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OTA channels - why?


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28 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   mark069

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 04:50 PM

I take it that OTA means "over the air" or local channels received via an external antenna. Why do folks here even bother with an external antenna when for an extra $5 per month you can get all the locals through satellite? Is it just to save the $5 per month or are there other advantages to OTA channels?
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#2 OFFLINE   Ron Barry

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 04:57 PM

Four main reasons for me

1) Allows you to recorded 3 Locals at one time.
2) OTA in general will be less compressed and usually are better quality than their Satellite brothers.
3) Not all OTAs are offered by Dish in HD. KTLA in Los Angeles for example.
4) Also allows my 622 to be more flexible because I know have 3 tuners to play with.
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#3 OFFLINE   JeffChap

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 04:57 PM

My locals are not available from Dish in HD yet, so OTA is my only method of getting them. Also, I expect the picture quality to be better OTA because of the lack of signal compression necessary when sent over satellite.

Also, being in central Oklahoma, we get a lot of heavy thunderstorms with tornado warnings this time of year, and this is precisely when you're most likely to lose your satellite signal. It's nice to still be able to pick up the local weather broadcasts OTA.

#4 OFFLINE   ssmith10pn

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 05:07 PM

5) Because in severe weather I can still receive the OTA locals.

#5 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 05:15 PM

Even where Dish has HD and has the major networks... there are still subchannels available OTA in many markets that carry unique content not available via satellite.

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#6 OFFLINE   Hall

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 05:15 PM

When discussed in this forum (the 622's), people are referring to OTA digital stations. Those also broadcast some programming in high-definition. Dish only carries the analog broadcasts for many people and OTA is the only way to get the digital stations.

If I want to watch network programming in HD, Dish is no help (for me). When and if Dish does provide my local station's digital channels, I'll still use OTA as my primary source because of better picture quality.

#7 OFFLINE   tomcrown1

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 05:17 PM

Right now it is the only way to get PBS in HD is OTA
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:) life is to to to short so be???

#8 OFFLINE   twindaddy

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 05:24 PM

Don't OTA recordings take significantly more space on the hard drive when recorded? If anyone has some metrics (e.g. 1 hour of MPEG2 vs MPEG4 vs OTA), that would be much appreciated.

#9 OFFLINE   joebird

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 05:39 PM

All of the reasons cited above, plus the fact that I had my antenna up for the 6000, 921, 942 and now the 622. The HD locals were not always available, and I may as well leave the antenna up and plugged in for the flexibility (and better picture).
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#10 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 06:08 PM

Don't OTA recordings take significantly more space on the hard drive when recorded? If anyone has some metrics (e.g. 1 hour of MPEG2 vs MPEG4 vs OTA), that would be much appreciated.


Depends on how you look at it.

When I record an hour of OTA HD, it seems to usually take away an hour from my counter. I know the counters are not 100% accurate, nor do they try to be really... but I think the counter is based on assuming worst-case usage when they say "up to 30 hours of HD" on the ViP622.

So... I feel pretty confident I could get 30 hours of OTA HD... and usually that means a little more from satellite and even more from MPEG4 vs MPEG2.

I've noticed, for instance, if I record Law & Order from my OTA NBC an hour and 10 minute is about an hour and 10 minutes give or take... but if I record the same program from the MPEG4 HD local via satellite... it is closer to 45 minutes taken away from my counter.

Some of that is due to MPEG4, and some of that is due to the extra downconverting that is done via satellite anyway.

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#11 OFFLINE   CABill

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 06:14 PM

It isn't to save the $5 - you need to pay the $5 for the sat locals to see the Guide info for the OTA channels.

IN SF, there are 5 channel KQED subchannels (9-01 thru 9-05) that are only available OTA (Comcast actually has more KQED content than OTA), KRON-DT is OTA only, 43-02 Jazz, ... AND, you don't have to live the the SF DMA to get the SF OTA channels like you would with Sat HD channels.

#12 OFFLINE   Skates

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 06:25 PM

Three reasons for me:

PBS in HD, the ability to record three locals at once (which I do a couple of times per week) and all the extra digital channels and sub-channels E* doesn't provide.

Plus, each makes a good backup for the other if there's a problem.

#13 OFFLINE   Paradox-sj

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 06:25 PM

It isn't to save the $5 - you need to pay the $5 for the sat locals to see the Guide info for the OTA channels.

IN SF, there are 5 channel KQED subchannels (9-01 thru 9-05) that are only available OTA (Comcast actually has more KQED content than OTA), KRON-DT is OTA only, 43-02 Jazz, ... AND, you don't have to live the the SF DMA to get the SF OTA channels like you would with Sat HD channels.


Hey CABILL,

What type of setup are you running to pull in sutro station is sacto?

#14 OFFLINE   Hall

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 07:19 PM

When I record an hour of OTA HD, it seems to usually take away an hour from my counter. I know the counters are not 100% accurate, nor do they try to be really... but I think the counter is based on assuming worst-case usage when they say "up to 30 hours of HD" on the ViP622.

So... I feel pretty confident I could get 30 hours of OTA HD... and usually that means a little more from satellite and even more from MPEG4 vs MPEG2.

I've noticed, for instance, if I record Law & Order from my OTA NBC an hour and 10 minute is about an hour and 10 minutes give or take... but if I record the same program from the MPEG4 HD local via satellite... it is closer to 45 minutes taken away from my counter.

I think your scenario strongly suggests that the counter, while it is an estimate, is based on typical bitrate, MPEG2 numbers. Someone recorded an MPEG4, hour-long program and it in fact only took away 30 minutes from the counter ! The fact that Dish is supplying the MPEG4 channels at half the bitrate is the key.

#15 OFFLINE   CABill

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 08:09 PM

Hey CABILL,

What type of setup are you running to pull in sutro station is sacto?


I don't get reliable reception from them - most days I don't get anything. I'm 20 miles NE of Sacto (40 miles from its towers), but the direction just happens to be the same as to SF. I'm probably 100 miles from SF, but up on a ridge. Fry's had a Channel Master I was going to try to improve the SF stations, but I won't be able to do anything to my OTA antenna for a while. There are 8-9 Wireless antennae on the roof and I noticed they put two of them on my OTA mast. I can't lower it to attach anything for a while - it would take out other people's Internet connections.

#16 OFFLINE   TechniKal

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 08:36 PM

Four main reasons for me

3) Not all OTAs are offered by Dish in HD. KTLA in Los Angeles for example.


That's a bit of an understatement. There are 210 DMA's. Dish covers what - 27 in HD? So, ~85% of markets are not covered in HD, and of the 15% covered, most offer at best only the 4 'major' nets. So, I'd estimate that of all the possible local digital channels out there, Dish rebroadcasts less than 10% of them.

#17 OFFLINE   thefunks67

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 10:15 PM

For me it's the addition of another tuner. Gives me 3 options to record.

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#18 OFFLINE   Todd H

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 10:52 PM

Because Dish doesn't offer my locals in HD.

#19 OFFLINE   TNGTony

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 04:10 AM

[U]2 WDTN Dayton (NBC) - - Availability[/U]:
DISH > NO (not in my home area anyway)
OTA > Yes
HD > Yes
OTA Sub-Channels > Sort of.. (SD repeater useful if the program is not in HD to save space)
Advantage > Alternative to avoid Weather Orgasm warnings telling me its raining outside and I may get wet if I go outside

5 NBC HD Cincinnati (NBC)
Dish > Yes
Dish HD > No
OTA > Yes
OTA HD > Yes
OTA Sub Channels > Yes (NBC Weather Plus - in case I need a weather orgasm fix)

7 WHIO Dayton (CBS)
DISH > NO (not in my home area anyway)
OTA > Yes
HD > Yes
OTA Sub-Channels > Yes (Weather Radar/Info)
Advantage > Alternative to avoid Weather Orgasm warnings and different sporting events especially football

9 WCPO Cincinnati (ABC)
DISH > YES
HD > No
OTA > YES
HD > YES
OTA Sub Channel > Weather Info

12 WKRC Cincinnati (CBS)
Dish > Yes
HD > NO
OTA > YES
HD > YES
OTA Sub Channel > CW in SD (CinCW)

14 WPTO Oxford (PBS)
Dish > Yes
HD > NO
OTA > YES
HD > Part-time
OTA Sub Channels > 4 channels active at one time including news channel, prime channel and learning channel. 2 go off the Air during prime time HD broadcasts

19 > WXIX Newport, KY (Fox)
DISH > Yes
HD > No
OTA > Yes
HD > YES
OTA Sub Channels > The Tube (Music videos)

43 > WKOI Richmond IN (TBN)
Dish > Sort of --part of AT100 and higher package
HD > N/A
OTA > YES
HD > N/A
Sub Channels > Church Channel, JCTV, EnlaceTBN, Smile of a Child TV

45 WRGT Dayton (Fox)
Dish > NO (not in my area)
OTA > Yes
HD > Yes
Sub Channel > MyTV Network
Advantage > Alternative for pre-emtions and different sporting events especially football.

48 WCET Cincinnati (PBS)
Dish > YES
HD > NO
OTA > Yes
HD > YES --24/7 PBS HD not the same signal as Dish's 48 which is the analog signal
OTA Sub-Channel > PBS Create

WCVN 54 Covington, KY (PBS/KET1)
Dish > Yes
HD > No
OTA > No

WSTR 64 Cincinnati (MyTV)
Dish > Yes
HD > No
OTA > Yes
HD > Yes
OTA Sub-Channel > No
------------------------------------------------------------
Later this summer I plan on installing an outdoor roof antenna and ditch the little rabbit ears I am using, This will add the following to the list NOT available through Dish for me:
WPTD 16 Dayton (PBS) Part-Time HD 4 sub-channels when not in HD
WKEF 22 Dayton (ABC) HD
WBDT 26 Springfield (CW) HD
For the life of me I will never understand why people will pay hundreds and thousands of dollars on a TV that provides the clearest, sharpest, most realistic picture possible and then, voluntarily, distort the image!

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#20 OFFLINE   Aliens

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 05:50 AM

Four main reasons for me

1) Allows you to recorded 3 Locals at one time.

:confused:

How do you do this using one 622?




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