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Legend
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

Sorry for the dumb question, but I am just now starting to look into "upgrading" from my HR10-250s to HR21 units since DirecTV is pulling the plug on HD channels on the HR10s and I'm wondering if I need to get an AM21. I HATE having to give up the TiVo interface, but it looks like I don't have a choice.

Anyway, I live in Washington DC and up until now I have had to use my rooftop HD antenna to get my locals in HD on my HR10. But with an HR21 and the new dish, it looks like I can get my locals in HD over the dish. So, is there any point in getting an AM21? I know it will allow me to get the few HD locals that DirecTV does not offer in my area (like channel 26 - PBS), but I'm really only interested in the major networks.

Here's another question - I love the way my local HD channels look right now since they are coming in from my antenna and aren't compressed in any way. Will I be sad if I switch over to getting local HD channels over the dish due to compression? If so, can you use an AM21 and tell the HR21 unit to record off of the antenna instead of the dish? In other words, will my local channel 4 show up in the guide twice and let me choose if I want to record it over the dish or over the antenna?

In summary:
- Is there any point in getting an AM21 when I can get my local channels in HD from the dish?
- If I get a local channel in HD over the dish, can I still have the HR21 record the channel from the antenna instead?

Thanks!
Jay
 

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:welcome_s to DBSTalk!!

Give the HR21 a chance... You may be pleasantly surprised... ;) Many former Tivo users say they'll never go back...

These are not dumb questions at all... In fact, it sounds like you are very informed when it comes to OTA channels...

First off, as far as compression goes, I notice very little picture quality difference between the satellite feed and the OTA feed (and I'm pretty picky :) )...The OTA feed is slightly better, but it's not enough difference for me to choose it over the satellite...

Let me just make a couple of suggestions to you to help answer your 2 main questions...

1. Having access to OTA channels is definitely nice when your signal is lost due to rain fade. Not sure if you have many severe storms in your area, but we have them around here a good bit. So it's always nice to be able to follow the 'breaking severe weather news' even when the satellite is out.

2. It will indeed show up twice in your guide (or even 3 times unless you tell your HR21 to "hide SD duplicates")... and you may choose to record from either one...

Here is an example of how it will look if you recieve a local channel via sat and OTA... The first "3" is via satellite... and the "3-1" is the same feed OTA...

 

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IN addition to what AirRocker said, with the AM21 you can also get the sub-channels from the OTA signal. In an area like ours, where weather can become a major issues, having all those sub channels that the stations use for weather and additional news can be a great benefit.
 

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If you want Over The Air (OTA) channels....go for it...those with it seem happy.

If you are satisfied with the locals you have already, that's $50 you can spend on another toy. :D

The picture quality images on both the AM21 and the local DirecTV HD channels are virtually identical.

By the way AirRocker - nice display. Who helped you hold the camera so still. :lol:
 

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Legend
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MartyS said:
IN addition to what AirRocker said, with the AM21 you can also get the sub-channels from the OTA signal. In an area like ours, where weather can become a major issues, having all those sub channels that the stations use for weather and additional news can be a great benefit.
The sub channels are nice. In Chicago, a couple of the stations divide their bandwith into multiple subchannels instead of going for HD channels. One of the stations has 6 subchannels :)

Also, like others have mentioned, we had a violent storm here in Chicago. I got rain fade and couldn't get any of the DTV channels but I could get the 24 hour OTA weather subchannel from from of the networks...

Plus there are still several stations in the area that DTV doesn't carry, including a secondary PBS channel that comes out of Indiana that is available OTA in the Chicago area.

Kevin
 

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If in doubt, I'd ask for it now (during the upgrade).. many have got them for free when replacing a reciever that had OTA.. you can always just disconnect it later if you decide you don't use it..
 

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Legend
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I would get it. I called and spoke with retention and one was sent out free. I explained that I was unhappy with the unit because I could not use OTA. I asked how is this an upgrade from my HR10 when I can't use all of the features that I currently am using. I also threw in there about not having DLB and said now I don't have OTA!!! The girl said no problem and shipped it out. I currently do not have an OTA but plan on putting one up, so I'd rather have it then not .
 

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As others have said, the sub-channel access is a big reason for OTA. Having them appear in the guide with programming data and being able to record them on the DVR are big +s too.
 

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Legend
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow, thanks for everyone's great information. That's a really good point about the subchannels. All the major stations in DC have them and I occasionally will bring them up to check the weather. And if OTA works better in a storm than the dish, I think I'm definitely going to get an AM21. Looking at some of the deals that they are offering HR10 people, I think I can get them to throw it in for free.

I don't mean to completely change the subject of this thread, but while we're talking about the AM21, how exactly do you wire it up? Right now I have two lines running from my dish to each of my HR10s. Near the dish I have my rooftop antenna OTA signal injected into each line. Then right before each TiVo, the OTA signal is diplexed out.

I thought that I heard that you can't do this type of diplex thing with the HR21 (or maybe it's the new dish that makes it impossible - or maybe I'm just completely wrong). But I also heard something about SWM (single wire multiswitch).

Anyway, how do you guys have it set up? I have two lines running from the dish to each TV in my house and I want to be able to record two shows at once and also have OTA capability with my rooftop antenna. How is that done?

Thanks so much for everyone's help!
 

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jnelaine said:
And if OTA works better in a storm than the dish, I think I'm definitely going to get an AM21. Looking at some of the deals that they are offering HR10 people, I think I can get them to throw it in for free.

I don't mean to completely change the subject of this thread, but while we're talking about the AM21, how exactly do you wire it up?

Anyway, how do you guys have it set up? I have two lines running from the dish to each TV in my house and I want to be able to record two shows at once and also have OTA capability with my rooftop antenna. How is that done?

Thanks so much for everyone's help!
OTA definitely works when sat doesn't due to precip fade. I've never lost my OTA signal due to precip....even heavy icing.

The instructions for connecting it are included in the box...step by step, very clear.

You should have a separate coax line from your TV antenna to the HR21. That will allow you to do the following:

Record 2 sat at same time (view either live as well)
Record 2 ota at the same time (ditto)
Record 1 sat and 1 ota at the same time (ditto)

You can also (under all 3 circumstances above) watch a 3rd program that you have previously recorded.

You cannot occupy 2 tuners recording and then watch a 3rd channel live. So the hard limit is 2 tuners, no matter how they are used (sat or ota), but you can watch a 3rd program that you previously recorded.

If you're smart (and have enough signal), you will split the TV signal at the HR21, and run the additional line off the splitter directly to your HDTV (assuming it has a tuner). This way, you can add one additional OTA channel to view (but not record), by changing the input on your TV from HDMI to ANTENNA. Lots of us do this. It becomes one more tuner for viewing, but of course, no record on this one.
 

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Legend
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
hasan said:
You should have a separate coax line from your TV antenna to the HR21. That will allow you to do the following:

Record 2 sat at same time (view either live as well)
Record 2 ota at the same time (ditto)
Record 1 sat and 1 ota at the same time (ditto)
Thanks hasan. I already have an HR10 with OTA so I can already do all of these things. I'm just wondering if I need to get a SWM or if the new 5-LNB dish will work with my current setup.

I currently have a powered Eagle Aspen 5x8 Multiswitch on my roof with my 3-LNB oval dish and my HD antenna. The antenna signal is multiplexed into each line and then I have a passive diplexer near each TV which will split the antenna signal back out.

Will this setup work with the new 5-LNB dish and the HR21/AM21 or do I need to get SWM in order to pipe two satellite channels down one cable and the antenna signal down the other?

Thanks again!
 

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jnelaine said:
Thanks hasan. I already have an HR10 with OTA so I can already do all of these things. I'm just wondering if I need to get a SWM or if the new 5-LNB dish will work with my current setup.

I currently have a powered Eagle Aspen 5x8 Multiswitch on my roof with my 3-LNB oval dish and my HD antenna. The antenna signal is multiplexed into each line and then I have a passive diplexer near each TV which will split the antenna signal back out.

Will this setup work with the new 5-LNB dish and the HR21/AM21 or do I need to get SWM in order to pipe two satellite channels down one cable and the antenna signal down the other?

Thanks again!
I'll let an SWM'r answer that part, but you can't diplex OTA on a non-SWM system any longer, without jumping through some pretty strange hoops. You really should go SWM or run a separate OTA line.
 

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jnelaine said:
Thanks hasan. I already have an HR10 with OTA so I can already do all of these things. I'm just wondering if I need to get a SWM or if the new 5-LNB dish will work with my current setup.

I currently have a powered Eagle Aspen 5x8 Multiswitch on my roof with my 3-LNB oval dish and my HD antenna. The antenna signal is multiplexed into each line and then I have a passive diplexer near each TV which will split the antenna signal back out.

Will this setup work with the new 5-LNB dish and the HR21/AM21 or do I need to get SWM in order to pipe two satellite channels down one cable and the antenna signal down the other?

Thanks again!
You will need a new dish and a new multiswitch but that should all be provided by the installer. Diplexing can be done but it's simple or supported so another cable run is the best option.
 

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Another reason to get your locals OTA is when you live near two markets. I get locals perfectly OTA from both Providence and Boston. D* would only give me locals from Providence. My local PBS has nothing in HD, but WGBH from Boston has pretty good HD programming. Plus, there are many more locals not carried by D*.

SMK
 

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Godfather
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I see a better picture OTA but I'm not unhappy with DirecTv's HD picture. I want to keep OTA because, no matter how bad the weather, I never lose the OTA signal. Wish I could say that for satellite.
 

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Legend
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks to everyone for all your help! If I decide to stick with DirecTV and do the upgrade, I will definitely get an AM21 with each HR21 receiver, and it looks like I will also need a SWM. Looks like a big hardware order is necessary:

- 3 HR21s replace my HR10-250s
- 3 AM21s
- New 5-LNB dish to replace my 3-LNB dish
- A SWM
- Free install to get this all working!

Or, I might just decide to dump DirecTV entirely and switch over to Verizon FIOS or Cox cable and go with true HD TiVos instead! :eek2: I haven't looked into those options yet, so let me know if you know of any good DirecTV vs FIOS vs Cox threads out there.

Thanks!
 

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jnelaine said:
Thanks to everyone for all your help! If I decide to stick with DirecTV and do the upgrade, I will definitely get an AM21 with each HR21 receiver, and it looks like I will also need a SWM. Looks like a big hardware order is necessary:

- 3 HR21s replace my HR10-250s
- 3 AM21s
- New 5-LNB dish to replace my 3-LNB dish
- A SWM
- Free install to get this all working!

Or, I might just decide to dump DirecTV entirely and switch over to Verizon FIOS or Cox cable and go with true HD TiVos instead! :eek2: I haven't looked into those options yet, so let me know if you know of any good DirecTV vs FIOS vs Cox threads out there.

Thanks!
Friends don't let friends get cable (or FIOS). :D

If you want less channels in HD and yet pay more money....go the other direction...otherwise...stay the course.
 

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I think the decision on whether or not to go for the AM21 comes down to whether or not your locals are more or less compressed than what DirecTV provides. I know in Seattle my OTA locals are noticeably better than what comes over the satellite. I did some A/B comparisons of the Olympics this week and OTA beat DirecTV hands down.
 

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I’ve checked my locals on D* vs. OTA (that is, OTA connected to my TV, not the HR2x) and I cannot tell a difference. In fact, I was just watching the women’s Olympic Marathon and noticed a lot of MPEG blocking on the D* feed, so I switch over the OTA and guess what? It was actually worse! I guess D* must be doing some sort of “clean up” on the signal that helps with this. Overall, I am very happy with D* HD locals and only use OTA in the rare cases when I have rain fade or when the HR2x is busy recording two things and we want to watch a third (like I said, I have my OTA antenna on the TV’s tuner so I can do this).
 
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