I live in Tobyhanna (Coolbaugh Township) in the APCP development.
I am new to the HD market, but I have been researching quite a bit for the last couple months. I don't yet own an HDTV, nor have an antenna, and am looking for advice to help me make some decisions.
I've got my eye on a 37" 1080p LCD monitor for about $1000, but it does not include any tuners. Presently my most attractive alternative would be an $800 37" 1080i LCD with ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuners, but I think I would prefer to have 1080p. The HDTV that I really want will not be available in my budget for several years, so these are basically the best I can currently afford and get me into the world of HD.
I currently use DirecTV and have their R15 DVR, which I assume includes an ATSC tuner, but the best quality output it has is S-video. Eventually I will upgrade to their HDTV service, but I am interested in setting up an antenna to pickup OTA channels regardless.
I used antennaweb and plugged in my adress info, and here is what it came up with for me:
DTV Ant-Type Call Sign Ch Ntwk City State Compass Mi Away Freq
red-uhf WBRE 28 NBC WILKES-BARRE PA 279° 24.9 28
*red-vhf WBRE-DT 28.1 NBC WILKES-BARRE PA 279° 25.3 11
red-uhf WOLF 56 FOX PENOBOAT MTN PA 279° 25.0 56
red-uhf WNEP 16 ABC SCRANTON PA 279° 25.2 16
red-uhf WYOU 22 CBS SCRANTON PA 279° 25.3 22
*red-vhf WYOU-DT 22.1 CBS SCRANTON PA 279° 25.3 13
red-uhf WVIA 44 PBS SCRANTON PA 279° 25.2 44
*blue-uhf WVIA-DT 44.1 PBS SCRANTON PA 279° 25.2 41
blue-uhf WQPX 64 ION SCRANTON PA 325° 23.9 64
blue-uhf WSWB 38 CW SCRANTON PA 324° 24.0 38
*blue-uhf WOLF-DT 56.1 FOX HAZLETON PA 279° 25.0 45
*violet-uhf WSWB-DT 38.1 CW SCRANTON PA 324° 24.0 31
*violet-uhf WNEP-DT 16.1 ABC SCRANTON PA 279° 25.0 49
*violet-uhf WQPX-DT 64.1 ION SCRANTON PA 322° 24.3 32
violet-uhf WMBC 63 IND NEWTON NJ 119° 43.4 63
That is my best attempt to format it so it will be viewable. If you're familiar with this screen, you know that the channels with the * are digital, and the call sign indicates this as well with -DT. I assume most or all of those are now in HD. Is that correct? Looks like these channels are 28.1, 22.1, 44.1, 56.1, 38.1, 16.1 and 64.1. I assume that I should only attempt to get the channels at 279°, which covers most of these. The ones I wouldn't get are 38.1 and 64.1 which are at 324° and 322° respectively. These networks are CW and ION, which I'm not even sure right now what those are, I never heard of them. Perhaps if I used a rotator, I could spin the antenna to pick those up when I wanted, since a large directional antenna seems to have at most a 25-30° window.
You'll also notice half or more are in the blue/violet range. However, I don't understand why this is - since I am within 25 miles of most of these networks. I thought the blue and violet antenna types were needed for 60-75 mile ranges. Anyhow, from the look of this, and your general understanding of the area that I live in, do you really think I need a large directional antenna mounted on my roof to receive these channels? In fact, violet even indicates that a pre-amp is necessary as well. I followed a user's link to solidsignal.com and checked out what they had. There is such a huge selection, I have no idea how to determine what I need. Really, I'd like to spend as little as possible on this. Plus their diagrams indicate that not only is a pre-amp used, but then the line is sent into a power injector followed by a power distribution amp, then into the TV. This all seems over the top to me, and a major investment, not to mention the work involved.
So it seems that an indoor antenna is certainly out of the question for me. But it also seems that one of these SquareShooter or Lacrosse type antennas that hook up to your satellite dish and are much nicer looking, is also out of the question for me. Although those antennas claim to reach up to 50 miles. Check out these specs for the SquareShooter SS-2000:
• Range for Channels (2-6): 0-10 Miles (Analog), 0-15 Miles (Digital)
• Range for Channels (7-13): 0-35 Miles (Analog), 0-40 Miles (Digital)
• Range for Channels (14-69): 0-45 Miles (Analog), 0-50 Miles (Digital)
I don't understand why there is a different range for different channels, but I'm sure some of you do know why. Anyhow, most of the channels in question here are in the 3rd category, which for digital seems to cover up to 50 miles. Now I only live half that distance, so why shouldn't this antenna work for me? Can't I use this instead of a large directional on my roof? Would I still need a pre-amp with this? Would I also need a power injector and a power distribution amp?
Would my DirecTV receiver then be able to tune this stuff OK and display it properly on a HD monitor? Or would I be making a mistake in not purchasing an HDTV with an ATSC tuner? Are the NTSC and QAM tuners important at all?
Also, when installing an antenna, it is recommended that you have a 2nd person nearby the TV monitoring the signal strength as you play around with the direction the antenna faces. Is there any kind of a handheld meter that I could hook up instead that could give me a signal reading, that I could monitor while I'm installing it? I'm thinking one of these would give me a better analysis and be less of a hassle than yelling back and forth.
Also, any chance of picking up any channels other than Scranton/Wilkes-Barre? What about Binghampton? New York? Philly? Jersey?
Is there anybody, especially someone close by that can relate, that can help answer any of these questions? I would really appreciate it.