I am reporting on my long range antenna/digital converter box experiment. My cousin (MyCuz) inherited a fully functional vacation house on +/- 10 acres adjoining on three sides PA state park lands. In other words, it is in the deep, deep fringe zone. The house is on the eastern side of Paddy Mountain, adjoining Bald Eagle State Park. On the other side of the mountain is the Woodward Extreme Sports Camp and State College, PA. Her Mom and Dad were never able to get cable TV (too remote) and OTA was limited to two UHF snowy channels from Scranton. Reception sucked. They were in the pre-satellite generation. The mountain blocks State College, Altoona, and Harrisburg TV.
Enter the digital revolution. I asked MyCuz to buy two Insignia digital boxes from B-B, with after May 2008 manufacturing dates, and a pole lamp from W-M. I supplied an Eagle Aspen twin bow-tie antenna, a Boy Scout Compass, an antenna map from TV-Fool indicating at least 5 channels in line of site, 73.6 miles away, and a 12 foot SG-6 coax cable. I also Google Mapped her house, that indicted we had a good shot of succeeding, with the picture window of the living room facing ENE toward Scranton. The TVFool map indicated little reception from State College.
The living room TV is an over 15 year-old GE CRT with RF and video/stereo inputs. The living room faces east, with a picture window and curtains. House construction is wood frame with composite siding. The garage facing east is in front of the kitchen, and has metal garage door, and a 1967 Buick still sitting in there.
MyCuz wants to help. She says, If I can validate a pharmaceutical autoclave, I can assemble a pole lamp and antenna! Consider it done. Pole lamp assembled, lamps installed, twin bow-tie antenna assembled and attached to pole lamp, RG-6 attached from the antenna balun to OTA converter box, box attached to TV via video/stereo inputs, antenna aimed to compass headings as indicated..
We fire the sucker up. First, using the TV remote, I put the TV into video mode. TV says NO INPUT. We fire up the DTV Box. Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! Remote won't start the box. (Need remote to program the box.) Replace the supplied remote battery. First lesson learned: have spare AAA batteries. Second lesson learned: point the remote directly at the DTV Box, and it needs a forceful pressure to turn on the button.
Now scan screen appears. Right press selector: Channel scan progressing
BAM! We get 11 distinct stations. From 73.6 freaking miles away!!! We get Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, MyN, CW, one weather channel, and FOUR DTV PBS channels! NO REPEAT CHANNELS!
Signal strength good. Appearance wonderful. NO ARTIFACTS!!!
We sat stunned! The Insignia Box allows expanding the picture to fill the 4:3 CRT when the broadcast is in HD. Hey! When we expanded the picture when allowed, the picture quality was still stunning.
I am impressed with the reception and features of the Insignia/Zenith DTV box.