TV w/built-in GOOD OTA tuner? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 13 Old 11-09-2019, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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TV w/built-in GOOD OTA tuner?

I'm looking for an inexpensive ~40" television that has a good, sensitive built-in OTA tuner. Currently I'm leaning toward's either a low-end 43" LG or Samsung.

Anybody using one for mostly OTA that will share their experience with me?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 13 Old 11-09-2019, 09:10 AM
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Essentially... they're all good.

Mostly... it depends where you live and the terrain, distance, direction(s), antenna, mounting, etc.



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post #3 of 13 Old 11-09-2019, 09:43 AM
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Moving to Displays. HDTV Technical is largely broadcasters. I would imagine most of the people there are familiar with only what they own, not various makes and models.

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post #4 of 13 Old 11-09-2019, 09:56 AM
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More important than the tuner is the quality of your antenna and your antenna location. The antenna and location will affect tuning in your stations significantly more than the tuner in the TV.
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post #5 of 13 Old 11-09-2019, 02:59 PM
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There may be differences but I just don't know. Back in the day when CECBs were available the Zenith or Insignia clone definitely had a better more sensitive tuner than all the others and would routinely get channels the others didn't. The Channel Master CECB was a close second and actually had slightly better multipath rejection. As Zenith or Channel Master doesn't really make TVs anymore I'm not sure what to suggest. Samsung and LG do make nice TVs along with probably the more expensive Sony so I guess you're on the right track.
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post #6 of 13 Old 11-10-2019, 08:20 AM
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I have a cheap TCL that does very well with OTA signals. With an SD card you can even pause the live feed!
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post #7 of 13 Old 11-10-2019, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses regarding antennas. And thank you, Doc, for moving the thread to a more appropriate forum.

I understand the need for a good antenna system. When I was actively operating my HAM radio station my passion was building wire antennas and verticals.
I talked to a guy in Slovenia one day (CW) using a section of chicken house waterpipe for a vertical antenna.<grin> I was no antenna genius, but I had fun tinkering with them. I primarily worked QRP, reduced power (usually 1.5 watts, less than a CB radio) and had people tell me I was lying when I told them that was my power level...of course I was pushing that 1.5 watts through a full-wave wire loop supported by a big pecan tree. Antennas make a big difference!

Currently, here at the house, I'm employing an Antennas Direct DB8e, an Antennacraft 4-bay bowtie, and a VHF-Kit. These are all combined and feeding into a Juice amplifier. I live between 20-50 miles from the stations and have rolling, forested land between me and the transmitters. I think multi-path interference is one of my biggest foes. My Frankintenna is what I had to do to pull in the major OTA networks and it has worked well, though since the repack I may need to tweak it a bit (get more height on it). We're using a Tivo Roamio OTA for the receiver (four different internal tuners) which is sending signals to our old Panny plasma pro panel and to a Tivo Mini feeding a small LG television in the kitchen.

The television that I'm looking to buy will be going to a different location, though, but only about 200' from our house. Currently, there is an old 32" CRT at that location being fed by a large VHF/UHF directional antenna with some type of mast-top preamp (RCA maybe, it's been a while since I installed it). The antenna signal is fed into a "Digital Stream" set-top box, converted to analog and sent to the CRT. The flat panel will go in a different room there.

Besides the Digital Stream STB, I've got a Samsung that was our primary OTA tuner before dumping DISH (H260F, I think it is) and an iView box that I used for a while in a shop. Out of these three boxes the Samsung is the strongest tuner. It's been a while since I've tinkered with them, though. We've had the Roamio OTA up and running for two years now after dumping DISH and the boxes have mostly been sitting idle in their boxes. Chipsets, filters, quality of integration among other things all come into play with radio signal reception.

I've got no argument about needing a good antenna system. But, from my own experience, I believe that there has been differences in tuner sensitivities. The sad thing is that you can get two identical-looking tuners/tvs and their reception strength can be very different. Maybe things have evolved enough that the built-in tuners are an after-thought for manufacturers being as many displays no longer have them. Maybe they're all putting in a similar generic tuner card...I dunno. I was hoping to find a brand/model that users have had mostly good OTA experiences with...moving the odds closer to getting a decent tuner. I've looked at online reviews but few of them mention OTA reception, but rather concentrate on "Smart TV" aspects along with comments on number of HDMI ports, audio ports, etc., or simply the picture quality.

The little LG tv in our kitchen also has a direct antenna connection and it pulls in more stations than the Tivo does, so I'm happy with that LG tuner. And, the Samsung STB proved to be good along with a Samsung plasma I had in the past. With this past experience I think I'll continue on the LG/Samsung path.

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post #8 of 13 Old 11-10-2019, 10:08 AM
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TCL/Roku TVs have a good tuner and a good guide. They also allow you to use a USB stick for pausing live TV which is a nice bonus.
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post #9 of 13 Old 11-11-2019, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the votes for the TCL. I'll have to take a look at'em!

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post #10 of 13 Old 11-12-2019, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post
Thanks for the votes for the TCL. I'll have to take a look at'em!
Just make sure you look at the 6 series. It's hard to beat in that price range!
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post #11 of 13 Old 11-12-2019, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Looks like the 6 series would be their top of the line, at the moment. Thanks for the heads'up.

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post #12 of 13 Old 11-13-2019, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post
I've got no argument about needing a good antenna system. But, from my own experience, I believe that there has been differences in tuner sensitivities. The sad thing is that you can get two identical-looking tuners/tvs and their reception strength can be very different. Maybe things have evolved enough that the built-in tuners are an after-thought for manufacturers being as many displays no longer have them. Maybe they're all putting in a similar generic tuner card...I dunno. I was hoping to find a brand/model that users have had mostly good OTA experiences with...moving the odds closer to getting a decent tuner. I've looked at online reviews but few of them mention OTA reception, but rather concentrate on "Smart TV" aspects along with comments on number of HDMI ports, audio ports, etc., or simply the picture quality.
I suspect tuner performance is becoming an afterthought to TV manufacturers. They don't have to touch RF themselves anymore. They just need to pick from one of the available tuner and demodulator on-a-chip offerings, and they are probably going to choose the one that is cheapest and/or easiest for them to integrate. After all, most cord cutters I know don't even bother trying to get OTA broadcasts. And a lot of those who do switched to using networked tuners.

If you live in a house where most/every room is wired for CATV, then I suppose it makes sense to put a distribution amp where the coax runs all come together, and connect the antenna feed there. But in my case, I only had two rooms with coax, so buying an HDHomeRun and distributing OTA TV broadcasts as MPEG2 streams over Ethernet & wifi made things a lot easier and more flexible. Plus it makes OTA broadcasts available to watch on computers, tablets, and phones. I think this is the way most people are going to go in the future.

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post #13 of 13 Old 11-16-2019, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by sjm817 View Post
TCL/Roku TVs have a good tuner and a good guide. They also allow you to use a USB stick for pausing live TV which is a nice bonus.
Another vote for the TCL Roku TV's. I love mine. The free TV guide is awesome and looks very nice. Can't believe people actually pay a monthly fee just so they can have a guide. And yes the tuner in the TCL brand TV's are very good.
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