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HD Over-The-Air Antenna Help...pleeeeeease!

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Evan!

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Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is HomeBrewTalk, not AVTalk, but I thought maybe some of yous guys might be able to help me.

So I got a new Sharp Aquos LCDTV around Thanksgiving. We have Dish Network, so we got a new HD receiver and all works just fine thru HDMI...verrrry pretty! But for some stupid reason, Dish Network doesn't give us the major networks in HD...resulting in many NFL/NCAA games being in relatively terrible SD.

So I'd heard that you can pick up HD locals with an OTA HD antenna---we live right downtown, so we should be able to pick them all up. I went to Radio Shack, and the salesman said that the $35 Radio Shack brand amplified indoor antenna (with two telescoping antennas and one loop in the middle) would do the trick for me. So we got it yesterday and hooked it up:

I ran the coax cable from the antenna into the "cable/antenna" input on the back of the Aquos. I let it do an auto channel search and it found about 4 or 5 major channels. I went to the first one, 16, and it comes through for the standard analog version. But when I hit channel up once, it goes to the digital version (16.1), and the sound comes through crystal clear---but there's no video. It's the same for all the channels, too...I get audio and video for the analog version, but the digital versions are only audio---and nice stereo audio at that.

So, uh, why can't I pick up the video feed for the HD channels OTA?

Thanks for any help you can give me...I've messed with all the options on the Aquos and keep coming up empty.
 

Brakeman_Brewing

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Does the reciever for your dish have a separate coax input for antenna? My dad has a Direct TV receiever that has an extra input for that exact purpose, I helped him rig it up to a big antenna on the roof and it brings in the OTA HD local feeds just fine.

Another thing I can think of is some TVs have a digital coax in, and an analog coax in, but it sounds like youve tried both.

EDIT: The antenna input on the tv may be default 4:3 so it cant convert the 16:9 image.
 
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Evan! said:
I went to Radio Shack, and the salesman said that the $35 Radio Shack brand amplified indoor antenna (with two telescoping antennas and one loop in the middle) would do the trick for me.
Trusting a RS salesman is always risky proposition. I'd say that's a very poor choice for a HD antenna. Furthermore, the amplifier probably does little more than raising the noise floor of the signal.

Personally, I use the same directional VHF/UHF antenna that has been on my roof for over a decade. I have an inline splitter, the UHF side of which is feeding my LG HD receiver. Works great, and picks up dozens of digital channels, including spectacularly clear HD channels from the major networks.

For an indoor antenna, you really need something highly directional. I suggest something like the Zenith "Silver Sensor," at around $20. With this (or any directional antenna) you'll need to determine the correct compass direction for your local stations. Usually all the broadcasters in a given area share the same mountain peak or transmitting tower.



Zenith Silver Sensor
 

sause

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I use the preverbible "bunny ears" and get every digital channel in quite well.
 
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sause said:
I use the preverbible "bunny ears" and get every digital channel in quite well.
I gather you're in a strong signal area, with an unobstructed line of sight to the transmitters.

Here's a great site to help determine your antenna needs, as well as what direction to point them.

AntennaWeb.org
 

sause

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BlindLemonLars said:
I gather you're in a strong signal area, with an unobstructed line of sight to the transmitters.

Here's a great site to help determine your antenna needs, as well as what direction to point them.

AntennaWeb.org
Actually no. Nobody can get over two bars of cell phone reseption in my house. And I can't see more than four blocks in any direction.
 

Dude

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BlindLemonLars said:
Trusting a RS salesman is always risky proposition. I'd say that's a very poor choice for a HD antenna. Furthermore, the amplifier probably does little more than raising the noise floor of the signal.

Personally, I use the same directional VHF/UHF antenna that has been on my roof for over a decade. I have an inline splitter, the UHF side of which is feeding my LG HD receiver. Works great, and picks up dozens of digital channels, including spectacularly clear HD channels from the major networks.

For an indoor antenna, you really need something highly directional. I suggest something like the Zenith "Silver Sensor," at around $20. With this (or any directional antenna) you'll need to determine the correct compass direction for your local stations. Usually all the broadcasters in a given area share the same mountain peak or transmitting tower.



Zenith Silver Sensor
I've used that one with good results. However, I could get certain channels and not others, so I went with a powered unit and don't have as many problems. An OTA signal is beautiful, provided I move the damn antenna around the room and find the right spot.

Evan, I'm not sure why you are getting audio and not video--that shouldn't happen. They aren't separate signals.

It has to be an issue with your receiver (the antenna should be going through your cable/satellite reciever, right?) or your TV settings.

On my direcTV receiver, it has an OTA signal setting in the menu. You have to hook up the OTA antenna to the OTA output on the receiver and scan the channels. Once the receiver knows the channels, it is just a matter of tweaking the antenna to get a good signal.

This is the one I use, incidentally also from Radio Shack. I'd recommend it--it can be used in or outdoors and is pretty small and manageable.
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2253765&cp=2032057.2032187.2032189.2032205&parentPage=family
 
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sause said:
Actually no. Nobody can get over two bars of cell phone reseption in my house. And I can't see more than four blocks in any direction.
Cellphone reception has absolutely no bearing on TV reception. Cellphone towers are all over the place, usually at a relatively low altitude, with a correspondingly short range. Normally there is just one TV broadcast tower location serving a community, ideally high upon a mountain peak where it can reach a huge radius.

If you are picking up strong HD signals on rabbit ears, you are lucky enough to be in a strong signal area. The rest of us need to use a little RF science to pick up our OTA signals.

Plugging the zipcode for Menomonee Falls into the site I mentioned confirms this. A small omnidirectional antenna should work fine in your area, as is your experience.

Evan's zipcode provides much different results, and calls for a medium-size, multi-element, directional rooftop antenna. Which jives with his failure with rabbit ears.
 
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Evan!

Evan!

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Well what do you know. I got it working! I tried running it through the Satellite receiver like Stimey said. I tried that last night too, but never went the extra step to actually look at the op manual for the receiver.

:drunk: :cross:

So anyway, all I had to do was run it through the "antenna in" on the sat receiver, and then use the menu on the sat to search for locals...and what do you know!? It's sweet---it actually put the channels right into the satellite guide and color-coded them yellow. Awesome. And the picture looks fantastic. Thanks!!!
 
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Evan!

Evan!

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BlindLemonLars said:
Evan's zipcode provides much different results, and calls for a medium-size, multi-element, directional rooftop antenna. Which jives with his failure with rabbit ears.
Actually...it works great. Just some kind of problem with the TV input. Might be the aspect ratio problem that Stimey was talking about...but now, I get the HD locals perfectly, and that's down in my basement, too.
 
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Evan! said:
So anyway, all I had to do was run it through the "antenna in" on the sat receiver, and then use the menu on the sat to search for locals...and what do you know!? It's sweet---it actually put the channels right into the satellite guide and color-coded them yellow. Awesome. And the picture looks fantastic. Thanks!!!
Cool, glad you got it going! That's the way the DirecTV HD receivers handle OTA content, so it makes sense that your Dish gear would work the same way. Sometimes reading the manual is a good thing! :ban:

Does your receiver have any means of measuring the signal strength? For the most part DTV reception is an "all or nothing" proposition, it either works or it doesn't, with very little middle ground. You may get a little pixelation, but nothing like the problems that plague weak analog signals...ghosts, herringbone interference, static & sparkles, etc. With some channels I have a barely measurable signal strength, but the picture is still flawless.
 
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Evan!

Evan!

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BlindLemonLars said:
Cool, glad you got it going! That's the way the DirecTV HD receivers handle OTA content, so it makes sense that your Dish gear would work the same way. Sometimes reading the manual is a good thing! :ban:

Does your receiver have any means of measuring the signal strength? For the most part DTV reception is an "all or nothing" proposition, it either works or it doesn't, with very little middle ground. You may get a little pixelation, but nothing like the problems that plague weak analog signals...ghosts, herringbone interference, static & sparkles, etc. With some channels I have a barely measurable signal strength, but the picture is still flawless.
Yeah, it measure them on a scale of 1-100, which comes up if I press the display/info buttons. I'm getting 70 on Fox as we speak, and it's as clear as the HD channels from the Dish. It's nice living in town! I was surprised...I had no idea that OTA HD was that clear.
 

sause

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In all actually it should be better. Cable/Dish have to compress the signal to send it while it can can sent out uncompressed via OTA.
 
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Evan!

Evan!

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Well, my eyes can't see much of a qual dif between that and the Equator channel.
 

Bobby_M

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You have the dish 622 right? Did you know you can record THREE different shows simultaneously when one of them is an OTA? So Fing cool..

I have an antenna in my attic that works. Unfortunatly it's not good enough to get the signal through summer growth trees. I lose a few of my networks in the middle of summer. I might have to put it up on my roof to get them all year.
 

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BlindLemonLars said:
For an indoor antenna, you really need something highly directional.
Close, but not quite. You really don't need a directional antenna unless you're stuck in a valley or trying to pickup a signal over 30 miles away. Right now all you need is something that can pick up UHF channels centered around channel 40 or so. I made a simple antenna out of some 300-ohm wire attached to a 4:1 balum and it works great. The problem is that once they shut down the analog stations in 2009 most TV stations will probably move their digital broadcasts back to their VHF frequencies. With that a simple set of bunny ears will work rather well.
 
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adx said:
Close, but not quite. You really don't need a directional antenna unless you're stuck in a valley or trying to pickup a signal over 30 miles away.
Again, it's all about location! I'm over 30 miles from Mt. Wilson where all the Los Angeles transmitters are located, and the only indoor antenna that's going to work well is something that has "gain" in the form of directional sensitivity. Particularly indoors, at low elevation and through walls that absorb or reflect most of the RF energy. A little UHF loop isn't going to work at all in such a situation.

I do agree that specific "HD" antennas aren't necessary, and are mostly marketing hype. The typical old fashioned VHF/UHF aerial that most of us in older houses already have on the roof does a nice job in most locations, providing it's pointed in the right direction and the coax is not too lossy at UHF frequencies. In fact, if you currently have good reception of UHF analog signals, the same antenna should do a nice job with digital broadcasts.
 
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Short Drive said:
I made this and it works great.
Pull in all my HD channels.

Link
to the plans.
Very nice! Not coincidentally, it looks very much like a common design for phased-stack bowtie UHF rooftop aerials. I've got one on my roof that looks like that, with the cardboard/foil reflector made with wire mesh instead...by the look of it, it's been up there several decades.
 

DUCCCC

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Resurrecting another thread here...

I got my FCC DTV converter coupons in the mail this last week. The day after they arrived I went to Radio Shack and picked up a Digital Stream Tuner/converter(I paid $49.99, but I see they're practicing capitalism and raising prices as the flood of coupons hits the streets), and a Radio Shack amplified antenna. I actually got two coupons from the FCC, and now I've used one, but I intend to buy another converter from somewhere else for comparison with the other coupon.

The setup is working decent, and the closest transmitter to me is over 10 miles away. The antenna has an adjustable gain, but for me anything less than max is useless. It is also finicky with direction, but that was expected as well. As about the cheapest amplified antenna I've seen it works well. The receiver is easy to use, and was a breeze to setup. I also liked the fact that once I had channels setup with the antenna in one location I was able to move the antenna and rescan to "update" channels rather than rewriting the memory, so I didn't lose the first ones even with the signal level being real low with the antenna re-aimed.

The channel selections in my area are a little sparse right now, but hopefully that'll change next year after the move to all digital. Of course I might not be such a cheapskate at that point and I'll get an LCD TV with a tuner by then, but for now this is pretty slick for those of us who are too cheap or stubborn to toss out a perfectly good tube TV.
 

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Glad you get the OTA Evan

I have been thinking of trying to improve my OTA reception as well
I get pretty good reception during the winter but in spring when the leaves grow on these huge trees in my neighborhood I lose quite a bit.

I have a fairly large flat roof and was thinking of building a DIY Antenna Mast;


Its two 4 by4 posts 8 ft long.
I was thinking some cinder block to anchor it in position.

From this mast i was planning on mounting my Satelite Dish/Antenna/Weather Station and Wireless.

OTA rocks :mug:


Cheers
BeerCanuck
 

DUCCCC

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As an update, I picked up a second receiver/converter today using the second $40 coupon from the FCC.

I got this Magnavox unit at Wal Mart.


I also purchased a Phillips from the same place.


I got a better deal than at Radio Shack, but the interface and onscreen programming on the Digital Stream unit are better than the Magnavox one. I haven't had a chance to swap out the antenna in the same place as the Radio Shack one, so I can't give a head to head comparison yet, but I intend to.
 

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Bump.

Anybody else other than ShortdDrive made their own "bowtie" antenna...?

Finally broke down, retired the analog set in bedroom, new digital one is working well enough off the rabbit ears, but there are so many good antenna designs on YouTube...!!
 

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Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is HomeBrewTalk, not AVTalk, but I thought maybe some of yous guys might be able to help me.

So I got a new Sharp Aquos LCDTV around Thanksgiving. We have Dish Network, so we got a new HD receiver and all works just fine thru HDMI...verrrry pretty! But for some stupid reason, Dish Network doesn't give us the major networks in HD...resulting in many NFL/NCAA games being in relatively terrible SD.

So I'd heard that you can pick up HD locals with an OTA HD antenna---we live right downtown, so we should be able to pick them all up. I went to Radio Shack, and the salesman said that the $35 Radio Shack brand amplified indoor antenna (with two telescoping antennas and one loop in the middle) would do the trick for me. So we got it yesterday and hooked it up:

I ran the coax cable from the antenna into the "cable/antenna" input on the back of the Aquos. I let it do an auto channel search and it found about 4 or 5 major channels. I went to the first one, 16, and it comes through for the standard analog version. But when I hit channel up once, it goes to the digital version (16.1), and the sound comes through crystal clear---but there's no video. It's the same for all the channels, too...I get audio and video for the analog version, but the digital versions are only audio---and nice stereo audio at that.

So, uh, why can't I pick up the video feed for the HD channels OTA?

Thanks for any help you can give me...I've messed with all the options on the Aquos and keep coming up empty.
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWQhlmJTMzw]YouTube - Coat Hanger HDTV Antenna![/ame]
 

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