Salem, OR: how best to get OTA HD channels on HD-Ready Toshiba 57H81? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I recently inherited a friend's HD-Ready Toshiba 57H81 (57" rear projection, ~10 yrs old but unused for most of the last 5 yrs) TV. I watch very little TV and have only Comcast's basic cable with no HD offerings, but a nice upgrade is a nice upgrade... I have to say, though, that big of a screen with a low-def signal is pretty hard on the eyes. I think I actually prefer the picture on my old Trinitron 32" CRT.

So, I've been trying to figure out how to get over-the-air HD signals to the unit. According to the FCC sites, I should be able to get a strong signal for all of the networks. I tried building one of the coat hanger antennas from youtube and got next to nothing. (I did briefly get some audio trying to kick in, but never managed to recapture that wire position.) I'm thinking it's because the OTA signals are all HD and the TV needs some sort of HD receiver/tuner in order to be able to handle them?

Looking around for options has left me rather confused as to what will work and what won't, so hopefully someone can point me in the right direction!

Dan

p.s. I have a couple of Starfone SFT2 cable boxes lying around, but I'm guessing those won't help me.
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by dkap View Post

I recently inherited a friend's HD-Ready Toshiba 57H81 (57" rear projection, ~10 yrs old but unused for most of the last 5 yrs) TV. I watch very little TV and have only Comcast's basic cable with no HD offerings, but a nice upgrade is a nice upgrade... I have to say, though, that big of a screen with a low-def signal is pretty hard on the eyes. I think I actually prefer the picture on my old Trinitron 32" CRT.

So, I've been trying to figure out how to get over-the-air HD signals to the unit. According to the FCC sites, I should be able to get a strong signal for all of the networks. I tried building one of the coat hanger antennas from youtube and got next to nothing. (I did briefly get some audio trying to kick in, but never managed to recapture that wire position.) I'm thinking it's because the OTA signals are all HD and the TV needs some sort of HD receiver/tuner in order to be able to handle them?

Looking around for options has left me rather confused as to what will work and what won't, so hopefully someone can point me in the right direction!

Dan

p.s. I have a couple of Starfone SFT2 cable boxes lying around, but I'm guessing those won't help me.

Your TV can only get analog OTA broadcasts ( which are gone now). It does not have an ATSC tuner built into it to get HD broadcasts.
Also your TV has only component inputs for HD, no HDMI.
So you have 2 choices:

1) see if you can get an HD box from Comcast that has component outputs.
2) Buy an ATSC external tuner with component outputs. They are a little pricey, perhaps you can get a used one off ebay
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
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That's a good start, thanks. Regarding component outputs (called ColorStream by Toshiba, I believe), can't I use something with coax cable output? The TV has two antennae inputs that can be switched between, so I was thinking I could use one for the Comcast digital convertor box and one for whatever I end up using to convert OTA HD channels. (That's why I was trying the Starfone SFT2 boxes that were lying around.)

Dan
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 12:27 PM
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Sure you can use the RF input but it will only be SD, and the worst quality SD at that, even composite will be better than RF which besides being generally the worst quality it's almost always mono audio.
It sounds like component is the only HD input to your TV.
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Sure you can use the RF input but it will only be SD, and the worst quality SD at that

Ooh, I didn't know that. Definitely should be looking to component options, then. (Yeah, no HDMI on the TV.)

Dan
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post #6 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 01:45 PM
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You probably built the wrong DIY Antenna....UTube Defect is WAY TOO SMALL for New UHF Band:
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/multibay/4bay [See Comparison - WITHOUT Reflectors]

Super-4-Bay M4 (10"x9.5") is proper size for New UHF Band, even better with Reflector:
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/multibay/4bayrefl/m410x95 [Double Angle Reflector]
Note that M4 ALSO has moderate performance for Hi-VHF (Ch7-13) Channels.

To assess which channels you SHOULD receive....and whether you need VHF in addition to UHF,
enter your location into www.tvfool.com and copy/paste the RESULTS URL (webaddress) into a post
so we can take a look.....

================================================================
Links to discussion threads for OTA DTV/HDTV STB Tuners is found here:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/179095/the-official-avs-hdtv-stb-synopsis
Most have Component Video output...and a few also have HDMI, so check specs.
Audio Digital (Toslink Optical or SPDIF Coax) Output can provide DD5.1 to a Surround
sound system.

PS The old CECB Coupon OTA STB's were mandated to be LOW-REZ only, so DO NOT
support HD, Component Video, HDMI or DD5.1 Digital Audio outputs.
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 02:01 PM
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Wow.. a blast from the past. I owned a 57HX81 from 2001 to 2005. It was an excellent RP CRT set. And as someone mentioned you need to use the component outputs of a cable box to get HD content. This set only had analog inputs, Toshiba didn't put a digital input on the sets until the 2002 models. And it was a DVI input.

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post #8 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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holl_ands, wow, that's a lot to digest (and translate!). Here's what tvfool.com shows for my location:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d1ddab19b3c6bad

That seems to be in pretty close agreement to what the FCC tool shows.

As for buying a receiver/tuner instead of going DIY again, the KWorld SA295-Q for around $100 is the best option I've found. Odd that something that's been around that long has no used ones out there.

Dan
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 03:48 PM
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Your TVFool results show you need an antenna with both Hi-VHF and UHF coverage.
You'll have to decide whether you also NEED Lo-VHF coverage to receive Digital Ch5.1
or Analog 6 (may be digital in future?). If you do, you'll need to add a Ch2-6 Lo-VHF
Antenna, such as Antennacraft Y5-2-6 or nikiml's DIY GHn for Ch2-13:
http://clients.teksavvy.com/~nickm/gh_n_vV.html

Otherwise, the M4 is excellent choice for UHF, and will probably also receive Hi-VHF
channels (although SWR isn't as good as GHn). Best ALL-BAND (Ch2-51) DIY
solution would be GHn plus M4, using a UVSJ UHF/UHF Combiner....or use a dual
Input Low-Gain Preamp that is resistant to overload, such as Winegard AP-4700,
which does NOT amplify the VHF Band....which isn't really needed in most cases
and avoids many overload problems due to strong FM signals (FM notch filter traps
in Preamps are only effective against a very narrow part of the FM Band).
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't know what those VHF Lo channels are, so I probably don't need that coverage. I would definitely want both UHF and VHF Hi, though.

When you say the M4 is a good choice, I guess you're referring to all the info on this page:

http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/multibay/4bayrefl/m410x95

I don't even know where to start with interpreting all that... I feel like more background info is needed to make sense of it. I have a fairly good grasp of audio and projector video, but I have pretty limited knowledge of TV broadcast terminology.

Dan
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post #11 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 10:18 PM
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Diagrams, plans, pictures and DIY Kits for sale found in the provided link:
http://m4antenna.eastmasonvilleweather.com/index.html

Hmmm....mclapp's website is apparently off-line today.....try again later....
I just sent a heads up to mclapp for him to follow up if need be....

M4 is similar to the steel Coathanger style 4-Bay Antenna you built, except bigger,
using either Aluminum or Copper solid wire...and preferably with a Reflector:

BowLength = 10.0-in (length from tip of AWG8 Whisker to AWG12 Feedline),
Tine Separation = 5.5-in (vertical tip-to-tip), Inner-Inner Bowtie Spacing = 9.5-in,
Inner-Outer Bowtie Spacing = 9.5 (distance between centers of Bowties).
Feedline Separation = 1.25-in, with 1.0-in at Crossover. Center of Crossover
3.125-in from Center of Outer Bowties.

Double Angled Screen Reflector, 16-Gauge, 40"Hx36"W, with outer 10-in bent forward 2.5-in,
Grid = 1"H x 2"W. Separation of Reflector from Bowties=4.5-in (at centerline). [Rabbit Cage/Fence material.]

Additional information and pictures can be gleaned by scanning through the following
4-Bay Bowtie thread: http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=100137
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post #12 of 15 Old 01-29-2013, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

Hmmm....mclapp's website is apparently off-line today.....try again later....

Yeah, I noticed that when you posted the first link... I figured you must have posted an old link -- has the telltale signs of an expired domain.
Quote:
M4 is similar to the steel Coathanger style 4-Bay Antenna you built, except bigger, using either Aluminum or Copper solid wire...and preferably with a Reflector:

Ok, so that would accomplish the bigger/better antenna needs for current UHF/VHF, but I would still need a separate tuner to be able to handle the digital signal, correct? It seems like that's where I need to start out, and then worry about building a better antenna if whatever tuner I end up with isn't sufficient to pull in signals.

Dan
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post #13 of 15 Old 02-06-2013, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I hooked up a Zenith HDV420 (component output) and am getting the bulk of the expected OTA high-def channels now, despite using just the initial youtube coat hanger antenna. A bit more experimenting is in order, but it's a promising start.

Dan
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post #14 of 15 Old 02-07-2013, 04:42 AM
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Where is the coat hangar? At 45 miles away from the towers, you are lucky to get something. You are probably not getting the VHF channels like NBC,PBS or FOX.
If I were you, I get a conventional Hi VHF/UHF antenna like the HBU-33 from Radio Shack, mount it outside and point it NE. In the pic below, the right side of the pic is the front and should point NE.
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3740646&znt_campaign=Category_CMS&znt_source=CAT&znt_medium=RSCOM&znt_content=CT2032189

Worst case if you don't like the performance of it, you can always return it.

Just curious, where did you get the Zenith tuner from and how much did you pay?
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post #15 of 15 Old 02-07-2013, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepier View Post

Where is the coat hangar?

Currently, just sitting in the window, partially obstructed by the sill and pointing due east (signals are from the NE). I'm brainstorming the best way to make an attic or roof run with minimal damage to woodwork...
Quote:
At 45 miles away from the towers, you are lucky to get something. You are probably not getting the VHF channels like NBC,PBS or FOX.

Actually, all three are very good signals. (Although, I did start getting some dropouts last night while playing with it. Maybe it varies by time of day.) The one that confuses me is ABC. I got that initially with the antenna just sitting by the TV, pointing south. I haven't been able to pick it up since. It should be just as strong as the others and coming from the same direction.
Quote:
If I were you, I get a conventional Hi VHF/UHF antenna like the HBU-33 from Radio Shack, mount it outside and point it NE.

I think if I were to go that route, I would buy one of the Lava antenna for $45 (online) to $100 (local), but I'm seriously considering buying one of MikeC's 4-bay kits from holl_ands' links. I looked over his info now that the site is back up, and his prices seem quite good for the professional build quality. Email response time is also great. smile.gif
Quote:
Just curious, where did you get the Zenith tuner from and how much did you pay?

Found it on eBay for literally just a couple of bucks. I went down the list of tuners from the link posted earlier in this thread and just kept searching eBay until I found one still available. It seems like a pretty nice unit, with more and better output options than the TV has inputs.

Dan
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