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Old 21-Jul-2014, 12:19 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: 15 miles west of Seattle
Posts: 42
Use inexpensive tuner as antenna pointing device

Several days ago I received a Mediasonic HomeWorX HW180STB tuner box from Amazon. The primary use for this box was to replace the poor built-in tuner in my older HDTV. Happily, the HW180STB is not plagued by the signal "stuttering" of the HDTV tuner but has the disadvantage of being somewhat less sensitive to the available channels, rendering the desired CBS affiliate unwatchable. I plan to boost the preamp gain to compensate for this. The surprise secondary use for this box is it provides a continuous display of the selected channel signal strength - just what I needed!

In order to fine tune the azimuth of my new antenna I used an old 13 inch analog TV I have been keeping around for editing SDTV video tapes and connected the analog input from that to the tuner box analog output. The built-in digital to analog conversion of the HW180STB displayed HDTV images perfectly on the SDTV! After sunset one evening I set the old set, face up, on my back deck just below the antenna. I was able to fine tune the antenna azimuth to get the very best signal from the CBS station. It was worth 35 bucks just for that. Just press the "Info" button twice to get the signal strength display. BTW, I found that the tilt-elevation of the antenna was very imprecise. Just set set it a couple degrees above any obstructions in the distance and call it good.

Now that the antenna has been fine tuned for azimuth I use the HDMI output to the old HDTV. The HW180STB has a surprisingly good program guide function. It will pull an entire evening's programming from many of the stations. This is one function I have NEVER seen from a built-in TV tuner. It also has a limited media player function.

Honestly, I didn't anticipate a great deal of functionality from such an inexpensive device. The companion model HW150STB has a PVR function which can use your USB storage devices for saving programs. I am sufficiently happy with this device to say that I should have spent just a few dollars more to get that model.
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