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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.


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