Hi Everyone, I finally did the HDTV thing over this holiday season, and I wanted to post for this DFW group my experiences, in hope that it will help other newbies like myself as you explore the Digital TV world!!!
First of all I have to say thanks to all of you in this thread and forums in general that have helped answer my questions, it has been a tremendous help.
Here is my situation
1. I live in Lantana, TX, (just nw of Flower Mound in Denton County) As a point of reference I am about 10 miles east of Texas Motor Speedway off FM 407.
2. I ended up buying a Samsung HLP5063 DLP Set, which seems really nice thusfar
3. I switched from Dish Network to Direct TV since they seem to have their act together more on HDTV. I avoided VOOM due to the uncertainty of their future and wanting to minimize long-term change
My lessons learned
Most important, you can get lots of good and bad advice, of which I received both, but in the end, long story short you have to do it to see what the outcome is.
A) Antennaweb.org said I would need a gigantic Large Directional Antenna on my roof to get signal.
B) the guy at Home Theater Store told me that there was no chance I could pull a signal from an antenna in my attic since I had cool ply.
Both of these were wrong, I got a Antenna included from Direct TV, that they installed in my attic, with the cool ply, which is no larger than the satellite dish itself, and I am pulling the locals in at 90+ strength. The Direct TV guy told me that while the Antenna web site is useful that EVERY INSTALLATION IS UNIQUE, because the Signal Bounces around so much on the Terrestial broadcast. He's seen folks get great signal in one place, and go two houses next door and get no signal. I think that's probably somewhat extreme, but in my case I live approx 40 miles from the tower in Cedar Hill (35 to be exact) and thusfar it seems to be working (Fingers Crossed)
C) You will get lots of opinions on what is good and what is bad on TV selection, for me it came down to going with a recognizable yet affordable brand that looked good in the store and got decent reviews from reputable sources
D) Assume the folks at Direct TV (if you deal with them) generally have no clue on HD. I live in O&O obviously so I wanted to also make sure I got them to turn on the NBC, CBS, and FOX feeds for me as a safety net in case I need them. Many folks told me this would be no issue and they would do it automatically. This was not the case, when they activated my service they did not turn these on automatically , nor within a day or two. So I had to call them about 5-6 times and escalate it to their Customer Service Management to finally educate them on what needed to be done. If you call them and ask for them to turn on the locals I get the feeling they are really resistant to do so because of this new legislation law and they have no clue on the differences between O&O and DNS. So the default answer was NO. When I dealt with their management (not taking no for an answer) they told me that yes I could get them but that I had a technical issue so they transferred me to tech support. Tech support told me I needed to go to the HD Eligibility Group and they could transfer me. When they did the line Dropped! lol! But they gave me the key piece of info,
when you call ask immediately for HD Eligibility Group.
When I did this on another callback I got transferred after sweet talking the front line CSR. AS soon as I got to this HD Group they turned on the channels within 5 minutes. I have also been told you can ask for them at extension 721
E) last but not least, be prepared to immediately want to get a new DVD Player, HD recordable unit, etc if you are anything like me. I see the HD then start reading stuff and find that my older DVD player is past its time, and I want to record again, but the DVR units are expensive
Also, the cables to connect your TV properly such as the DVI,HDMI stuff are expensive as all get out from local places. There is a store or two online that you can buy them for a lot cheaper. but if you need an HDMI cable for instance in a pinch and go to your local radio shack, expect to pay close to 100 bucks for it.
When it was all said and done, I got the TV, I got the service, the Antenna worked, and I watched the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl in HD! It looks totally awesome!!!
Goodluck and hope this is helpful to someone.