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I've now had my Pioneer SD-533HD5 53" set for about 10 months or so, and I'm interested in finally biting the bullet and getting HDTV hooked up to the set (for the Super Bowl - among other things ;). I've (hopefully) done a lot of the groundwork and required research reading the forums/FAQs here as well as at ***************, Tivocommunity, manufacturers sites, online retailers, etc to be as informed as possible when making the switch, but I'd still like to get the expert opinions of AVS forum members on a couple of subjects that I've had difficulty finding clear answers about. Apologies if these issues have been adressed before - I really did search long and hard for the answers prior to posting.


I currently have AT&T cable, and it's pretty bad - so I'm pretty much set on making the switch to DirecTV at the same time as getting the OTA HDTV receiver and hooking up the necessary antenna(s). I live in a town home in Ellington, CT at an apartment complex where 4 town homes connected in a row form a building. There are dishes connected to other buildings (along with large antennas presumably from when before DirecTV served local programming), but at this point there is no dish connected to mine - so I don't need to replace an existing dish. I have a pretty clear shot to the sky in all directions, so neither the dish nor an antenna should be a problem. The OTA HDTV stations in my area are as follows (as determined from antennaweb):


* yellow WTIC-DT 5 FOX Hartford CT Feb 1 2003 252°

* yellow WWLP-DT 11 NBC Springfield MA Now Live 333°

* yellow WTXX-DT 12 WB Waterbury CT Dec 15 2002 243°

* yellow WEDH-DT 32 PBS Hartford CT May 1 2003 251°

* yellow WFSB-DT 33 CBS Hartford CT Now Live 262°

* yellow WVIT-DT 35 NBC New Britain CT Jan 15 2003 251°

* yellow WCTX-DT 39 UPN New Haven CT Now Live 233°

* yellow WUVN-DT 46 SAH Hartford CT May 1 2003 262°

* yellow WGGB-DT 55 ABC Springfield MA Now Live 354°

* yellow WGBY-DT 58 PBS Springfield MA Now Live 354°

* green WTNH-DT 10 ABC New Haven CT Now Live 233°

green WUVN 18 UNI Hartford CT 262°

green WTIC 61 FOX Hartford CT 252°

lt green WFSB 3 CBS Hartford CT 262°

lt green WTXX 20 WB Waterbury CT 243°

lt green WWLP 22 NBC Springfield MA 333°

lt green WEDH 24 PBS Hartford CT 262°

lt green WVIT 30 NBC New Britain CT 251°

* lt green WCDC-DT 36 ABC Adams MA Now Live 340°

lt green WGGB 40 ABC Springfield MA 354°

lt green WGBY 57 PBS Springfield MA 354°


It seems that they either fall in the 243° to 262° range or 333° to 354° range, and that I unfortunately have stations in both the UHF and VHF ranges. There are a few more in the blue and violet areas, but I don't know if that type of antenna is realistic given that when I eventually move, I very likely won't be able to take the antenna with me, and I won't have the ability to rotate the antenna.



Question #1 - OTA Antenna Selection

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- As I understand it, the DirecTV installer will also install the OTA antenna for me (could someone just confirm that for me) - given the above information - that I won't be able to rotate an outdoor antenna, or take it with me (i.e. I don't want to spend a whole lot of money) - I need to help sifting through all the confusing antenna options to choose something that will be most appropriate for me - I'm happy with one of each of the major networks - ABC, NBC, CBS, UPN, WB. Will I be able to point something like the $40 Channel Master 4228 somewhere in between the two ranges from the data above? From what I've read about UHF antennas, they're pretty directional, and this probably isn't an option - but I wanted to double check to make sure. I've also read that the multidirectional antennas don't work very well, so that doesn't appear to be a good option either.

- Can anyone recommend what I should do in this case?

- Is it a safer bet to get separate VHF/UHF antennas, and bridge them together?

- Or am I better off with a combo antenna that already has those capabilities - something like the $30 Channel Master 5646 that should pull in everything in my area?

- Or alternatively, what about something like the $60 Terk 42 that mounts on top of the dish?

- Or is my best bet getting an indoor Zenith Silver Sensor for UHF and a pair of rabbit ears for VHF and connect those with a UHF+VHF Signal Combiner, and connect that with a Multiswitch?



Question #2 - OTA Antenna Additional Equipment

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- If there are outdoor antenna(s) that are viable options, do I have to provide the DirecTV installer with the Multiswitch (and UHF+VHF combiner if necessary) to bring DirecTV, VHF and UHF into my town home on a single RG-6 wire? Do I need any sort of further amplification (given the station(s) that fill into the light green antenna required region)? My town home is pretty close to the external wall the satellite will be mounted on, so the RG-6 run should only be about 40 feet or so tops - I don't think there will be an issue there. If I go the Silver Sensor route, since the box I'm looking at (TS-160) has only one RF input, I presume I'll definitely have to buy a Multiswitch and VHF+UHF combiner?



I had originally been interested in the Sony HD200 OTA/DirecTV receiver (and tried to go the Circuit City discount route), but that receiver is unavailable most everywhere, and I'm looking to make a purchase soon. I liked the idea of having a second RF input, but I'm totally content with getting the Samsung TS-160. Not only is it cheaper with some nice unique features, but Samsung also has a $50 rebate towards an OTA antenna purchase with the purchase of this receiver which is a pretty good deal. The service will be hooked up in 2 rooms - one room with the HDTV (and potentially down the road a Tivo), and the other room is a cheesy no-frills TV. So I'm faced with a couple of more options:


Option #1 - Total up front cost $580

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- Get a two-room director system with 18x24" dish from American Satellite for $0
http://www.expertsatellite.com/catal...products_id=29

This comes with installation, but the site doesn't really break down which receivers (I presume the cheapest Hughes) or other equipment - I'm sure anyone who's ordered from them in the past would know, however.

- Get the TS-160 receiver separately for $580 shipped, and don't use one of the receivers that comes with the above deal (keep it for later, or sell it on eBay)


Option #2 - Total up front cost $700 (currently a waiting list)

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- Get a two-room system from American Satellite with the TS-160 and Samsung S70, 18x20" Triple LNB multi-satellite dish and installation
http://www.americansatellite.com/pro...?nav=&ITEM=823


Option #3 - Total up front cost $680

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- Get a two-room system from Orbitsat with the TS-160 and Samsung S70, 18x20" Twin Dual LNBF multi-satellite dish and installation
http://www.orbitsat.com/cyberstore/p...SIR-TS160T/S70

(For $50 more I get the Samsung S75 + a refurbed DVD player - which I could use)



Question #3 - Initial Equipment Investment - 18x20" vs. 18x24", Sat C Kit, etc

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- Obviously option #1 is cheapest, but what additional hardware will I need to receive HDTV on the 119 satellite? I read somewhere that if I get the older 18x24" dish, I will definitely need the Sat C Kit (~$60) and maybe an additional multiswitch, but if I get an 18x20" dish that hardware is part of the dish. If I go with option 3, am I correct in assuming that I will need another LNB for Sat C also? Could someone give me a quick run down of the difference b/w 18x24" vs. 18x20"? Is my understanding correct that a triple LNB serves all 3 satellites, whereas a twin dual LBNF serves only two satellites with two outputs per LNBF? -- I guess the real question is - why would I need two outputs per LNBF if I have a multiswitch in the dish?




I appreciate anyone even taking the time to read through all this jargon - any tips/pointers are welcomed.


Thanks




Ethan J. Brown
 

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I will briefly tell you what I have and let it go at that. I have 2 satellite dishes..1 pointed at 101 satellite and 1 pointed at 119 satellite..gives me HBO and HDNET HD. I also have a Televes DAT75 antenna ..very directional with rotator and CM 7777 pre-amp. RG 6 Quad is the cable to go with. My OTA stations are from 15 to 52 miles in all directions. I get all the network HD Signal strength for satellite at 95-100 and for OTA close to 100 on most stations with a few breakups..blocking..on 2 stations at lower power. I have a new Sony direct view..34RBR800 and a separate audio set up altho the speaker system on Sony is very decent. Continue to read and get info from other sources. This will give you goal to work toward for your own situation..adjust it accordingly. Each situation is different and it must contain some trial and error. Happy Viewing.
 

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Here's my opinion. Please don't take it as gospel as I am a newbie at all of this. I have DirecTV and am having my over the air antenna installed on Friday.


Question 1:

With the over the air channels everyone's situation is different. Is there anyone else in your area who has an antenna? As you walk around the neighborhood take a look around.


A guy across the street from me has an antenna and DirecTV setup so I asked him about his experience. He's got a $39 channel master and is able to receive all the major networks, but Fox is unreliable. Now that is just his situation. He (and I) live about 40 miles north of San Diego and about 90 miles south of L.A. so he gets both LA and San Diego stations.


What I did was call the guy who installed his stuff. I asked him about the directional Terks and he told me that the best thing to do was to try to recreate what my neighbor is doing and go with the channel master 4-bay which is not directional and is a inexpensive antenna (yellow on antenna web).


So if you don't have any neighbors I would say call up the company that is going to install your equipment and see if they have any recommendations for your area or if they will come out and check the signals for you. If they won't do it then maybe call around to the local satellite/antenna installers and see if they have any recommendations.


Question 2:

I don't know the answer to this question. I do know that when I purchased my satellite system (through DirecTV) they provided a powered multi-switch for me. I am running eight lines in my home. Now this is only for satellite. I have no idea if I am going to need some sort of amplifier for my OTA signal (I only plan on running it to two TV's). But the point is you might ask customer service from where you are buying your equipment if they think you will need an amplifier and if they will provide it for you free of charge.


Now all that being said, I've read in my Hughes receiver's manual that you can by a diplexer that will combine your satellite signal and OTA signal into one line. Diplexers are generally
 
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