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Old 16-Jul-2011, 6:16 AM   #34
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 101
Originally Posted by dcp12345678 View Post
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.

Last edited by scott784; 16-Jul-2011 at 6:50 AM.
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