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post #31 of 1737
Hi,
Any one still monitoring this thread?
I was wondering if anyone in Sarasota had personal experience with Comcast HD and Satellite HD. A guy told me that Comcast's PQ in this area is poor compared to either Dish or DirecTV's HD. He said that comcast wasn't dedicating enough bandwith to their channels.

Was this guy just blowing smoke or is he correct? I can't stand comcast but I also don't wan't to pay for a receiver if comcast will give me one just for my business.

Any help would be appreciated, Thanks.
GeoffQ
post #32 of 1737
Thread Starter 
Guess there are still a few of us Sarasotan's still kicking.
Only feedback on Comcast I can give you is hearsay. That being said, Comcast doesn't have a very good reputation from those I have spoken to who have tried their HD. But then, Comcast as a company hasn't been very progressive anyway. Cable obviously has the advantage of bandwidth and consistency of signal. But the company needs to have a vision of what we want.
For my purposes, D* has been more than satisfactory. Occasional rainouts, but a great choice of channels. OTA where I am, just North of University Pkwy. is no problem. I have a exterior antenna and get all Tampa and Ft. Myers/Naples channels clearly.
Echostar is not my bag of tea.

Hope this helps muddy the water!

Ken
post #33 of 1737
Hi Ken,

I'm also glad you started this thread. (Please pardon some slightly off topic comments, before I return to the subject.)

My wife and I have been living in Sarasota for a few months in a rental home near Siesta Key while waiting for our new home to be built. It was completed a few weeks ago and is located over in Secluded Oaks off of Clark Road about 2 miles East of I-75. Unfortunately, the move proved to be a nightmare. We've moved from the Washington, DC area where we had our stuff in storage. When our possessions were delivered it turned out the moving company misplaced an entire storage crate with a lot of my home theater gear, including my DIRECTV receivers. Then they couldn't get my 60 HDTV upstairs to the second floor.

Fortunately, it turned out the guy (Louis Carliner) that calibrated my TV when I lived in the DC area lives not too far from Sarasota. So I hired him to be available when the movers showed up with the rest of our stuff. Louis was able to partially dismantle the TV to permit the movers to negotiate the hallways and stairs. Then he set to work doing his magic in recalibrating the HDTV. (If any one has a rear projection HDTV, you can't find a better calibrationist than Louis.)

Which brings me back to the subject at hand.
Originally I was planning on going with Comcast. However, I needed some answers from their Customer/Technical support concerning connection compatibility with my HDTV. After speaking with them via email I realized that most of them were clueless. So I decided to continue with DIRECTV. To help with the decision I later found out that RCA will finally be releasing their HD TiVo receiver. They are scheduled to install my triple LNB dish this week and its just in time since I've started to feel the ill-effects of high definition withdrawal symptoms.

After I located my DIRECTV HD receiver I was able to temporarily connect a Terk TV55 indoor/outdoor antenna to it. With the business of moving in I've only had a very short time to experiment with reception, but I was pleasantly surprised to be able to pull in a number of channels.

For my permanent over the air antenna I plan on either placing it in the second floor attic, or if its not too ugly mounting it off the satellite mounting. I'm leaning toward the Winegard Sensor II with amplifier. Its supposed to be suitable for a range of 10 - 55 miles. According to the AntennaWeb I'm located between 19 and 52 miles from the digital transmiters. Any one have any comments or suggestions?

Thanks.

Larry
post #34 of 1737
Nice to have local group.
My equipment:
HDTV Samsung HLM507W DLP with SRT165 tuner
HDTV Samsung 30" CRT with SRT151 tuner
CM4228 8bay bowtie rooftop antenna with rotator
CM7777 distribution amp
Have no problem pulling all Tampa, Hudson, Ft Myers stations
post #35 of 1737
Hi Ken,
Thanks for the reply. I guess there is a few of us that live here. I just got a Winegard Sensor installed on a 30' pole and started receiving all the digital channels that TitanTV says are available OTA. WOW!! was only getting ABC and NBC with my Terk55. WOW!

Back to my original question. The reason I am asking about comcast PQ is that they will give you an HD receiver but you have to pay either $400 and change for the Dish 811 or $900 and change for the 9xx version. I have been a Dish customer for three years and it pisses me off that I have to shell out for a receiver that I know they will make money on me with. Whereas comcast will just give me one. The other thing is that I have to decide on which 2 services I want and the NFL package is a must so one of them has to be DirecTV but I love my Dish PVR and DirecTV's tivo just doesn't cut it. Any way I want to receive the nonbroadcast HD channels and am not sure which provider to go with. So if anyone has any first hand experience with Comcast HD PQ and a satelite provider's HD PQ please chime in.
Thanks,
GeoffQ
post #36 of 1737
Hello all,

I live just outside the Parrish area in one of the new developments there.
My Equipment consists of:

Mitsubishi 46807 HDTV
Sony ES DA80ES Receiver
Sony DVP-7000S DVD Player
Bright House Networks Pace STB
Polk Audio LS70 Front R + L
Polk Audio CS350LS Center
Polk In Ceiling Speakers for Surround
Velodyne DD-12 Sub
Bell'ogetti furniture

by the way , if anybody is interested, I am going to sell my Bell'ogetti furniture. A picture of my HT is enclosed.

jeff
LL
post #37 of 1737
I guess we are supposed to post our equipment I got all caught up in delight with all the digital channels that popped up with my antenna install I forgot etiquette.

26in Samsung CRT HDTV
MyHD MDP100
Shuttle NF2 XPC
So far just starting with a old HT setup with a JVC receiver and Cambridge Soundworks speaker system. Will be purchasing a Denon 3803 and some nice speakers to go with it soon.
Also a Samy 60" DLP coming soon.

GeoffQ
post #38 of 1737
Thread Starter 
Be sure and let us know when you get the Sammy DLP and how it functions, set up, etc.

Here's a link to a service that I subscribe to:

http://www.ilovehdtv.com/

I receive daily, via e-mail, a listing of what is on in HDTV and also summaries of what is happening in the HD world. Dale Cripps is the producer of the web site and has been around HD since the start. There is a charge for the service, but minimal and well worth it. It will be interesting to see what he comes back from the CES with.

Also for calibration junkies, HDNet has the following:

12:00PM ET/11:00 C
HDNet Test Patterns

Wonder how your home theatre is doing? Wish you had test patterns to help set it up? Well, HDNet is here to help. This short program will help you get the most out of your home theatre setup by providing you with the same professional test patterns HDNet uses to set their gear.

Happy HD'ing,

Ken
post #39 of 1737
I'm a subscriber to Comast HD in Sarasota. I was browsing the channels today and I came across channel 690, which has "DVR" as the channel name but no decription as well as no video or audio content. Anyone know what the plan is for this channel? I'm hoping its one of their help/info chans like the "How to use the on screen guide" for the upcoming DVR unit. If this is what it is intending for this is awesome news. I've been waiting for the DVR to get to our area and the ability to archive HD content. If you have any info on this please post!
post #40 of 1737
I only subscribe to Comcast basic, so don't get any of the channels starting at 100, however I did inquire with them about what their DVR plans were, and I was told that they were planning to offer the Scientific Atlantic 8000HD unit, which is a DVR, multi tuner set. They told me their ETA is end of March.

That's all I can share.
post #41 of 1737
Hi,

Well, the Superbowl is just a few hours away and it looks like I'll be forced to view it just in standard definition instead of high definition.

What is super-frustrating is that DIRECTV just started to broadcast CBS high definition for LA and NY, BUT apparently we DIRECTV customers in Sarasota are not eligible to get those feeds.

Local Tampa affiliate WTSP-DT (Channel 10.1)has its digital antennas located in Holiday, Florida almost 80 miles away from me. What is frustrating is that DIRECTV's eligibility web page states that I should be getting moderate reception, but that's obviously based on the location of their standard definition antennas which are located at roughly half that distance in St. Petersburg.

When I finally got through to a Customer Service Rep at DIRECTV she told me that she would need to get a waiver from both CBS affiliates WTSP (Tampa) and WINK (Ft. Meyer) in order to let me get the NY HD feed. I explained to her that WINK wasn't even broadcasting in high definition yet, so what would be their basis of denying the waiver?

I'm not sure, but paradoxically it looks like eligibility for the CBS HD feed is based on standard definition reception. DUH!!

Larry
post #42 of 1737
I made two separate phone calls to DirecTv and got the same response that you did. Apparently some people in our area have been able to get the CSRs to "flip the switch" and turn on CBS NY, but that is obviously an error on DirecTv's part.

I'll be watching with my OTA antenna, hoping that the signal holds up for the game.
post #43 of 1737
Thread Starter 
The following is excerpted from a post by Dale Cripps of HDTV Magazine, in reference to an article yesterday about requesting a waiver and some people getting around it by cheating:

(Quote):

Dale- I appreciate your editorial on the CBS Waiver issue for the Super Bowl.

You must realize that what you have suggested is not at all in compliance with the FCC regulations regarding waiver process.

When these things are granted a special specific procedure must be followed. In addition, assuming the waver is granted by local station management it is never granted for one TV program, no matter how important that program may be to one person.

The waiver once granted is issued permanently for life until it is challenged by the station granting it for revocation.

In addition, there are several holes in the waiver process that may be exploited completely legal and totally in line with the law. To suggest that all who have waivers and can also receive local signals are in some sort of violation is akin to libel.

The first thing you have to realize is that the waiver process is granted by the station entirely on a voluntary basis. It does not have to be as a result of signals or testing. It can be granted just for the asking. So it goes, some people get with sugar better than others who try to get with crap. I got my waiver just for the asking and I live 4 miles from the tower! Did I break the law? In fact I was turned down the first time I asked but 60 days later the station called me with a change of heart. No action on my part, just that they changed their minds.

If the waiver is denied, you do have the right of challenge. In this case you must conduct signal tests under specification in the waiver challenge procedure and pay for those tests. If you meet the needs for the waiver based on test results the station's denial will be over ruled by FCC arbitration.

I also believe that if a station can prove adequate signals at your location they can overturn a previously granted waiver but the reversal of a waiver is a far more difficult procedure and must be done on an individual basis. Because of this, the rule is one of good business since that if the waiver is granted it is not worth one viewer to challenge and pay the cost of reversal. Therefore we consider the waiver permanent for life. Again there is no provision for temporary waivers for special TV shows, not even the Super Bowl. Once granted it is too costly to revoke.

While I appreciate all the emotion in your editorial, it, unfortunately is too little, too late, and doesn't even match with the FCC waiver process. No professional in the broadcast business will do anything in the next 24 hours, on a weekend, that would compromise a hold they have on your viewing. It is unlikely that on the weekend no one at Dish or DirecTV is in place to process the faxed waivers in the 11th hour. Even my waiver which was faxed took 3 days for it to have final approval from the DBS employee who processes the paperwork. I got confirmation of receipt of my waiver at Dish Network and was told to call back in a week for activation. Of course I could be quite wrong and as a result of your mass mailing receive thousands of waivers via Fax in the next several hours and have to call in the OT to get people their Super Bowl and then CBS for life! I wouldn't hold my breath, though. Everyone is too busy with the routine.

Don Landis

Licensed Consulting Broadcast Engr________________________________.

(End Quote):

Ken
post #44 of 1737
Hi Ron,

Thanks for the response. The Holiday transmitters are so far away from my location that AntennaWeb doesn't even list WTSP-DT as a local digital station for my address. As a result it wasn't until today, that I discovered WTSP is considered a local CBS affiliate for Sarasota. In an earlier posting I commented:

Quote:
For my permanent over the air antenna I plan on either placing it in the second floor attic, or if its not too ugly mounting it off the satellite mounting. I'm leaning toward the Winegard Sensor II with amplifier. Its supposed to be suitable for a range of 10 - 55 miles. According to the AntennaWeb I'm located between 19 and 52 miles from the digital transmitters. Any one have any comments or suggestions?

At the time I thought the most distant digital transmitter was 52 miles away. I didn't realize that the Holiday transmitter is almost 80 miles away. I guess I'm going to have to reassess my approach.

Your Blonger-Tongue antenna may turn out to be my only choice, but while not the ugliest antenna I've ever seen, it still won't win any beauty contests. I also have other concerns. I really don't want to mount a collection of antennas outside. A dish for satellite, a Blonder-Tongue for CBS and an third antenna for all the other stations.

In addition, regardless of whatever approach I take to receiving OTA stations, I might not be able to conveniently route those OTA signals to other HD receivers in the house. My last HD dish had a multiswitch mounted on the back. This switch had an input for the OTA antenna and it integrated the OTA signal with all four satellite outputs. However, the new triple LNB dishes have the multiswitch as an integral part of the triple LNB assembly and this assembly does not have a input for an OTA antenna. Consequently, I am forced to either use diplexers to get the signal to other HD receivers, or run dedicated runs of coax to each receiver.

If I were to mount an OTA antenna outside, I'd be attaching it to the dish mast. That would put the antenna at about 30 feet. Do you have any words of wisdom? Thanks.

Larry
post #45 of 1737
I live in the Tampa Bay area and have a few OTA questions. I am a newbie at this so please bear with me.

First of all here are the channels I am trying to receive with their respective coordinates/distances from Antennaweb.org:

Code:
Call Sign   Network   Channel   Orientation   Distance (miles)
---------   --------  -------   -----------   ----------------
WFLA-DT       NBC         7         177°         23.4
WTVT-DT       FOX        12         174°         25.2
WTSP-DT       CBS        24         275°         27.3
WFTS-DT       ABC        29         177°         23.4
WXPX-DT       PAX        42         177°         25.0
WEDU-DT       PBS        54         177°         23.1
WTTA-DT       WB         57         177°         23.4
WTOG-DT       UPN        59         177°         23.1
  1. If I were to install an external omnidirectional antenna (such as the CM SmarTENNA or the Winegard MS-2000) will I be able to get good signal strength for these?
  2. Has anyone used these two antennas and what has been their experience? Good/Bad/Indifferent?
  3. If possible, I want to avoid installing an exterior antenna (WAF), instead I would like to do an attic installation. Given that one of these channels (CBS) is on a different heading than all the others, I assume I will have to use two antennas and a join-tenna?
  4. Since my attic space is rather limited, is there a problem of having more than one antenna in close proximity to each other?
  5. And the obvious question, what anntenna(s) would you recommend for an attic installation?
Thanks in advance for any advice.
post #46 of 1737
Quote:
Originally posted by Mikey_C

[1]If I were to install an external omnidirectional antenna (such as the CM SmarTENNA or the Winegard MS-2000) will I be able to get good signal strength for these?

[2]Has anyone used these two antennas and what has been their experience? Good/Bad/Indifferent?

[3]If possible, I want to avoid installing an exterior antenna (WAF), instead I would like to do an attic installation. Given that one of these channels (CBS) is on a different heading than all the others, I assume I will have to use two antennas and a join-tenna?

[4]Since my attic space is rather limited, is there a problem of having more than one antenna in close proximity to each other?

[5]And the obvious question, what anntenna(s) would you recommend for an attic installation?

1. Omnidirectional antennas are usually poor choices for digital reception for two reasons. First, they are heavily biased for VHF reception, and most digitals are UHF. Second, they have zero resistance to multipath, since they are *designed* to receive signals from all directions. At 20-25 miles, and especially in an attic, you should expect multipath to be a problem.

2. Searching on this forum will yield a large number of results detailing experience with these antennas. Generally, though, response has been poor.

3. If you use two directional antennas, yes, a Join-tenna is recommended. It looks like you have plenty of space between channels for one to work well.

4. Your antennas should be no closer than 2 wavelengths apart. For UHF, this works out to about 3'. For low-VHF, you're looking at about 15 feet minimum.

5. Even with two "high-VHF" stations, I'd recommend a pair of Channel Master 3021s (4-bay bowties.) These fit into tight spaces, should give you great UHF performance and adequate VHF performance, unless you're physically blocked by massive hills (in Florida!?!) or buildings. Combine them with a channel-24 Jointenna and you should be good to go.
post #47 of 1737
Quote:
Originally posted by sregener
5. Even with two "high-VHF" stations, I'd recommend a pair of Channel Master 3021s (4-bay bowties.) These fit into tight spaces, should give you great UHF performance and adequate VHF performance, unless you're physically blocked by massive hills (in Florida!?!) or buildings. Combine them with a channel-24 Jointenna and you should be good to go. [/b]

Thanks for your reply. I have a follow up question on your recommendation to use two UHF antennas. Couldn't I add a small VHF-only antenna (in addition to the UHF ones) to get the two VHF channels? Is there a problem with having a VHF antenna in close proximity to a UHF antenna? Thanks again.
post #48 of 1737
I think that I have a much easier solution to your issue: Rather than going with 2 UHF antennas, and hope that one will give you channel 7 and 12 (an unlikely proposition at your distance from the transmitters) buy an all-channel antenna, like a Channel Master Crossfire 3679 or a Wade-Delhi VU934SR with the VU8PZ power zoom, and aim that at the stations located at 174-177 degrees, and buy a UHF yagi-type antenna, like a Channel Master 3023 or a 4228, or a Winegard HD9085p, and aim that antenna at WTSP-DT at 275 degrees. Use a Channel Master Join-Tenna model 0585-1 to join the two antennas together. You may need a preamplifier, and if you do, consider a Winegard AP 8275, or a Channel Master Titan 7777. Problem solved, cheaply and permanently: no rotor needed, and the VHF-DT stations are properly dealt with!
post #49 of 1737
That was my original idea, but unfortunately the space in my attic is not big enough for one of the all-channel type antennas. (the CM 3679 is 10' long!). That's why I'm leaning towards using a joined pair of the CM 4228's for the UHF and maybe a Winegard YA-6713 for the VHF.
post #50 of 1737
Actually, that will work just fine, too! The only disadvantage here is dealing with 3 antennas instead of 2.
post #51 of 1737
Quote:
Originally posted by Mikey_C
Thanks for your reply. I have a follow up question on your recommendation to use two UHF antennas. Couldn't I add a small VHF-only antenna (in addition to the UHF ones) to get the two VHF channels? Is there a problem with having a VHF antenna in close proximity to a UHF antenna?

You could add a VHF antenna, but you would need to filter out the VHF frequencies from the two UHF antennas. You can do that with a Channel Master #0549.

You don't want the VHF antenna very close to the UHF ones. I'd say several feet, to be safe.

And contrary to the other poster's opinion, given Florida topography, I'd expect a VHF signal to reach 20 miles with ease using a UHF antenna. I received a Channel 8 analog station several years ago using a UHF indoor antenna with a perfectly adequate signal for getting a digital lock.

You might want to try the UHF antenna first, and then if it doesn't perform for the VHF stuff, get that after the fact. You should be able to use a set of rabbit ears to good effect for the VHF signals, provided, again, that you're not heavily blocked by buildings or hills.
post #52 of 1737
Isn't a simple coupler bought from RS going to suffice joining feeds from both antennas? Or are there any negatives in doing so?
post #53 of 1737
Quote:
Originally posted by mallu2u
Isn't a simple coupler bought from RS going to suffice joining feeds from both antennas? Or are there any negatives in doing so?

If you point identical antennas in the same direciton, a simple coupler is adequate. If you point different antennas in the same direction that receive the same frequencies, or if you point two antennas (identical or different) in different directions, a simple coupler isn't going to cut it.

The reason why is simple: multipath. And multipath is the #1 killer of digital reception.
post #54 of 1737
Quote:
Originally posted by sregener
If you point different antennas in the same direction that receive the same frequencies, or if you point two antennas (identical or different) in different directions, a simple coupler isn't going to cut it.

So even if one of the antennas is pointed only at channel 24 (no other channels at that site) I would still need the Join-Tenna?
post #55 of 1737
Quote:
Originally posted by sregener
If you point identical antennas in the same direciton, a simple coupler is adequate. If you point different antennas in the same direction that receive the same frequencies, or if you point two antennas (identical or different) in different directions, a simple coupler isn't going to cut it.

The reason why is simple: multipath. And multipath is the #1 killer of digital reception.

Thanks!. Did not know this earlier.
post #56 of 1737
Quote:
Originally posted by Mikey_C
So even if one of the antennas is pointed only at channel 24 (no other channels at that site) I would still need the Join-Tenna?

That's precisely why you'd need a Join-Tenna. One input is for channel 24, the other is for everything else.
post #57 of 1737
Any recommended sites where I can buy one of these Join-Tennas?
post #58 of 1737
You should be able to buy it locally,
Dow Electronics
8603 Adamo Drive
Tampa, FL 33619
Phone: (800) 627-2900
Phone Number 2: (800) 627-2910


but, if not, try Stark Electronics in Worcester, MA...they will mail-order it to you: you can even pay with PalPal

By the way...I still assert that you will NOT be able to get an adaquite signal on Channels 7 and 12 digital from a distance of 28 miles using a UHF-only antenna! Our WB station in Hartford broadcasts digital on Channel 12, and out ABC broadcasts on channel 10, and neither came in well with a Channel Master 4221 at my house: Channel 12 is only 7 miles away, channel 10 is 28 miles away. I saw NOTHING on channel 10 and lots of pixelization on channel 12. You are MUCH better off using a dedicated VHF yagi if you are looking for VHF-DT! VHF-DT stations typically broadcast about 8db less signal strength than their analog counterparts, and it makes for some strange reception results.
post #59 of 1737
Quote:
Originally posted by cgorra
You are MUCH better off using a dedicated VHF yagi if you are looking for VHF-DT!

How about using something like an amplified CM StealthTenna or a Winegard Sensar fed through a VHF/UHF separator using just the VHF feed?

Another question about Jointenna, is ChannelMaster the only company that makes something like this or are there other models available from other companies?

Thanks for all the info....this forum is great!
post #60 of 1737
Quote:
Originally posted by Mikey_C
How about using something like an amplified CM StealthTenna or a Winegard Sensar fed through a VHF/UHF separator using just the VHF feed?

Another question about Jointenna, is ChannelMaster the only company that makes something like this or are there other models available from other companies?

It will be hard to run an amplifier through all those combiners/joiners you have. You're better off with a passive antenna design. You might want to try one of the Radio Shack urban yagi-style antennas. I had one that was only 6' long and squeezed between the rafters okay.

Channel Master makes the best Jointenna. There are probably others out there that are far more expensive (think hundreds of dollars) for specialty deals. But for what you want, CM is the best and most cost effective solution.
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