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Ditching Cable, Some Pointers Needed!

post #1 of 138
Thread Starter 
So I'm not really unhappy with cable, I just don't understand why I'm paying $60/month for commercials as well as stuff I never watch.

So, I have a 73C9 as my TV, I've got a 360, and I've got an HTPC I used to use.

I seem to have most everything I need other than an antenna. I found this one on Amazon, any opinions on it?
http://www.amazon.com/Terk-Amplified..._bxgy_e_text_b

So will this antenna go into the tuner on my HTPC (allowing me to record shows)?
post #2 of 138
Why don't you go to www.tvfool.com and see what it says you need for an antenna, rather than just buy something and hope it works ?
post #3 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooper View Post

Why don't you go to www.tvfool.com and see what it says you need for an antenna, rather than just buy something and hope it works ?

Cool utility. How accurate is it?

I live 70 miles from the antennas, it's suggesting roof-mounted ones. That SUCKS because I don't want to screw with one of those... Wind blowing it around, screwing with installing it, running cables, etc.
post #4 of 138
See hdtvok.com also
post #5 of 138
At 70 miles - you need all the help you can get - high and outside, and LARGE, probably will need a preamp to boot.

And yes - TVfool is VERY accurate if you provided correct information.
post #6 of 138
If you are tossing cable then one or two months' bill will cover all antenna stuff.
post #7 of 138
I agree with the others, use tvfool...and at 70 Miles, yes, you need to go big.
post #8 of 138
Thread Starter 
Dangit...

Well, I live in a townhouse. Are there any small antennas I could put on the roof or something?
Really don't want to go into my shingles or anything, I'll have to figure something out.

I think I know the answer but, being a townhouse, not sure if I can get 100% line of sight, is just the act of sticking it outside and high enough, though?
post #9 of 138
The laws of physics pretty much dictate that you need a good-size antenna at 70 miles. My setup has separate antennas for UHF (top) and high-VHF (ch 7-13, bottom). Each is about 100 inches long. They give mostly-reliable reception for several "full power" stations at 68 to 72 miles. Some less-powerful stations don't come in as well.
post #10 of 138
Thread Starter 
Basically, all I care about are the major networks (CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC).

They are all VHF channels.

IE, according to TV fool, here's the channels I care about (And really, I only care about the major networks, I dunno what "Ind" is, don't care about that).


Does this help narrow down what I need?
I'm only looking at those 162* ones.

Edit- Dangit... I guess ABC is a UHF channel huh? I kindof would like to still get that channel, if possible. (Sports and shows like Modern Family )
post #11 of 138
Still big, high and outside. With possible pre-amp. However, you won't need a rotator.
post #12 of 138
Thread Starter 
I seem to recall when I was little we had an antenna (one of the big kind) in the attic. Same town. I don't THINK it had an amp on it, and it worked just fine. However, there was several wheat fields the direction it was pointing, so no immediate obstructions.

So I'm hoping that maybe I could try an antenna in the attic with a pre-amp and see if it works. If not, I could mount outside.


Got any links to ones I should be looking at?

I found this one:
http://www.amazon.com/RCA-ANT751-Out...5610832&sr=8-5
I am not sure how reliable the mile ratings are. This says 40 miles, accurate? Or would it work? Just not sure. Can you point me in direction of what good quality/reliable stuff I need.
post #13 of 138
Only ABC and PBS are VHF, the rest are UHF and as others have indicated all are very weak. You might try this with a good preamp for UHF: http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp...na-(91XG)&c=TV Antennas&sku=853748001910 and YA10 7-13 for VHF.

John
post #14 of 138
Techie Sooner,
If you read TV Fool's explanation of Noise Margin (NM) this will help you understand. Your noise margin numbers say that the signals that you are getting are theoretically useable but almost at the floor of what is useable.

Based on the experience of pretty much everyone on this board, the best practice for HDTV reception is to start with enough antenna.

Since your tagline is 'Techie Sooner' I am going to assume that you are not afraid of basic tools and might even like to screw around trying stuff. The RCA Ant751 is not a bad small antenna. I have one here at the house and I was amazed when I first threaded it up. It will be HOA friendly and I believe has a gain of 6 to 8 dB. Unfortunately, even with a preamp I don't see anyway that this is enough gain to give you a system that you will be happy with over the long term.

I think that your best hope for success is going to be a lot of big antenna (heavy metal), maybe more than one antenna in your attic with the correct preamp. You may want to use a preamp that screws up to twin lead rather than coax (this eliminates the little bit of signal that is lost at the balun transformer). Note: inside of an attic is often a difficult place for antenna success, so this is not a slam dunk. You also have to have the opportunity to get the right compass heading inside of the attic with the antenna.
post #15 of 138
Techie Sooner,
If you read TV Fool's explanation of Noise Margin (NM) this will help you understand. Your noise margin numbers say that the signals that you are getting are theoretically useable but almost at the floor of what is useable.

Based on the experience of pretty much everyone on this board, the best practice for HDTV reception is to start with enough antenna.

Since your tagline is 'Techie Sooner' I am going to assume that you are not afraid of basic tools and might even like to screw around trying stuff. The RCA Ant751 is not a bad small antenna. I have one here at the house and I was amazed when I first threaded it up. It will be HOA friendly and I believe has a gain of 6 to 8 dB. Unfortunately, even with a preamp I don't see anyway that this is enough gain to give you a system that you will be happy with over the long term.

I think that your best hope for success is going to be a lot of big antenna (heavy metal), maybe more than one antenna in your attic with the correct preamp. You may want to use a preamp that screws up to twin lead rather than coax (this eliminates the little bit of signal that is lost at the balun transformer). Note: inside of an attic is often a difficult place for antenna success, so this is not a slam dunk. You also have to have the opportunity to get the right compass heading inside of the attic with the antenna.
post #16 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_Weggus View Post

I think that your best hope for success is going to be a lot of big antenna (heavy metal), maybe more than one antenna in your attic with the correct preamp. You may want to use a preamp that screws up to twin lead rather than coax (this eliminates the little bit of signal that is lost at the balun transformer). Note: inside of an attic is often a difficult place for antenna success, so this is not a slam dunk. You also have to have the opportunity to get the right compass heading inside of the attic with the antenna.

So, I talked to someone that lives about a block from me.
They told me they use one of the "circular" type of antennas in their attic and receive even ABC just fine.

So apparently the signal works here in the attic, and I would think those circular antennas aren't that great???
post #17 of 138
Well, if it works for him, who are we to argue? It sounds like it would have a good chance of working for you. In TVfool, did you leave the antenna height at the default of 10 feet? If so, boosting it up to 25 feet might make a significant difference in the output.

As for your "Ind" station, that means "independent" (not affiliated with a network). Actually, according to Wikipedia, KTBO is a religious station that belongs to the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
post #18 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by TechieSooner View Post

So, I talked to someone that lives about a block from me.
They told me they use one of the "circular" type of antennas in their attic and receive even ABC just fine.

So apparently the signal works here in the attic, and I would think those circular antennas aren't that great???

Around the block means nothing. Even your next door neighbor could have considerably better or worse recption than you. That's why a tvfool report for your exact location is essential if you want some help. So it would help if you posted the actual link to your report and not that pic you posted.
post #19 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by TechieSooner View Post

So, I talked to someone that lives about a block from me.
They told me they use one of the "circular" type of antennas in their attic and receive even ABC just fine.

Then, go buy one.

But if you're looking on this thread for confirmation that it will work at your house, you won't get it.
post #20 of 138
I'll add one more thought, have you considered some type of "lifeline" cable subscription? If you only want locals in HD, this may be the way to go, assuming two things, they pass locals on the cable in QAM, and your tv has a QAM tuner.

Many times this is an inexpensive alternative, but it's not free like OTA. Might worth a phone call to the cable company to ask about price, etc.
post #21 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by TechieSooner View Post

Terk-Amplified-High-Definition-Antenna

Junk. Digital TV won't work on these little tiny antennas, unless you live 15 miles or less from the transmitter. Here's my setup:

(1) Purchased Channel Master CM4228 for $50 plus shipping
(2) Mounted it on spare office chair.
(3) Set chair next to TV.
(4) Connected antenna wire to TV (or VCR)

Done. I now get stations as far away as 55 miles from my apartment. About forty channels total. From time-to-time I have to "turn" the chair/antenna to get a stronger signal on weak stations, but that's no big deal. Also don't cancel the cable TV until after you've tried the antenna because it might not work. And finally: Take a look at http://www.dishnetwork.com - they require a 2 year subscription, but the monthly cost is only $32.50... about half the cost of Cable's $65 (with tax). My brother got it and likes it.
post #22 of 138
Now that I think of it... even though Oklahoma doesn't have mountains, a lot of it definitely isn't flat. (I've driven through there a few times, so I know.) At 70 miles from the transmitters, even slightly rolling terrain can cause signals to vary significantly between nearby locations.

Just the other day I was using TVFool to check out locations in and around a nearby city in South Carolina. I got widely different results depending on whether the location was on top of a rise or down in a dip. People who actually live in that area, similarly report widely varying degrees of success even with an outdoor antenna.

So... try running TVFool for your neighbor's house. Make sure the antenna height is in the right ballpark. Re-do yours if you need to adjust the antenna height. Compare the two sets of results.

Another tip: use the "MAPS" option if you haven't already. Sometimes the location that TVFool associates with your address is a bit off. In my case it's off by a couple of blocks. With the MAPS option you can drag a marker on a map, to hit the precise location (which won't show up in the displayed results, in any event).
post #23 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtbell View Post

Well, if it works for him, who are we to argue? It sounds like it would have a good chance of working for you. In TVfool, did you leave the antenna height at the default of 10 feet? If so, boosting it up to 25 feet might make a significant difference in the output.

Marginally better... IE, 4.8 becomes 4.9


Quote:
Originally Posted by McDonoughDawg View Post

I'll add one more thought, have you considered some type of "lifeline" cable subscription? If you only want locals in HD, this may be the way to go, assuming two things, they pass locals on the cable in QAM, and your tv has a QAM tuner.

Many times this is an inexpensive alternative, but it's not free like OTA. Might worth a phone call to the cable company to ask about price, etc.

I'll have to look at that, but I know I already pay $10/mo for the DVR (which you need to get their HD), so add on a lifeline subscription, probably still $20-30/mo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtbell View Post

Now that I think of it... even though Oklahoma doesn't have mountains, a lot of it definitely isn't flat. (I've driven through there a few times, so I know.) At 70 miles from the transmitters, even slightly rolling terrain can cause signals to vary significantly between nearby locations.

Between here and 70 miles away there probably is. But between my house and the one that works (a block difference), it's flat as a pancake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtbell View Post

Another tip: use the "MAPS" option if you haven't already. Sometimes the location that TVFool associates with your address is a bit off. In my case it's off by a couple of blocks. With the MAPS option you can drag a marker on a map, to hit the precise location (which won't show up in the displayed results, in any event).

Yea, I've done that. I've also looked at the colored map, and between my house and the one I know works, the shading is exactly the same in this area.



Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

Then, go buy one.

But if you're looking on this thread for confirmation that it will work at your house, you won't get it.

No, not looking for confirmation, it just seems like those circular antennas wouldn't work as well? Is that true?

If that's true, and it works for them, what can I get that's much BETTER than their circular antenna?

Even if I got a large one, I don't care (if it is going in my attic). So even if I got one of those big 5' long kind, what would you all suggest?
post #24 of 138
I recommended a cheaper "lifeline", or whatever they call it, because I assumed you didn't need anything but the locals in HD, and going over the air, I assumed no DVR.

Anyways, good luck in your quest.
post #25 of 138
You kind of need to scope your attic out first. Also, a 5 foot long boom is probably not a 'fringe' antenna. Your best chance for success on the first try is to start big. IE a lot of gain.

For a single antenna - Winegard makes their 769 series (7694 thru 7698). the 7698 has more than than twice the signal strength at its terminals as the their 7694. 10 dB to 14 dB gain for the big one. The big one however is fifteen feet long. You will probably get other recommendations. So how much room do you have?

Also there are panel antennas - UHF centered and shaped like a sheet of plywood (2 dimensional). So a panel antenna can be near the ridge in your attic. I have a Winegard 8800 panel Antenna that I have been playing around with (got a bargain at Frys Electronics). Panel antennas are rated by their number of bays. Typically 4 or 8 bays, sometimes two bays. Typically the VHF performance of panel antennas is iffy (at best).

The 'round' style antennas typically do nothing well. aka have almost no gain.
post #26 of 138
I notice that all of your stations are 'two-edge' on TV Fool. My personal experience has been with line of sight so I am out of my element but:

The way that I understand it, two edge is heavily influenced by the effects of diffraction. This means that the received signal can vary greatly from even small difference in antenna location (both up down and right left).

So you will want to 'walk the attic' with the antenna to find the sweet spot. And the sweet spot will be different for different channels/frequencies. Especially for the higher UHF frequencies.
post #27 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by theaveng View Post

Guys: Some of us have been victims of internet stalkers. We DON'T want to share our exact locations online, and maybe neither does TechieSooner. Please respect his privacy.

Ok first of all a TVfool link does NOT list your exact address. You want your privacy respected fine, just don't expect very helpful help. No one here is going to stalk anyone.
post #28 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by TechieSooner View Post

...what can I get that's much BETTER than their circular antenna?

Antenna: http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=HD7698P
Preamp: http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=CM-7777

Will it work? Impossible to tell without trying. Less likely in an attic, which can sometimes decrease signal strength significantly.
post #29 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by theaveng View Post

No they are unidirectional with very little amplification. You need a directional antenna like the CM4228 I recommended. (You did read my last post right?)

The OP has both UHF and VHF channels. He stated he would like to get both. The 4228 may not work for channel 7 at that distance.
post #30 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDonoughDawg View Post

I recommended a cheaper "lifeline", or whatever they call it, because I assumed you didn't need anything but the locals in HD, and going over the air, I assumed no DVR.

Anyways, good luck in your quest.

Called them today. Still $40/mo for that freaking service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_Weggus View Post

For a single antenna - Winegard makes their 769 series (7694 thru 7698). the 7698 has more than than twice the signal strength at its terminals as the their 7694. 10 dB to 14 dB gain for the big one. The big one however is fifteen feet long. You will probably get other recommendations. So how much room do you have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

Antenna: http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=HD7698P
Preamp: http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=CM-7777

Will it work? Impossible to tell without trying. Less likely in an attic, which can sometimes decrease signal strength significantly.

I was like "heck yea"... then I saw the fifteen feet part, LOL.

I'll have to do some measuring but I'm pretty sure 15 feet won't work, ESPECIALLY in the direction I'd have to point it.

So, would the 7694 be your second choice? If it won't fit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_Weggus View Post

The 'round' style antennas typically do nothing well. aka have almost no gain.

That's why I have hope something like you guys are suggesting should work just fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

The OP has both UHF and VHF channels. He stated he would like to get both. The 4228 may not work for channel 7 at that distance.

Thanks for reading
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