example, http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp??mc=03&p=HDB8X&d=Solid-Signal-Xtreme-Signal-HDB8X-High-Definition-Blade-8-Bay-Xtreme-Antenna-VHFUHF-%28HDB8X%29&c=TV%20Antennas&sku= quotes 25 miles for hiband VHF. Depending on your exact signal conditions, something like that might work for you.
     
  10. ejbvt

    ejbvt AllStar

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    My very modest antenna locks a VHF at 60 miles at 9 feet off the ground without much of a problem. The only time I have issues is during the hottest part of the hottest summer days.
     
  11. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Salem, OR
    There are a number of inexpensive antennas (mostly Yagi) that deliver great VHF performance and if you shop around, you can often find gain data to tell you what level of performance (gain) a particular unit delivers.

    My point was that you don't have to step into the three figure antennas with tall masts and rotors to get what you need.
     
  12. billsharpe

    billsharpe Hall Of Fame

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    The 45+ year-old VHF/UHF antenna on my house brought in great reception with my HR20 DVR, the only DrecTV DVR with built-in OTA reception, from Mt. Wilson, about 40 miles from my house. I did replace the old twin-lead line with coax.

    I now use OTA either for watching two channels at once, one OTA and one FiOS, or for watching an OTA program when I am recording two other programs.

    My daughter has cut the cord and watches only OTA with a rooftop antenna.
     
  13. texasbrit

    texasbrit DIRECTV A-Team

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    Antenna performance is very unpredictable. All I can tell you is that here at 42 miles from WFAA, even a UHF antenna with decent gain in VHF-hi (the "old" CM4228) will not get WFAA on a reliable basis. The OP's signal from WFAA according to TVFool is 7dB stronger than mine.
    Most people here use something like the Winegard HD 7697P or equivalent. At 33 miles, the HD7694P would probably be OK.
    Of course, depending on the OP's actual location, a smaller antenna could be OK. But if he is in a hollow, or on the wrong side of a hill (not many hills in Dallas!) a smaller antenna could be problematic.
     
  14. JohnQ

    JohnQ Cool Member

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    Nov 10, 2007
    Freshwater...
    I live directly across the Strait of Juan DeFuca from Victoria, British Columbia, 15 miles as the crow flies. And a line of sight & not too far from Vancouver, BC. I understand the TV station in those cities have converted from analog to HD Digital. In the past we have not had any trouble picking up the analog broadcasts, and in my case, coax to the OTA of my HR20-700. The HR20 (last of the HD receivers with a OTA port) is getting long in the tooth so to say. And I somewhat enjoy the "Canadian Perspective" no matter how far off base they are. So in the future if I have to replace the HR20 with a later model DTV HD receiver, will an AM-21 work for OTA signal, and will the Canadian Stations be in that "Database?"
     
  15. ejbvt

    ejbvt AllStar

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    No Canadian channels are in the database. You'll have to use the forcing method that coconut described earlier to get them to show up, but the guide data will be for whatever American station you forced in the database.
     
  16. mavs-fan

    mavs-fan Mentor

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    Aug 31, 2011
    I'd be interested in hearing from those in the Dallas area. Do you think a high-quality in-door antenna will work well in Roanoke? If so, what models do you suggest?
     
  17. texasbrit

    texasbrit DIRECTV A-Team

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