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The only channel we miss since cutting the cord is HGTV...


computerquest said:   The only channel we miss since cutting the cord is HGTV...
  HGTV streams via internet. Probably not live (you couldn't pay ME to watch that network) but certainly out there for you.

TheMightyQuinn said:     
Uncompressed HDTV is nominally 1.485 Gbps while terrestial broadcast tops out around 18 Mbps.  I believe that's for the entire channel, and subchannels are often extrememly compressed.  Possibly better than cable and dish, but not "uncompressed". 

  
True.  Even with broadcast you can see the compression during moments of complex visuals.  Watch as a camera pans.  Watch when there is a wide-angle audiance shot of people applauding and cheering during a broadcast sporting event as a fade to black just begins. 

Smooth as silk analog fade to blacks are long gone.

wilked said:   
billmcdan said:   I would love to cut the cable but my wife would miss FOX NEWS and just might do me in. So, I think I am stuck.
  Problem solved
http://www.hulu.com/companies/76 

  Not quite.  Many places offer repeats of shows.  The only free live news from FOX is either from Fox News Live which is streamed only 3 hours per day, or maybe a big news event delivered by a local Fox broadcast channel.

I've been wanting to rebel and go to OTA, but I don't want to miss out on showtime series, MMA (PPV, Spike, FX), and AMC series.


How to make a fractal antenna for HDTV / DTV plus more on the cheap
Disclaimer

How to make a fractal antenna for HDTV / DTV plus more on the cheap
Disclaimer

How to make a fractal antenna for HDTV / DTV plus more on the cheap
Disclaimer

How to make a fractal antenna for HDTV / DTV plus more on the cheap
Disclaimer
For the handy and not-so-handy folks, here's How to make a fractal antenna for HDTV / DTV plus more on the cheap  at Instructables (Check out the "increased-fractal.pdf" design)

Anyone have advice for me? I live in the NYC area, and am 4 miles North East from stations. I am using a simply mohu leaf and get every channel perfectly, except that I don't get NBC at all. According to TV fool its in the same basic location as all the others. I'm in an aparment west of manhattan with South facing windows so I can direct something South West

wizwor said:   
billmcdan said:   I would love to cut the cable but my wife would miss FOX NEWS and just might do me in. So, I think I am stuck.
  
I can tell you that your personal serenity will grow exponentially if you do not have access to 7x24 news.  That said, a $50 Roku will get you access to all the cable news services and some other stuff.  Generally, it's not live, but most of the programs are available as collections of videos -- exactly what is available on their web site.  I like Fox and Friends, so I choose the first episode from the most recent airing and choose Play All.  Fox streams continuously until I stop it.  

My sage advice to you is to grab a Roku and see what the wife thinks BEFORE cutting the cable.  I HIGHLY recommend a Roku 2 XS refurb...

http://thebeersoncomcast.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/time-to-buy-a-roku/ 
http://bensoutlet.com/products/roku-2-xs-streaming 
 

I think it's quite the opposite, your critical thinking skills are inversely proportional to amount of Fox News you watch (or MSNBC, for that matter).  

brsboarder said:   Anyone have advice for me? I live in the NYC area, and am 4 miles North East from stations. I am using a simply mohu leaf and get every channel perfectly, except that I don't get NBC at all. According to TV fool its in the same basic location as all the others. I'm in an aparment west of manhattan with South facing windows so I can direct something South West
Is the NBC a VHF station? The Mohu has a better range for UHF.
Are you using the powered option?

I made something similar to this that hangs on my wall. I pull in all kinds of stations that the fancy $$ antennas couldn't. http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how-to/tv/build-your-own-digital-tv-antenna

g0dMAn said:   I've been wanting to rebel and go to OTA, but I don't want to miss out on showtime series, MMA (PPV, Spike, FX), and AMC series.
 
All available and streaming online. If not directly through that company's website then they're out there elsewhere. Google is your friend.

bosbeemer said:   
johnny98 said:   

Yes, a dirty little secret of HDTV is that over-the-air broadcasts can have noticeably better video quality than the same channel over cable TV.


Funny, I have heard that many times and never have observed that.  I bet if one were to do a test, it would be 50-50.


 


This. Most people don't realize that the quality of over the air broadcast is much better than the HD signal over cable.

  

lemonhead said:   

 

  GREAT INFO - now, I just need to see what the HOA says about putting a roof mounted antenna on the house - I wonder if the FCC rules trump HOA for antenna just like the satellite dishes???You

 Your HOA can't outlaw antenna antenna installations.  FCC rules trump the HOA and you can put as big an antenna as you want anywhere on your property to receive the signals you want.  You could even install a 40 ft wide yagi style and they can't say no.

HOWEVER, the HOA *CAN* mandate preferred antenna placement *IF* the preferred placement doesn't negatively affect your ability to receive a signal (and the HOA and prove it).  For example, the HOA can request that you install a satellite dish or antenna on the rear part of your roof instead of the front (street facing side) for asthetic reasons, if you can still get a signal on the rear side of the roof.

Thanks for all this info!

Our new place has 40ft+ tower w/large antenna. Wires are severed half way down. Would love to see it up and working, but can't get anyone local to give free estimate for what it would take (go figure). Haven't climbed to top, so not sure what shape the drive is in. Gave up for awhile, but you've given me a jump start to keep on it  (cable bill due - not a pretty sight)


roof antenna
Disclaimer
is this better than a regular tv antenna? (see pic) i used to have one on the roof but never had a good reception..(that was before hdtv)..  have things improved? i would like to cut my cable off..

johnny98 said:   Note that this model is UHF-only. I own the UHF/VHF model, which works fantastic, especially if you have VHF channels in your area. I bought a refurb model from Amazon for $25. No problems. Amazon listing: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007RH5GZI 

Yes, a dirty little secret of HDTV is that over-the-air broadcasts can have noticeably better video quality than the same channel over cable TV.

  
RE:
Yes, a dirty little secret of HDTV is that over-the-air broadcasts can have noticeably better video quality than the same channel over cable TV.


Absolutely correct...

lexx said:   
wizwor said:   Secret to successfully transition to broadcast is the antenna. Putting the right antenna in the right place and pointing it correctly will provide most with a great picture, lots of programming, and a fatter wallet.

Visit http://tvfool.com      and run a report for your address to see what channels should be available to you, where they are, and what antenna will pull them in for you.
See what programming is available on those channels at http://titantv.com.     

The thing you will miss most about cable is your DVR. Recording programs for sure, but also pause and rewind ("What'd she say?"). Tivo is probably the best OTA DVR, but pretty expensive with a lifetime service plan. You can still find the venerable echostar DTVpal DVR (or it's channel master clones) on eBay. echostar and channel master are going to release a new DVR that combines OTA with OTT...

http://thebeersoncomcast.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/echostar-to-release-two-new-ota-dvrs/     





 

  oh cool i just happeen to have a TIVO 1 that i got at goodwill for $20 and guess what, it 's LIFTIME! 



Hope you like "blur-o-vision" as that is all you will get, after you add a digital tuner onto that analog recorder.  Oh, well, it is a DVR.
 

lemonhead said:   
wizwor said:   Secret to successfully transition to broadcast is the antenna. Putting the right antenna in the right place and pointing it correctly will provide most with a great picture, lots of programming, and a fatter wallet.

Visit http://tvfool.com    and run a report for your address to see what channels should be available to you, where they are, and what antenna will pull them in for you.
See what programming is available on those channels at http://titantv.com.   

The thing you will miss most about cable is your DVR. Recording programs for sure, but also pause and rewind ("What'd she say?"). Tivo is probably the best OTA DVR, but pretty expensive with a lifetime service plan. You can still find the venerable echostar DTVpal DVR (or it's channel master clones) on eBay. echostar and channel master are going to release a new DVR that combines OTA with OTT...

http://thebeersoncomcast.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/echostar-to-release-two-new-ota-dvrs/   

 

  GREAT INFO - now, I just need to see what the HOA says about putting a roof mounted antenna on the house - I wonder if the FCC rules trump HOA for antenna just like the satellite dishes???

  

That battle has been fought and won, numerous times.  Do a google search and print out the cases and hand them to the 1st person who says anything about it.  I gave to president of HOA as a pre-emptive measure when I put an antenna up.


My TVFool Report
Disclaimer
squanderer said:   is this better than a regular tv antenna? (see pic) i used to have one on the roof but never had a good reception..(that was before hdtv)..  have things improved? i would like to cut my cable off..
  
It is a regular tv antenna.  The answer to your question is that is depends.  There, I said it!

There is a process and you need to follow it unless you are very lucky, you've gotta ask yourself a question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?

Go to TVFool.com and run a report for your address.  Notice that there are three graphs.  Look at the top right chart.  It's ordered by the strength of the signal you can expect to receive.  All things being equal (they won't be), the stations at the top of the list should be strongest.  Also, note the call signs of the stations, the network, and the 'real'  channel.  Real channels 2-6 are VHF-lo and 7-13 are VHF-hi.  Everything above 13 is UHF.

Look at the networks and call signs and make a list of the stations you want to receive.  Separate vhf from uhf because it's trivial to join a vhf antenna pointed in one direction to a uhf antenna pointed in another.  If you are not sure what is on a particular channel, go to titantv.com and check out the guide for your local broadcast programming.

Now look at the polar chart to the left.  That shows you the direction of the stations relative to your address.  Mark the stations you want to recieve -- I use red for vhf and black for uhf.  Now you should have a feel for whether you need a big antenna or a small one or separate uhf and vhf or a rotor.  All you have to do is find the right equipment.  Look at the attached image.  It's my fool report superimposed with a compass and the characteristics of a 91XG.

The red line is the orientation of my VHF antenna -- a y10-7-13.  The green line is the orientation of my UHF antenna -- a 91xg.  I have no problem picking up the vhf stations on the y10-7-13.  UHF is trickier because I am at the fringe of some stations and have 1edge conditions to deal with.  WBIN and the ION station at the top are pretty tricky because the 91xg has a narrow beam and pointing it to receive the stations reliably puts others at risk.  Since I have other ION stations and WBIN is not particularly compelling, this works for me.  I *could* put the antenna on a rotor if I really wanted to get these stations, but we have seven televisions and DVR a lot of stuff, so I prefer stationary antennas.

BTW, the compass is only for establishing a starting point.  You are going to want to use a television or a device with a signal strength meter for fine tuning.  My Samsung tv has a crude tool.  My DTVPal DVR has an awesome tool and it's worth the $200 to have one of these in your house even if you never pause, rewind, or record anything.  Also, conditions change with time of day, weather, and season.  It will take a while before you have an optimal setup.

That is what the process looks like.  Chances are your situation is less challenging than mine. 

Have fun!

PS the punk quote is dirty harry, so don't be offended



 

StarEID said:   Thanks for all this info!

Our new place has 40ft+ tower w/large antenna. Wires are severed half way down. Would love to see it up and working, but can't get anyone local to give free estimate for what it would take (go figure). Haven't climbed to top, so not sure what shape the drive is in. Gave up for awhile, but you've given me a jump start to keep on it  (cable bill due - not a pretty sight)

I'd say you are lucky to have a 40' tower, but unless everything up top is and stays perfect, I'm not sure you are.  I've had an antenna in my attic for three years and it works great.  I've decided to move it outside to get some iffy channels.  I have no interest in walking on a roof -- petrified of heights -- and the cost of a telescoping mast was discouraging.  I found some surplus military mast on eBay and am giving that a go.  I'm putting it in a blind spot on my house and attaching with 18" standoffs.  It sits on a swivel stake that goes throught a hole in a steel plate.  Each four foot section is 1.75" and weighs less that two pounds.  I have stood up 30' of this mast by myself.  So easily, in fact, that I will be able to do the same once it is load with two antennas and associated hardware.  It is attached to the house at 6' and 20' with 10' above the roofline and the two antennas mounted in the top 30" of mast.  Ground wire runs down the mast to a ground rod.  

The objective is to be able to work on the antenna on the ground and only climb a ladder to disconnect from the two standoffs.

wizwor said:   
squanderer said:   is this better than a regular tv antenna? (see pic) i used to have one on the roof but never had a good reception..(that was before hdtv)..  have things improved? i would like to cut my cable off..
  
It is a regular tv antenna.  The answer to your question is that is depends.  There, I said it!

There is a process and you need to follow it unless you are very lucky, you've gotta ask yourself a question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?

Go to TVFool.com and run a report for your address.  Notice that there are three graphs.  Look at the top right chart.  It's ordered by the strength of the signal you can expect to receive.  All things being equal (they won't be), the stations at the top of the list should be strongest.  Also, note the call signs of the stations, the network, and the 'real'  channel.  Real channels 2-6 are VHF-lo and 7-13 are VHF-hi.  Everything above 13 is UHF.

Look at the networks and call signs and make a list of the stations you want to receive.  Separate vhf from uhf because it's trivial to join a vhf antenna pointed in one direction to a uhf antenna pointed in another.  If you are not sure what is on a particular channel, go to titantv.com and check out the guide for your local broadcast programming.

Now look at the polar chart to the left.  That shows you the direction of the stations relative to your address.  Mark the stations you want to recieve -- I use red for vhf and black for uhf.  Now you should have a feel for whether you need a big antenna or a small one or separate uhf and vhf or a rotor.  All you have to do is find the right equipment.  Look at the attached image.  It's my fool report superimposed with a compass and the characteristics of a 91XG.

The red line is the orientation of my VHF antenna -- a y10-7-13.  The green line is the orientation of my UHF antenna -- a 91xg.  I have no problem picking up the vhf stations on the y10-7-13.  UHF is trickier because I am at the fringe of some stations and have 1edge conditions to deal with.  WBIN and the ION station at the top are pretty tricky because the 91xg has a narrow beam and pointing it to receive the stations reliably puts others at risk.  Since I have other ION stations and WBIN is not particularly compelling, this works for me.  I *could* put the antenna on a rotor if I really wanted to get these stations, but we have seven televisions and DVR a lot of stuff, so I prefer stationary antennas.

BTW, the compass is only for establishing a starting point.  You are going to want to use a television or a device with a signal strength meter for fine tuning.  My Samsung tv has a crude tool.  My DTVPal DVR has an awesome tool and it's worth the $200 to have one of these in your house even if you never pause, rewind, or record anything.  Also, conditions change with time of day, weather, and season.  It will take a while before you have an optimal setup.

That is what the process looks like.  Chances are your situation is less challenging than mine. 

Have fun!

PS the punk quote is dirty harry, so don't be offended




 

  

OR, just order cable TV

People look at television in different ways. I don't think it's particularly useful to try to convince the world that one way is better than the others. I just try to let people know what the options are -- hopefully, providing sufficient information that they can make an informed decision they will not regret.

I love television and have no memory of there being no television. I have embraced every iteration from broadcast to cable to satellite and back to cable then broadcast with a smattering of OTT. I think cable is amazing but our favorite premium provider was Dish.

My decision to cut the cable was a complicated one. Ronald Reagan famously said, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me." I feel the same way about Comcast. I didn't leave because their prices were too high. I left because, increasingly, their service did not meet my needs. The idea that I needed a box to watch HD channels did not appeal to me. HBO going from movies I wanted to see to nitwits talking sports and politics did not appeal to me. Waking to infomercials did not appeal to me. But there was more to the decision than that. I live in rural New Hampshire and deregulation of the utilities has lead to routine power outages of a week or more. When the power is off, cable doesn't work. We have all installed generators, but Comcast has done nothing at their end. Consequently, when you need news and entertainment the most, there is none.

My OTA adventure began during one of these outages. I installed a small antenna we take camping in my attic during a week long outage. To my delight, we received dozens of channels and the quality was amazing. When the power and cable were restored, I left the tv in my bedroom attached to the antenna. As Comcast moved more channels to areas that required a box, my kids asked to be attached to the antenna. The rest, as they say, is history.

We have seven televisions -- five that are used regularly. The five all have a Roku and a DTVPal DVR attached. Some also have SMP-N200s and Blu-ray players. The one in my bedroom/office has a PC attached. That PC runs Playon, Plex and WMC. We have a WII, a PS3, and an xBox 360. All of these devices are, to some extent, media centers. The xBox, of course is a media center extender. We have a Chromecast -- which I think may be a game changer...just not this week.

When we cut the cable, there was some remorse about loss of programming. Not HBO or Showtime, but the History Channel and the Food Network. To remedy this, I bought the Rokus and a lifetime subscription to Playon. The big problem, though, was the loss of the DVR. I did not expect this. I had been monitoring DVR use in the months before we cut over and it was nil. Bonnie Hunt and Who Wants to be a Millionaire were the only shows recorded. What I did not realize is that there was another use for the DVR -- PAUSE. It turns out that my wife actually answers the phone and she was in the habit of pausing whatever she was watching while she gabbed. And, during Jeopardy, she pauses the program to ponder the tough questions. She also hit the rewind button a lot. Not just in football games. So we needed something. I looked at MythTV, XBMC, Plex, Boxee, and all the PC based solutions. They were all pretty expensive and a lot different than we were accustomed to.

We had loved Dish. It was the best premium provider we had ever had and we liked the interface a lot, so the DTVPal was familiar and quickly embraced. It's been three years and all five have performed flawlessly. When Rovi pulled the plug on TVGOS, PSIP was good enough. The kids probably watch Netflix and YouTube more than anything, the wife is about 50/50 broadcast and Netflix, but I still mostly watch broadcast television. I'm old, so most of my vast DVD collection predates the ban on format shifting. I purchased box sets of my favorite shows and hundreds and hundreds of movies.

I've put some effort into figuring these things out and some more into building an infrastucture that supports my family's needs.  In exchange, I watch what I want when I want and save about $100 a month.  Going forward, I expect broadcast to offer better value for the same money while cable offers less value for more money.  For instance, I have CBS while TWC customers do not.  We added a 24x7 fox movie channel in May and will get a 7x24 Sony movie channel in October.  When the power goes out this winter, my family will huddle around a warm plasma tv with a lot of programming.  Our neighbors will call the cell phone to see what we have seen on the news.  We may add satellite or cable in the future if things change a lot, but most of my seven televisions will remain on free broadcast tv,

EradicateSpam;17928513 said:As mentioned, key is antenna placement - not the antenna. You can make a great antenna from a piece of wood, coat hangers, screws, and some antenna wire. Videos all over Youtube. I'm further than 30 miles and I have great reception.
  
The one in the OP probably works about the same as a double bowtie (DB4) built from any of the free internet plans.
Unfortunately for me, my local Channel 3 still brocasts on 3. Channel 10 comes in OK on a double bowtie, partly because it's the strongest station for me.
If you want decent VHF-low reception (channels 2-6), you pretty much need a big old fashioned VHF antenna.
You can get VHF-hi (7-13) with a folded dipole described here: http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/loops/folded

jaimelobo said:   
brsboarder said:   Anyone have advice for me? I live in the NYC area, and am 4 miles North East from stations. I am using a simply mohu leaf and get every channel perfectly, except that I don't get NBC at all. According to TV fool its in the same basic location as all the others. I'm in an aparment west of manhattan with South facing windows so I can direct something South West
Is the NBC a VHF station? The Mohu has a better range for UHF.
Are you using the powered option?

   WNBC (Virtual channel 4) broadcasts on UHF channel 28 from Manhattan, most likely the Empire State Building. 

squanderer said:   is this better than a regular tv antenna? (see pic) i used to have one on the roof but never had a good reception..(that was before hdtv)..  have things improved? i would like to cut my cable off..
  It depends on your geographic location and what you want to view. The picure if for a combo UHF/VHF antenna and will work great for some locations and not for others. Enter your address into tvfool and determine what type of channels you're interested in (UHF and/or VHF) and the typical signal strenght at your location. You may be able to use a simple antenna or you might need something complex due to multi-channel or distance from the transmitters.

Dano



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