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  1. #1
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    If you have HD tuners you might want to use them.

    I had my cable cut off the day after Thanksgiving and went with Dish but they aren't coming until today to install, so this gave me a week or so with just off air viewing. I hooked up a HD compatible rabbit ear style antenna to my Sony HDTV and was amazed at the amount of programming that came in on the DIGITAL search. Our PBS station has no less than 4 stations, 9.1 to 9.4, with one of them just PBS Kids which kept my children semi happy. They are still having Nickelodeon withdraw. I believe all network and local stations are HD. I was tempted to just go with off air for awhile. If you don't have a HD disc player the off air HD content is sure a reference too, looks very good. Even though I will have Dish today, well maybe, I'm still waiting, I plan to keep that antenna in place to get the channels Dish won't have which will probably be just the few PBS and maybe local UHF.

    If you have a HD tuner in your TV and haven't played with it yet you will need an antenna that will pull in the digital stations and go into the TV menu and specify you want it to search "digital" stations. You will notice the HD stations will show up with a decimal number. Like if your CBS affiliate is channel 4 for instance, the HD channel will appear as 4.1 or 4. something. You may also notice additional stations you aren't aware of like in my case with PBS. These stations seem to be a pretty well kept secret. I mean, people probably knew there was HD stations but I doubt if many know there is a potential multiple HD stations per affiliate. And since it's free one might want to see what they have. Another example is our local NBC station is channel 5 but on digital 5.1 is that station in HD and they have an all weather station on 5.2.

    Maybe the explanation is too complex for a commercial but I'd think these additional stations would be some inscentive to go ahead and pick up a HDTV.
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  2. #2
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    Ya know, I've been meaning to do that. What kinda antenna are you using?

    If you put your zip(right upper corner) in this link, it should pull up which OTA HD is available in your area.

    http://www.hdtvpub.com/

  3. #3
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Good topic Mr P., and thanks for the link L.J.. Now I got something else to mess around with.

  4. #4
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    I really don't know much about the specs of what you need to receive HD off air on an antenna. I went into Radio Shack back when I first got my TV and told the guy what I was looking for and he handed me this set. It has like a triangle coming up from the base with a selector knob and 2 antenna rods coming up from either side. Obviously, if one was serious about it or lived a way out of town an outside antenna would work best. I just don't know if an antenna has to be able to pick up a certain frequency for HD or not.
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  5. #5
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    I've seen them for around $39.99 at various places. The rabbit ear style I've seen says their specifically for HDTVs. I'll pick one up from a place with a good return policy and see what I can get to come in.

  6. #6
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Basically, all it is is a UHF antenna.

    ...and a built-in ATSC tuner, of course.

    I'm using a 35 year-old rooftop antenna and gt a plethora of digital/HD stations. It doesn't offer the variety that cable/satellite does, but I get all the major networks in HD along with PBS, not to mention some oddball stations that I never knew existed.

    And, I believe the picture is clearer.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    HD is broadcast on UHF stations, any kind of UHF antenna will do.
    My nearest source of centralized broadcast is 45 to 50 miles away.
    They were just coming online when I got my fiirst HD set.
    I had to buy a settop box, put up a 30 ft mast, got about seven stations, not all were HD
    all the time, but that was the only soure of HD.
    My current set has a pretty good tuner, picks up a few stations from basic cable,
    this is how I found out that the music channels on my system take up one HD channel,
    but OTA is simply out of the question for most.
    But if you can get it its basically sat ota (OVER THE AIR)
    It either looks great or its not there at all
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  8. #8
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    Hey L.J., I've got a digital antenna I'll sell you! I think it's even amplified to pull in the weak signals. When DirecTV upgraded my stb to MPEG4, they also replaced my dish with a larger one and all of my local HD channels are now through satellite. I don't get as many of the local HD's like the PBS ones mentioned, but I get all of the major networks and most of the others.

    I was pretty surprised they disabled my antenna, but the installer said with the new dish, the OTA signal couldn't be carried over the same line anymore. Bandwidth maybe? I dunno, but I've got a very nice $60 digital antenna if anyone needs one.
    "If you can leave black marks on a straight from the time you exit a corner till the time you brake for the next turn, then you have enough horsepower." Mark Donohue

  9. #9
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    The PBS stations are local. What people get will depend on what's offered locally from that areas stations.

    Pix, I don't know how you got HD off cable unless you were using a Cable Card. Your built in tuner wouldn't decode with out one. Your right that the OTA is either there or it's not, none of the old snowy picture and interference but I'm not sure what you mean by it being OTA sat. OTA broadcasting a HD show is a reference for how HD should look. OTA has nothing to do with satelite and I feel there are more difference than simularities.
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  10. #10
    VIP Member Smokey's Avatar
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    It might also be worth mentioning that if using an indoor antenna, one might have to change the position of antennas to get different digital channels.

    I am using a homemade dipole antenna (T shape configuration) and in one antenna position some stations will come in and others won’t, and in another antenna position the reverse will happen. So may have to play around with different antenna positions to find the right configuration where all of stations will come in.

    Over all, get about 17 digital channels.

  11. #11
    Wheatland69
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    HDTV's

    Boy, I have been busy with trying to do my homework, with this new added confusion,into the HD switchover. Idon't know how many web sites I have been to, but it seems that they mostly pertain to the audio hookups, and the way a picture comes across the screen. I have even gone looking for the right viewing distance, for the right tv, to get the best possible one, that I can afford. Way too much info, to comprehend. CNET.com gave some very good info, about what to look for, and how to buy.
    I am just not sure, I want to lay out the kind of money, it would take to get what I would like to have, versus, what I can afford. I guess that I need to personally visit Circuit City, Radio Shack, or Sears, to see for myself, what is the best for me, rather than take a chance on buying one off the internet. I don't think that I am willing to spend big bucks, for a refurbished one, or one that has been "slightly used".
    An HD antenna? Sounds interesting. But if I purchase the antenna, then I would need to also get the HD box? I never thought of looking into just a plain HDTV, with no converter. But it looks like it would all end up the same, as far as price wise. So, why worry about all the extra cables laying around.

  12. #12
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    If you are going to buy a TV it might as well be HD, even if you have to get a smaller one for now. I got my daughter a 19" Samsung LCD which has the built in tuner for $449.00. This set had HDMI input and connections for your computer to be hooked up. The prices do rise quickly as you go up in size. You have to be careful though and know what you are looking at because some of the cheaper LCD's have less resolution. Some of the cheap tube sets are even square and only 480i.
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  13. #13
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    The PBS stations are local. What people get will depend on what's offered locally from that areas stations.

    Pix, I don't know how you got HD off cable unless you were using a Cable Card. Your built in tuner wouldn't decode with out one. Your right that the OTA is either there or it's not, none of the old snowy picture and interference but I'm not sure what you mean by it being OTA sat. OTA broadcasting a HD show is a reference for how HD should look. OTA has nothing to do with satelite and I feel there are more difference than simularities.
    I like you mr p, which is why I hate proving you wrong.
    I have a high def tuner and a ntsc, and a place for high def cable AND antenna.
    Being the adventurous type, I hooked my cable up to it "straight, no chaser", to see if they broadcast anything unscrambled.
    I picked up the local public tv, turner classic movies (which wont come in over the cable box) and a few video channels.
    Found out some stuff, too. The music choice service is broadcast over ONE HD channel,
    108-1, 108-2, etc, which shows that theres space on one HD channel for 40 channels
    of pretty good music.
    On another digital channel the bits and pieces of their "on demand" service are broadcast,
    you see the various pieces seperate, before the cable box puts them together.
    This was a weird experience, like rummaging around behind the Mall, clearly they dont expect people to "browse " their hd output sans cable box.
    I learned something about my cable, and eventually unplugged from the unscrambled section, got bored with it.
    Maybe when the ntsc goes off they'll put more unscrambled stuff on there, they might have to, I beleive they show PBS because they have to
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  14. #14
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    Pix, the signal is still coming through your cable. Some TV's have what is called QAM tuner which is able to play unscrambled cable signals. This may be what you have. To my knowledge cable sends HD in digital and still requires a cable card or box. I never heard of a cable box having a separate HD and NTSC output, they all just come from whatever output you use, whether HDMI, RF or A/V out. Our cable and satelite as well show HD channels on a separate number from there NTSC channel.

    Over the air requires an antenna.
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  15. #15
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Pix, the signal is still coming through your cable. Some TV's have what is called QAM tuner which is able to play unscrambled cable signals. This may be what you have. To my knowledge cable sends HD in digital and still requires a cable card or box. I never heard of a cable box having a separate HD and NTSC output, they all just come from whatever output you use, whether HDMI, RF or A/V out. Our cable and satelite as well show HD channels on a separate number from there NTSC channel.

    Over the air requires an antenna.
    I used a splitter , one output went to my cable box, one went to my set (straight from the wall) one to the cable modem. This is what I am talking about.
    My cable box is set (I set it) to display 480p for standard def material.
    This includes the few remaining analog stations they have left, all of which look pretty bad,
    upconverted or not.
    HD channels are output at 720p, 1080i, whatever you choose, doesnt matter what the native resolution is, what you pick is what you get.
    My signal is mostly digital, will be all digital sooner or later.
    Your HD set doesnt require a box for HD signals, but it requires a box to unscramble
    stuff that the cable system sends you, because of the scramble they put on their feed,
    the reason I hooked my cable to the cable in on my set was to see if any stations
    were being broadcast unscrambled by my provider. I thought maybe I could get my local channels in HD over my unscrambled cable, for instance.
    Well, no such luck, they scramble everything in their digital service, except for the few "bits and pieces" I saw. Turner classic movies , in a poor quality digital feed
    was the only advantage to having this, so I unplugged it and plugged it back into my DVD
    recorder, so I could use it for some timeshifting from the analog cable service still provided
    by my service
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