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Direct TV HD question

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by ElonSig, Aug 18, 2004.

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  1. ElonSig

    ElonSig New Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    DC area HD question


    Hey guys, looking for a little help with the OTA. Live in Silver Spring, MD, just outside of Washington, D.C.. We are trying to make sure that we want to go ahead with the purchase of the HD equipment. Currently have an HD ready Toshiba TV. Direct TV is our satellite provider. Ability to receive the local channels in HD is very important. Thinking of purchasing the HD receiver and off air antenna package directly from Direct TV for $399. Do you guys know if this comes with high quality hardware (receiver and antenna) or would it be a better idea to purchase the items separately from a retail store? Can you request specific equipment from DirectTV or do they provide all customers with the same receiver/off air antenna?

    Assuming we went with the equipment from Direct TV, have you found that the HD local stations you can receive with the off air antenna are of very good picture quality? Are they as good as the sat. stations like ESPN HD, Discovery HD, etc.? Basically, is the off-air antenna worth getting. If we can't get the local stations we probably won't get the HD equipment.

    Two more questions, do you have any idea how big the antenna that DirectTV installs is? Once the antenna is installed do you have to make adjustments to it to find the signal or does it do this automatically?

    Thanks in advance for any help.


  2. ImmerTech

    ImmerTech AllStar

    Jul 19, 2004
    Fort Lauderdale
    I cannot speak to the rest of your e-mail, but I can tell you that the OTA HD channels are in fact BETTER then the D* HD channels. I believe that D* is still broadcasting most of there HD at like 10MBit/sec. While OTA is broadcasting mostly at 20MBit/sec. I may be wrong with my numbers and I am sure a HD expert will correct me if I am. Basically OTA broadcasts have one channel to worry about so they can fill their pipe with the highest data rate. D* has to fit as many channels as possible in the same pipe so this means that they have to sometimes compromise a little on Bandwidth to accomplish this.

    With all that said, an important thing to remember is that as much as the OTA channels do look better. The SAT channels look REALLY REALLY good. So it is really a minor thing to say the that OTA is better. Assuming you can get OTA I would definitely get HD D*.

  3. jpoklop

    jpoklop AllStar

    Jan 20, 2004
    Well... sort of... Not all OTA is equal. Differences in station hardware and the number of digital channels they choose to multicast will affect the quality of their signal. In Chicago there is good digital (PBS especially) and bad digital (Channel 38 with 6 subchannels). Most stations do not use the full power allocated to their transmitter either.

    NBC's Olympic coverage looks better to my eye OTA than via DirecTV, but the difference is very subtle. I have not seen any real difference between DirecTV's CBS and my local OTA CBS.

    The biggest improvement with OTA is for non-HD material. When watching SD locals, the OTA picture blows away the highly compressed DirecTV version. If you can receive OTA in your area, the benefits are worth the effort.

    I don't know what attenna DirecTV is offering, but I would definitely research what you need for your area before making the decision. http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx is a great resource.
  4. DCSholtis

    DCSholtis Up The Irons!

    Aug 7, 2002
    I forget the model name but I know its one that attaches to the dish off a arm on the mount.
  5. trigs

    trigs New Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    If you already have an antenna, and you can get UHF channels, then try your existing antenna for OTA HD.
  6. Kevinlane

    Kevinlane New Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    I agree OTA IS BETTER (with the HD10-250) than DTV especially in SD
    OTA in combination with DTV is one of the main reasons I got an HD10-250.
  7. joema

    joema New Member

    Jan 7, 2004
    I just put a small Channel Master 4221 4-bay UHF bow tie antenna in my attic. The installer would have put up some kind of antenna for me, but I wanted this specific type, mounted exactly where I wanted. I used a Channel Master mast-mounted preamp, and ran the coax to the "antenna" input on my HR10-250 HD DirecTivo.

    You really only need an antenna for HD locals -- SD locals are generally available via satellite. HD locals are usually UHF, not VHF, but verify this at antennaweb.org. If so you just need a UHF-only antenna, which is physically smaller than VHF or VHF/UHF combo antennas.

    Fortunately all my OTA stations are at the same compass heading, so I don't need a rotator. If your HD OTA stations are at two different compass headings, I'd suggest getting two small UHF antennas, point one at each heading, combine the signals at the antenna end with a splitter/combiner, and run a single cable to your HD receiver. This will avoid messing with a rotator.

    I'm about 20 miles from the stations, and my small antenna works perfectly. In Guided Setup, indicate you have OTA and satellite channels, and what zip code your OTA stations are in. Then the HD Tivo automatically scanned and located the OTA stations (both SD and HD), and automatically integrated them into the channel lineup. Picture quality is roughly the same as satellite. If a a local HD OTA station uses subchannels, this will steal bandwidth and the HD quality won't be quite as good. But in essence it's easy to hook up, pretty much fully automatic, and picture quality is generally the same as satellite. Digital OTA stations don't have any of the snow or multipath problems of analog stations.
  8. speedcouch

    speedcouch AllStar

    Jun 23, 2004
    I live in Davidsonville, MD and the OTA Washington DC HD channels we get are all very good! Better than anything on DirecTV except maybe HDnet (but it's more compressed than it used to be). Channel 9's picture is awesome with so much 1080i content coming out of CBS. Channel 4 is good, but NBC doesn't have a lot of HD content yet. Channel 7 is good for Monday Night Footbal (even if it is only 720p), but we prefer channel 2 out of Baltimore as we get a stronger signal where we live. Channel 5 is decent and they do widescreen quite often even if it isn't true HD yet. We had to have a roof antenna with mast and rotor installed to get both Baltimore and Washington because we live so far out, but it was well worth the cost. Not sure what you mean by "adjustments," but we have switch the rotor for either Baltimore or Washington (which are in totally different directions for us).

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