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Hi everyone,

I've been searching the forum for information but I'm still really confused about what to do in my situation.


My parents live in an apartment building in Brooklyn, New York. They have a standard old SD TV. All these years they have had great reception via a master antennae on top of the building.


I don't want them to get stuck with bad reception. So I went ahead and scheduled Optimum cable to come down and set cable up for them - the basic broadcast package, because that is all they need. I also ordered a HDTV for them since they might as well now take advantage of HDTV.


However now someone is telling me that I am wasting their money and that all they need is a converter box and they should get good reception. But i'm really confused - doesn't using a converter box mean that the HD signal gets transformed in to SD? Basically I would like them to have HD and take advantage of their new HDTV, without having to spend money on cable - is there a way to do that?


I personally tried using an HD antennae in my apartment in Manhattan a couple of months ago and the signal was horrid, i could barely pick up a channel - so i dont want them to go through the same thing.


Anyway I am really very confused, and this is coming from someone who is a total tech geek. Any help would be greatly appreciated


Thank you!

-Terry
 

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Easy deal. Hook the HDTV up to the Master antenna outlet. Perform a Scan for Digital Stations. See what you get.


Don't compare your indoor rabbit ear experience to the outdoor master antenna. It is really apples to oranges. I'm a ham so I have played quite a bit with antennas. A Master Antenna on the roof, assuming it is properly set up and amplified, will totally exceed anything a set of indoor rabbit ears can do. (I'm 45 miles from NYC with an unamplified antenna and get 95% on the HD channels)


If your parents old setup got UHF analog stations, you should be OK. Your HDTV will NOT need a converter box.


You have two choices. The HDTV without box, which will give the HD picture. The other choice is the converter box to the old SD TV, which will give you a very clean SD picture. The choice is really $$$$ for the HDTV set or $ for the converter box.


Also, in my opinion, a small HDTV (under 42 inches) is a waste of money-the picture is not big enough to show the beauty of HD over SD
 

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Well said speedlaw! The new HDTV will have a digital tuner and should be able to tune all the available local digital signal. Your parents will get the best possible picture at only the cost of a HDTV.


I do disagree with speedlaw on small HDTV's. I have a small LG 720p tv and see a huge difference between HD and SD, both OTA and through cable. Get a HD tv that is appropriate for their normal viewing distance while consdering available space for the tv.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedlaw /forum/post/15455236


Easy deal. Hook the HDTV up to the Master antenna outlet. Perform a Scan for Digital Stations. See what you get...


A Master Antenna on the roof, assuming it is properly set up and amplified, will totally exceed anything a set of indoor rabbit ears can do.

Generally, not so. Master antenna systems in large buildings use single channel strip amplifiers for VHF channels, and downconvert selected UHF channels to VHF frequencies for more efficient transmission. Unless the building has a really primitive antenna system, it will not ordinarily pass UHF broadcast TV signals.
 

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Thanks for the heads up Mike. I personally didn't know this aspect about master antennas. In that case, the parents may be better off with basic cable and access the HD locals with their QAM tuner.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntAltMike /forum/post/15455427


Or they can have their apartment manager contact me and I can modernize their system for them.

Ya, AntAltMike is prolly the most knowledgeable RF tv expert on the forum, if they cannot get any UHF channels on the master antenna, he would be my first call...
 

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If you're going to buy a new flat panel, it will have a digital tuner built in, you won't need a converter box. The best thing to do is hook up the new TV to the master antenna and see what you get after doing a scan and just take it from there. It might work very well. I wouldn't order cable service until you see what you get. If it's not getting all the digital stations in the area, then maybe you could talk to the building manager about upgrading the master antenna. It might need to be anyway since some of the channels will be changing after the transition.
 

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Another benefit of living in 'Fly-over' country, all the TV stations, none of the crime, grime, trash, and multi-path interference of living in the Big Apple (unlike my nearby Minne'apple). Could just check http://www.antennaweb.org or http://www.tvfool.com with their address, take a compass and figure which window to use to set an antenna next to, and see what you get. From the Day's Inn in Brooklyn, got signals all over the compass mainly Yellow UHF/VHF, but most from 7 and 22 degrees; NJ station 322 and 338 degrees...so I guess depends on what you want to see. TV Fool says a set top antenna should be able to pick up almost all of them.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntAltMike /forum/post/15455368


Generally, not so. Master antenna systems in large buildings use single channel strip amplifiers for VHF channels, and downconvert selected UHF channels to VHF frequencies for more efficient transmission. Unless the building has a really primitive antenna system, it will not ordinarily pass UHF broadcast TV signals.

So the long and short of this is that older aerial antenna systems may require some optimization/upgrading to effectively capture the digital signal? A friend in Queens is only getting one channel through her aerial with the new digital converter so unless the building manager will upgrade the system I guess it's best just to try a set-top antenna.


Speaking of which, does one need to keep anything in mind when choosing between the different set-top antennas available at, say, Radioshack?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by snabjab /forum/post/15457515


So the long and short of this is that older aerial antenna systems may require some optimization/upgrading to effectively capture the digital signal?

Optimizing is an understatement. A New York City DMA master antennna system will probably continue to provide digital channels 7, 9, 11 and 13, provided they are using strip amplifiers rather than heterodyne channel processors, but to get any UHF channels, they will have to use either digital heterodyne processoer or someone will have to craft some kind of bandpass filtering system for the desired UHFs and them insert higher frequency distribution amplifiers.
 

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Thanks very much for the answer. I won't pretend to understand the technical details of your response, but it's clear that either an aerial upgrade by the building or a new indoor antenna is going to be necessary.
 

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Hey, Mike: Couldn't the OP run the master antenna's signals into the VHF side of a UVSJ and connect a small UHF antenna (ie, DB2/Eagle Aspen/4220) to the UHF side of the combiner -- or would that create even more reception issues?


My past experiences with apartment master antennas were that they provided VHF, but not UHF. I connected the MATV output and a closet-mounted UHF antenna to an A/B coax switch. This worked pretty well, but of course it wasn't terribly convenient. (Didn't know about UVSJs back then.) If it's workable, this would likely provide quicker results than pestering the management to spend money on the antenna system.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don_M /forum/post/15465915


If it's workable, this would likely provide quicker results than pestering the management to spend money on the antenna system.

Mike needs something to do, though.



Don't see why that wouldn't work just fine, provided the stations can be received via an indoors antenna.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by snabjab /forum/post/15465336


Thanks very much for the answer. I won't pretend to understand the technical details of your response, but it's clear that either an aerial upgrade by the building or a new indoor antenna is going to be necessary.

What he meant was that because WABC 7, WPIX CW 11, WNET PBS 13 will be moving their digital broadcast channel from UHF to their upper VHF analog channel after Feb. 17, the MATV system may pass the digital signal through for them even if the system is still set up for the analog channel assignments only. WLIW-DT PBS 21 and WPXN-DT Ion 31 will also be flash cutting to their analog channels so if they are available on the MATV analog channel line-up, they might be there post-transition. However, WCBS 2, WNBC 4, WNYW Fox 5, WWOR MyN 9 and the other NYC stations will keep their actual digital broadcast channels on UHF channels which are different from their analog broadcast channels.


But before you do anything or reach a conclusion, hook up the HD TV to the master antenna system and do a digital ATSC channel scan. See what you get. It is possible that the MATV system has been updated to work with the post-transition channels or will be. Call the building manager to find out - although the building manager may not have a clue.


An indoor antenna may work as well although multipath and blocked signals may be a real problem in a NYC apartment building. If you used an "HD" antenna, I would lay odds you used an antenna with a built-in amplifier. At close range to the broadcast towers, the built-in amps can over amplify a powerful signal and overload the tuner. In general, stick with the cheaper non-amplified antennas.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by afiggatt /forum/post/15470461


But before you do anything or reach a conclusion, hook up the HD TV to the master antenna system and do a digital ATSC channel scan. See what you get. It is possible that the MATV system has been updated to work with the post-transition channels or will be. Call the building manager to find out - although the building manager may not have a clue.

Thanks so much for your reply. I was curious about what you wrote above; you're suggesting that I wait until the transition to try out the box because of both the certain changes in broadcasting (ie UHF to VHF shift for some digital channels) and the potential changes in master antenna setup by the building manager (perhaps with some cajoling by the residents)?


Your information is very helpful, though I'm continually surprised at how difficult it can be to find detailed information on this kind of thing. For instance, my own experiences using the Radioshack 1892 antenna in Brooklyn have confirmed what you said about amplification: in my case, additional amplification only degrades picture quality.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by snabjab /forum/post/15498404


Thanks so much for your reply. I was curious about what you wrote above; you're suggesting that I wait until the transition to try out the box because of both the certain changes in broadcasting (ie UHF to VHF shift for some digital channels) and the potential changes in master antenna setup by the building manager (perhaps with some cajoling by the residents)?


Your information is very helpful, though I'm continually surprised at how difficult it can be to find detailed information on this kind of thing. For instance, my own experiences using the Radioshack 1892 antenna in Brooklyn have confirmed what you said about amplification: in my case, additional amplification only degrades picture quality.

So just take the RS 15-1892 back and pick up a 15-1874, and swing by a Wal-Mart and get an RCA 1400 (or a 1500) as they sometimes handle multi-path better. Then run your scans with each and see what works best.
 

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I found this article again about VHF antennas in NYC and while it seems to be different, the message is the same.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/11/ny...ty/11disp.html

Quote:
Because most of the new digital channels will be on UHF frequencies, buildings will need UHF antennas to receive them. The antennas aren't a new technology, but many buildings never needed them before, and have antennas only for VHF.

When the FCC OET does not believe there are antenna issues to worry about, I just have to


http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post...ble-delay.html

Quote:
"FCC and other agencies have just denied that there's an antenna issue until very recently," said Miles, who claimed his company's interviews with Wilmingtonians suggested half of those transitioning to over-the-air digital would need "something more than just a box."


That notion sparked sharp disagreement from Alan Stillwell of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology, who was watching from the audience. He blamed the troubles on a combination of consumer confusion about how to set up their antennas or boxes, and in particular on station WECT-TV, which "dropped their antenna height by half and moved closer to Wilmington." But Neilson, who is equally convinced that "it's not going to be as easy as plugging in a converter box and all is well," sprang to Miles' defense, saying complaint calls to her own station belied the FCC's confidence.
 
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