OTA, or, DirectTV Local channels - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-16-2014, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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OTA, or, DirectTV Local channels

Direct TV has my local channels.

Would it be worth it in anyway to get an antenna for OTA transmissions (Hampton Roads, Virginia)?

Pros - maybe pick up some additional channels...

Would the quality be any different?

What about the picture ratio? DirectTV locals on my current box must be getting sent down to 4:3 because they stretch when I set them to 16:9. I'm upgrading to HD DirectTV later this week - would that change?

For the rare (it's been extremely rare) times DTV goes out and I want to watch something not on Netflix (like huge storm and not only do I lose signal for watching but the DVR's not getting it either and it's a once only show).

Cons - I know you're going to tell me that it's going to take a roof mounted $3,000 antenna to pick up anything good...

If it were worth it with an indoor, I might go as much as 125 bucks for one. All the better if a $65 one would work!
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-16-2014, 10:15 AM
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The OTA picture quality may be a bit better due to compression issues. And with an antenna, you may get more subchannels, and perhaps some channels from neighboring markets. Also, it is a nice backup even if you have cable or satellite, as sometimes the signal goes out, or channels are blacked out during retransmission disputes.
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-16-2014, 10:19 AM
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Visit TVfool and see how reception is at your location. If it's good, you can use both your Directv and local OTA channels.

After your HD upgrade, get a Directv AM21 tuner to attach to your HD receiver to integrate your local broadcasts (both the primary HD and SD subchannels) into your guide from an antenna. You can use the OTA feed during storms. Qualitywise, it's hard to say. It varies market to market. Directv locals in general are pretty decent. On Directv, you will only get the primary feed of the full power transmitters in your area, usually in HD from the satellite.

Aspect ratio by locals is usually good on the HD - that is rarely screwed up. You'll see a lot of mess-ups on standard def OTA programming (smushing, shopping, zooming, and stretching and odd combinations of distortion) but it's not something that you should be worried about - most are not too bad and you can usually fiddle with it to get it to your liking. In other words, your HD channels will be fine but your Directv SD programming might be out of aspect ratio. No one setting (stretch, pillar, unaltered, etc) makes all SD proper aspect ratio.

Post in the thread for your DMA for more info about what you can expect in your area.

Last edited by ejb1980; 09-16-2014 at 10:26 AM.
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-16-2014, 04:09 PM
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Good to have both.

We have both DirecTV and an OTA setup, with a cheap "rabbit ears" antenna. Of course, depending on where you are and where the transmitters are, YMMV. We had one of our every-ten-years snowstorms a few years back ( with satellite blackout) and that inspired me to set up an OTA alternative, Once I got hip to all the sub channels (not to mention the good PQ of digital OTA) I installed OTA setups on all 3 of the upstairs TVs and am building a collection of good old movies. We almost "cut the cord" recently and would have happily had only OTA and Netflix streaming if not for DTV begging to keep our business (and offering a significant discount).,
All you are risking is the cost of an antenna, and that may be cheaper than you think.

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post #5 of 9 Old 09-17-2014, 11:16 AM
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It's a good idea to have an antenna for subchannels that DirecTV does not carry. Most of the time, it's the national diginetworks, but some local TV stations have their own programming on one of their subchannels, that Dish Network & DirecTV won't carry at all, because they're not on a .1 channel in markets with enough TV stations. For me in Gary Indiana, & in the Chicago market, WTTW also programs WTTW Prime, which is PBS without the childrens programming. For Weigel Broadcasting, it that they can't get satellite to carry WMEU-CD 48.1 (first being MeToo programming, & now as The U Too), which is the HD channel for The U Too & a subchannel to WCIU 26.2 (first in 4:3, & now 16:9 on 26.2). Since WCIU doesn't have the significance that WGN-TV has (whether WGN-TV remains with the CW or goes independent in fall 2016), so they can't easily use retransmission consent, like Weigel can in Milwaukee (they own the CBS affiliate up there). So in Chicago, they're not able to force Dish & DTV to carry The U Too from WMEU-CD, or carry MeToo (Chicago's MeTV) to Chicago viewers.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-17-2014, 05:06 PM
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In the Cleveland area the SD OTA channels are going through a "teething" stage with their 480 4 x 3 versus 480 16 x 9 programming. The amount of aspect ratio variations they have transmitted are laughable. My TV has a separate automatic flag detection function for SD channels which detect either 4 x 3 or 16 x 9. Sometimes with the channel showing 480 16 x 9 they will send 4 x 3 stretched. Sometimes when the channel is showing 480 4 x 3
they will show a small 16 x 9 or a small 16 x 9 compressed with tall skinny people. There are what seems like hundreds of other distorted aspects they have created at present time. A few of the channels got it right. It took the human race about 2000 years to create an optical lens with less than 1% distortion and the TV people have blown that to kingdom come in a few microseconds.
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-17-2014, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave73 View Post
For me in Gary Indiana, & in the Chicago market, ...WGN-TV has (whether WGN-TV remains with the CW or goes independent in fall 2016), .
If WGN Channel 9 in Chicago were to drop its CW affiliation, where would it get its programming from? Would it go back to being an independent station? Would the programming become similar to what the cable channel WGN America now carries?

I read that WGN America might drop the Cubs games, and WGN Channel 9 in Chicago is also playing hardball in its negotiations with the Cubs because the Cubs are asking for too much money for the broadcast rights.
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-18-2014, 03:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veedon View Post
If WGN Channel 9 in Chicago were to drop its CW affiliation, where would it get its programming from? Would it go back to being an independent station? Would the programming become similar to what the cable channel WGN America now carries?

I read that WGN America might drop the Cubs games, and WGN Channel 9 in Chicago is also playing hardball in its negotiations with the Cubs because the Cubs are asking for too much money for the broadcast rights.
I remember back when the cable versions of WGN Chicago and WTBS Atlanta were independent superstations and duplications of the local OTA feeds. You good watch local sports and newscasts from both cities, and they had a good selection of syndicated shows and movies. Now the local market versions of these stations are different from the national versions carried on cable and satellite.
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-18-2014, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veedon View Post
If WGN Channel 9 in Chicago were to drop its CW affiliation, where would it get its programming from? Would it go back to being an independent station? Would the programming become similar to what the cable channel WGN America now carries?

I read that WGN America might drop the Cubs games, and WGN Channel 9 in Chicago is also playing hardball in its negotiations with the Cubs because the Cubs are asking for too much money for the broadcast rights.

Tribune Company already dropped the 9pm news, & they did not renew their broadcast agreement with the Cubs, so that won't even be seen on WGN-TV next year. The new Tribune is looking to take WGN-America in a new direction, gradually phasing out anything Chicago on the channel. WGN America also no longer carries the Illinois Lottery (not sure about during the noon - 1pm portion of the midday news, but since there's no 9pm news on WGN America, there's no lottery during that time). Since I don't have satellite, I don't know what's on WGN America, since Tribune doesn't allow WGN America on cable in the Chicago DMA.


As for what will happen to WGN-TV in fall 2016, unless something is worked out to improve programming at the CW, then I expect WGN-TV to go independent, & I believe they can succeed as an independent. They were an independent after Dumont went off the air in 1956, & didn't become a network station again, until the WB was formed in 1995. Too bad they didn't stay around, as I thought they were the better network, & better shows. Just my opinion, I believe WGN-TV wants to be independent, because they won't have to farm out as many sportscasts to WCIU 26.1, in order to commit to network programming. For nights without sportscasts, they can either air off-network syndicated programming, or go back to the days where from 7 - 9pm, show a movie. For CW in fall 2016, we'll have to see if they're still around. If so, Weigel Broadcasting might pick up the network, but I don't see it going on the main channel of WCIU 26.1, since Weigel is very much proud to be Chicago's last locally owned independent (WJYS is also locally owned, but they're brokered, & operate their station in the suburbs, while transmitting from the Sears Tower), & won't give up that status. Since WMEU-CD is the U Too (mostly time-shifted programming), I could see the CW going there & be on the Class A station in HD (right now, it's in 720p HD, but they might bump it to 1080i if it went CW, as the only subchannel on that station is Touchvision on 48.2), & simulcasted on WCIU 26.2 for those who can't get WMEU-CD 48.1. Another reason I don't see the CW going on WCIU 26.1 is because the CW is 1080i (they prefer their stations to have the network in 1080i HD), while WCIU 26.1 is 720p, & with Weigel committed to simulcasting WMEU-CD 48.1 on 26.2, MeTV from WWME-LD 23.1 on 26.3, MeToo from analog WWME-CA 23 on 26.4 (this doesn't make sense at all, but keeping 23 on the air prevents someone like WBBM-TV from trying to grab the only channel that could work as a full market channel & make Chicago an all UHF market for full power stations), & Bounce on 26.5, WCIU can't go to 1080i without the picture looking like crap (sometimes it looks like crap when select HD programming is rather demanding of the bandwidth). If Weigel doesn't pick it up, then the only option would be for WBBM-TV to create a subchannel to their station. Someone on here said that Fox wants nothing to do with CW, though WPWR-TV would be a wise choice there, since except for 7 - 9pm for MNT programming, they're otherwise independent as far as their programming is concerned.
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