Hello everybody! Been an avsforum lurker for quite a while - what a tremendous resource! Maybe you guys can help shed some light on something for me......
I recently purchased a new Panasonic ST50 Plasma to replace my LG LCD that was about 5 years old. I had been using a Clearstream4 outdoor antenna mounted at the tip of my roof (about 20' up) for OTA reception, and it has worked pretty well. However, upon hooking up my new Panasonic, many of the OTA stations that I was able to receive before solidly were not breaking up quite a bit, and I even lost a station altogether. I did some research and found that this a popular complaint regarding the integrated ATSC tuner in the Panasonic's, that the tuner was not as solid as some of the others out there. For reference, most of my station towers are about 54 miles away, according to TV Fool.
So I was demoralized - awesome new TV, suddenly only good for watching Blu-Ray and playing PS3. However, I remembered having a conversation with a guy I worked with about his OTA setup, and he said that he was using some little antenna he bought at home depot for $50 and was getting all of the channels that I was getting, plus a few more on VHF. After doing a little bit of research, we determined that it was the GE Futura. I honestly thought that he was exaggerating somewhat on the number of stations that he was picking up, so I didn't think much more of it until my new set not picking up all of the stations I wanted. So I decided to run to home depot and pick up one of these antennas and give it a shot, just to see what happens. I figured it would be easy to return it once it failed miserably vs. the Clearstream4. Before going up on the roof again, I just decided to hook it up in my attic first just to see what it would to do, so I just threw it over a rafter and did a channel scan. To my amazement, it picked ALL of the stations that the CS4 did, PLUS 3 more! I immediately decided to go up on the roof and mount it in the same position as the CS4 and test it - it immediately picked up 3 MORE channels, so now 6 more altogether. Now, after some slight repositioning, I get ALL of the channels in solid signal quality - none of them are breaking up now.
This is no fluke. I told my buddy who lives a few hours away in a different market about it, so he decided to pick one up from Home Depot as well. He also had a CS4. After hooking it up, he got 5 new channels, mainly due to now having the ability to receive VHF. He was still picking up all of his old UHF stations also.
I want to know how this is possible...... everything that I've come to know about OTA reception says that the more metal you have in the sky, and the higher, the better off you are. I haven't taken the GE Futrura apart, but there can't be much in there in the way of reception elements for both UHF and VHF! I know that it has to be in the amplification... but I just don't understand how this could make that much of a difference. I did not have a pre-amp on my CS4 because the RG6 run from the antenna to the amplified distribution amp is only about 20ft, so I didn't figure that I needed one.
Can anybody shed any light on this?