How to hookup OTA antenna& cable TV - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 01-09-2010, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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What's the best way to hookup an OTA antenna and cable to a TV with only one antenna input? I know you can use a manual a/b switch,but who wants to get up flip a switch? Are there any remote controlled switches or is it possible to use a satellite diplexer?
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post #2 of 27 Old 01-09-2010, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Shyguy03 View Post

What's the best way to hookup an OTA antenna and cable to a TV with only one antenna input? I know you can use a manual a/b switch,but who wants to get up flip a switch? Are there any remote controlled switches or is it possible to use a satellite diplexer?

You can use a coax splitter in reverse....as a 'combiner'.

Don't you have these channels on the local cable system anyhow?

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post #3 of 27 Old 01-09-2010, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by AV Doogie View Post

You can use a coax splitter in reverse....as a 'combiner'...

Not a good idea. There is a lot of overlap between the over-air and CATV bandplans, so there will be a lot of self-inflicted "co-channel interference".

Worse, the cable signal will back feed through the splitter (albeit several dB lower in level) to the antenna and cause leakage radiation which can cause interference problems with radio services including aircraft comms. The CATV co. will have to roll a truck to sniff out the leakage and you may be held liable for the problem.

I would suggest connecting the OTA antenna to the "ant in" of the set, and then use an external device to "tune" the CATV channels. The external device could be an old VCR, or if you subscribe to any of the CATV's for-fee (encoded) services, use their settop box. Feed the external tuner's output to one of the TV's external A/V inputs (composite + L/R audio, component + L/R audio, or HDMI dpending on what's available). You could also do the opposite: use one of the cheap "converter" boxes for OTA as the external tuner, connecting it's output to the TV via A/V, and connect the raw cable service to the ant in (but this way won't be much use if you need any of the for-fee services).

If the set does not have any external A/V inputs, you could still use an RF A/B switch to select between antenna and the channel 3 modulated outout of the external cable tuning device. It would be confusing and maybe not practical to scan both OTA and CATV channels into the sets memory, so only one or the other can be used.
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post #4 of 27 Old 01-09-2010, 01:21 PM
 
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Yeah why do you need to do this, doesn't the cable company provide you the local channels?
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post #5 of 27 Old 01-09-2010, 04:04 PM
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What kind of TV? Can it receive digital TV through the coax input?
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post #6 of 27 Old 01-17-2010, 12:13 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm not actually hooking anything up right now. Just curious how to get OTA hi-def channels along with cable.
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post #7 of 27 Old 01-17-2010, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Shyguy03 View Post

I'm not actually hooking anything up right now. Just curious how to get OTA hi-def channels along with cable.

As written earlier, OTA and CATV share many of the same frequencies. The only way you could do both would be to have an A/B switch, unless yiour TV set has 2 coax inputs and is a dual tuner set.

CIAO!

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post #8 of 27 Old 01-25-2010, 10:25 AM
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I have the exact same scenerio - TV with one RF input, and an OTA antenna for HD and also cable TV for other channels not available OTA. My solution was to build an HTPC (with HDMI output) with two tuner cards. You could plug in either cable or antenna to the TV, but for the other channels, HTPC. The other alternative is the A/B switch. My old TV had 2 RF inputs, but it died.
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post #9 of 27 Old 02-12-2010, 12:48 PM
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You can use an A/B switch that is remote control. They are not that expensive. Radio Shack has one. Shop around you may be able to find it cheaper just google remote a/b switch.
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post #10 of 27 Old 03-04-2010, 08:28 AM
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Yeah why do you need to do this, doesn't the cable company provide you the local channels?

There are many reasons to go OTA and totally drop a provider. If you only want a basic package of locals, then why pay when you can get it from the air. If you want to watch HD from the main broadcasters, then again, why pay when you can get it over the air, and is much better PQ since there is very little to no compression. The problem here is that people just regard OTA as "yesterday's" technology, with loads of interference, ghosting and snowy picture quality, when now that everything is going digital, the actual picture is quite stunning. This is sad, because this is exactly what the providers and their coffers want everyone to believe, so they can line their greedy pockets more from the publics mis-understanding.

OTA can also be a nice compliment to cable/sat, in the fact that you can get all your locals (provided on location) with stunning HD PQ and subscribe to a basic provider package to get some of the extras you want.

As an example, I have an OTA setup where I'm getting about 20 digital channels. Almost all of them in glorious HD, and I'm not paying, nor did I pay, an arm and a leg for them in monthly fees.

That being said, as another poster above indicates, if your TV is newer (2007+), then you most likely have a built in ATSC tuner in it that can be used with your antenna. Then use a VCR or some other minor box for the cable.

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post #11 of 27 Old 03-05-2010, 11:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Marbles_00 View Post

There are many reasons to go OTA and totally drop a provider. If you only want a basic package of locals, then why pay when you can get it from the air. If you want to watch HD from the main broadcasters, then again, why pay when you can get it over the air, and is much better PQ since there is very little to no compression.

You're not making any sense. The OP is already paying for cable. Obviously if he didn't need cable he'd just have OTA. But usually all the OTA stations are also carried by the cable company, and generally in the same quality as OTA so it's exactly the same thing. If this is the case (and I haven't heard any evidence of this not being the case in which case yes it may be worthwhile), then there is no reason to setup OTA antenna to get what you are already getting via cable.

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The problem here is that people just regard OTA as "yesterday's" technology, with loads of interference, ghosting and snowy picture quality, when now that everything is going digital, the actual picture is quite stunning. This is sad, because this is exactly what the providers and their coffers want everyone to believe, so they can line their greedy pockets more from the publics mis-understanding.

I don't see anyone assuming that, least of all me since OTA is my only source of television after I ditched cable.

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OTA can also be a nice compliment to cable/sat, in the fact that you can get all your locals (provided on location) with stunning HD PQ and subscribe to a basic provider package to get some of the extras you want.

But it doesn't copmliment anything if you're already getting those channels via cable. It's pointless.

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As an example, I have an OTA setup where I'm getting about 20 digital channels. Almost all of them in glorious HD, and I'm not paying, nor did I pay, an arm and a leg for them in monthly fees.

As am I. But with cable there is no reason for me to continue using the antenna feed because I get all of those with cable too, so if I'm using cable there is no reason to have another duplicate feed for all those same channels in exactly the same quality.
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post #12 of 27 Old 03-05-2010, 02:50 PM
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It really depends upon how the cable box is hooked to the HDTV. The better the connection, the better the picture. I have cable and OTA hooked up to a HDTV. Since my other TVs aren't HD, they picture from cable looks fine on those tvs. I only have the Family Tier so my choice of channels isn't really all that extensive. It's really just for my kids. It's rare for me to even watch the cable box on the HDTV. So, I can see the desire for wanting to hook them both up. I don't see how it's pointless if that's what he wants to do. He watches the OTA channels in HD and watches whatever other channels that cable provides. Incidentally, sometimes the OTA channels will mess up due to weather, so the cable channels could also be considered backup.
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post #13 of 27 Old 03-05-2010, 06:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Shyguy03 View Post

I'm not actually hooking anything up right now. Just curious how to get OTA hi-def channels along with cable.

As stated, it is provided (and I believe it is actually required by law) by your cable company. If you pay for cable, you hook up your cable to your TV or use an HD cable box provided by the cable company (depending on what your cable company offers) and it should have all your local HD channels as part of that package. Unless they don't carry the HD versions for some reason, which I am not certain is required (not sure), then I suppose your question would have merit, but unless you actually know this to be the case it sounds like you are asking a hypothetical question which may likely has no relevance at all.
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post #14 of 27 Old 03-05-2010, 06:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CubicleDrone View Post

It really depends upon how the cable box is hooked to the HDTV. The better the connection, the better the picture. I have cable and OTA hooked up to a HDTV. Since my other TVs aren't HD, they picture from cable looks fine on those tvs. I only have the Family Tier so my choice of channels isn't really all that extensive. It's really just for my kids. It's rare for me to even watch the cable box on the HDTV. So, I can see the desire for wanting to hook them both up. I don't see how it's pointless if that's what he wants to do. He watches the OTA channels in HD and watches whatever other channels that cable provides. Incidentally, sometimes the OTA channels will mess up due to weather, so the cable channels could also be considered backup.

I still fail to see why it isn't a thousand times easier just to use the cable for everything, and watch the local channels in HD via the cable box or the cable feed.

Again, this just doesn't make any sense. If you have cable, you should already have all those channels in HD. So why bother duplicating the same thing with an antenna when you already receive those channels? It is nonsensical.
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post #15 of 27 Old 03-05-2010, 06:48 PM
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I still fail to see why it isn't a thousand times easier just to use the cable for everything, and watch the local channels in HD via the cable box or the cable feed.

Again, this just doesn't make any sense. If you have cable, you should already have all those channels in HD. So why bother duplicating the same thing with an antenna when you already receive those channels? It is nonsensical.

Oh, is your HD cable package free? Is the HD box free? Do you really enjoy paying your cableco? As was pointed out, digital OTA is FREE after you set up an antenna. For some people--not sure about the OP--it makes a great adjunct or even primary source.

It is nonsensical to jump to the conclusion that paying a cableco is obviously the only answer.
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post #16 of 27 Old 03-05-2010, 07:54 PM
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I still fail to see why it isn't a thousand times easier just to use the cable for everything, and watch the local channels in HD via the cable box or the cable feed.

Again, this just doesn't make any sense. If you have cable, you should already have all those channels in HD. So why bother duplicating the same thing with an antenna when you already receive those channels? It is nonsensical.

It's not nonsense when a person doesn't want to pay for something, in this case HD on regular channels, that can be gotten for free. I don't have an HD-capable cable box, nor do I want to pay extra for it. I don't know any cable company that gives HD capability for free. If you have that then consider yourself lucky, but I doubt that you do. Also, OTA gives the full HD channel non-compressed, which means you get all the info, whereas with cable using compression, some of the info is lost. I'm sure it can be argued whether the average viewer can see the difference, but that is still a positive for OTA.
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post #17 of 27 Old 03-05-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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It's not nonsense when a person doesn't want to pay for something, in this case HD on regular channels, that can be gotten for free.

It is nonsense because if you're getting cable, you get that already included as part of the cable package. If you didn't want cable, then the whole question is moot since you only have one source, which is OTA.

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I don't have an HD-capable cable box, nor do I want to pay extra for it. I don't know any cable company that gives HD capability for free. If you have that then consider yourself lucky, but I doubt that you do.

You don't need a box for HD OTA in most cases because it's on the raw feed you just jack it directly to your TV. And in most cases it isn't much more expensive for an HD box, it's DVRs that generally cost more. And again, usually not even necessary.

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Also, OTA gives the full HD channel non-compressed, which means you get all the info, whereas with cable using compression, some of the info is lost. I'm sure it can be argued whether the average viewer can see the difference, but that is still a positive for OTA.

And that simply isn't true. OTA is very heavily compressed, and in most cases the feed on the cable system is the exact same feed. OTA is not in any way "non-compressed" and it never has been except for analog broadcast which is no longer pertinent.
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post #18 of 27 Old 03-05-2010, 08:48 PM
 
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Oh, is your HD cable package free? Is the HD box free? Do you really enjoy paying your cableco? As was pointed out, digital OTA is FREE after you set up an antenna. For some people--not sure about the OP--it makes a great adjunct or even primary source.

It is nonsensical to jump to the conclusion that paying a cableco is obviously the only answer.

Oh my goodness. Obviously. This is not a comparison BETWEEN cable (which you must pay money for) and OTA (which is free). I'm not assuming that paying for cable is the answer. THAT'S ALREADY ASSUMED by the original poster.

By the way, if you're curious about my opinion, NO, I do not think that paying the cable company is worth it. I have an antenna and watch all my TV OTA, via DVD, or online streaming. But that opinion isn't really relevant here, is it? No.

The original question was about using BOTH, so that presumes that cable is ALREADY paid for and present. And hence, if you ALREADY are paying for cable TV, and are ALREADY getting the HD local channels as part of that broadcast (as required by law) then WHY would you ALSO set up an antenna?

Reading comprehension people, reading comprehension.
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post #19 of 27 Old 03-05-2010, 09:13 PM
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Oh my goodness. Obviously. This is not a comparison BETWEEN cable (which you must pay money for) and OTA (which is free). I'm not assuming that paying for cable is the answer. THAT'S ALREADY ASSUMED by the original poster.

The original question was about using BOTH, so that presumes that cable is ALREADY paid for and present. And hence, if you ALREADY are paying for cable TV, and are ALREADY getting the HD local channels as part of that broadcast (as required by law) then WHY would you ALSO set up an antenna?

Reading comprehension people, reading comprehension.

You talk about reading comprehension but the OP does not say that he is getting HD local channels as part of his cable package. Nowhere in the thread does he say that. He simply wants to know how to hook up OTA and cable to a single TV. My cable package doesn't come with HD capability, nor do I desire it. I hooked the OTA antenna to the coax input of the tv and feed the cable box to the tv using audio and video cables. Free OTA HD local channels and I can watch other cable channels on the Family Tier, which I have, if I am so inclined. Nothing nonsensical about that.
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post #20 of 27 Old 03-05-2010, 11:58 PM
 
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The OP asked a hypothetical question, apparently not realizing that OTA HD channels would most likely be carried by any cable service he chose to purchase. Hence the number of posters asking why one would be trying to do this because it appears pointless.

The rest of you apparently missed that, and either want to have an argument, or don't know what you're talking about like a previous poster who suggested that OTA HD was somehow 'non-compressed.'
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post #21 of 27 Old 03-06-2010, 03:52 AM
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I think the key is to get more info from the OP about the capabilities of his TV. Local HD channels can be decoded from cable when the TV has a QAM tuner. No QAM tuner means he'll be needing the antenna. TVs are required to have ATSC, which receives OTA digital channels, but not QAM tuners. Although, I wouldn't think many TVs are sold without QAM nowadays.
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post #22 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 09:08 AM
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Well, I would assume that if he is plugging his cable directly into his TV, then he is not getting any HD feeds (I'll admit my humbleness, in the fact that I don't understand QAM as we don't have that option around here from what I know). Otherwise he'd have a provider HD box, which would connect to the TV via other means. Now if he doesn't have an HDTV set and is limited in connections, then I would agree with others that he has the locals via provider and there is no advantage of setting up an OTA antenna. If he was going to get rid of his cable package, and just go OTA, then his question would be of little importance then, but it sounds like this is not the case.

Maybe some of you may be able to explain to me how his SD local provider channels, which I think we can all agree is a lesser quality when compared to OTA, could be better than an OTA equivalent HD feed? I was going on the assumption that he is trying to compliment his TV viewing by getting a few HD channels to enjoy the benefits of HD, while trying to save in an increased monthly bill (around here it is $10 a month to rent a HD box (= $120/yr) addition to the monthly bill of say $30/month on up (depending on the package). So how can anyone say that he is already getting this from his provider so why bother? I think he already knows and has his reasons for wanting to do it, he's just questioning how to do it, not get people questioning his reasons for doing it.

When I mentioned above that it can be used to compliment a provider package, in that this way if your not so much in to the sports (NFL or NHL or any of the other national sports leagues) or whatever, or if your finding that your not using the full benefits of HD that a provider supplies to you, so you don't really need the HD stuff, then why pay for it. Get a lesser package of the channels you really want, then compliment them with some HD stuff that you can get OTA for free. If the OP finds that there is a requirement for more HD (it all depends on his viewing habits), then I would agree with others that there is no need for an OTA antenna as by the time he gets his specialty channels he wants from his provider, then most likely all the local HD feeds will be covered anyways.

Or maybe, just maybe, he does have a HD subscription to his provider, and he wants to get HD to a second TV without paying for an extra box? He may be getting the locals, but again it is only in SD digital format, so he wants to get some HD to compliment what he already has. What better way than to get it OTA in my opinion.

Or just maybe...off-the-rocker here, he's a Canadian, like me, that's tired of the CRTC and Canadian providers (even broadcasters) injecting Canadian content commercials over the awesome US ones during the SuperBowl, and wishes to pickup an American feed to be able to enjoy what he is otherwise missing. Can only do that OTA (in HD to boot)...or illegally...or wait for them to go on-line.

What I was ultimately getting at was that we all shouldn't just jump to conclusions on what the intentions of others are. I just wasn't expecting the response...though it was quite entertaining...almost better than watching my OTA feeds

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post #23 of 27 Old 03-10-2010, 06:44 AM
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And to the OP, here is a remote controlled A/B switch:
http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2049643

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post #24 of 27 Old 08-24-2013, 06:14 PM
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cbs pulled their channels from TWC so if you want to watch cbs and kcal you need an ota along with cable box also we lost show time
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post #25 of 27 Old 11-07-2013, 01:17 PM
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I did not want cable tv. However, the price of internet was far cheaper if I got a bundle. 29.99 for TV and internet.  So I got cable TV.  I did not want it because I already have all the stations I needed including PBS OTA.  My TV has only one input. Their basic tv package doesn't have PBS.  How do I hook up my antenna and cable now? to a Panasonic LED 42in? p.s. yes TV has 3 HDMI's inputs only one coaxial cable input.

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post #26 of 27 Old 11-16-2013, 08:12 AM
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Heck, if you get everything you want OTA, just don't bother with connecting the cable to your TV. If you do, you're going to have to use an A/B switch to the input of your TV to switch between your cable box's output and your antenna.

CIAO!

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post #27 of 27 Old 11-18-2013, 09:47 AM
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This is a leftover problem when HDTVs went with the HDMI ports. Older analog sets had just one 75 ohm coax input. There's really no way to get signals into the TV other than coax. Combiners won't work but I'll bet Radio Shack has a remote switch kit.
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