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Washington, DC / Baltimore, MD - HDTV - Page 115  

post #3421 of 8537
I'm not sure if all of Adelphia gets the same HD package. A colleague in Ashburn gets Adelphia HD (last i checked) only gets NBC and CBS locals.

If D* gives you the OTA option, you should be able to get ABC, CBS, NBC. And if your location is good, you can get FOX, WB, MPT & WETA.

OTA is definately the best value if your location will allow it. Picture quality will be just as good as cable HD.
post #3422 of 8537
Thread Starter 
Hoop, Don't forget that NHL:ST only gives you the games during the 1pm/4pm time. How many games can you watch at a time? ST is pretty $$$, especially if you're a Skins fan and half of that time is taken up by local channel viewing.

Also the HDTV Tivo is out there now, its just hard to find. I was in Best Buy yesterday and I had them scan for availabilty. There was one at the BB at Potomac Yards yesterday. So they are out there.
post #3423 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by kevinstu
I'm a bit confused about the marketing of different amplifiers for antennas. I understand that the "distribution amp" is when you're splitting to different TVs at the end. But what about the pre-amp? Is it just to overcome long line lengths, or will I see an improvement if I hook up a CM 7775 to my silver sensor that's on a 10 foot coax?
You are in Arlington. So is the channel 27 transmitter. Furthermore, you are slightly closer to the channel 14 analog transmitter in Washington than you are to the digital transmitters on 34, 35, 36, and 39. You would most surely overload a preamp if you used one.

Last night, I did an infrequent residential antenna service call in northern Bethesda. The house is in a gully and the VHF highband and UHF signals were anemic. I tried a Winegard 8783 preamp and a Channelmaster 7775 and each made the situation worse. Then I tried a Holland LA-10, ten dB preamp, which I probably paid about $6 for, and got better results.

On my spectrum analyzer, I found a huge, intermittent spike around 485 Mz, probably some kind of emergency service radio transmission, that was overloading the higher gain preamps, and I also saw a few channels in the high teens that are probably inadvertently being broadcast by a neighbor with in-home modulators that are being sent back up his antenna coax and they are at a greater level than the local broadcast signals. Simply put, the invading signals overloaded my premium, high gain preamplifiers but not my minimally sufficient, cheap one.

Rarely, if ever, will someone in a metropolitan situation be well served by a preamplifier.
post #3424 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by mallu2u
Hard for me to cough up over $300 bucks for the antenna!
While I can certainly sympathize with folks on a tight budget, to me at least HDTV lovers, (ie, presumably everyone on this list) are in a different boat.

The way I see it, a pro OTA antenna install is a drop in the bucket compared to the total amount spent on:

- HDTV display
- Sound system
- DVD's
- Cable or DBS programming
- Accessories, etc

It astounds me that anyone would drop big bucks on getting HD into their home and then try to make do with the inherent limitations of an indoor antenna, like the kind of thing Gipper went thru.

When you think about it, an OTA antenna install is a fraction of the cost of most folks' annual Cable or DBS programming bill. A quality OTA antenna install pays for itself very quickly if you look at it in those terms and maximizes your HDTV investment. Worth every penny spent IMO to get rock-solid, trouble free OTA HDTV and DTV.
post #3425 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by Gipper
I invited my neighbor over to watch the NCAA Basketball Championship and the reception was terrible due to high winds!! Pretty frustrating.
I have 1 UHF with a rotor on mast 1 and 1 fixed stack of 1 UHF and 1 Combo on mast 2, all on my roof, all professionally installed. My home is in a fairly open area subject to blasting winds. I NEVER have wind-related reception problems. And my antennas survived the hurricane we had last fall, without so much as a hiccup or even minor incremental movement for that matter.

I would venture to guess that any OTA antennas experiencing wind loading issues were not professionally installed.

Yet another reason (of many) in favor of using a pro installer.
post #3426 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by sasha_j

I would venture to guess that any OTA antennas experiencing wind loading issues were not professionally installed.

Yet another reason (of many) in favor of using a pro installer. [/b]
Sasha, you have to be on FX antenna's payroll......Is the owner your brother-in-law?????
post #3427 of 8537
One more thing............

Just for the record, I have nothing against DIY OTA antenna installation if that is of interest to any of our members. If you are handy, have lots of time on your hands (both for the installation and later followup fine tuning), know what you are doing and don't mind walking the roof, I say more power to you.

What ticks me off however is reading follow-up posts from DIY-types who then go on to have reception, structural, grounding, weather related problems. Why isn't my antenna working?? Why is my roof leaking?? Why can't I get WETA??, etc, etc.

If my memory serves me, there have been more than a few members on the history of this and the prior DC/Balt thread who tried DIY and crashed + burned. Big time. These folks went on either to hire a pro after the fact, or learned to live with their myriad of deficiencies, all along spending way too much time, effort and dollars than if they simply hired a pro in the 1st place.

I can't recall a single complaint post from any homeowner using professional installation other than those picking the wrong installation firm. Folks, life is too short to be messing with DIY antenna installation. Hire a pro to do it right the first time and spend your free time enjoying worry-free HDTV.
post #3428 of 8537
[quote]Originally posted by sasha_j
[b]I have 1 UHF with a rotor on mast 1 and 1 fixed stack of 1 UHF and 1 Combo on mast 2, all on my roof, all professionally installed.

mallu2u, I would venture a guess this setup was a little bit more than $300.00.......
post #3429 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by steeler
Sasha, you have to be on FX antenna's payroll......Is the owner your brother-in-law?????
Nope, sorry, just a satisfied client. My job was done in stages and I spread the wealth around. Davis Antenna installed my 1st dual fixed stack system and FX antenna was the contractor for my later 2nd UHF with rotor. Both companies did fine by me, but other folks on this list seem to bash Davis, and from what I read, rightfully so.
post #3430 of 8537
Did anyone else see that Comcast (Arlington) moved INHD2 to 175 and 172 in now full time CSN HD - or at least HD when applicable? I noticed this yesterday.
post #3431 of 8537
zebras23,
I observed the same thing here in Montgomery County. (Same channel numbers even!)
post #3432 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by mallu2u
Thats nice to hear. A prof installation costs around $300, right?
See this post
post #3433 of 8537
Thread Starter 
What do you mean by full time CSN-HD? Are they showing the SD programming on the HD channel when games are not in progress? I know that at first, they put a banner screen up on 172 when a HD game wasn't in progress and just carried the CSN audio.
post #3434 of 8537
Cyclone,
When not showing HD they show the SD signal stretched like ESPN HD does.

This is handy because then there are no annoying black bars. ;)
post #3435 of 8537
[quote]Originally posted by sasha_j
I can't recall a single complaint post from any homeowner using professional installation other than those picking the wrong installation firm.

There has been several recent posts (in the last 2/3 months) about homeowners not getting specific channels after a pro (fx antenna) has done the install......They are not the miracle workers some would have you believe......I believe digital tv is a passion for the majority of people on this thread and installing your own antenna just adds to the overall experience. It also makes fiscal sense and provides a knowledge base that can't be achieved by writing a check.
post #3436 of 8537
steeler,
All true in theory. In reality, I am scared to death of climbing a ladder!:p
post #3437 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by Chuck Mullen
steeler,
All true in theory. In reality, I am scared to death of climbing a ladder!:p
Chuck, in your case it is better to write a check than fall and break something....If a person is not comfortable on a ladder or on a roof an antenna install is something that should not be tried......
post #3438 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by steeler
I believe digital tv is a passion for the majority of people on this thread and installing your own antenna just adds to the overall experience.
Well, anyone here can attest to my passion for HD. I am a techie, no doubt, I build my own servers and HTPC's. My wife and I did all the CAT5, speaker, RGB and IR control prewire in our home as it was being built. I have built 2 racks of equipment and configured our network with DSL, hardwired connections and WIFI. Hell, I work in the pro AV business and love it. I can and indeed enjoy doing all of the above.

I just draw the line at antenna installation and leave that part of the system to the pros. Believe me when I say that I did not need DIY antenna installation to add to my HD experience. I just wanted the right RF signals flowing in my RJ6 and I can take it from there......


Quote:
Originally posted by steeler
I It also makes fiscal sense
Again, I'd say that within the context of what many folks spend on HD and home theater, a pro antenna install is peanuts for the value it gives the homeowner. And for those truly interested in "how it works", like I said, get a ladder and knock your self out. Figuratively speaking.
post #3439 of 8537
Sasha speaks the truth.

Do it yourself if you want, but be ready to spend some time getting it right.

My story is a little different. I researched and bought everything I needed for my roof mounted antenna. Most everything from Radio Shack. I tried the antenna in my attic and got so-so reception. I looked at my 45' high, 45 degree pitched roof (see my gallery) and started researching installers. Fairfax Antenna came out and used everything I bought to put my antenna up. He made some suggestions, including not bothering with a preamp. I felt like I was at the circus watching him walk right up my roof.

All together I spent about $100 on parts and $187 on labor.

Everything works great. Been like that for almost three years now. I just tweak the rotator everyonce in awhile when I hear about a new DT signal becoming available. Got it done right, but still got to have my hand in it.
post #3440 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by Belcherwm
I looked at my 45' high, 45 degree pitched roof... and started researching installers. I felt like I was at the circus watching (the installer) walk right up my roof.
Two words of caution to the adventuresome. One is that it is easier to walk up a steep roof than to walk down it, and the other is that as the temperature drops, the coefficient of friction between the bottoms of your shoes and most roofing materials drops also.

It is a good idea to bring a hank of rope or coax with you when you climb a steep roof. That way, if you discover that the friction that was more than adequate to enable your ascent is not sufficient to allow your safe descent, you can loop your rope or coax around the chimney or antenna mast and use it for support.
post #3441 of 8537
First of all it is not my intention to make this issue personal. It all comes down to preference and results. If a homeowner has the ability and will to install his own antenna and can receive a good signal, why in the world would he call a pro????? DIY is the American way, ota install is not rocket science, if you can get a good signal by putiing your antenna in your car, problem solved. If you can DIY more power to you!!!! On the other hand if a homeowner has a difficult install on his hands or just doesn't want to involve himself a pro is probably the way to go. Every situation is different and a pro is not the only or right answer in every case. I would venture a guess the majority of installs are DIY'ers with the majority not having any problems. If a person has had a positive experience with a pro install it only makes sense he would champion that particular way. I fall in the other category though, right or wrong this is my last word on the subject until the next person spouts off about the only way to go is pro...........
post #3442 of 8537
COX now offers CableCARD for $2.50/month. Great for those bought the TV with CableCARD support (like the 60" Panny LCD from Costco).
post #3443 of 8537
Well I for one never said the only way to go is pro...........

I just think that it makes sense for most folks into HD and home theater.
post #3444 of 8537
I just wanted to give my report on my antenna install by FA yesterday. First of all, I would like to say if you have an indoor antenna and have to get up more than once to adjust the antenna because of signal loss and you have $300 burning a hole in your pocket…call FA. It was sooo friggin awesome to be able to watch the hockey game, CSI, and ER last night without having to worry about my OTA signal!

Ok…now for the review of FA installation. Well they were running a little late yesterday, but I will say that my installer Dave did call me twice to keep my informed on when they were going to arrive at my house. I took the whole day off anyway, so it really didn’t matter in the long run, but it was nice to be kept up to date on the ETA. When Dave arrived he performed a mini site survey. I showed him where my sat dish was on the side of my house and where the lines went into the house through the foundation. I then took him into my basement to show him where the TV was. I only have one line running to my TV, so we took a look at where the lines came into the house which happened to be in an unfinished room and the storage area next to TV room to see how a second line could be run. I figured he would just diplex the existing line, but he suggested running a second line, which would help with signal strength and maybe avoid having to install an amp. Once we finished with the inside, he took the antenna (CM 4221) and a signal strength meter up onto the roof. He spent about 15 minutes or so walking the roof to find the best average signal for all the DC stations. As far as DIYers go, in my opinion, this is the benefit of a pro install.

Once he identified the best spot on the roof, he gave me a choice of mounts. I went with the single pole mount which looks like and extra long sat mast. He mounted the antenna and tacked the coax along the peak of the roof, then down the side of the roof tacking it just under the shingle line, then finally down under the siding to the existing coax line for my sat, and grounded the line to the existing ground. A very neat and clean job…

Next up was to run the second line in the house. While in the unfinished room, he took a long sturdy thick gage wire and fed it to me in the storage area, using the space next the air duct in the ceiling. He attached the coax to the wire and pulled it back into the unfinished room, then feed the coax to me through the existing hole in the foundation. He finished hooking up the lines outside and finished running the line in the storage area. He installed a face plate right next to my av cabinet and hooked my sat receiver up and we were in business!

I get all the major DC feeds: NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS, WB etc. The DC stations where all I was mainly interested in. The signal meter on the Hughes HTL-HD doesn’t have a number, but does have a scale with Bad, Normal and Good. With my SilverSensor I would get signal strength right around the “No” in Normal. With the CM 4221 on the roof I now get the following for the big 4: NBC – right at the “G” of Good, ABC and CBS – right at the “oo” in Good and FOX: - right at the “d” in Good…All very rock solid!

Overall I gave the installation 2 thumbs up. The one thing I would change if I had a chance would be that placement of the antenna. It was right at the peak of the roof, which makes it very visible from the front. The DC feeds are coming from behind my house, so I was hoping I could get away with the maybe only about half the antenna peaking up over the roof line. I think Dave placed it as high as he did, to make sure I would have the best possible signal strength and amp would not be needed, which as it turns out I didn’t. Believe it or not, the wife did not really have too much of an issue with it. The CM 4221 is really pretty small and unobtrusive and if I ever get enough courage and a long enough ladder I could spray paint the antenna and mast flat black like the exhaust pipes in the roof and you would never notice it….

Sorry so such a long post, but wanted to give anyone thinking about having this done the full experience. It was well worth the money!!!
post #3445 of 8537
Thanks for the post Gipper. It was very informative. So it costed you $300 inclduing hardware (Antenna, etc) and labor?
post #3446 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by mallu2u
Thanks for the post Gipper. It was very informative. So it costed you $300 inclduing hardware (Antenna, etc) and labor?
Mallu,

Check your PM...
post #3447 of 8537
[quote]Originally posted by Gipper
Once we finished with the inside, he took the antenna (CM 4221) and a signal strength meter up onto the roof.

Did he use a spectrum analyzer???????
post #3448 of 8537
[quote]Originally posted by steeler
Quote:
Originally posted by Gipper
Once we finished with the inside, he took the antenna (CM 4221) and a signal strength meter up onto the roof.

Did he use a spectrum analyzer???????
Steeler,

I am not exactly sure what it was. It was fairly large. He explained to me that what he is looking for is not necessarily the best signal strength for one station, but the best average signal strength for all the stations. This will help ensure you have a good signal strength across all the stations instead of on station have a great signal strength and the others only having an average signal strength...
post #3449 of 8537
Steeler: I have a post in your thread http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...79#post3883079 and hoping you reply back to it there. Posted it last evening. Could not PM you as you have that feature off.
Thanks!
post #3450 of 8537
Truthfully I don't know what one is either other than it is a instrument used to detect signal quality. I heard the term used before in other posts. A short story............I had Davis antenna out to my house one day before I went OTA, they hooked up an antenna to a box similiar to what you describe. They took some readings and told me to forget about any OTA reception, the signal was no good in my area. If I would have listened to them I would be home now twiddling my thumbs. Instead I did a little experimenting on my own and now watch DTV from every DC and Balt. station. Life is full of surprises...................
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