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OTA and subchannels

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Programming' started by Joke, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. Joke

    Joke Cool Member

    Jun 15, 2011

    I'm about to switch to DirecTV from U-verse.

    I've seen some threads discussing the fact that the DirecTV HD receivers can integrate in the OTA signals for local channels (and the subchannels, too, I believe), and the HD DVR can even record the OTA versions of the channels.

    That seems like pretty cool functionality.

    I live in Houston, and I'll be ordering 3 HD receivers (one an HD DVR) and paying for the HD service, so I wouldn't really need the integrated OTA since DirecTV has HD versions of all my locals.
    But it still seems like a cool toy to have; I presume the picture quality is better (OTA typically is), and I doubt DirecTV provides the subchannels via satellite.

    So my question is, can I get that OTA integration turned on for my setup, even though HD locals are available via satellite?

  2. FenixTX

    FenixTX Godfather

    Nov 11, 2005
    Yes, you can. If you get a HR-20 700 or HR-20 100 then they already have an OTA port in the back of the receiver. All other receivers, including your basic HD receivers (H series) can receive OTA locals with an AM21. Can't remember how much they are but just call DirecTV or go to their website and log into your account to order one or however many you want.
  3. jdspencer

    jdspencer Hall Of Fame

    Nov 7, 2003
    For OTA you'll need the HR20 DVR as they have the OTA tuner built in. For the other models you'll need the AM21 add-on tuner. And yes, the DVR can record the OTA channels and their guide is incorporated into the system. However, you are at the mercy of DirecTV as to whether all sub-channels are included in the guide.

    I have both OTA locals and DirecTV locals in my guide.

    SPACEMAKER Freethinker

    Dec 11, 2007
    Mason, MI
    The HR24/AM21 combo is vastly superior to the HR20 when it comes to OTA. The multipath issues common with HR20's can be very frustrating to say the least.
  5. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    Rest assured that new subscribers have very little chance of getting an HR20.

    DIRECTV's AM21 solution works well with most of their receivers except the HR24-500.

    It is important to know that if you have a station that likes to change, add or remove subchannels a lot, there will be serious problems with the database driven OTA tuning model that DIRECTV uses. If the channel isn't listed in the guide that DIRECTV provides, the DIRECTV tuner WILL NOT tune it.
  6. NR4P

    NR4P Dad

    Jan 15, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Am21 is $50 from Directv. They have been known to discount it.
  7. Joke

    Joke Cool Member

    Jun 15, 2011
    Thank you everyone for the info.

    Sounds cool and easy implement. But on the down side, $50 a box seems a little steep. Guess I'll wait and see how I feel about the picture quality on the satellite version of the locals.
  8. Garyunc

    Garyunc Godfather

    Oct 7, 2006
    I would try to get them included in your new deal.
  9. Beerstalker

    Beerstalker Hall Of Fame

    Feb 9, 2009
    Peoria, IL
    Probably won't happen. As far as I know they cannot order an AM21 for you until you have a H2x or HR2x receiver active on your account.
  10. Go Beavs

    Go Beavs Hall Of Fame

    Nov 18, 2008
    In my experience, I haven't been able to tell the difference in picture quality between OTA and Sat delivered locals. The only difference I can tell is that FF and RW are a little smoother with OTA because of the way those channels are encoded.

    As for pricing... I got mine on eBay for about $40.
  11. NR4P

    NR4P Dad

    Jan 15, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    SAT and OTA are virtually identical. I can't tell them apart. I just get to watch things two seconds sooner with OTA.

    You can mess with people that way. Watch a sporting event on OTA, talk on the phone with someone watching the same thing on SAT and you can even predict with 100% accuracy the end of a play or shot. They go nuts on the other end. :D
  12. bobnielsen

    bobnielsen Éminence grise

    Jun 29, 2006
    I realize that you don't have one so don't know why you claim this. My HR24-500/AM21 works just fine.
  13. wilbur_the_goose

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

    Aug 16, 2006
    keep in mind that you won't get all the subchannels - only the ones DirecTV allows you to see based on their guide information (or lack, thereof).
  14. jdspencer

    jdspencer Hall Of Fame

    Nov 7, 2003
    You can always plug the antenna into the TV to ensure you get all local sub-channels.

    In my area, DirecTV doesn't offer two of the sub-channels for our PBS.

    My TV also receives two of the PBS audio sub-channels.
  15. kovach

    kovach Mentor

    Feb 22, 2010
    Yeah, that sounds minor, but there's at least 3 subchannels in my area that have been live since sometime last year that I'm still not able to get through the AM21 because DirecTV hasn't updated their database yet. Frustrating. Of course I can get them if running the antenna directly into my TV.
  16. nusatman

    nusatman Cool Member

    Jan 9, 2011
    Does anyone know if and when Directv is planning on making more of the sub-channels available? Seems to me, that whomever comes up with that first, may have a bit of an advantage over other providers...just saying...
  17. mdavej

    mdavej Hall Of Fame

    Jan 30, 2007
    I seem to recall the HR34 will pick up everything it scans, unlike earlier database driven models. Of course Dish works the same way, picking up everything it scans.
  18. wilbur_the_goose

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

    Aug 16, 2006
    Right now, the answer is never... I'd just like, for example, 14-4 - Normal Programming, but we get nothing.
  19. NewForceFiveFan

    NewForceFiveFan Legend

    Apr 23, 2010
    If I get an am21 can I use it for just one subchannel and get the main and rest of my locals off the bird? why doesn't the am21 work with an hr24-500? I think both of my hr24's are that one or one is a 500 and the other a 100.
  20. litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2004
    Mill Creek, WA
    Yes, and yes. Adding an AM21 does not take away any of the local channels that you already get via DirecTV satellite. You can edit which off-air channels appear in the Guide to include either your satellite-delivered locals, off-air locals, or both.

    The AM21 does work with the HR24. It works with all HD Receivers and DVRs, including the new HR34 Home Media Center DVR. It does not work with H20 or HR20 because those already have integrated off-air tuners.

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