Author Topic: Over the Air DTV Antennas  (Read 5929 times)

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Over the Air DTV Antennas
« on: February 02, 2014, 03:18:21 AM »
Anyone know a lot about over the air TV antennas?  My wife and I really only watch one station for the news, and even though we cut our cable back over a year ago to the most basic offering, it's still $30 a month.  Although I can afford it, I hate giving the cable company money for one station every month.   I bought this:

www.amazon.com/dp/B00EAY2NCA

Along with a 24db pre-amp.  I can get a number of stations, but not ABC, CBS or NBC which sucks.   Using TSReaderLite to test, I can get about a 2% signal on those stations.  The stations that come in seem to need about a 40% signal before they work.  Should I try a 50db pre-amp or do you think I need a bigger antenna?


MV.. hint: tubeplus for gold rush and other cable shows

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2014, 06:19:13 AM »

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2014, 07:09:54 AM »
I tried the antennas with built in preamps.  I get much, much better reception from the $9 simple rabbit ears sold at K-mart, Target, Amazon, etc.  If you're lucky,you can find them even cheaper at places like big lots.  The preamp antennas are not as good.  I live on the eastern edge of my city at get 28-channels. However, if the wind is blowing the wrong way, literally, a couple of them sometimes disappear.  Digital reception seems to be either on or off - no in between as we had with analog.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2014, 01:06:36 PM »
I tried the antennas with built in preamps.  I get much, much better reception from the $9 simple rabbit ears sold at K-mart, Target, Amazon, etc.  If you're lucky,you can find them even cheaper at places like big lots.  The preamp antennas are not as good.  I live on the eastern edge of my city at get 28-channels. However, if the wind is blowing the wrong way, literally, a couple of them sometimes disappear.  Digital reception seems to be either on or off - no in between as we had with analog.

Yes, it will be on or off with digital.   Antennas are antennas, but it's not something that just gets fuzzy with major error, digital will drop out if there's too much error.     I'm pretty far from the broadcast antennas for the big three in my area, so that's why I'm having trouble.  A preamp definitely helps boost a lower signal, I just don't know if having a 50db preamp is going to be enough that I should even bother trying.

I will check out the DIY antenna site, thanks.   First though, I have a 50db rabbit ear setup that is on its way from ebay.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2014, 02:24:20 PM »
I'm using an el cheapo RCA rabbit ears and get much better than expected reception.  I'm very pleased with it.  I've got Me TV tuned in most of the time and love it.  I'm about 20 miles from a major metro and about 20-30 miles from most of the broadcasters.  Can't beat what I'm getting for a one time <$10 expense.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2014, 02:42:00 PM »
The best result I got years ago was with a UHF "bowtie" outdoor antenna, a 4bay model (4 bowties) and it has a wide reception angle. I get all the major digital TV stations within about 30miles or so, no amplifier at all.
Worked better than several indoor amplified models I tried.

But I've found the receiver's sensitivity is as important as the antenna.
My Hauppage TV Tuner card in my desktop PC can pickup a lot more distant TV stations than my Panasonic HDTV's internal tuner. However a small Samsung HDTV I have in another room picks up more weaker stations than the Pansasonic.
So some TVs may require an amplified signal I guess.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2014, 02:56:24 PM »
... So some TVs may require an amplified signal I guess.

It depends on the noise floor of the amp w/shorted input.
IOW, if you have a 10X amp, and a noisy signal, the TV will just see 10X more noise.
Perhaps I should have rhymed it with snoory.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2014, 04:41:51 PM »
How do you get your internet?  If you pay your cable company for internet, which I do, I found that by cutting all channels out but keeping internet, I still get all the local network channels plus some of the other channels like TBS.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2014, 04:45:19 PM »
How do you get your internet?

How big is your nose?

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2014, 05:15:07 PM »
I use the cheapest antenna from these guys:

http://gomohu.com/

and it works great, especially if you need an indoor antenna. I live in a (metal) mobiole home, so I have to place it in the window, but I'm really impressed with how well it works.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2014, 05:23:57 PM »
51d,
Is there any chance that just changing its location could help your reception? Maybe just move it to the other end of the attic?

I know it says it is an attic antenna but how about mounting it on a small tower or on the roof of a wood shed or something?

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2014, 11:05:17 PM »
How do you get your internet?  If you pay your cable company for internet, which I do, I found that by cutting all channels out but keeping internet, I still get all the local network channels plus some of the other channels like TBS.

Really...  I'm going to have to give that a shot.  Are you on comcast?   You aren't  far from me, so I know that it's probably the same arrangement.   Maybe the gov'ment makes comcast broadcast them for free as part of the arrangement of having a monopoly.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2014, 11:07:36 PM »
51d,
Is there any chance that just changing its location could help your reception? Maybe just move it to the other end of the attic?

I know it says it is an attic antenna but how about mounting it on a small tower or on the roof of a wood shed or something?

Well I don't really want to go to the trouble of putting it outside, in the attic seems like the best bet at the moment.   I could potentially move it further but I don't think it's going to help.   I could be wrong....  Horror Retro's idea works, that is probably the best solution because I do need comcast for my internet.   Part of the reason I don't want to go to too much trouble is that I'll be moving in a couple years anyway.   Putting one up in my neighborhood on the outside will definitely bring problems with the HOA.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2014, 11:09:49 PM »
I use the cheapest antenna from these guys:

http://gomohu.com/

and it works great, especially if you need an indoor antenna. I live in a (metal) mobiole home, so I have to place it in the window, but I'm really impressed with how well it works.

Looks like I'd have to go with the most expensive one from these guys, but from what they're claiming I would get an impressive amount of channels with this setup.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2014, 12:15:53 AM »
How do you get your internet?  If you pay your cable company for internet, which I do, I found that by cutting all channels out but keeping internet, I still get all the local network channels plus some of the other channels like TBS.

Well, I tried to just tune the local channels on one of my TV's and I get nothing, and that is WITH paying for Comcast..  so I'm not sure if that would work for me.   Do you happen to be in an apartment building?

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2014, 12:28:06 AM »
Well, I tried to just tune the local channels on one of my TV's and I get nothing, and that is WITH paying for Comcast..  so I'm not sure if that would work for me.   Do you happen to be in an apartment building?

Nope.  I have a house, and we have Comcast. Supposedly, when you pay for their internet service, you get basic cable tv for free.  It worked for us.  I just kept the cable plugged into the wall, and it worked great.

I just did a little reading on this free basic cable with Comcast, and it seems kind of random. Some people keep the signal and others don't, so sorry if I gave you the wrong info., but it worked for us.  :-\

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2014, 12:45:49 AM »
Nope.  I have a house, and we have Comcast. Supposedly, when you pay for their internet service, you get basic cable tv for free.  It worked for us.  I just kept the cable plugged into the wall, and it worked great.

I just did a little reading on this free basic cable with Comcast, and it seems kind of random. Some people keep the signal and others don't, so sorry if I gave you the wrong info., but it worked for us.  :-\

Is it analog tv that you're getting, or is it digital?

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2014, 01:01:39 AM »
I guess the price of a residential house went up near an open wi-fi antenna.

Kinda sad since I would never eat an expensive fast burger again.

As military training seems to teach, I could give you my password, but then I'd have to kill you.

Perhaps I need more advice from local extra class Elmers to ace the tests w/o cheating. I've been trying to get the hang of it, and picked up some of the technical details, but most pronounced was the responsibility and care of groups out there that caused no digestive troubles, except a particuar instance mentioned. So to return the care I witnessed, I rolled up the sleeves, and dug for the deepest root. I'm not particularly moody, but I think the nonsense is understood regarding the outbursts of highly educated and accomplished efforts seeing a dead end ahead. I just put on my moosehead at times to see what tomorrow brings after nap.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2014, 01:23:43 AM »
I hate Comcast, so we have antenna TV. We've tried all sorts of antenna and rabbit ears have worked the best. Since dropping cable, we've lived in three different houses in 2 different states and the only thing that comes in with any regularity is PBS. And that is cool with me.
Some of the big networks will come in at certain times. For example, I get a local NBC affiliate for about 4 hours in the late morning everyday. According to an online map antenna channel range, I should be receiving 6 different channels. Nope. The same was true when I lived in another state.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2014, 03:28:52 AM »
This site tells you the optimal direction to point your antenna (sorry if you have already tried this). I actually put that antenna up for my parents a few months back but they live in a large urban area so there was no problem getting local channels.  I did adjust it to point south to get some San Diego channels and it seemed to help a little bit.

http://antennaweb.org/Address.aspx


Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2014, 03:39:00 AM »
Yes, I know where the antennas are, but the signal strength just wasn't there.  Thanks for the link though, others might find it useful.

For the record, I have a    Philips MANT 510 on the way.   Supposedly it is a 50db preamp on rabbit ears with a loop.   So I'll try that next.  If it fails, I might try this as a last resort:

www.amazon.com/dp/B004NQMCDK

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2014, 07:21:45 AM »
  Putting one up in my neighborhood on the outside will definitely bring problems with the HOA.
The FCC decided in 1996 that they, not homeowner's associations decide about antennas. 
http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-reception-devices-rule

Put it outside and tell the neighborhood Nazis to pound sand.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2014, 07:35:29 AM »
I bought one of these a few years ago. It's on a pole outside and it's grossly insufficient. But I live in the woods which is problematic for any antenna. Thought about getting an amplifier but network television blows anyway.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2014, 10:12:53 AM »
Is it analog tv that you're getting, or is it digital?

I believe digital.  All I know is that we cancelled all our cable TV channels with Comcast, but we kept internet service.  I turned on the TV to start set up for our antenna, and I noticed we still had KOMO, KIRO, KING, KCPQ, MeTV, Antenna TV, Discovery Channel, TBS, several PBS stations, and This TV, and Ion, I believe.  So we never set up our antenna, and we got those channels for free until we went back to paying for cable TV when I wanted to see the final episodes of Breaking Bad.  I do run the cable through my Tivo before it enters the TV.  I have no idea if that makes a difference, probably not.  From reading various message boards about this last night, as I said, it seems kind of random who retains the basic cable signal with just cable internet and who does not.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2014, 10:26:04 AM »
Interesting.  You have an Tivo HD or newer then?  Did you turn your digital cable card back into Comcast when you shut off your cable TV service?

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2014, 10:58:37 AM »
In the middle of my protracted dispute over billing errors with Comcast, they cut my cable for non payment. Nothing was coming through the cable box at all. During one of my many phone calls to customer service, a nice rep told me to unscrew the coaxial cable from the cable box and hook it directly to the TV. About 10-15 channels came in. Not quite basic cable, but close. After a few weeks, that stopped working, too. I think it must be some sort of grace period of minimum service, so if you decide to reinstate full service, your line is still active? That was the only thing I could figure.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2014, 11:21:13 AM »
One thing I've noticed about my amplified antenna is that sometimes turning the amp on will hurt how I pick up certain channels. And if I turn it up to the max, there's so much distortion introduced that nothing will come in. So I pretty much leave it on, barely. As was previously mentioned, it seems like the tuner plays a role as well.

The bowtie and halo configs seem to work best for me. I'd like to try the leaf eventually. Last night for my super bowl party, I simply hooked up an old straight extendable antenna to my TV and got the broadcast in all its HD glory.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2014, 01:45:58 PM »
Interesting.  You have an Tivo HD or newer then?  Did you turn your digital cable card back into Comcast when you shut off your cable TV service?

I have a Tivo Series 4, and we still had the cable card inserted even when we got the cable TV turned off.  So, yeah, I'm guessing it has to do with having the cable card.  I had forgotten that aspect until you brought it up.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2014, 02:01:24 PM »
I only use a Roku anymore. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube via myvideobuzz and /r/fullmoviesonyoutube, which is random in content and quality, but sometimes there's new releases in 1080p. I regularly watch movies while they're still in theaters with it. Live streaming it doesn't do too well, but I don't watch TV enough to care.

Re: Over the Air DTV Antennas
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2014, 02:17:04 PM »
I have a Roku, but I end up getting frustrated every time I try to watch movies.  The majority of movies I try to watch are older, from the '70s, and they show up totally pixilated and unwatchable.  The commercials come through fine, but the movies do not. I'm guessing the channels streaming the movies just have crappy copies or something.