Trying to get started with OTA in new construction - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 07-17-2013, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I browsed around the forum looking for this infomation, but I was unable to narrow it down enough to get clear answers. I apologize if some or all of this has been answered before.


I'm building a new house and I'd like to get rid of Comcast cable and replace the local channels by using an OTA antenna. Unfortunately, I'm new to this so I'm not sure which antenna will be sufficient for picking up the local stations. From what I've gathered so far it seems like an indoor antenna like a channel master would work, but I'd like to get confirmation. I've included my tvfool results below.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d46ae1a9e0362a6

I'd like to have 4 tv's take advantage of the OTA antenna so I assume I'll need a splitter. Any suggestions on what to go with?

I'd also like to be able to take advantage of some sort of DVR capability, would you guys suggest a channel master CM-7400?

Is there a particular brand of coax cable I should buy to make sure I get the best quality signal?


I'm sure there are many things I'm unaware of that need to be factored into the equation so please feel free to offer advice and suggestions.
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post #2 of 27 Old 07-17-2013, 09:27 AM
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Your tvfool report only shows a report for your general area. If you enter your exact address, it will be more accurate ( your address will not be shown in the report). Also enter a height at which you think the antenna might be at.

Judging at first glance, it looks as if you should get at least CBS,NBC,FOX, ABC with no issues.
PBS is 90 degrees away from the big 4, but if you split the difference between the 2, and point the antenna south, you should pick up the stations with no problems.
Since PBS is on VHF 6, you will need a VHFlo/VHFhi/UHF antenna.
There is another PBS to the SE, but it looks a little farther away.

As far as MyNetwork and CW, they are too far away to receive.


As far as what wires you should run to each tv location, I would run 2 rg6 cables to each location: 1 for OTA, and 1 for cable/dish in case you ever change your mind. You might be asking why can I just run 1 cable. The reason is that you cannot combine OTA signals and cable on the same cable.
What I have in my house is 2 cables to each location. 1 cable is for the cable box. The other cable is from my OTA antenna that goes directly into my tv. So if I ever want to switch between the 2, I just have to change inputs on the TV. This has come in handy during the times that my cable service went out.

Also I would run 2 cat 5's to each tv in case you get a Smarttv, xBox, etc for streaming media.
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post #3 of 27 Old 07-17-2013, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the info. The exact address doesn't exist yet because this is a brand new neighborhood and I guess the database hasn't been updated with the addresses at this time.

I was planning on having 2 coax drops in each room for the reasons you mentioned. I assume there are probably wall plates that have dual coax hook ups? I was also planning on running coduit so I could easily add cat5 drops later if I decided I wanted a hard-wired connection rather than relying on wifi.

Is there a particular brand coax cable that you guys would recommend? What about an attic antenna based on how far away the local towers are? Set top DVR brand?

Thanks again.
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post #4 of 27 Old 07-17-2013, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brent4313 View Post

Thank you for the info. The exact address doesn't exist yet because this is a brand new neighborhood and I guess the database hasn't been updated with the addresses at this time.

You can use the map function in TvFool that allows you to move the pointer to your exact location. After that you can do the radar plot.
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post #5 of 27 Old 07-17-2013, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you. I'll give that a shot.
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post #6 of 27 Old 07-17-2013, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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These are the results when using the map function. Thanks again.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d46ae2aadff4768
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post #7 of 27 Old 07-17-2013, 11:13 AM
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Not much change in the new tvfool report you posted.

As far as brand of coax, it could be any brand, just make sure its RG-6.

Now that you mention attic antenna, its worth noting that the PBS station WCES to the SW might be challenging to receive since it is 30 miles away at 1 edge reception.
Also the size of the antenna will be big since it needs to be a VHFlo/hi/UHF antenna, so space might be an issue in the attic.
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post #8 of 27 Old 07-17-2013, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a lot of room in the attic so I think I can make it fit. I'm not overly concerned with the PBS station so that aspect of it doesn't bother me. Thanks again.
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post #9 of 27 Old 07-17-2013, 06:35 PM
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Also, do you want to try for Columbia, SC signals or just Augusta?
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post #10 of 27 Old 07-17-2013, 07:36 PM
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If your not concerned with WCES, then all you need is a VHFHi/UHF antenna.
You might get lucky and pick up the other PBS station to the SE. Otherwise you will have only 4 stations plus subs
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post #11 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 05:01 AM - Thread Starter
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The Columbia stations aren't really of interest to me. However, if they can be picked up fairly easily with a little tuning or stronger antenna I wouldn't be opposed to it.
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post #12 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Also, if I'm splitting the signal into 4, maybe 6, different drops for TV's should I add an amplifier somewhere in the mix?
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post #13 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
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Is there a particular brand coax cable that you guys would recommend?

Belden 7916A RG6 Quad

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post #14 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brent4313 View Post

Also, if I'm splitting the signal into 4, maybe 6, different drops for TV's should I add an amplifier somewhere in the mix?

Only if you start to notice channels dropping out as you add splitters.

But if you are only interested in just the 4 networks, you should have no issues since they are close to you at 10 miles away.
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post #15 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you!
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post #16 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, Mike.
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post #17 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 10:40 AM
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You can point a channel 7-51 combo antenna at 160 degrees and get the four commercial networks and if you care about PBS on 6 you can get that with any old FM radio antenna or home made dipole. Just combine it with your 7-51 antenna downlead using an inexpensive coupler called an HLSJ

If you are a professional sports fan, it may be worth your while to experiment with reception of your secondary market since it may carry different games when the network affiliates have their choice. Before you permanently lock your primary antenna at 160 degrees, you should test point it at about 58 degrees and see what it picks up. While the signal levels of those four secondary market affiliates are weak enough to benefit from amplification, the problem you would face if you tried to amplify them is that the primary market signals are so much higher that, even coming off the back of a 58 degree oriented antenna, they would tend to overwhelm the weaker signals in a preamp.

Getting the ABC 8 and NBC 10 off a secondary market antenna and amplifying it slightly is possible, as the signal differential between your distant 8/10 and your nearby 12 is about 50-something dB. The front-to-back ratio of the antenna might reduce that differential to maybe the mid 30 dB magnitude, and then you could put a ChanneMaster channel 12 Jointenna on that line as a single channel trap before pre-amplifying. That ChannelMaster product is still widely available for about ten dollars. If you do try to get channels 8 and 10, you will make life much easier for yourself and keep your reception more reliable if you distribute them with their own dedicated downlead distribution, rather than trying to mix them with your primary antenna downlead.
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post #18 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, AntAtlMike. I'm a big sports fan, which is my primary reason for wanting to get the local stations. I'll definitely put some thought into your suggestions for picking up the Columbia market.

Anyone have ideas or suggestions on the best way to take the OTA signals and capture them on a DVR?
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post #19 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
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Also, if I'm splitting the signal into 4, maybe 6, different drops for TV's should I add an amplifier somewhere in the mix?
You may need a distribution amp for that. Channel Master makes 4 port and 8 port versions.
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post #20 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 01:44 PM
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Anyone have ideas or suggestions on the best way to take the OTA signals and capture them on a DVR?

There is an entire forum here on HD recorders. There is a sticky on the top with an updated list. I have tried several for OTA and followed the threads for years. In my opinion, there are several available if you like to tinker with such devices and can take this on as a new hobby. If you read about them you will find they all have some issues that need to be worked out. If you are very good with computers, you can build a solution along those lines and again it is going to require attention.
After each experiment I have always gone back to Tivo. There is a monthly fee, but nothing compared to what people pay for cable or satellite. You can also pay a one time "lifetime fee", but it is very costly. Be aware that the latest "Premier" model of Tivo has been widely criticized for not dealing with multipath reception very well. I found this to be true. In two locations where I had absolutely no reception problems with the antenna connected directly to the TV, the Premier Tivo would have frequent picture and sound break-ups. My solution was to buy one of the previous "HD" models and the reception problems were immediately solved. (models TCD 652160 or TCD 658000) It may be hard to find an HD model unused at this point. They also have been known to develop problems due to poor quality capacitors, so I may be facing repairs down the line.
There is a new thread in the recorders forum on the upcoming Chanel Master K77. Once again members are getting their hopes up and speculating on what this could bring to the quest for a reliable OTA HD recorder. You may want to wait and see.
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post #21 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 02:29 PM
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Is there a particular brand coax cable that you guys would recommend?

For TV and satellite I use CommScope 5729, solid copper RG-6 cable. There are other good solid copper RG-6 cables such as Belden 1829. The preference for solid copper is because it is easier to work with, however, more care must be used when inserting into the female connector. There is no need for quad shield unless you have very strong RF in your area. Note: there are many high quality RG-6 cables that use copper clad steel and they generally cost a good bit less.

If you have exterior connections then I highly suggest using Thomas & Betts TSNS1P6, RG 6 Snap Seal Compression connectors. For installation one must use a tool designed for these connectors.


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post #22 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for the advice on the OTA DVR. I'm just getting started with all of this so the advice on the other forum is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.
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post #23 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for the advice on the coax cables.
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post #24 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 06:19 PM
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Thank you very much for the advice on the OTA DVR. I'm just getting started with all of this so the advice on the other forum is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.
The older model DTVPal DVR from Dish Network, same as Channel Master 7000Pal, was the best consumer DVR with no fee required. Very good tuner. EchoStar is now developing a new version for Channel Master, K77. Ignore the newer CM-7400. Bad tuner and overheating. Another choice, PHD-VRX from ePVision has a very good tuner and 2 separate antenna inputs. Excellent as a double tuner box, but a bit buggy as a DVR. TiVo is very good, but may have a bit of a problematic tuner with multipath issues and error correction. Plus pricey. And they may be releasing a new model this Fall. TiVo is best purchased when on sale and when they offer $100 off on lifetime membership. About $400 then no more monthly fees.
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post #25 of 27 Old 07-18-2013, 09:35 PM
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To amplify what TylerSC just said, one of the best arguments in favor of lifetime service on a TiVo is salvage value. You could pay a monthly fee to TiVo and have nothing to show for it after several years. Or you could pay a few hundred bucks upfront to be paid in full and never worry about a monthly fee again for that device. Better still, product lifetime service is transferable when you sell your TiVo, so you can recoup much of the purchase price when the (hopefully awesome) TiVo Series 5 launches this autumn.biggrin.gif

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post #26 of 27 Old 07-24-2013, 08:07 PM
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One thing I would make sure to do, is to just go a head and wire a connection if Satellite or Cable providers are used. Or have an easy access hub for them to tie a lead into to hop on your splitter.
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post #27 of 27 Old 07-28-2013, 08:32 PM
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I just started rewiring my house with Belden 7915A and so far it is working very well. It had the reported lowest attenuation loss of all the affordable solid copper cables I could find by 1-2 dB, but for me that can make or break my weak signal. I paid about 0.20 cents a foot.

As I remodel, I'm torn between running multiple runs of coax. I have a HomerunHD and I think TV over ethernet is the direction I would like to take my wiring, although I will have at least one coax outlet in each room.
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