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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
O.K. Here's the deal. I'm 95% certain (I'll know for sure tomorrow) that a Dish (Dish or DirecTV) is not an option for me due to the lack of a line of sight to the birds in the sky.


Those of you who know me, know I'm using an HDTV capable SONY VW10HT projector in my Home Theater which is a tremendous performer. In fact, the only thing missing up until this point has been an HDTV source. (My fellow VW10HT owners are amazed that I've waited so long - over 1.5 years to add HDTV to the mix!).


Assuming that I must go for OTA as my only HDTV option, what do I need in the way of hardware and an antenna? I am located about 30 miles north (line of sight) of NYC and its antennas and, back in pre-cable days (you should pardon the expression, "cable" in this message since it's Cablevision :td: ) I was able to get a decent OTA picture from VHS and UHF sources with roof antennas (long gone).


It's been a while since I looked at HDTV boxes, so what's the latest and the greatest? Prices? Features? Sources to purchase?


And what about the antenna? What kind? Sources, model numbers, prices, etc.


Anything else I'm going to need? I guess I'm forced to keep cable for my regular sources, but I'm set for HDTV in other respects. I even have a separate dedicated 5 conductor component cable already in place to feed the projector. All that's missing is the gathering and processing of the HDTV signal.


All suggestions and/or other advice would be greatly appreciated ASAP. If DISH were an option (very small chance) then this would be relatively easy. But it looks like I might have to mount an antenna on the roof (which I'm willing to do for HDTV if this is viable).


Thanks in advance.



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RAF

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Robert,


I do have a little hands-on experience with the 10HT and HD sources.

I took my RCA DTC-100 over to my boss's sons' place a while back to show him what his projector was really capable of.He'd been watching DVD's and Dish(non HD) and thought it was just fine!

Needless to say,there was some jaw-dropping people standing around when I got everything hooked up!

For OTA I used a Silver Sensor and enough coax to reach an outside window and picked up two out of four DT stations at 53Mi.Then I hooked the Dish 500 feed up so I could get 119 and showed them the Ch199 DTV demo loop and HBO 509.

For your install, a medium size VHF/UHF or UHF only antenna mounted outside,even without a preamp should work just fine.Also a Rotor is highly recommended for "fine tuning" OTA signals.


For shopping recommendations two of the best would be_
www.starkelectronic.com or www.consumer-direct.com


Both would have all the OTA stuff you need and are nice to deal with.


Also, if you decide the DTC-100 would work for you,I bought mine from www.copperbox.com You'll also need a VGA to RGB break-out cable.


If DSS is not an option,the DTC is the least expensive standalone receiver on the market.





[This message has been edited by MAX HD (edited 07-17-2001).]
 

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Welcome, Robert.


This topic has a good introductory DTV OTA reception discussion for your part of the country.
http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum11/HTML/014908.html


Both Vic & John are extremely knowledgeable & will be glad to assist you.


In general, for good DTV OTA reception a directional outdoor antenna is recommended, elevated 20'-30'. Adding a rotor & preamp will usually help quite a bit.


These two sites have basic antenna selection info, the third is a source for purchasing & also has installation manuals & detailed specifications:
http://www.antennaweb.org/antennaweb/step1.html
www.titantv.com
http://www.starkelectronic.com/



DirecTV has 7 brand partners with STB HDTV capability; RCA, ProScan, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Hughes, Sony and Panasonic. The RCA & ProScan are identical, the Mitsu, Hughes and Toshiba are also identical.


So, in the end you have 4 choices. All of these have DTV OTA capability built in, along with the DirecTV Plus capability. All of them use an elliptical dish ($150) with 2 LNB's for SD / HD programing. All of them have RGBHV out.


The RCA has been around about 2 years now, but it still has it's advocates. The major downsides are 1) An older DTV OTA tuner design, the other units are generally a little better, 2) Non-integrated on screen program guide. Other than that, it works well. It's the least expensive at about $450.


The Sony has a loud fan, and a few other bugs. The Panasonic programming guide is very slow, the other three are OK too, but have their own minor flaws. These all cost between $650-750.


Bottom line: None of them is an obvious choice, you'll need to do some homework here (HDTV Hardware Forum) to determine which is best for you.


As far as Dish, you have one choice: the model 6000. It needs a plug in module for OTA reception and must be connected to a functioning dish to work, even for just OTA reception. The cost can vary, but if you make a programming commitment, it usually goes for about $400, or less. To get both SD & HD Dish programming, you need two dishes. Here is a link to a good source for dish set up information: http://www.geocities.com/dbs_tech/


For a OTA only DTV receiver, try the Samsung SIR-T150. It works well, but as always, has a few bugs of its own. It goes for $600-700.


Again, you'll need to do some homework to determine which may be your best choice.


Good Luck.



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"Better living thru modern, expensive electronics devices"

tm


[This message has been edited by Ken H (edited 07-17-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the feedback. You have provided me with several sourses that should answer a lot of my questions. If I find that I can get 110-119 reception (61.5 is fine) then I will go with the DISH solution. If not, I'll install a good outside antenna and rotor on my roof.


One question: If I can see the 61.5 bird but not the 110-199 birds then isn't DISH an expensive way to go? I realize that the HD programming is on the 61.5 sat. but wouldin't I be paying for a lot of regular channels I couldn't use if 110-119 was not available to me?


Thanks.


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One other quick question. Several people have mentioned a "Silver Sensor" unit. What is this?


Thanks.


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RAF

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Quote:
Originally posted by Robert A. Fowkes:
One other quick question. Several people have mentioned a "Silver Sensor" unit. What is this?


Thanks.

It is a nice indoor antenna. Non-offensive looking and capable of picking up OTA stations quite nicely. I bought one from the importer for about twenty dollars. They are probably available through retailers if you do a search on them.


baimo
 

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For access to the 4 Dish Network HDTV channels (HBO, Showtime, PPV movies, demo loop) it's $26 a month.


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Quote:
Originally posted by Robert A. Fowkes:
If I find that I can get 110-119 reception (61.5 is fine) then I will go with the DISH solution. If not, I'll install a good outside antenna and rotor on my roof.
Robert,

Going the DISH route is NOT a replacement for an antenna. You will still need an antenna to get OTA HD from the New York stations.

 

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RAF, I have had the silver sensor for 5 months and have used it in unorthodox manner.You see,I mounted it outside on a rotor above my chimney, 10'. Its connected to a CM7775 preamp, about 60' of RG-6 and a Ratshack attunator to the TuHDS-20 STB. I made a custom bracket and waterproofed the crap out of the balum and connectors. I was up on the roof last Sat. and it looks exactly the same as it did when I installed it last winter.

I get all channels! The new PBS feed is dicey but everyone out here is having the same problem. I might add that most are using Big boy antennae.

Anyway, I bought mine from, "Next Best thing Electronics"

The owner is a regular here. I think he goes by the handle of JohnnyG (if got it wrong, my apologies, John). Very reputable and his service is excellent.

George
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the informative replies. I have a bit of additional information now that someone has been out to my house to make some measurements. Interestingly, we have discovered that if I were to place a tripod on my property (with a pole about 10' high) and then run underground conduit to my house (about 50' away) I CAN have a line of sight to 110-119 and 61.5 DISHes. Therefore, it is quite possible that I would be able to get DISH network programming after all (and drop my horrendous, overpriced CableVision service).


This brings up a new series of questions that I hope some of you can answer for me.

[*] Do any of you have, or know someone who has, a set-up similar to what I am proposing? (Dishes on a pole/tripod fed via underground conduit?)

[*] What are some of the things to watch out for? (I can control the "traffic" near the dishes.) I figure that I will need about 50-60 feet of cabling to get from the dishes to where I will be entering the house to the switches and distribution amps (4 set installation), and this won't be too much different than if I had placed the dish on the roof - albeit a little longer cable feed to the inside.

[*] Do I run into any distance problems with an "off the roof" mount that signal amps could not solve? (The dishes would be about 25 feet further away from the junction to the inside than otherwise).

Quote:
Going the DISH route is NOT a replacement for an antenna. You will still need an antenna to get OTA HD from the New York stations.
Bill,


I realize this. The main reason to go the DISH route is to replace my cable which is overpriced and underfeatured. The fact that DISH offers some HDTV content is a bonus. I understand that I can still add an OTA module to the DISH 6000 (right?) and still add an external antenna if I wish to get even more HD programming locally. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there some talk about Dish networks probably being able to offer local HDTV programming very soon (sort of like the local chammel access battle they successfully waged)? And isn't this in the process of happening as we speak? I'm not fully aware of all events taking place but this was my understanding.



I appreciate all the help on this. Within the next few weeks I am going to have someone come over with the actual dishes to make sure that the location we picked out really can accommodate both dishes and adequate signal strength. If this works out, then I dig a trench for the conduit. And, if necessary, I can always add a UHF antenna at some point to supplement the dish(es).


Comments?


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RAF

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Quote:
What are some of the things to watch out for? (I can control the "traffic" near the dishes.) I figure that I will need about 50-60 feet of cabling to get from the dishes to where I will be entering the house to the switches and distribution amps (4 set installation), and this won't be too much different than if I had placed the dish on the roof - albeit a little longer cable feed to the inside.
As long as you stay under 100 feet (sometimes longer) it will work. Will you be feeding four televisions the same signal or will you have four receivers? Combination (two receivers/four TV's)? There are different switching requirements for each setup.


-Robert
 

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Robert,


You mentioned in your last post that you had Cablevision service. Since Cablevision does broadcast HDTV in many of it's NY/CT area franchises (especially if there's a local Wiz), you may be able to get MSG fare in HD - though it seems I saw somewhere a while back that Cablevision may be scaling back, or moving to set top boxes without component video. How many TVs support IEEE-1394 today? Virtually 0% of the installed DTV-upgradable base...



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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:
As long as you stay under 100 feet (sometimes longer) it will work. Will you be feeding four televisions the same signal or will you have four receivers? Combination (two receivers/four TV's)? There are different switching requirements for each setup.
Robert,

My plan right now is to use four receivers for four different sets throughout the house. Two of the receivers will be basic ones and two will have additional features (the Model 6000 and the PVR offering). I'm aware of the switching requirements and, because of the installation, will mount all switches and distribution equipment inside the building (on a panel in the garage, actually).

Quote:
You mentioned in your last post that you had Cablevision service. Since Cablevision does broadcast HDTV in many of it's NY/CT area franchises (especially if there's a local Wiz), you may be able to get MSG fare in HD - though it seems I saw somewhere a while back that Cablevision may be scaling back, or moving to set top boxes without component video. How many TVs support IEEE-1394 today? Virtually 0% of the installed DTV-upgradable base...
jon,


Yes, I have Cablevision but my particular system not only doesn't provide HDTV broadcasts of any type but when I contacted them were especially vague (and not very knowledgeable) regarding when, if ever, this would take place. They've been equally vague about Cable Internet Access and don't score any points in that arena either. I suspect that until they upgrade the backbone with higher bandwidth capabilities nothing will happen (Cablevision recetly took over from MediaOne in my area). And even when this does occur that won't change the fact that cable service in my area is too dependent on the quality of the service people who constantly screw up the signal to others when working on a particular house somewhere further up the road. I've had over 20 years of incompetent service with variable signals and, quite frankly, I've had enough.


Yes, I realize that Dish networks (DISH and DirecTV) present a different set of problems but, weighing all the factors, feel that a dish (or "dishes" in the case of DISH + Dish HDTV) is a much better solution at this point in time. With the most recent round of price increases I am paying well over $70/month for Cablevision with only an HBO premium option. That is insane. For approximately the same price (or slightly more) I can have the DISH 150 offering + HBO & Showtime (for HDTV) + local channels, + PBS + Fox Sports, etc. etc. feeding 4 receivers with much better quality and choice (at least in my area.) In other words, I'm not relying on Cablevision in my neck of the woods to provide any viable HDTV option in the foreseeable future.



One more question, while I'm on the subject - how many of you who are DISH subscribers use the PVR option for one of your receivers? Is this a good way to go or am I better off with a regular receiver tied into a TiVo or Reply unit?


Thanks for the continuing comments.


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RAF

D
emented Video Dude since 1997

Computer Maven since 1956
"PITA" since 1942

My HT (last updated 02-05-01)


[This message has been edited by Robert A. Fowkes (edited 07-18-2001).]
 

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Robert,


Sounds like you're a prime candidate for a 25-30ft.TV Tower.Just put a combo antenna on top w/preamp & Rotor and mount the dish (or dishes for Dish Network) on the side of the tower and your good to go! You can forgo the conduit if you use coax rated for underground useage,but it wouldn't be a bad idea to go that route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
You can forgo the conduit if you use coax rated for underground useage,but it wouldn't be a bad idea to go that route.
Max,


Yep, that's what I'm going to do (underground rated coax in a conduit). I just have to make sure that a 2" diameter conduit will be sufficient to hold the 6 cables that will come from the two dishes (a 500 and a 300).


Thanks.


And thanks for the suggestion of a 30 foot tower. That's a little beyond what I want to get involved with and might require some zoning research. The 14 foot mast (with 4 feet underground) might also be a little higher than I need for good line of sight. But 10' above the ground keeps the dishes a little off the ground and away from the curious and the deer who try to eat everything around here.




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RAF

D
emented Video Dude since 1997

Computer Maven since 1956
"PITA" since 1942

My HT (last updated 02-05-01)
 
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