TV Fool

TV Fool (http://forum.tvfool.com/index.php)
-   Help With Reception (http://forum.tvfool.com/forumdisplay.php?f=7)
-   -   antenna recommendation in NC (http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=1747)

dcp12345678 4-Jun-2011 8:57 PM

antenna recommendation in NC
 
We currently do not have any existing antenna, wiring, etc. All we have is the "broadcast cable" from our cable company (~$10 per month) which gives us the basic networks. This has worked great for us for many years with our circa 1992 RCA TV. However, we are looking to upgrade our TV since the RCA acts up a bit at times, and I don't think the newer LED/Plasma/LCD TVs work very well with standard definition cable, which is what we currently have. I really don't want to pay for digital cable (which will jack up our cable bill tremendously), so I'm considering getting an antenna, which will also save us $10 per month.

Here's the TV fool report.

Our "must have" stations are NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, ION, MyTV, and CW.

Currently, we will be connecting only one TV to the antenna. We may at some point connect others, but not likely since we will probably only have one TV in the house.

I'd really like to avoid getting a rotator if I can, but unfortunately, many of these stations are well over 90 degrees apart.

I don't mind getting multiple antennas, but I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not since some of what I've read says that it will hurt your signal.

What do you recommend? Thanks for your time.

John Candle 5-Jun-2011 12:08 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
 
All the channels you will like to receive are UHF channels , and are easy to receive with one UHF antenna. I suggest a Antenna Craft U4000 Uhf antenna pointed at about 110 degree magnetic compass. Here is how to point Tv antennas , http://www.kyes.com/antenna/pointing/pointing.html. The stations to the 'east north' WGPX 14 ION at 85 degree magnetic compass to WGHP 35 Fox 'east south' at 134 degree magnetic compass will be received. The stations WXII-DT 31 NBC and WUNL-Tv 32 PBS to the north are Very Strong Stations and will be easley received through the back side of the antenna. So one antenna will do it. The antenna needs to be roof mounted. http://radioshack.com has the Antenna Craft antennas.

dcp12345678 5-Jun-2011 12:27 AM

Thanks for your reply. Would a stronger antenna, such as one of the high-powered Winegards, be of any value to me them? Like, would I be able to get some extra stations on that list? Or do you think the antenna-craft is good enough? I don't mind spending more on an antenna if it will work better and potentially get me more stations.

John Candle 5-Jun-2011 1:44 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
 
The U4000 was chosen because it has a 'wide beam width' for the reception of stations to the east north and east south and the strong stations to the north will be received through the back side of the antenna. The stations are strong enough to receive with the U4000. . The bigger a Tv antennas is , the narrower the beam width will be and will receive more signal to the front side of the antenna and less signal from the side and back of the antenna. The 2 groups of stations to the south west have adjacent channel warnings and co-channel warnings , this will make them harder to receive with a separate antenna pointed in that direction and there are no new networks to receive at the south west direction. If you will like to try and receive them any way then a separate antenna can be installed , I suggest a Clear Stream 4 antenna pointed at about 215 degree magnetic compass. . A coax from each antenna will need to be brought to the Tv location and connected to a remote control A/B antenna switch so as to switch from one antenna to the other, the remote control A/B antenna switches to use are the AB27RS or radio shack 15-1968. Do not connect the 2 antennas together at the same time on to one coax down lead.

John Candle 5-Jun-2011 1:58 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
 
When multipul antennas are connected Separately do not hurt reception. 2 different antennas like a UHF antenna and a VHF antenna can be connected with a UHF-VHF combiner and thats Ok. However when 2 of the same type of antenna are connected together and pointed in different directions with a reversed 2 way splitter then reception will be degraded.

dcp12345678 5-Jun-2011 2:11 AM

Thanks for the detailed and educational reply. I think I will follow your advice and go with the U4000 since it seems like it will meet my needs just fine and get me the channels I need.

And just to be clear, you're saying no rotator will be necessary with this antenna, right?

Do you think a mast mount would be sufficient for this antenna? I really am not keen on the tripod mount and I don't have a chimney so the mast mount seems like the best option. Do they sell the mast mounts at radio shack as well? Also, how high does it need to be mounted?

Thanks again for all the help. I was about to buy once of those HD Stacker antennas and I'm so glad I found this site before I did!

John Candle 5-Jun-2011 7:27 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
 
No rotator is needed. Roof top height will be fine. Not sure what you mean by mast mount because all most all outdoor Tv antennas are mounted on a mast. A peak of the roof eave mount also known as a peak of the roof gable mount will work fine. http://www.sadoun.com/Sat/Products/Perfect/PVEM1.gif* . Winegard model number SW-0012

John Candle 5-Jun-2011 8:05 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
 
Here are places to buy Tv antennas and etc.. , http://www.solidsignal.com , http://www.3starinc.com , http://www.starkelectronic.com , http://www.amazon.com . Read and understand about , REAL Digital Tv Channels , Virtual Digital Broadcast Tv Channels , Analog Broadcast Tv Channels , http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=695

dcp12345678 5-Jun-2011 11:38 AM

Yes, that's the type of roof mount I meant, sorry for using the wrong terminology.

Thanks again for your recommendations. We will probably be getting the new TV in the near future, and I will proceed with getting the antenna and mount at that point.

As far as getting the antenna wire into the house, what kind of wire should we get for the antenna, and do most people just drill a hole through the siding? My plan is to come into the attic and then drop the line down over our fireplace (gas logs) because we want to mount the TV over our fireplace. I've never done this sort of thing before (drilling a hole in the side of my house) so I'm a little nervous about it.

John Candle 6-Jun-2011 8:50 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
 
RG-6 coax is the coax to use. . Drill the holes size so the connector on the end of the coax will go through the hole. The number one mistake that people make when drilling holes is making the holes too small. . Drill the hole through one side of a wall , ceiling , floor. Remove the drill bit from the wall , ceiling , floor , and with a flash light look inside and see if any thing is in the the path of continued drilling like , wiring or pipes. Can all so use a wire coat hanger to feel around with. Why would you put a Tv above a fire place?? You will get a crick in your neck from looking up all the time if it's in the living room.

dcp12345678 6-Jun-2011 8:54 AM

"You will get a crick in your neck from looking up all the time if it's in the living room. "

We are planning to move the furniture to the opposite side of the room so the "look up" effect will be minimized.

One reason we want it up higher is to keep it away from small children. The other is to give us more room in our living room, since putting it above the fireplace will free up a lot of space as we'll no longer need a TV stand.

dcp12345678 4-Jul-2011 1:55 AM

I have some more questions regarding this topic. I was reading about how one of the folks here (GroundUrMast I believe) was running Windows Media Center. I am thinking of doing the same thing, but I'm a bit confused on some things:

1) Do I need to buy a TV tuner? I think the HomeRun Silicion Dust one was the one GroundUrMast used.

2) Does the computer need to be on all the time to be able to use Windows Media Center on the TV? I have a laptop which is only on when I use it (I hibernate it at other times), and this is the only computer we have.

3) How do I get the sound from the computer to the TV?

4) How do you switch between "tv mode" and "computer mode" when using the laptop, or is this even necessary? In other words, I have a docking station for my laptop. It has a VGA plug and DVI_D plug. I use the DVI_D plug for the onitor, but how will I get the TV picture from media center to the TV? Will I have to use the VGA plug for that? In other words, how will I be able to use this as a regular computer and also as a media center computer for my TV?

Thanks.

GroundUrMast 5-Jul-2011 3:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dcp12345678 (Post 9433)
...

1) Do I need to buy a TV tuner? I think the HomeRun Silicion Dust one was the one GroundUrMast used.

2) Does the computer need to be on all the time to be able to use Windows Media Center on the TV? I have a laptop which is only on when I use it (I hibernate it at other times), and this is the only computer we have.

3) How do I get the sound from the computer to the TV?

4) How do you switch between "tv mode" and "computer mode" when using the laptop, or is this even necessary? In other words, I have a docking station for my laptop. It has a VGA plug and DVI_D plug. I use the DVI_D plug for the onitor, but how will I get the TV picture from media center to the TV? Will I have to use the VGA plug for that? In other words, how will I be able to use this as a regular computer and also as a media center computer for my TV?

Thanks.

A1: I use the SiliconDust HDHR. It is no longer available, it is superseded by the well reviewed HDHR3. Hauppauge is a competing tuner vendor which is used by many.

A2: The computer needs to be on and connected to the TV to use a network or computer attached tuner.

A3: Our laptop has an HDMI interface which supports audio and video via the same cable. If your laptop lacks HDMI it may not have the 'horsepower' to process and display 1080p video. My TVs also have VGA and analog audio ports.

A4: The laptop will not need to switch modes, Media Center runs as an application on Windows. It will not be practical to multitask TV viewing and other applications though. If you laptop's video card supports multiple displays, you may be able to connect the TV via the VGA port. If not, you may need to change video adapter settings as you switch from computer monitor to TV monitor.

The ideal solution is to use a dedicated Home Theater PC for frequent TV viewing. We use our laptop for TV viewing occasionally, it is not the primary 'TV' in the house. My desktop PC is my primary PVR/DVR, a task that uses far less 'horsepower' than actual rendering and display of video. I can multitask while recording OTA 1080p and lower bit rate programs.

dcp12345678 5-Jul-2011 10:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GroundUrMast (Post 9466)
A1: I use the SiliconDust HDHR. It is no longer available, it is superseded by the well reviewed HDHR3. Hauppauge is a competing tuner vendor which is used by many.

A2: The computer needs to be on and connected to the TV to use a network or computer attached tuner.

A3: Our laptop has an HDMI interface which supports audio and video via the same cable. If your laptop lacks HDMI it may not have the 'horsepower' to process and display 1080p video. My TVs also have VGA and analog audio ports.

A4: The laptop will not need to switch modes, Media Center runs as an application on Windows. It will not be practical to multitask TV viewing and other applications though. If you laptop's video card supports multiple displays, you may be able to connect the TV via the VGA port. If not, you may need to change video adapter settings as you switch from computer monitor to TV monitor.

The ideal solution is to use a dedicated Home Theater PC for frequent TV viewing. We use our laptop for TV viewing occasionally, it is not the primary 'TV' in the house. My desktop PC is my primary PVR/DVR, a task that uses far less 'horsepower' than actual rendering and display of video. I can multitask while recording OTA 1080p and lower bit rate programs.

Thanks a lot for your answers. It looks like I can get a cable to support the HDMI interface (http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/p...-1271#Overview) for my laptop.

So you have a dedicated PC for TV viewing on your main TV then? Did you buy this TV specifically for your home theater setup and nothing else? Do you keep this TV in close proximity to your main TV? That's the other thing I'm struggling with because our laptop is in the office and our TV is in the den, so we would have to have some pretty long HDMI cable to run it to the TV. I just wondered how you did this with your setup.

Thanks again for the helpful info.

GroundUrMast 5-Jul-2011 5:00 PM

Most TV viewing in our home is done on one of two conventional LED flat panel TVs using the built-in tuners. (Both are equipped with one or more HDMI ports.) The primary antenna feed covers most of the stations/networks of interest. For those programs that are available only from one of the alternate fixed aim antennas, I will record on the desktop PC and delay viewing, or I can temporarily connect the laptop to the large screen TV and view in real time. I often view live or recorded TV on my desktop monitor.

I keep making progress on helping aging parents, grand-kids, the basement remodel, HTPC build and experimental antenna builds. None of which seems to get finished... yet.

I would find it impractical to use my wife's laptop for HTPC duty when she needs it for other applications. (Read that: "she would not like that at all".)

dcp12345678 5-Jul-2011 5:45 PM

My main goals are as follows:

1) Switch from cable to antenna. We current have "bare bones" basic cable and just get basic channels in standard definition with this, but it will look bad on the newer TVs, so we are trying to decide on alternatives. The antenna seems like a good choice since we only watch major networks anyway, and saving the $10/month for basic cable is more of an added benefit.

2) I'd like to be able to watch hulu (standard free version, not the paid hulu plus version) and other network tv stuff for free. That's the reason I was considering media center since it would allow us to do this. Of course, it sounds like for the media center setup it's best to get a dedicated PC. I don't really care about DVR capability, but it would be an added bonus. Are there any other ways (besides media center) you know of to get the hulu to the new tv without going through the subscription based stuff? For example, I know google tv blocks hulu. We were looking at some of the samsung smart tv's, and the high end ones have a browser in them but I don't know if they block hulu or not either. Media center seems to be the safest bet.

I'm just not real keen on buying a dedicated PC for tv, but at the same time, I'd really like to be able to watch stuff like hulu since it would be cool to watch stuff that I missed, or shows that I can't get on the antenna channels.

Thanks again for the advice, I really appreciate your time.

John Candle 5-Jul-2011 6:45 PM

Media Center
 
Check out Western Digitals media center products. http://www.wdc.com

dcp12345678 5-Jul-2011 7:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Candle (Post 9483)
Check out Western Digitals media center products. http://www.wdc.com

Thanks John for the suggestion. I checked out their WD TV Live Hub (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=570) but like most of the other set top solutions, it seems geared more toward subscription based content. From the site:

"Choose from over 10,000 titles from CinemaNow and Blockbuster On Demand, or access your Netflix unlimited membership and watch TV episodes and movies on your big screen.*
* CinemaNow account (US only), Blockbuster online membership (US only), or Netflix unlimited membership required (US and Canada only)."

The only definite solution I've seen so far that looks to support watching the hulu site for free is media center, which is more or less just using your big screen as a computer monitor, as I understand it. I'm just checking to see any one knows of other solutions, or what others have done.

John Candle 5-Jul-2011 7:53 PM

Media Center
 
These places have wireless and wired devices for connection between computer and Tv. http://www.ramelectronics.net , http://www.tigerdirect.com. And ChannelMaster has some devices , http://www.channelmaster.com/Home_Ne...MoCA_s/284.htm. There are many more computer to Tv wireless adapters. Type in , wireless computer to Tv adapters , in the Google search box. Also some Tv's and other devices now have the internet built in.

GroundUrMast 6-Jul-2011 5:25 AM

It sounds like you can connect your laptop to your TV with just a Dell adapter and an HDMI cable. Then you can view Youtube, Hulu, Netflix, etc. via the browser (IE, Firefox, etc.) on your TV. Without a tuner the laptop would not have DVR/PVR capability.

If I were in your situation, I would start by connecting the existing TV to the new OTA antenna. Take a look at the quality and stability of the channels received, then decide if you really need (or want) additional channels or functionality that would require more equipment.

If your TV has a built-in digital tuner capable of 1080i resolution, an external tuner is not going to offer a better picture. I find 'everything on one remote' far more user friendly than multiple remotes.

The reason I have chosen to purchase network attached tuners does not apply to everyone, I certainly am not trying to sell a particular solution or product as 'one size fits all'. Someone who is uncomfortable with laptops, PCs, Ethernet switches and related systems and software may find the network attached tuner more difficult to setup and use. The Channel Master and Western Digital products may be a better fit for some. I would recommend that you take advantage of the reviews of the various products at Amazon... you will usually find a wide range of tech savvy and ability represented by the population of reviewers. It's often fairly obvious that some products are aimed at a highly skilled or less skilled consumer.

You can rate yourself better than I can.

SVTarHeel 7-Jul-2011 2:08 PM

I also live in Winston-Salem, across town from the OP, so I thought I would just add to this post in case others ran across it in their search for local info.

We recently switched from TWC to DirecTV. I use the OTA signal as a backup in the event of storm interference and would potentially like to add a better antenna than the inexpensive Radio Shack DTV rabbit ears I currently have (adjustable rabbit ears with a loop). Since the DTV switchover, this antenna has generally been pretty good at getting our local stations.

Also, I recently purchased a DirecTV OTA tuner so I can add the digital subchannels to the list of 'DVR-able' stations. Currently, I have split the signal from the antenna so that it goes into both the TV's tuner and the DirecTV OTA tuner. Currently, the antenna sits beside the TV - the distance to the TV is < 3' and the distance to the OTA tuner is about the same.

When I did the original scan for the DirecTV receiver (during the overnight hours), it missed about half of the available channels. I rescanned the next morning, and it got most of the missed ones. I tried later in the day and it found everything it should have. When I tried recording a movie from a local station's subchannel, there were a lot of lost signal issues during the recording. I'm wondering if I could solve that problem with an amplifier of some type or if the issue is likely due more to the inexpensive antenna.

Let me also say that I'm firmly in the 'something for nothing' camp - I'd like to make OTA into a usable backup for us, but, since it's not our primary reception option, I'm hesitant to spend $50 for an antenna, $50 for an amp, etc., just to add redundancy that will not be used that often.

Here's the link to my street level report: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...81a31bc0ee76e2

As an additional option, we do still have our ancient (~40 year old) antenna mounted to the chimney. We got cable in the mid-70s but never removed the antenna. (I know nothing about it other than the rotor control box says Alliance.) I will readily confess my ignorance as to whether or not that could be used as a better solution to this whole deal.

So, the bottom line is: would you have any thoughts as to my best bet? The way I see it, my options in order of increasing cost would be:
  • add an amplifier (before the splitter) to the existing rabbit ears setup
  • go with a better antenna
  • use a better antenna and an amp

(Or maybe bypass all that and use the existing mounted antenna somehow.)

Thanks in advance for any help.

scott784 14-Jul-2011 12:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SVTarHeel (Post 9527)
I also live in Winston-Salem, across town from the OP, so I thought I would just add to this post in case others ran across it in their search for local info.

We recently switched from TWC to DirecTV. I use the OTA signal as a backup in the event of storm interference and would potentially like to add a better antenna than the inexpensive Radio Shack DTV rabbit ears I currently have (adjustable rabbit ears with a loop). Since the DTV switchover, this antenna has generally been pretty good at getting our local stations.

Also, I recently purchased a DirecTV OTA tuner so I can add the digital subchannels to the list of 'DVR-able' stations. Currently, I have split the signal from the antenna so that it goes into both the TV's tuner and the DirecTV OTA tuner. Currently, the antenna sits beside the TV - the distance to the TV is < 3' and the distance to the OTA tuner is about the same.

When I did the original scan for the DirecTV receiver (during the overnight hours), it missed about half of the available channels. I rescanned the next morning, and it got most of the missed ones. I tried later in the day and it found everything it should have. When I tried recording a movie from a local station's subchannel, there were a lot of lost signal issues during the recording. I'm wondering if I could solve that problem with an amplifier of some type or if the issue is likely due more to the inexpensive antenna.

Let me also say that I'm firmly in the 'something for nothing' camp - I'd like to make OTA into a usable backup for us, but, since it's not our primary reception option, I'm hesitant to spend $50 for an antenna, $50 for an amp, etc., just to add redundancy that will not be used that often.

Here's the link to my street level report: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...81a31bc0ee76e2

As an additional option, we do still have our ancient (~40 year old) antenna mounted to the chimney. We got cable in the mid-70s but never removed the antenna. (I know nothing about it other than the rotor control box says Alliance.) I will readily confess my ignorance as to whether or not that could be used as a better solution to this whole deal.

So, the bottom line is: would you have any thoughts as to my best bet? The way I see it, my options in order of increasing cost would be:
  • add an amplifier (before the splitter) to the existing rabbit ears setup
  • go with a better antenna
  • use a better antenna and an amp

(Or maybe bypass all that and use the existing mounted antenna somehow.)

Thanks in advance for any help.

I am not so sure about you using your original wiring. Most likely, it is all corroded out. Also many years ago, the ribbon style wiring was used, which is completely outdated now. If you were going to try to use that outdoor antenna, I would suggest you at least replace your wiring with RG-6 coax. Although, as old as that outdoor antenna is, it might need replacing as well.

If you don't want to get into all of that (because you only want OTA as a backup), you could try an indoor antenna such as one of the ClearStream Micron Series of indoor antennas. The better ones have a range up to 35 miles.

I also live in Winston-Salem and I can tell you from experience, don't expect great results from WGPX (our ION affiliate). Their tower is NE of GSO and has a very weak signal coming into Winston. The other stations seem to do well, although WGHP can also be a little weak in some locations. The only way you will know for sure is to try an antenna out at your specific location.

As I am sure you are aware, an outdoor or attic mounted antenna will do best. For example, I have an Antennas Direct Clearstream 4 mounted in my attic. I get all of the locals (except WGPX). I am also able to get the Charlotte stations at my location. Below is a link to my tvfool report:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...03d993c07c6564

PS As we all know--your specific location has everything to do with your results. Here in Winston, I believe one of the worst locations is in the Oldtown area because it sits at the bottom of a hill. Best wishes with your decision.

SVTarHeel 14-Jul-2011 3:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scott784 (Post 9716)
I am not so sure about you using your original wiring. Most likely, it is all corroded out.

Well, that's where my ignorance comes in. The antenna is at least 40 years old and I wasn't sure if UHF analog was the same as UHF digital as far as the reception ability of the antenna was concerned or if the existing antenna is 100% useless in a post-analog world.

Quote:

Originally Posted by scott784 (Post 9716)
I also live in Winston-Salem and I can tell you from experience, don't expect great results from WGPX (our ION affiliate).

That's the station that's the least of my worries. Even with OTA as a backup, I'm set with belt and suspenders as far as ION - I was shocked to discover that the DirecTV channel lineup not only has the local station, but it has an East and West Coast national feed. So, even if I'm in the midst of storms, I can catch the West Coast feed 3 hours later.

And, since I live almost exactly between the Sauratown and Sophia towers, I was hoping I could split the difference between a table top and roof/mast mounted antenna and put something in the rafters that, unattended, can reliably get all those the signals, whether coming from the front or from the back.

dcp12345678 14-Jul-2011 9:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scott784 (Post 9722)
Did you decide on an antenna? John is certainly far more of an expert 'on all things antenna' versus myself. However, I also live in Winston. Let me know if I can answer any of your questions concerning general reception issues in the Triad, or the purchase of an antenna. I've been using OTA for a while now here in your local area.

HI Scott,

Nice to find a couple of other folks here from Winston!

I haven't gotten the antenna yet because we are also going to be getting a new television, and I want to do it all at once. We are also looking at moving the dvd player to the closet and adding some shelves so this is quite a big project. But we will definitely be going with the outdoor antenna John Candle recommended unless something changes.

One question, you have an antenna in your attic, not an outdoor antenna, right? According to John's earlier post, ION shouldn't be a problem if you are using an outdoor roof mounted antenna. ION is a really important station for us because we watch a lot of syndicated programs on it, so I really hope we can get it. Do you think the roof mounted antenna will be good enough vs the attic one you have?

scott784 15-Jul-2011 2:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dcp12345678 (Post 9733)
HI Scott,

Nice to find a couple of other folks here from Winston!

I haven't gotten the antenna yet because we are also going to be getting a new television, and I want to do it all at once. We are also looking at moving the dvd player to the closet and adding some shelves so this is quite a big project. But we will definitely be going with the outdoor antenna John Candle recommended unless something changes.

One question, you have an antenna in your attic, not an outdoor antenna, right? According to John's earlier post, ION shouldn't be a problem if you are using an outdoor roof mounted antenna. ION is a really important station for us because we watch a lot of syndicated programs on it, so I really hope we can get it. Do you think the roof mounted antenna will be good enough vs the attic one you have?

Believe it or not, I've got both. I've got a Clearstream 4 in the attic for my upstairs bedroom TV. Then I've got an outdoor Winegard 9095P for my downstairs livingroom TV. If I had it to do over again, I don't know that I would invest in both as it cost more money. However, at the time, I wasn't sure how to get the two TVs hooked up together (on a splitter) since I've got a two story house with a load barring wall above the living room.

The Clearstream 4 (in the attic) gives really good results. In fact, it's almost as good as my outdoor Winegard. However, there is something to keep in mind here. My Clearstream 4 (in the attic) does not have to penetrate through any roof shingles. The line of sight for the signals happens to be through the A part of the roof line on the south side of my house. Therefore, the antenna only goes through the plywood on the wall part of the attic. That's it, and the signal is outside. So I am sure that helps my situation a lot with the attic antenna. Note: WXII and WUNL are very easy to get from Winston. So those two stations are not really big factors with any antenna buying decision. In fact-those two stations are directly behind my antennas and I still get them perfectly.

Your tvfool.com report should provide you with a good picture of what your real world results will be with an antenna. 'However', I hate to say it. But (at least for me), our ION affiliate is the one exception and I feel the database at tvfool.com needs to be updated for that particular station. I have reported this issue on this site in the past; but never got any feedback.

The database at tvfool.com suggests that there is plenty of signal from WGPX (ION) heading through Winston-Salem. But I know that is simply not the case. I live on the SW side of Winston and I have never seen even a hint of the signal from WGPX (even if I rotate my outdoor antenna directly to the NE--right at the Reidsville area). That station's tower is north of Greensboro (not far from Reidsville). It's a bit of an odd place for them to place a tower since all of our other towers are either on Sauratown Mtn or south of Greensboro in what some people refer to as the 'antenna farm' near the Level Cross/Randleman area.

I do know of an individual who lives in Rural Hall. He told me he gets our ION affiliate with his antenna; but only when his antenna is pointed directly at WGPX. On the other hand, I know someone else who only lives a couple of miles from me here in SW Winston, and he also does 'not' get WGPX (ION) at all.

Out of all of the Triad stations, it seems our ION affiliate puts out the weakest signal. I believe their power level for over the air is only 95KW. Plus, the WGPX tower does not have much height either.

Aside from not getting WGPX (ION), I do get every other Triad station, plus I am also able to get the Charlotte stations. I am able to get the Charlotte stations because I invested in longer range antennas. Longer range antennas usually means 60 plus miles. Yes, you would think if I can pick up Charlotte, then surely I would get our local ION, but again that is not the case.

In your zip code, there is always that possibility that you 'might' see WGPX (ION). However, I did want to alert you of my experience with them in SW Winston. Like I've said, aside from this particular station, I have excellent results.

Do keep in mind (as with any station), your specific location is very important in determining your level of success. For example, if you lived at the bottom of a hill, or with tall buildings around you, that would negatively impact your reception. The tvfool.com database is generally very good at taking these issues into consideration when you provide your specific address (prior to running your personal report). However, for some odd reason, the data is simply all wrong (at least for me) as it relates to WGPX (ION). Again, aside from that one station, the report gave me very accurate information before I ever had an antenna installed at my house.

I hope my experience helps you in some way. Let me know if I can answer any other questions :)

scott784 15-Jul-2011 2:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SVTarHeel (Post 9726)
Well, that's where my ignorance comes in. The antenna is at least 40 years old and I wasn't sure if UHF analog was the same as UHF digital as far as the reception ability of the antenna was concerned or if the existing antenna is 100% useless in a post-analog world.



That's the station that's the least of my worries. Even with OTA as a backup, I'm set with belt and suspenders as far as ION - I was shocked to discover that the DirecTV channel lineup not only has the local station, but it has an East and West Coast national feed. So, even if I'm in the midst of storms, I can catch the West Coast feed 3 hours later.

And, since I live almost exactly between the Sauratown and Sophia towers, I was hoping I could split the difference between a table top and roof/mast mounted antenna and put something in the rafters that, unattended, can reliably get all those the signals, whether coming from the front or from the back.

Keep in mind, there's really no such thing as a 'digital' versus 'analog' antenna. That is basically marketing hype. While the technology in the TVs (and the signal coming from the towers has changed), the basic makeup of antennas has not changed whether we are talking before or after the digital conversion.

The issue with your rooftop antenna is the age and the fact that your wiring is most likely in serious decay. Plus, the lifespan of an antenna is generally far less than the number of years that you've had yours sitting up there.

In your situation, an attic mounted antenna might work great for you. However, as many forum members on here will tell you, you must consider the types of materials that any such attic mounted antenna will have to penetrate to get outside. For example, is your home brick or frame? Do you have shingles on your roof or is it some other type of material? These are the types of issues you would want to consider. Obviously, a brick exterior or any type of metal on the roofing would have more of a negative impact on the ability of an attic mounted antenna to get at the signal.

My attic mounted antenna works great. However, my home is vinyl sided versus brick. My roof is just your average shingles. Plus, a bonus for my situation. I was able to place the attic mounted antenna on the A part of the roof line (in the attic). So all the antenna has to do is penetrate through the plywood and it can easily get at the signal outside. Obviously, while investigating things in the attic, you must keep in mind the direction in which your antenna needs to be positioned to get the best results. For example, my antenna is facing (south) inside my attic. It picks up all the signals from the Randleman/Level Cross area on the side (SE of me). Also, the antenna picks up the CLT stations (SW of me) on the side. With WXII and WUNL being so close, my antenna easily gets those signals--even though they are to my north (directly behind the direction in which my antenna is facing).

If your situation is favorable for an attic mounted antenna, you might want to consider this option versus going outdoors. You indicated that you really only care about over the air as a backup. Therefore, you may not want to spend the extra money and time that it would most likely require to install a new outdoor antenna. From my own experience, I can tell you that an outdoor antenna can become much more costly versus an attic install.

But everyone has to consider their own circumstances, what end results you are really hoping to obtain, and how much money you want to spend in the process. Hope this helps.

Note: unless you want to try to get any of the Charlotte stations with a longer range antenna, I would point any attic mounted antenna to the SE from Winston so it is facing directly at the antenna farm in the Randleman/Level Cross/Sophia area, south of Greensboro. Your antenna should be able to get WXII and WUNL on Sauratown Mtn (north of Winston) without much problem, no matter which way the antenna is facing. Of course, there's always exceptions--but that is generally the case with WXII and WUNL if you live in Winston.

dcp12345678 15-Jul-2011 10:38 AM

1) Thanks for the detailed info. With your long range antenna, are there any ION affiliates in Charlotte you are able to get? As I said, that's just a really key station for us and one that we typically watch 2 or 3 nights a week with the great syndicated programs they have there. That's really weird that your friend in Rural Hall can get the ION station, since he's farther from Greensboro than we are.

2) It sounds to me like you are saying even a long range antenna isn't likely to be able to pick up ION. Is that correct? I know it depends on area as well, but I just probably don't want to fool with the whole antenna route if I know ahead of time I can't get ION.

3) We currently have the $10 per month broadcast cable service from Time Warner. It gives us the basic channels (including ION). But we have a really old TV. I was told with the newer TVs that this broadcast cable service will look really bad since it's non-HDTV. Do you agree with that?

SVTarHeel 15-Jul-2011 4:39 PM

I wonder if anything would be gained from contacting the station? I'm sure they want their signal seen and may have advice...

Also, there's a thread specifically dedicated to HDTV in the Triad at http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=137768

dcp12345678 15-Jul-2011 9:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SVTarHeel (Post 9761)
I wonder if anything would be gained from contacting the station? I'm sure they want their signal seen and may have advice...

Also, there's a thread specifically dedicated to HDTV in the Triad at http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=137768

Thanks for the link. Looks like I'm not the only one feeling the pain :). I called and was directed to where I could leave a message, which I did. Haven't heard anything back yet though, although I just called a couple hours ago.

scott784 15-Jul-2011 11:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dcp12345678 (Post 9755)
1) Thanks for the detailed info. With your long range antenna, are there any ION affiliates in Charlotte you are able to get? As I said, that's just a really key station for us and one that we typically watch 2 or 3 nights a week with the great syndicated programs they have there. That's really weird that your friend in Rural Hall can get the ION station, since he's farther from Greensboro than we are.

2) It sounds to me like you are saying even a long range antenna isn't likely to be able to pick up ION. Is that correct? I know it depends on area as well, but I just probably don't want to fool with the whole antenna route if I know ahead of time I can't get ION.

3) We currently have the $10 per month broadcast cable service from Time Warner. It gives us the basic channels (including ION). But we have a really old TV. I was told with the newer TVs that this broadcast cable service will look really bad since it's non-HDTV. Do you agree with that?

If you really want to try over the air, but only with the stipulation that you can have ION, I would keep your cash outlay limited until you find out for sure whether you can get WGPX at your home. Keep in mind, I can't say for sure that you will not get it. However, I can tell you that I live in a very good part of town for over the air reception; and WGPX is the single Triad channel that I cannot get.

As for the person I mentioned in Rural Hall, he would actually be slightly closer to the tower for WGPX. Keep in mind, we are talking as the crow flies with the mileage. And the tower for WGPX is north of Greensboro--not far from Reidsville. So again, Rural Hall would be slightly closer versus an area like SW Winston where I live. At any rate, that signal from WGPX gets very weak as it travels into Winston because the tower in Reidsville is not very high. Plus, their power level is only 95KW.

Here's one suggestion, buy an antenna locally (with a guaranteed return policy). Try to get one of the better ones! Take it home and hook it up to your TV (even if you just try it indoors, or perhaps (very) temporary with a RG-6 coax cable strung outside your window. See if you see any sign of WGPX at all. If you don't, then you will know not to go to the extra time and expense of getting something permanently installed outside or in your attic.

If you decide not to get an antenna (because of your requirement to have WGPX (ION), keep in mind that your broadcast cable subscription for 10-12 bucks a month will give you WGPX. Also, keep in mind, that any new TVs will pull in the HD version of our locals through the TV's built in qam tuner. Yes, this is true. Even without a TWC digital box, if you buy a new TV, you can get our locals, such as WXII, WFMY, WGHP, WGPX, etc, etc, in HD. Basically, when you buy your new TV, you will simply do a 'scan'. This scan will lock in all available channels to include the ones that are available in HD.

Many of HD signals over the TWC system are logical (like overthe air). For example, the true HD version of WXII will map on your new TV to 12-1, WGHP will map to 8-1, WFMY will map to 2-1. However, you will note some of the others will NOT map to their logical (virtual) channel number. You will still get the other locals in HD, but again, not all of them 'map' to their logical channel number. Basically, you have to scroll through your channels (after the auto scan), and find them. Or call TWC and ask them what channel WGPX maps to on their broadcast cable lineup in HD. Or I could easily find out for you.

Believe it or not, the Charlotte market does not have an ION affiliate. So I am not able to pull in that affiliate at all. Like you, I also like ION. I think they have some great movies and other stuff (hate those informericals though). However, for me, it was not a deal breaker. In other words, I was willing to give up ION because I've got plenty of other viewing stations.

One of the cool things I like about over the air is the ability to receive out of market locals (the Charlotte locals). Of course, that would not be true for everyone in Winston. It depends on your location (see your tvfool report). I have ties to that area and appreciate the ability to occasionally watch their local news--and the sub channels their networks have. Through cable and satellite, you are not allowed to watch any out of market local affiliates due to government regulations as it relates to the retransmission of local affiliates over a cable and satellite network.

At any rate, everyone's situation is different. And what is important to me, may be a non-issue for you. Also for me (even though broadcast cable is cheap in comparison to digital cable with a box), it still costs money. And with my setup, I can view all my channels for free OTA.

So just assess what is most important to you and how much the ION station really means to you. Like I said, you might want to try out a antenna (temporarily) without actually having it permanently installed--just to see if your location will grab WGPX (ION). If you can't get it, you could always return the antenna if you buy it locally.

Of course, the other option would be to just keep your broadcast cable, and buy the new TV. At least you would get our Triad locals in HD. Hope my long winded reply helps :)

PS as to your question about non-HD channels looking bad. Yes, that is true. The new TVs are designed for the new HD signals. So when you tune into a non-HD channel on TWC, it doesn't look too great. But you can always store all the HD channels (which 'map' to your new TV) in your Favorites, using your remote control feature, and forget about the other ones that Time Warner Cable retransmits in standard defintiion (non-HD).

scott784 15-Jul-2011 11:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dcp12345678 (Post 9766)
Thanks for the link. Looks like I'm not the only one feeling the pain :). I called and was directed to where I could leave a message, which I did. Haven't heard anything back yet though, although I just called a couple hours ago.

Yep, I think the small staff at WGPX in Greensboro is aware that their over the air signal (near Reidsville) is inferior to the rest of the Triad locals, especially as it relates to the signal of WGPX not doing a good job of reaching lots of people in Winston. However, they need to get with their home office (whereever that happens to be) and do something about it. I suppose it comes down to dollars and cents.

From what I have gathered, WGPX received approval some time back (from the FCC) to build out their tower in Reidsville at a higher power level. However, they have not taken advantage of this permit. Again, I suppose they either don't have the money to spend, or don't want to during these tough economic times.

I am glad you called WGPX though. It is important that they hear from viewers in Winston. They market themselves as a Piedmont Triad Station. That means Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem. So (as far as I am concerned), they should have a better tower which is capable of carrying their over the air signal further.

PS Of course, everyone in Greensboro would have no problem getting WGPX over the air b/c they are much closer to their tower out in the Reidsville area.

dcp12345678 16-Jul-2011 1:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scott784 (Post 9767)
Here's one suggestion, buy an antenna locally (with a guaranteed return policy). Try to get one of the better ones! Take it home and hook it up to your TV (even if you just try it indoors, or perhaps (very) temporary with a RG-6 coax cable strung outside your window. See if you see any sign of WGPX at all. If you don't, then you will know not to go to the extra time and expense of getting something permanently installed outside or in your attic.

Thanks, I may just try that. Do you know anywhere around town I can get one? Outdoor antennas are such rare animals anymore that I don't know anyone that sells them, except buying online of course.

Also, with the Charlotte stations you get, do you get other stations besides major networks? I was just wondering if it allowed you to see other shows, etc. that you can't get with the channels we have here. I realize you can get their local news, etc. but I was just curious about the other programming you were able to receive in that market.

Thanks for the great feedback, it's really helpful.

SVTarHeel 16-Jul-2011 1:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dcp12345678 (Post 9769)
Do you know anywhere around town I can get one?

In another thread, I mentioned a Raleigh company that recently started selling a new antenna. I'm thinking of giving them a try, based on two things - they have a money-back guarantee, and the reviews on Amazon are really good. Now I don't know much about the technology, but when people say things like "I tried X different antennas and could get only a few stations but I got the Mohu Leaf and now get a gazillion," it makes me think that it's at least worth considering. YMMV http://www.gomohu.com/

scott784 16-Jul-2011 6:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dcp12345678 (Post 9769)
Thanks, I may just try that. Do you know anywhere around town I can get one? Outdoor antennas are such rare animals anymore that I don't know anyone that sells them, except buying online of course.

Also, with the Charlotte stations you get, do you get other stations besides major networks? I was just wondering if it allowed you to see other shows, etc. that you can't get with the channels we have here. I realize you can get their local news, etc. but I was just curious about the other programming you were able to receive in that market.

Thanks for the great feedback, it's really helpful.

Norfolk Wire & Electronics, located on Brookstown Ave in Winston sells antennas. They may not have what you want in stock; however, I believe they can order just about anything for you. However, I would suggest that you verify what their return policy is. Some of the old timers down there are very helpful. They are open M-F. I believe they are closed on the weekends.

Another option, if you just want to buy something quick at a retailer is to go to some place like Best Buy. Now, you won't get the best price shopping there; and I don't think their customer service is very good either at BB. However, this would enable you to quickly buy something off the shelf, and return it later. The selections are also limited at Best Buy--but again, it allows you to buy right off the shelf and return it later.

I believe Best Buy carries the Clearstream 4 antenna, which is what I have in my attic. However, it 'does' require some assembly (not that difficult), but the one issue I had was discovering that it didn't come with a mast--inside the box. (Don't ask me why the mast is not included in the box). If you happened to be interested in the Clearstream 4 (made by Antennas Direct), you would need to go to Lowes or Home Depot and go to the plumbing department to get a piece of metal pipe (about 1 and a quarter inches in diameter and 4 feet tall--would be perfect size) to make your own mast (for this particular antenna). You might want to buy a little base to screw onto the bottom of the pipe too. That's what I did. Otherwise, you can order the mast (separate) through Antennas Direct. They are the manufacturer of this particular antenna. This antenna is a long range antenna for picking up fringe stations, like the Charlotte networks.

Now, if either of the above options sounds like more effort that you want to get involved with, you can buy a small (indoor) antenna (again--at a place like Best Buy or similar). However, keep in mind, the smaller antennas normally have a short range, such as 30-35 miles. However, the beauty of these products is that they are usually assembled, they're cheaper, and you can still get some idea of your reception ability without expending a lot of time or energy. And again, you can always return the product if you're not happy, at a local retailer like Best Buy or similar. Note: a good example of an indoor/small antenna--which I believe Best Buy carries is the ClearStream Micron. However, these antennas obviously have a shorter range.

As for the Charlotte stations, they have sub-channels in the same way our local affiliates do. For example, WCCB Fox Charlotte has subchannel 18-2, which broadcasts MeTV. This is vintage television (lots of the older programming from the 70's and 80's. (This is 'somewha't like what is called Antenna TV, which broadcasts on 8-2 WGHP High Point). But, it is separate programming.

As for the 'main' programming on Charlotte stations, yes, the major affiliates are essentially duplication during the primetime evening line-up. So for example, what you see on WGHP (FOX) would mainly be the same programming as what you see on WCCB FOX Charlotte during the evening prime time). However, outside of the evening primetime hours, it is 'not' total duplication on the main networks. And if you're into sports (for example) sometimes you might get extra and/or different games on the Charlotte networks versus the Triad stations on the weekends.

If you have any interest in the Charlotte stations, do keep in mind that Winston is in a fringe area. That means we are approaching the outside limit of those signals from Charlotte, and you need to look closely at your tvfool report to see what options you might be able to get at your specific location. Also, with these stations, you would have to go with a long range antenna, such as the Clearstream 4 or one of many other long range antennas that you can order online or through a place like Norfolk Wire & Electronics. The one I've got in my attic is working great for me; and I get consistent, clear HD pictures all the time on each channel that I receive. Of course, I can't say that would be the same for everyone.

Does all of this sound complicated? If so, just keep in mind that once you settle on something and get it done.....then you're done and you can just sit back and watch free TV! Do keep in mind, you cannot simply hook up an antenna to your old TV b/c you would not get a signal without a converter box, since it's an old analog set. You might want to buy your new TV first and then make your decision about the antenna.

While antennas are not nearly so widespread like they were decades ago, I can tell you that a number of people are rediscovering over the air television since the digital conversion in 2009. When you have the ability to receive a station over the air (on a new TV), I can promise you that there's no better picture quality than the HD you get over the air.

PS One thing about HDTV, it's all or nothing. That means you either get the signal or you don't. It's not like analog where you could watch a 'half way' decent picture over the air. With HDTV, there's either enough signal in the air for your TV to correct any shortcomings and still give you the same clear HD picture. *Or* on the other hand, if the signal reaches the threshold of being too weak, you just won't see the channel at all.

scott784 16-Jul-2011 6:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SVTarHeel (Post 9770)
In another thread, I mentioned a Raleigh company that recently started selling a new antenna. I'm thinking of giving them a try, based on two things - they have a money-back guarantee, and the reviews on Amazon are really good. Now I don't know much about the technology, but when people say things like "I tried X different antennas and could get only a few stations but I got the Mohu Leaf and now get a gazillion," it makes me think that it's at least worth considering. YMMV http://www.gomohu.com/

Yep, I've read about the Mohu Leaf antenna. The company is located in the Raleigh area; but the antenna is also available online. From the reviews I've read, this antenna has received positive feedback. Of course, this is an indoor only antenna; and I think the reception distance would be limited to probably 30 miles or so. However (for you), since you only want an antenna as a backup for your satellite, it might be something worth trying out.

I 'do' like the fact that this company is locally operated out of North Carolina; and I believe the antennas are actually made in the USA.

SVTarHeel 16-Jul-2011 8:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scott784 (Post 9772)
Yep, I've read about the Mohu Leaf antenna. The company is located in the Raleigh area; but the antenna is also available online. From the reviews I've read, this antenna has received positive feedback...I 'do' like the fact that this company is locally operated out of North Carolina; and I believe the antennas are actually made in the USA.

Agreed. When I first heard of them, I e-mailed a question and got a prompt response. Then, there was some confusion as to what I was trying to do with one TV and the guy there suggested I call. I called him and talked for 20 minutes or so.

If I go with an indoor option, they're #1 on my list. A couple of the reviews I've seen did mention that the antenna didn't help them and they got a prompt refund. To me, someone who's in the mode of trying options to see what will work might do well to give them what appears to be a risk free try. (Especially at ~$50.)

John Candle 16-Jul-2011 9:51 PM

Tv Antennas and Reception
 
The boohoo leaf. Sounds like mohu leaf. There is no such thing as a magic Tv antenna that does every thing that other Tv antennas can't. I will never recommend the leaf to any one.

SVTarHeel 16-Jul-2011 10:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Candle (Post 9789)
There is no such thing as a magic Tv antenna that does every thing that other Tv antennas can't.

Understood John. As I mentioned both times, many people have posted positive reviews. To me, the only options are: 1) they're lying to shill for the product, or 2) it's a product worth considering. In my experience with a wide range of products, the sheer volume of reviews that Amazon generates results in increased likelihood that the conclusions are accurate. That's all I'm trying to say - "many people seem to have had success, you might want to consider it as an option."

John Candle 16-Jul-2011 11:14 PM

Tv Antennas and Reception
 
My evaluation of the leaf and other antennas is based on real and actual facts. I do real and actual research of Tv antennas and have for 40 plus years. What Betty said to Bob and Joe told Wanda are opinions. I am not part of the , Betty , Bob , Joe , Wanda , misinformation train. I am here to help people get the best tv reception with , real information , real facts , real truth.

SVTarHeel 16-Jul-2011 11:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Candle (Post 9795)
My evaluation of the leaf and other antennas is based on real and actual facts. I do real and actual research of Tv antennas and have for 40 plus years. What Betty said to Bob and Joe told Wanda are opinions. I am here to help people get the best tv reception.

My apologies John. I am sorry if I offended you. I'll keep my opinions to myself.


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:40 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright © TV Fool, LLC