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Washington, DC / Baltimore, MD - HDTV - Page 205  

post #6121 of 8537
Quote:
The fact that anyone with passion for HDTV could complain about a $300 OTA install simply boggles my mind. How much do these folks have invested in their home theaters? How much do they spend on annual cable or DBS?
SO you begrudge people for being thrifty? Not everyone has a money tree growing in their back yard, does that mean they shouldn't have HDTV? I've got a very meager setup with a used inexpensive projector, older model HDTV receiver, very old DD receiver (no DTS, no S-Vid switching), thrifty IB sub built in the wall powered by an old 70's crown amp someone dug up in the basement. I still want HDTV, so I got my own antennas and installed them in my attic. It's really not hard to mount this stuff, and if you're a DIYer it's a no brainer. It's not expensive to get the "pros" to install, but I've read enough horror stories about the pros to want to do it myself. WHen I had my house built the company doing structured wiring looked at me like I had two heads when I said I wanted extra coax run to the attic for OTA HDTV.
post #6122 of 8537
Quote:
Matter of fact maybe I am the smartest guy on this thread because I find nothing and I mean absolutely nothing difficult about installing a OTA antenna from climbing a ladder to finding roof trusses to drilling holes to wiring... you name it. I think of myself as an average guy. Maybe I'm not. Maybe I am a SUPERMAN!!!!!!
I'd agree with that statement if you weren't a Steeler fan :D Nah, Seriously, I don't find this stuff difficult either, I've installed both my D* systems I've had in my house along with my OTA antenna amoung countless cable runs, phone lines, electrical circuits, etc over the years and have never found it difficult and I'm a computer programmer... Just takes patience and some common sense (and no fear of heights when your up on the roof) to do these things...
post #6123 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by Philip Hamm
SO you begrudge people for being thrifty? Not everyone has a money tree growing in their back yard, does that mean they shouldn't have HDTV? I still want HDTV, so I got my own antennas and installed them in my attic. It's really not hard to mount this stuff, and if you're a DIYer it's a no brainer. It's not expensive to get the "pros" to install, but I've read enough horror stories about the pros to want to do it myself.
Phil, very well said. I was beginning to think I was the the lone ranger on this subject. It's good to see someone else stand up and be counted. One other thing............I don't care how good the pro installer is if a homeowner is a competent / semi competent DIY'er. The pro will never show the interest, go the extra mile or do as good a job as the homeowner will do on his own project.
post #6124 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by mjones73
I'd agree with that statement if you weren't a Steeler fan :D Nah, Seriously, I don't find this stuff difficult either, I've installed both my D* systems I've had in my house along with my OTA antenna amoung countless cable runs, phone lines, electrical circuits, etc over the years and have never found it difficult and I'm a computer programmer... Just takes patience and some common sense (and no fear of heights when your up on the roof) to do these things...
MJ, Ditto your satellite dishes. I have also installed several for myself and one for a friend with no problems. Also had to finish the job of a "PRO" on my current dish. Good to hear of your positive experiences.............BTW I can get you Cowher's autograph!!!!
post #6125 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by steeler
MJ, Ditto your satellite dishes. I have also installed several for myself and one for a friend with no problems. Also had to finish the job of a "PRO" on my current dish. Good to hear of your positive experiences.............BTW I can get you Cowher's autograph!!!!
I don't think that would go over well in my household, can you get him to lose a game or two so my team can make up that 2 game deficit... :) I'm wishing we didn't knock Maddox out of that game now.. Anyway the Steelers are looking real good this year, f they keep it up they should have the Super Bowl won with no problems, there's no team in the NFC that could beat them right now I think...
post #6126 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by mjones73
Anyway the Steelers are looking real good this year, f they keep it up they should have the Super Bowl won with no problems, there's no team in the NFC that could beat them right now I think...
MJ, I like the way you think but it's way too early in the season to talk Super Bowl.
post #6127 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by Philip Hamm
SO you begrudge people for being thrifty?
No, I certainly don't. I myself am always looking for the best bang for my HD (and other) buck. How many other folks on this list are OTA-only like me and have no monthly cable or dish bill for instance?

Most of my projects and plans are indeed, DIY. My wife, who accuses me of being tight with a dollar, helped me to completely pre-wire our home and we did all our structured wiring prior to drywall. I am a major stickler for clean, well dressed wiring and did all the terminations and wall plates myself. We keep our cars for 200,000 or more miles, we shop in bulk and do vacuum packing, and do all sorts of things to save money or not spend it needlessly.

My point however, has nothing to do with being thrifty. In my mind, it is more about common sense. Sure, $300 dollars is a lot of money, but it is relative to everything else, a point that many folks here just don't seem to get. For instance, if you fall off the roof, that $300 is just going to be the beginning of your problem-laden existence.

It is my contention that when compared to both the capital acquisition costs for HD gear and to ongoing programming costs, the cost of a pro OTA is negligible and well worth the money spent, many, many times over. If you are serious about good HD, getting a clean signal(s) and getting the most reception options and don't have the construction background, this is really the ONLY option. I mean there is no amount of money you could pay me to walk my own 40' high, 45 degree roof, none.

This of course does not consider things like attic mounting if you live in an area where that is an option. (it is not for me) Nor does it consider folks like yourself and Steeler who have what it takes to do the job and I salute you for it. I always said that if you want to DIY, go for it. My point was that many, not all, of the DIY's on this list never seem to be finished, they always seem to be lacking in one thing or another or having some reception issues. My rigs were installed in one day and have been rock-solid ever since. They survived Aggie in spades.

I however hired the best in the business to rig my 3 antennas for me and I for one have no issues with my manhood being threatened by hiring a professional contractor to do what I simply won't.

And for Phil, who got a great installer for his *E system, that's great. My point was that <generally speaking>, dish installers don't have the level of OTA expertise as the correctly selected general antenna contractor, a point I feel is valid. Certainly some do, but I myself wouldn't take chances on that. When it comes to drilling into my roof and antenna placement, I hire only the best and I feel my decision has been validated many times over by trouble-free HD and DTV access to every available signal in the Wash/Balt/Annapolis/Front Royal (and more) area. When OTA is your only option like it is for me, you do it right the first time and never look back. No excuses, no regrets.
post #6128 of 8537
I am trying to get high speed Internet service at my house. My only reasonable option is (grumble, grumble ) CABLE. DSL is not available, Directway too expensive. I have called Aldephia my local cable provider four times this week. I talked to a CSR each time and they informed me that a site survey is needed before an install can progress.......fine. They said in every call that someone would call back either that day or the next to schedule. I have a few nuances in my house that I wish to discuss with the installer. Well it's the end of the week and no call back yet. So I called back today and asked for a local number to talk to the local office. I was told that number can not be given out to the general public and the only office I can deal with is the national office who I have been calling all week. They have no record of me calling, my house is not in their system and I can't call the home office. They have effectively insulted themselves from me a perspective new customer. I am completely in the dark. Great customer service is one of many reasons why I left cable for D*about 8 years. I guess things have not changed in that time. This is a Internet install but it could easily be a cable install. I usually don't use this word often but this is why I HATE cable companies.
post #6129 of 8537
I am not a big reality show fan, but this one was really good IMO. Last night we watched my recorded copy of the 2 hour premier and we were VERY impressed.

As hefe wrote:

"Looks like he took The Apprentice, The Amazing Race, and Fear Factor, and smooshed it all together...

I actually found it pretty compelling. These stunts are pretty outrageous. And looks great in HD."

I would agree.

Full on 720P, 5.1 DD, looks and sounds FANTASTIC. Amazing aerial sequences and really lit up my sub and surrounds. The FOX logo bug is also now much less objectionable and better placed

Great job FOX and WTTG-DT!
post #6130 of 8537
Adephia is truely a pox upon the land. Don't count on them to do anything right.

All I can tell you is to get together with like-minded neighbors. Prior to DSL being available in our neighborhood, my neighbors and I put together a WIFI coop. One guy had a T-1 go to his house and we all shared the bandwidth with flat panel WIFI antennas. $50 bucks a month with 12 folks participating covered all the costs.

This worked well for 2 years. Once DSL came in at $35 a month, we pulled the plug on the coop. It served us well though during the broadband drought years.
post #6131 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by steeler
Phil, very well said. I was beginning to think I was the the lone ranger on this subject. It's good to see someone else stand up and be counted. One other thing............I don't care how good the pro installer is if a homeowner is a competent / semi competent DIY'er the pro will never show the interest, go the extra mile or do as good a job as the homeowner will do on his own project.
How can I not chime in as well! I am in the same league as steeler and learned a lot from him on DIY Antenna! Currently doing fine with Attic Antenna but have plans to install the antenna on roof sometime later. Personally I liked the experience and the savings from DIY. However I am also also open to idea of installers if the circumstances are in the favor of that- less time, having the money, difficulty in getting to roof, fear, etc. Everyone has the right to make their own decisions. This forum is about helping, whether its DIY or installer recommendations.
post #6132 of 8537
I'm an Eagles fan so you Steelers fans are starting to piss me off. ;)
Quote:
I mean there is no amount of money you could pay me to walk my own 40' high, 45 degree roof, none.
Same here. I draw the line at going out on the roof.
Quote:
My point was that many, not all, of the DIY's on this list never seem to be finished, they always seem to be lacking in one thing or another or having some reception issues.
Point taken, and I agree. It's tough to decide when to hire a pro and when to do it yourself. As I say above, if my installation required an outside antenna I absolutely would have hired someone (hopefully the same guy who installed my E* dishes). Ethical antenna/dish installation contractors treat every house as if it was their own.
post #6133 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by sasha_j
Prior to DSL being available in our neighborhood, my neighbors and I put together a WIFI coop. One guy had a T-1 go to his house and we all shared the bandwidth with flat panel WIFI antennas. $50 bucks a month with 12 folks participating covered all the costs.
What a terrific idea!
post #6134 of 8537
Up until recently, Cascades had 5 or 6 such coops. DSL and Cable IP were not available until last year or so.

DSL works great for us. The cable IP access folks are always complaining in our local forums that their service is slow or down altogether....
post #6135 of 8537
This is kind of off topic, but it is a local question. I recently moved to the DC area (Mont. County) from Baltimore, and I'm wondering why down here there are some weeks where the local stations (WTTG, WUSA) only show 2 NFL games on Sunday afternoon instead of 3. This never happened on the Baltimore stations, but this Sunday it is the case, the same as two Sundays ago. Is it something to do with the Ravens playing away while the Redskins are home? I don't understand why all of MD & DC doesn't get every Ravens and Redskins game on TV. This will be the second Ravens game on CBS HD that I'll miss.
post #6136 of 8537
sasha: A friend of mine was also part of one of such coops. was a great idea. I even toyed with the idea of doing that in my neighborhood but did not have much experience in that area and therefore shyed back. Luckily within a month verizon came to my home and now I have broadband under $30. cant go wrong with that!
steeler: perhaps you guys can do the same. works great.
post #6137 of 8537
I spent thousands of dollars on my HD/HTPC setup, therefore I was loathe to spend any more just to put up an antenna. But after getting tired of dropouts and constant "tweaks" to the antenna, I decided it was time to call a professional. In retrospect, the $300 I spent with FA is probably one of the best purchases I made through the whole process. I literally have not worried about my antenna one bit since having them out.

Honestly, IMHO, unless you have significant experience with these types of things, it's a no-brainer. I like to DIY on many things, but I've realized this isn't one I wanted to persevere through. I got the HD setup to enjoy TV, not to spend time futzing with the antenna. Thankfully, I've reached that point.
post #6138 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by mallu2u

steeler: perhaps you guys can do the same. works great.
Good general idea, bad idea for me though. My house sits in the middle of several acres in Hamilton so I don't have many close neighbors. Any other ideas? I really really really don't want to go to with cable.
post #6139 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by GreyGhost00
I got the HD setup to enjoy TV, not to spend time futzing with the antenna. Thankfully, I've reached that point.
EXACTLY!!
post #6140 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by steeler
I am trying to get high speed Internet service at my house. My only reasonable option is (grumble, grumble ) CABLE. DSL is not available, Directway too expensive.
I'm in the same boat, Steeler. I didn't want to have anything to do with Adelphia, but it's the ONLY high-speed option available to me. FWIW, their pricing is too steep, but out here in the sticks, the service has actually been pretty decent so far [knock wood]. Very unlike the horror stories I hear from the Eastern half of the county.
post #6141 of 8537
If I am not mistaken, Sunday will mark the Redskins first (and only) SD game of the season. Hard to imagine CBS missing the boat on this compelling Bengals-Redskins matchup.:rolleyes:
post #6142 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by sasha_j
I however hired the best in the business to rig my 3 antennas for me.
I don't recall performing that installation.

Quote:
...and I for one have no issues with my manhood being threatened by hiring a professional contractor to do what I simply won't.
Any guy named Sasha who posts under that name obviously is not concerned about superficial aspersions that may be cast upon his manhood. Didn't Johnny Cash sing a song about you?:D

Getting back to steeler's one-note song, anyone who has a mechanical background can securely mount an antenna. But steeler, with his limited antenna installation experience, does not understand that he was luckier than hundreds of other members posting in this forum who had multipath problems.

My business is about 98% commercial, 2% residential. I do one or two residential antenna installations a month, mostly to just keep my finger in the business and to familiarize myself with different models of tuner. My most recent residential installation was on a townhouse in Bethesda that was suffering from rear reflections off a highrise, tree trunks, and different openings between other townhouses. I hooked up a spectrum analyzer to an antenna, set it up to display the entire local UHF DTV bandwidth (about 548 Mz to 730Mz), and then walked around the roof until I found the regions where the spectrum plateaus were flattest. And yet, one of those regions outperformed the others, as evaluated by the DTV signal quality meter numerical levels and stability, because it was less degraded by the rear reflections. There isn't a chance in a million that a diligent self-installer could have located the sweet spot as reliably as I did.

A month earlier, I did an attic installation with a Channelmaster 8-bay bowtie. It was about twenty-five miles from the tower cluster. For some reason, I had one heck of a time finding a "flat" channel 5 (36) signal, even though the absolute voltage level of that signal was slightly greater that that of channels 34 and 39. I had to camber the antenna about ten degrees to optimize the channel 5(36) signal quality. An amateur installer would never have found the best spot in that attic.

If someone is in wide open spaces and has even minimal mechanical aptitude, then he can install an antenna and save himself a hundred and fifty dollars, minus the value of his time. But if he does not get the signal lock stability that he demands, then he will wind up paying a total that is more than the local professional installers would have initially charged, and there is no telling how many hours or dozens of hours he will spend before he finally realizes that no amount of experimenting is going to get him the results he requires.
post #6143 of 8537
I respect your diligence. I doubt that most antenna installers perform as well. Look around. What percent of antennas are just strapped to a chimney or are gable mounted?

I put up my own antenna, because I am in Burke, less than 15 miles from most towers. I use the StealthTenna and no rotator. I roughly aimed it. I get all the channels I expected, and some from Baltimore, to boot. This is because I am in a signal rich area. Elsewhere, I'd love to find a genuinely professional installer and pay for the expertise.
post #6144 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by AntAltMike
Any guy named Sasha who posts under that name obviously is not concerned about superficial aspersions that may be cast upon his manhood. Didn't Johnny Cash sing a song about you?:D
:o

i use my real name as a screen name.
post #6145 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by billodom
NBC-E Feed on D*

To muddy the waters a bit more on the WNBC feed on D*, here are the results from my location:
ABC WJLA 7 Grade A (strong signal)
WMAR 2 Grade B (moderate signal)
CBS WUSA 9 Grade A (strong signal)
NBC WBAL 11 Grade B (moderate signal)
WRC 4 Grade A (strong signal)
FOX WTTG 5 Grade A (strong signal)

Based on these results, it appears I would need a waiver from WBAL. Not so. I have received WNBC since it was launched a few weeks back. It just popped up automatically. I do have the HD and local channels packages.
So how did you manage to get the NBC-E HD feed even though you live in Annandale and get a Grade B signal from WBAL? What's the trick? I live in Burke which is even a little further away from Baltimore, but I can't get a waiver. How did you get WNBC without a waiver from WBAL?

Fortunately I was able to get a waiver from the Baltimore Fox station, so D* tells me that I will start receiving the Fox HD feed as soon as it goes online on the dish (channel 88). They couldn't tell me when that would happen. They said it could be tonight, or it could be the end of the year.
post #6146 of 8537
Just wanted to chime in with my D* install experience. it was a "free" install subcontracted to a local installer (from circuit city) who sub contracted again to a freelance installer.

- he didn't seal the hole he drilled into my attic for the cable run so it leaked every time it rained. luckily replaced under warranty of the 1st subcontractor.
- i don't think he actually grounded my dish, or if he did, did it incorrectly. i discovered a nice ground loop when i bought my A51 amp.
- it was a 2room setup, so he wanted an extra $75 to run two extra cables from the dish into my attic (a total of 5 feet). He didn't even connect them to anything.
- he tried really really hard to upsell me a sat antenna for OTA. I declined.
- my dish ended up having a bad multiplexer (luckily also replaced under warranty) but when he came back to replace, he told me that i just couldn't get the C satellite from my location (even though A and B were fine, and C is between them). I had to argue with him to replace it. I think i actually said "Humor me". Surprise, surprise, replacing the dish fixed it.
- when we were done he pushed hard to get me to use his wife's housecleaning service. "No" didn't seem to be clear enough.

So you could say that I had some issues....but there was NO WAY I was going up on my roof to do this myself. For those of you brave enough to do it, be my guest. I myself don't have the stones.

For those interested, avoid Piero Conejo. If he shows up at your house to install anything, make up some excuse and get another installer.
-Mike
post #6147 of 8537
I think the above tale tells the story just about right.

I would never under any circumstances use a "free" installer.

If, one day far, far, into the future, I actually decide to get a DBS service, I will decline their "free" installation offer and pay full freight, whatever the cost, to an installer I trust.

A "free" installation will invariably cost you more than going with the right "paid" installer the first time.
post #6148 of 8537
Don't regular antenna companies do "free installs"? I'm assuming the install is not free and D* is reimbursing the company.
I had a Antenna company come out and give me an estimate for on OTA Attic antenna; D* install on roof, HD Receiver, D*Tivo and one other receiver all for $550. Is this considered a "free install". The guy said he would have no exposed wires and would run everything under soffit or behind siding. He even did a test from the attic and all locals (under 20mi - Baltimore) were coming in at a signal strength in the 60's. Picture looked great.


My roof is too steep & high, and my a* too big for me to get on the roof; so a self install in not an option.

I have Adelphia which I concur is the worst cable company known to man and I am sick of only having three HD channels and will be switching next week based on feedback from this site.

Also should I buy the Samsung HD receiver which I've heard is great or go with what they have in stock?


Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
post #6149 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by DWPerrone
...He even did a test from the attic and all locals (under 20mi - Baltimore) were coming in at a signal strength in the 60's. Picture looked great.
If you put it (a quality UHF antenna) outside instead of in the attic, you will also get all of the Washington channels as well. Eldersburg is a great location for getting strong digital signals from both cities.
post #6150 of 8537
Quote:
Originally posted by AntAltMike
I don't recall performing that installation.


Getting back to steeler's one-note song, anyone who has a mechanical background can securely mount an antenna. But steeler, with his limited antenna installation experience, does not understand that he was luckier than hundreds of other members posting in this forum who had multipath problems.

My business is about 98% commercial, 2% residential. I do one or two residential antenna installations a month, mostly to just keep my finger in the business and to familiarize myself with different models of tuner. My most recent residential installation was on a townhouse in Bethesda that was suffering from rear reflections off a highrise, tree trunks, and different openings between other townhouses. I hooked up a spectrum analyzer to an antenna, set it up to display the entire local UHF DTV bandwidth (about 548 Mz to 730Mz), and then walked around the roof until I found the regions where the spectrum plateaus were flattest. And yet, one of those regions outperformed the others, as evaluated by the DTV signal quality meter numerical levels and stability, because it was less degraded by the rear reflections. There isn't a chance in a million that a diligent self-installer could have located the sweet spot as reliably as I did.

A month earlier, I did an attic installation with a Channelmaster 8-bay bowtie. It was about twenty-five miles from the tower cluster. For some reason, I had one heck of a time finding a "flat" channel 5 (36) signal, even though the absolute voltage level of that signal was slightly greater that that of channels 34 and 39. I had to camber the antenna about ten degrees to optimize the channel 5(36) signal quality. An amateur installer would never have found the best spot in that attic.

If someone is in wide open spaces and has even minimal mechanical aptitude, then he can install an antenna and save himself a hundred and fifty dollars, minus the value of his time. But if he does not get the signal lock stability that he demands, then he will wind up paying a total that is more than the local professional installers would have initially charged, and there is no telling how many hours or dozens of hours he will spend before he finally realizes that no amount of experimenting is going to get him the results he requires.
I am beginning to tire of this subject but since some of you won't let it rest I feel I must respond one last time. I don't appreciate being talked down to as if I were a no nothing homeowner. Holier than thou antenna installers don't impress me. IMHO the job of installing a OTA antenna is not that difficult. The above post characterizes me as "a person with limited antenna experience" well that is very true but I overcame all of the dreaded lack of experience problems to achieve superior results. How can that be? Maybe my hands were touched by god or maybe I was just lucky installing my system but I don't think so. I live in Hamilton a dead zone for OTA reception according to antennaweb. My zip is 20158 look it up for yourself. I mounted my antenna, a pre amp, cabled and connected my system by myself. Antennaweb says I should not be able to get any digital reception but the fact is I receive every major Baltimore and DC station. Now that's that's pretty darn lucky. Am I any different than the legions of people out there with self install antenna's.....no. By the way my cost saving was more like $350.00 not $150.00. What could a pro do for me that I couldn't do myself??? Wait, I'll answer that question for you. NOTHING!! Again maybe I was just lucky. Cited were hundreds of people with multi-path problems needing a pro install. Probably in these cases it was warranted but how about the thousands and thousands and thousands of OTA installs around the country that were installed by no nothing homeowners? Oh that's right they were just lucky. I would venture a guess the majority of OTA installs are not done by a pro but by lucky homeowners like me, matter of fact I would say the vast majority. Lucky bastards aren't we. If I had multi-path problems and exhausted all of my possibilities then I would seek out a pro to use a SA. Then I would send him on his merry way so I could finished the job to MY standards. I can inflate my importance also! Pro installers do have their place serving people who for one reason or another won't, can't or who experience insurmountable reception problems. I will grant you that. But for the rest of us (the vast majority) the only advantage a pro provides is a high priced SA. Obviously that must not be that big of a difference since as I stated above most installs are done by homeowners who get by just fine using their STB signal meters. To trivialize the work of these people and characterize it as being lucky is just plain arrogant or ignorant. You pick the adjective. ......... End of song.
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