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Upgrading to HD Questions

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by TheZenCowSaysMu, Dec 3, 2006.

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  1. Dec 3, 2006 #1 of 11
    TheZenCowSaysMu

    TheZenCowSaysMu Cool Member

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    Long time listener, first time caller -- thanks for all the helpful info!

    Having just recently bought a small HDTV, I have realized that SD content, while looking fantastic on my tube set, looks awful on a high-def, so in for a penny, in for a pound, I am now thinking of upgrading my system.

    1. Just how big is the AT9/Slimline dish? I live in an apartment and my standard dish is tied down to the metal railing on the balcony with easily-removable metal and plastic straps. Can the HD dish be treated the same, or is a different technique required?
    2. Do the HD locals include the various "subchannels" that some of the stations have? Especially in the Washington, DC area?
    3. Is there a known timeline for HD PBS inclusion, or will it be available only OTA for the foreseeable future?
    4. How big is the $49 "official" Directv off-air antenna? Small enough for an apartment? Or would an internal rabbit-ear be better?

    Thanks
     
  2. Dec 3, 2006 #2 of 11
    bobnielsen

    bobnielsen Éminence grise

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    Bainbridge...
    1. The AT-9 is approx. 25 in. x 30 in. It is very sturdy, hence quite a bit heavier. It requires a 2 in mounting pole vs 1-5/8. The Slimline isn't as tall and so weighs less, but it still pretty big. If the pole is securely mounted to the railing and the railing won't move it should work (the installers might balk, however).

    2. HD locals do not (as yet) include subchannels, AFAIK.

    3. I haven't heard anything about PBS being carried in HD. Maybe next year when there is more bandwidth available.

    4. I think that OTA antenna is a single bow-tie. It probably beats a rabbit ear, but not by much. How well it would work depends a lot on your location and that of the stations.
     
  3. Dec 3, 2006 #3 of 11
    Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    Welcome to the forums! :welcome_s

    Assume the new dish is about 32lb. and a huge wind load. If the balcony railing is rock steady, you should be good. May have to upgrade to stronger or more straps. :)

    None of the subchannels are carried at this time. You'll have to go OTA to get PBS and subchannels, if they interest you. I've not heard even a whisper as to when PBS will be included as HD locals. (Don't take that as they are or aren't working on it. I just haven't heard anything, but then I don't expect to hear anything either.)

    Check antennaweb.org to see what antenna you need for OTA. Many people have had very good luck with indoor antenna's if they aren't too far away from the broadcast towers. Others have used small outdoor antennas indoors or in attic. I suggest going to radio shack, lowes, or other hardware store.

    Lastly, you can get lots of information from the AVSforum for your area from this list of threads: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=453241

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  4. Dec 4, 2006 #4 of 11
    TheZenCowSaysMu

    TheZenCowSaysMu Cool Member

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    How then do installers typically install one of the 5LNB dishes at apartments? A roof install is not an available option; balcony placement only. Or is the dish just so big that permanent installs are the only option and the dish is just plain apartment-unfriendly?

    I'd hate to think about going back to comcast after an extremely favorable 4-month DTV experience just to get HDTV.
     
  5. Dec 4, 2006 #5 of 11
    texasbrit

    texasbrit Well-Known Member

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    In general the installers will not do a balcony install of the AT-9, I think the same thing applies to the AU-9 "slimline" also. The dishes have a much larger area than the 3-lnb and so are very susceptible to strong winds. I suspect the wind load comes close to or exceeds the maximum load of typical balcony railings. They do not want to mount it on a tripod either because the wind can easily move it out of alignment (also it's the wrong diameter for most tripods). Overall there is a safety issue; they are concerned the dish will fall over and injure someone.
    I've seen posts from people who did a self-install, weighting the tripod down with extra concrete blocks and adding bracing to the post to connect it to balcony walls and railings.
     
  6. Dec 4, 2006 #6 of 11
    TheZenCowSaysMu

    TheZenCowSaysMu Cool Member

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    That's really disappointing. Too bad DTV doesn't split their HDTV system into several small dishes rather than one big monstrosity.
     
  7. Dec 4, 2006 #7 of 11
    harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    The reason "The Behemoth" is as large as it is isn't so much because it can see five satellites but rather that those satellites use higher frequencies which require a much larger dish to grab. You may have seen Wild Blue antennas that only see one bird and they're almost as big as the Slimline dish. That is just some of the baggage that comes with using Ka band.
     
  8. Dec 4, 2006 #8 of 11
    Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    you might be able to get an installer to use a non-penatrating flat mount, just a big frame that supports the mast. You (or the installer) put a bunch of cinder blocks on the frame to keep it from moving. Some installation companies keep a few in stock and are willing to use them, most likely as an added cost. (IIRC seeing about $65 here by ironwood.)

    Good luck,
    Tom
     
  9. Dec 5, 2006 #9 of 11
    TheZenCowSaysMu

    TheZenCowSaysMu Cool Member

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    This seems a lot more trouble than it's worth. Looks like DTV HD works only with stand-alone houses with yards, and is extremely unfriendly to city dwellers.

    Went and bought a cheap set of rabbit ears and was able to get all my (and some Baltimore!) HD locals.

    I guess cable will show its ugly head in the future should I want to expand HD-goodness into the national channel realm. Wish DTV could have found a different method of broadcasting its HDTV content than with mega-dishes.

    Thanks for all your help!
     
  10. Rickster

    Rickster Cool Member

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    Feb 18, 2006
    When you say HD tv, hd what plasma, lcd?
    I picked up a Samsung HD Crt and the SD picture is fantastic as good as my Sony XBR crt and with a single LNB dish
    Got the TV when I decide to go HD, when Dtv gets their sh*t together [If FOIS is not here first} lol
     
  11. TheZenCowSaysMu

    TheZenCowSaysMu Cool Member

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    Dec 3, 2006
    It's a Samsung 23" LCD that I bought at the Costco. OTA HD looks fantastic, as do DVDs. But, you can really see the 4:3 SD compression artifacts with S-Video from my R15 because LCD has a fixed scale to the display and there's limitations to the upscaling.

    70 years of tube TV really shows the maturity of the technology. The 5-10 years of LCD displays, not so much. Except for the excessive size and weight of CRT screens, tube really is the best picture out there right now, and probably will be for some time.
     
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