Advice on using tv card/antenna - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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So my current plan is to cancel Directv and utilize my PC for television purposes. That would entail a combination of OTA abc/cbs/fox/nbc in sd and hd resolutiosn, hulu, and espn360. What I'm looking for is input on a quality hdtv tuner card plus a good antenna. I'm not looking to like totally break the bank on the antenna, but of course something that will give me a quality, reliable reception. Any input on this would be greatly appreciated, as I'm looking forward to saving $85/month.
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post #2 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 08:38 AM
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Start here http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx for your antenna requirements

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post #3 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Every station I want recommends a small multidirectional antenna. I'm about 19 miles from all of them.
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post #4 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 09:01 AM
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Also look at TVfool.com for information on broadcast areas. AVS also has forums on over the air reception for different cities..search AVS. Reception can be easy if all the transmission towers are in one direction, not too far away and there are no mult-path issues. Otherwise you will need to experiment with which antenna(s) work for you and fiddle with where you place the antenna(s) and where they are pointed.
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post #5 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 09:28 AM
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the duet has gotten pretty good reviews. I have one I use for clear qam and it works well for that, but I haven't tried ota.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-041-_-Product
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post #6 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 09:34 AM
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take a look at the Channel Master 4228HD [ATSC] and set it @ 20ft high, and the Motorola BDA-S4 amp for long cable runs [well built].
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post #7 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 09:46 AM
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At 19 miles I don't think you'll get away with a simple indoor antenna. You'll have to go with an outdoor antenna as Mac25 suggested. If you install the antenna yourself don't forget to gound it to the earth.
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post #8 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 09:47 AM
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If he's only 19miles from all the stations he wants, the OP doesn't need a 4228. That's overkill. He could just get a 4221.

If he wants to go the overkill route, and likes to DIY, then there's the Gray-Hoverman and M-Clapp designs, which are easy to build, and both work great.

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At 19 miles I don't think you'll get away with a simple indoor antenna.

I'm using a GH in my attic, and mind you, it isn't a simple indoor type, but during testing I was using it pointing out the livingroom window and was able to pickup ABC/CBS/NBC/PBS/CW23 all out of Buffalo. I'm up to 70 miles away from those transmitters (you can view my TVFool map on my google site). Now it is in the attic, so far it has been even more reliable. At times I'm picking up Fox and MyTV. I'm sure if I pre-amp the line, then I will most likely get a more reliable lock on those two channels as well.

Here's my GH project:
http://sites.google.com/site/maycreates/htpc/my-sbgh

Here's my M4 project:
http://sites.google.com/site/maycreates/htpc/mclapp-4

And a great site for OTA is here:
http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=81

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post #9 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 10:12 AM
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I use a Silicon Dust HDHomerun tuner and it works well.

I suggest you get channel master antenna and buy them locally. Start with the 4221 but you might find you need to exchange it for the larger 4228. Antenna signal amplifiers can overload the signal. I would first try for a solution without an amplifier.
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post #10 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 10:16 AM
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I've had extremely good results (90-100% signal on all channels) with the Clearstream 4 antenna (link on amazon) , and I'm 25-30miles from my towers in Houston. This antenna has a ton of positive reviews.

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post #11 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 10:43 AM
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Oopps, should also state that I'm using a Hauppauge HVR-1250 PCIe tuner card with WinTV (currently). I have also used WatchHDTV, and Blaze HDTV, but ended up prefering WinTV, as I was able to control it easily with my remote scheme.

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post #12 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 11:20 AM
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Trust what AntennaWeb says you need over other's experiences from their own hometowns. Many factors can make what worked for them at 30 miles not good enough for you at 19 miles.
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post #13 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 11:21 AM
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HI guys, just joined. Thinking of building a HTPC (my first) - tired of paying TWC NYC $92 a month for basic service, and also seriously in need of a hobby to occupy myself during the winter.

Anyway I am most concerned about losing access to local channels, but I've now learned through my research that it is possible to get some of these OTA. I used some of the tools above and it appears I might be able to get some channels with a basic set top antenna (live in 7th floor central manhattan apartment, no attic, no roof antenna possible).

Here is my (perhaps very stupid) question - if I have HTPC with DTV tuner card, and attach the current (but ultimately to be deactivated) coax "cable" to the card, will it act as an "antenna" of sorts, given that it is a copper wire that goes throughout the building? (My guess is no, because if it was that easy, everyone would do it.)

This may be a really silly question but I am just learning about this sort of stuff. Thanks in advance.
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post #14 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwalte View Post

At 19 miles I don't think you'll get away with a simple indoor antenna. You'll have to go with an outdoor antenna as Mac25 suggested. If you install the antenna yourself don't forget to gound it to the earth.

please. i bought a little $60 indoor/door antenna from radio shack. and mounted it up the roof of my garage.

worked perfect. im 16 miles away.

try the cheap ones first, worse that will happen is it wont be good enough and you need to get a bigger one.

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post #15 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ObmotNYC View Post

HI guys, just joined. Thinking of building a HTPC (my first) - tired of paying TWC NYC $92 a month for basic service, and also seriously in need of a hobby to occupy myself during the winter.

Anyway I am most concerned about losing access to local channels, but I've now learned through my research that it is possible to get some of these OTA. I used some of the tools above and it appears I might be able to get some channels with a basic set top antenna (live in 7th floor central manhattan apartment, no attic, no roof antenna possible).

Here is my (perhaps very stupid) question - if I have HTPC with DTV tuner card, and attach the current (but ultimately to be deactivated) coax "cable" to the card, will it act as an "antenna" of sorts, given that it is a copper wire that goes throughout the building? (My guess is no, because if it was that easy, everyone would do it.)

This may be a really silly question but I am just learning about this sort of stuff. Thanks in advance.

it sure will, but it wont be nearly as good as attaching an antenna to the end of it (even a cheap one).

you will only get the really strong broadcasts...

if you are unsure, plug it into the antenna post on the tv and see what you get.

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post #16 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 View Post


if you are unsure, plug it into the antenna post on the tv and see what you get.

Thanks a simple yet very good idea. I really should have thunk of that myself but go figure.
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post #17 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 11:36 AM
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i was in the same boat as you one year ago.

i was tired of paying for cable so bought a cheap antenna and hooked it up to the tv and i was surprised to see many many channels i got, plus all the locals i really wanted in HD. Once i did that, i was off getting an htpc together...

btw the if you are in NYC you should get solid reception with a good indoor antenna. even though there are buildings around, that signal should be strong.

there is an OTA forum on this board for almost every area, you should check it out.

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post #18 of 41 Old 12-11-2009, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I think I'm pretty set on the Hauppauge HVR-1250, that card should serve any need that I have. From what I've seen it does both OTA and Clear QAM, so if either of those are an option, I should be good. And I'll be using my HD to record, when wanted.

On Antennaweb, the compass heading for all of my channels is 265 degrees. That pretty much means I would need to be pointing the antenna due west with a clear path, right?
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post #19 of 41 Old 12-12-2009, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 View Post

please. i bought a little $60 indoor/door antenna from radio shack. and mounted it up the roof of my garage.

worked perfect. im 16 miles away.

You actually bought one of the more expensive antenna's. An outdoor $35 antenna would have worked for you. And I never said 'outdoor' antenna. I said an 'indoor', hence installed indoors, would not work at 19 miles away. The house would block too much of the signal for consistently good reception. You installed an outdoor capable antenna 'outdoors' Of course it would probably work.
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post #20 of 41 Old 12-12-2009, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ObmotNYC View Post

Here is my (perhaps very stupid) question - if I have HTPC with DTV tuner card, and attach the current (but ultimately to be deactivated) coax "cable" to the card, will it act as an "antenna" of sorts, given that it is a copper wire that goes throughout the building? (My guess is no, because if it was that easy, everyone would do it.)

This may be a really silly question but I am just learning about this sort of stuff. Thanks in advance.

Just to clarify, you should not be able to pickup OTA signals from a closed circuit shielded coax line. If you did, it's not by design but a bad installation somewhere that's allowing interference to get in the line which would also screw with the quality of your cable service.

You can get the basic analog/ClearQAM channels from your cable provider (but you have to stay subscribed) on a HTPC with a NTSC/QAM supporting tuner. This will include your local channels in HD.
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post #21 of 41 Old 12-12-2009, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I bought the 1250 last night and a smaller indoor antenna, just a phillips. So far so good, channels seem to be coming in clear and I've watched a lot of stuff with no antenna issues. I'll see how it goes for a week or two before I cancel directv. I guess I'd also consider paying the ~$15 for basic cox cable so I would have guaranteed qam reception, but obviously I'd prefer free.
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post #22 of 41 Old 12-13-2009, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mva5580 View Post

Well I bought the 1250 last night and a smaller indoor antenna, just a phillips. So far so good, channels seem to be coming in clear and I've watched a lot of stuff with no antenna issues. I'll see how it goes for a week or two before I cancel directv. I guess I'd also consider paying the ~$15 for basic cox cable so I would have guaranteed qam reception, but obviously I'd prefer free.

also depending on what cable service you get you'll have access the to full range of unencrypted qam channels, which in my area is just about all the non hd digital channels.

but if you have reception issues, its a small price to pay for steady service.

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post #23 of 41 Old 12-13-2009, 03:03 PM
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I second the Silicon Dust HDHomerun tuner. I suffered through many PCI TV tuner cards, and would never go back.
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post #24 of 41 Old 12-13-2009, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Well from Friday night watching Dollhouse to as of right now watching Sunday Night Football on NBC, I've had a very pleasant experience. Watching football on all cbs/nbc/fox has been perfect, I haven't had one issue. Image quality, reception, everything has been great. I'll give it this week to see how it goes, but I think Directv may be going bye-bye very shortly. I love it.
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post #25 of 41 Old 12-13-2009, 08:51 PM
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If you have cable internet, you may be able to still get QAM for free even after you cancel cable. In most cases they broadcast over the same frequency so there is no way to block one without blocking the other.
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post #26 of 41 Old 12-13-2009, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Really......didn't know that, perhaps I should give it a shot and see what happens lol.
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post #27 of 41 Old 12-14-2009, 03:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StinDaWg View Post

If you have cable internet, you may be able to still get QAM for free even after you cancel cable. In most cases they broadcast over the same frequency so there is no way to block one without blocking the other.

That is actually stealing cable.

they can install a filter. but they generally dont do that unless they need to come to the house for something. You can plug the cable line into the tv to see what you get.

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post #28 of 41 Old 12-14-2009, 05:39 AM
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If you have cable internet, you may be able to still get QAM for free even after you cancel cable. In most cases they broadcast over the same frequency so there is no way to block one without blocking the other.

I think this is why Comcast now requires you to have some form of cable or they charge an additional $15/mo for internet service. (at least here in MI)

If you get limited basic cable it is $15/mo so it is basically a wash.

Sucks to have to pay $15/mo for the same stuff I get OTA, but I'm left with a choice of giving them $15/mo for no cable TV or $15/mo with limited basic cable tv...hmmm is it really a choice?

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post #29 of 41 Old 12-14-2009, 06:39 AM
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I think this is why Comcast now requires you to have some form of cable or they charge an additional $15/mo for internet service. (at least here in MI)

If you get limited basic cable it is $15/mo so it is basically a wash.

Sucks to have to pay $15/mo for the same stuff I get OTA, but I'm left with a choice of giving them $15/mo for no cable TV or $15/mo with limited basic cable tv...hmmm is it really a choice?

when i called to cancel my tv cable i had to pay a $10 fee to only have internet.

i fought them on the phone but i got tired of fighting, since the conversation was going nowhere, i figure i'd raise the issue if the charge ever showed up.

they also never asked for the hddvr back. i gave it to my father in law, if they ever ask for it, i'll get it back from him.

they never charged me and never installed a filter.

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post #30 of 41 Old 12-14-2009, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 View Post

when i called to cancel my tv cable i had to pay a $10 fee to only have internet.

i fought them on the phone but i got tired of fighting, since the conversation was going nowhere, i figure i'd raise the issue if the charge ever showed up.

they also never asked for the hddvr back. i gave it to my father in law, if they ever ask for it, i'll get it back from him.

they never charged me and never installed a filter.

nice!

now that i think about it, the charge may have been $10 (not $15) for me as well. i think at that time (about 5 years ago) basic cable was $10, but has now gone up to about $15.

i wish i had other options where i live as comcast hasn't been that reliable (internet went out again last Wednesday) but when it works i like the upload/download speeds here.

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