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· AllStar
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59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm getting the AM21 (for my hd21-100). I have some questions about the whole installation of this.

From what I can gather I need to install an OTA antenna outside and run another coax from it to the Back of the AM21.

I'm in Pittsburgh, PA, and antennaweb shows me being within 10 miles of all the major network OTAs (zip code is 15227 if you want to see for yourself)

I'd like to do something like this post (see the picture at the bottom)

http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=136615&highlight=OTA+Antenna

They have the antenna hooked up to the sat mast. That way i don't to drill anymore holes in the brick. My sat is mounted to the side wall of my house, in brick. It seems to do this i can get one of these as the mount:

Winegard DS-2000

http://www.winegarddirect.com/viewitem.asp?p=DS-2000

And then get the channel master stealth:

http://channelmasterstore.com/Channel-Master-VHFUHFFM-StealthTenna/M/B0009FJEUS.htm

would it pick up all my signals in all directions when they are at most 10 miles away? Or do i need to get something that is OMNI directional? (or is it?)

And what about putting the new coax thru the brick? The TV in question is right on the other side of the brick, so drilling a straight hole is doable. Is there any other way to do this without a bigger expense?

Also will my HD be of much better quality? Reason i can't take it now is the locals are breaking up all over the place (NBC to be specific) And i don't see direct tv and the local NBC figuring this out any time soon.

Also will i still be able to tape 2 things at once (like 2 OTA at once if i need to?)
 

· Hall Of Fame
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3,682 Posts
danjfoley said:
And what about putting the new coax thru the brick? The TV in question is right on the other side of the brick, so drilling a straight hole is doable. Is there any other way to do this without a bigger expense?
I'd drill through the grout. Easier on whatever drlll you have. Just make sure no electrical is on either side.
 

· Hall Of Fame
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2,136 Posts
If you are 10 miles away from the antenna's you should be able to make due with any number of indoor antennas. I used a random old radio shack antenna to pick up my OTA signals from 8 miles away and it was fine.
 

· Legend
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163 Posts
mrdbdigital said:
Don't waste your money on the Channel Master Stealth antenna. It's a real POS from my experience.
The stealth antenna works fine for me. i have the amplified version. i am 45 miles away from the towers, and they are all in the same direction. I get 80 - 100% on all statinos. If the towers are all in different directions, that antenna probably wouldn't work well for you.

Since you are only 10 miles away, i would try an indoor antenna. I had a zenith that i got at walmart that worked pretty well when i lived closer to the towers. you can take them back if they don't work and try another. I had to try a few different ones before i found one that worked well.

You could also try an omni directional and put it in your attic.
 

· AllStar
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59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
i hooked up a crappy set of rabbit ears to the tv today, and let it scan for digital signals..

NBC HD (the one with the problem on Direct TV) comes in and goes out.. lasts about a few seconds before it goes out again. I can't say what the signal strength is it won't tell me. Now suddenly it's lasting a while without going on.. then it's back to screw ups.

Do you think maybe this is just the same feed direct tv is getting and that's why i'm seeing the mess ups? it's not as bad on direct tv as it is OTA when it drops out. The OTA when it drops it literally just goes away, and it takes my TV a few moments to lock back in.

The OTA it a LOT crisper.. sound is a bit lower..

I'm confused, I would rather not care about the OTA, but if NBC is going to drop out all the time on Direct TV, and OTA will be good. Then that's what i want.

Seems NBC was fine OTA for a while but now it's dropping out again. When it does my TV says "no signal"..

So what antenna should i go with? I think i need something Omni.

When the AM21 comes in i can see if i'm just getting low signal here, which i hope is the case. (AM21 will tell you the signal strength right?)
 

· Godfather
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291 Posts
Single or two story house? Can you run coax into your attic, or use existing coax upstairs to connect to an indoor amplified antenna?

To answer a few of your questions:

YES - The OTA via the AM-21 will look better - it usually isn't OVERcompressed
YES - you can record 2 things simultaneously - OTA and/or DTV
 

· AllStar
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59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well first of all I got the AM21 today. Damn that was fast. I ordered it yesterday around 4pm and here it is today around 2pm!

I hooked it up, put the same pair of crappy rabbit ears into it, and let it do it's thing. My NBC (the one i said had trouble last night via my tv) are getting 100% signal strength. The lowest anything gets is in the 60% range!

So could it be that my TV just doesn't have as good of a tuner as the am21 has and kept on dropping out? Or maybe i have to check the signal tonight during leno which i was viewing last night.

Well i hope that means i get 100% and i'm going to get a nice HD picture with my little rabbit ears.

OR maybe i just have a crappy connection and/or rabbit ears that just drops the connection here and there. In which case i should be able to go to radio shack get a somewhat decent set and be good.

We'll see what happens tonight. I recorded some HD at same time via DTV and VIA OTA so i can compare
 

· Beware the Attack Basset
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26,875 Posts
It is possible that your TV tuner was overwhelmed with signal or getting multiple signals (multipath) and that's why it was giving you fits.
 

· Godfather
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291 Posts
danjfoley said:
But is the am21 tuner better?
The AM-21 has a pair of ATI theater chips onboard. It is definitely 'as-good' as any tuner you might find in a STB of within a television set. Is it 'better'? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I have ATI TV Wonder 650 cars as tuner/capture cars in both of my HTPC's so I have a bias here. I did extensive research when buying those tuners, and have been nothing but pleased with their performance. Since the 'heart' of the AM-21 is the same as that in my PCI cards - they 'should' look just as good. The only difference is the capture and control via the HR* DVR.
 

· Hall Of Fame
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1,452 Posts
I live in an old house with thick walls and had to run a cable under the floor to a window for my rabbit ears. OTA HD is line of sight, so if your signal is fading a lot, try getting the ant to a window before going through the trouble of an outdoor model.
 

· Legend
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185 Posts
danjfoley said:
Well first of all I got the AM21 today. Damn that was fast. I ordered it yesterday around 4pm and here it is today around 2pm!
Where did you order the AM21 from (D* or other vendor) and who ends up owning the box (you or D*)?

Can you pick what channels the AM21 passes to the HR21 or does it pass them all. Or better yet, can the HR21 disregard specific channels from the AM21? With my situation, I have to get the PBS-HD channel via OTA because D* does not carry the HD portion of WCNY from Syracuse. They only pass on the SD channel. The other channels from Syracuse (NBC, ABC, CBS, etc) are all carried by D*. Hence, I only want the AM21 for one HD channel. Hopefully this makes sense...
 

· Registered
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5,674 Posts
fwiw, I just added a channelmaster amplifier cm3044 and rotator cm 9521a to my older tandy (made by channel master) ota unit that is up about 20 feet.
I have hills and some very weak stations here, fox was originally a signal strength of 50 +/- with 4 units using an ota input. using rotator and amp its now 94 +/- and other channels in area read 100 on am21 and on all tv's.
cost me about $80 or so with shipping, ota is needed here due to weather.

http://www.solidsignal.com/prod_display.asp?PROD=SPDA3044
http://www.solidsignal.com/prod_display.asp?PROD=MTRTR200-100
 

· AllStar
Joined
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59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
AM21 was $50 from direct tv, but i got the them to give me a $10 HD credit for 6 months, so really they ended up paying me about 4 bucks for it. (reason is my nbc local has known issues, and they have no idea when it will be fixed so the guy on the phone agreed with me t hat i should get a free am21)

When you go thru it's setup, it will list all the ota channel you should get in your area, and you can view the signal strength for each, then you can select which ones to pass to the hd21.. They then appear in your hd21 guide as subchannels to the main direct tv channel. The channel is in a grey/black color so you know it's an ota.

So you can record the OTA one and the DirectTV one at the same time even.

So far so good.. and what i figure is this:

the nbc ota has very slight glitches in it here and there, and i might VERY slight. like maybe a tiny little part of the screen.. like 2% goes green for a split second. So small that if you were not looking at it you might miss it.

But for the very same time this happens on the OTA, the Direct TV local entire screen goes green for a good 1/2 second.

Seems any small error on the OTA gets greatly amplified via Direct TV's transmission.
 

· Éminence grise
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8,457 Posts
R0am3r said:
Where did you order the AM21 from (D* or other vendor) and who ends up owning the box (you or D*)?

Can you pick what channels the AM21 passes to the HR21 or does it pass them all. Or better yet, can the HR21 disregard specific channels from the AM21? With my situation, I have to get the PBS-HD channel via OTA because D* does not carry the HD portion of WCNY from Syracuse. They only pass on the SD channel. The other channels from Syracuse (NBC, ABC, CBS, etc) are all carried by D*. Hence, I only want the AM21 for one HD channel. Hopefully this makes sense...
You can get the AM21 from Directv for $50 plus tax (free shipping). A few online retailers also sell it for a slightly higher price. You will own it. It doesn't scan for channels but uses a downloaded database. You are allowed to enter both a main and secondary zip code, so you may be able to receive stations outside of your DMA. You will also be able to receive secondary subchannels (weather, etc., if they are offered). The database comes from Tribune Media (who furnish the guide data). You can edit the list to delete any stations you do not want or cannot receive and the data is integrated into the guide. The result is that your HR21/22 will work just like the HR20.
 

· Éminence grise
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8,457 Posts
danjfoley said:
how do you split the ota to the other tv's. I don't want to have to split it and run more cables. Wish there was a way to run it over the existing runs.
I had two cables to both receiver locations and after installing a SWM there were spares for each, which I use for OTA with a splitter off my rooftop antenna.
 
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