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To OTA or not OTA?

2122 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  dlsnyder
First - I kick myself for having the antenna removed on my house a few weeks ago when getting it re-roofed. Had a tall, big channel master with rotator - had it ripped out. I was thinking HD but said - well by the time I get HDTV, it will all be over the satellite. I ended up getting an HDTV a couple weeks ago... DOH!

SOOooo is the DIGITAL broadcast really worth it? Its not really HD right? Its mainly SD? Is the programming in SD at all or is it just broadcasted that way? I mean is it worth it? Id have to get the OTA module, buy a NEW antenna, run some wiring again... yuk I'd get CBS through Dish anyway...

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Depends on how much digital content is available OTA in your area. Digital TV in Houston is great and starting this fall, I expect to see more HD content.
Im in the DC area - I have two cities in range and we were one of the first.... so I think it is pretty good... a dozen channels or so??

Lee, you don't say where you are so it's up to you to find out how many digital/HD OTAs are in your area.

Of course, here in LA LA land we have a bunch.

I'm sorry to hear about anybody taking down a good OTA antenna not only because of the switch to digital & HD but also because of the loss of good FM reception & local analog TV if for nothing else than back-up.

My locals come in so good OTA I wouldn't think of paying sat or cable for them!

BTW, have you seen this thread over in the Programming section?
Here's a link to current DTV stations on the air. HECK YEAH IT'S WORTH IT!!

Please update your Profile to include your location.
Ok Im registered now ;)

Im familiar with the stations I can get but.... whats the advantage?

Programming is the same , but is any of it recorded in SD or HD and transmitted as such or is it just a DTV transmission of the same stuff?

And I am wondering if I can get away with LESS antenna to get the HD signal. I am high on a hill with unobstructed views of both directions to both cities. But I am about 30-40 miles from each.

I just dont want a big towering antenna anymore. How about those clipons to the satellite dishes, do they suck?
The advantage: Crystal clear, noise free reception with DD sound. Even SD looks incredible, better than anything Dish sends over their satellite. HD will blow your eyeballs out of their sockets, even if you don't have a HD set you can view it downconverted and they look darned good.

Programming depends on your local stations on how they pass it through. ABC & CBS have most Primetime shows in HD, NBC is coming online this Fall with more Primetime. PBS is almost all HD.

At that distance, a small UHF antenna should be ok. IF you have to point to different locations, get an antenna rotor.

Forget the clipons, they suck.
Ok, I did it! Yup, its awesome... I find it especially fun hunting down DT stations near and far... going back to the old days monkeying around with antennas.

I am STILL kicking myself for having my huge channel master with amp/splitter and rotator torn down a few months ago.

I got the radio shack U-75 antenna and it does as good a job as I think I am gonna get. I am about 40-50miles from both DC and Baltimore. CBS in washington comes in at up to 93% while others on the same tower I can barely get. Sometimes PBS (WETA) on the same tower is at 67% and sometimes (like last night) I cant lock... I assume its atmospheric conditions.

I also bought a little bowtie from radio shack. I splice it into the antenna line to try and add a second directional towards Baltimore. Even in my living room it worked! So I will try and mount that high outside and splice in to get a better lock on baltimore.

I tried to split the difference by pointing my U75 between DC and Baltimore but got half ass reception on both - so I decided to focus on DC and see what I could do on the side on Baltimore.

Problem is my ABC feed from DC wont lock (WJLA). Its on the same tower as WUSA (at 93%)! I checked some databases and see WJLA is at half the power (340kw?), but see they have had a construction permit to go up to 1000kw, so hopefully that will improve.

In the meantime I am trying to get a lock on WMAR in Baltimore which has 1 HD and 2 SD channels....

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Lee, the area you are in experiences a lot of "station skip" through the summer months. You will probably be able to pick up quite a few distant stations if you play around with your antenna.
I did some more tweaking yesterday and for some bizarre reason I now get ABC in DC in th 80%s - before I couldnt get anything.

I did find that I really have to play around with the signal boost on my amplifier - the stronger signals let me boost more - the weak allow only a little boost - and that is understandable.

I can get some distant stations but I have to point to them and the signal is weak. The key is, what can I get strong and stable?! It seems at this point that I can get all networks in DC fairly well now, however for some reason I have lost FOX (thats ok, no HD content anyway), and the DC ABC affiliate does not pass through network HD content but said they will by end of summer. In the meantime, I put up a temporary bowtie to get the Baltimore ABC feed.

(I feel very sorry for you westerners who have limited choices!)
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I don't know about elsewhere in the west but here in the greater LA area most cities can get LA and San Diego locals most of the time. The choices are still limited to the same 4 networks though (I don't think XHUPN in Tijuana has a digital signal up yet).
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