HDTV Bleg

I finally broke down and got the FRIGGIN’ HUGE TV set that I’ve been lusting after for lo, these many years, and verily, it is good (okay, honesty time–it was my wife who broke down; I’d been ready to buy the thing for months). At Steve’s suggestion, I added a DirecTV HD Tivo box, and it’s also very, very good.

My only problem at this point–other than the looming credit card bill–is tuning in the local CBS affiliate in HDTV.

(Oh, don’t start. It’s not for 60 Minutes. It’s for SEC football, and the Auburn-Alabama game is next Saturday, so pay attention.)

The DirecTV box includes an off-the-air tuner, which I’ve hooked up to the ancient 70’s-vintage VHF/UHF antenna on my roof, which is pointed as near as I can manage at that station’s transmitter. Unfortunately, even after installing new coaxial cable and new connectors from the antenna to the house, CBS is the only station in town that isn’t coming in 5X5. It’s running about 70% max signal on the DirecTV box’s signal meter, and the picture is subject to frequent breakups.

All you RF and/or digital TV experts out there (and you know who you are), any suggestions?

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15 Responses to “HDTV Bleg”

  1. andy Says:

    Get cable. 🙂

    I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my HD Bama games in 5.1 digital surround… ahhhhh.

  2. Fuloydo Says:

    You might look into a preamp for the antenna.

    I’m currently futzing with off-air HD myself. The difference between pre-amp and not is pretty decent.

    Look here:
    DirecTV, A Cautionary Tail
    for my opinion of DirecTV. It’s not good.

  3. Will Collier Says:

    Thanks, but I’m not getting cable, ever. Cable companies are the lowest form of life, and besides which, my local cable monopoly (Charter) is a good $25 a month more expensive than the same service on satellite.

    I’ve had DirecTV for almost 10 years now, and I’m quite happy with their service. My beef is with the cruddy signal from the Atlanta CBS affiliate…

  4. jmaster Says:

    First, go here and find out exactly where to aim you antenna (zip code should get you close enough.)

    http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/Address.aspx

    Make sure you are looking at the HD transmitterlocation, and not the analog. They aren

  5. Frank Martin Says:

    First off, Im a Big fan of DirectTV, I also have the DirectTV HD Service and Tivo. I have to be a fan, as I worked at Hughes Satellite during the 90’s.

    Antenna? For the Local HD, I use a very simple Low cost HD Antenna thats added to my Satellite. I’ll hunt around for the link and pop it to you. its nothing exotic, i got it off the shelf. It runs on the same Coax as the antenna.

    I also use an ATI HD Card on a Windows PC. It also comes with an antenna for local channels, but I connect it to a standalone DirectTV HD Box and it also works great. In fact, I prefer it to the Tivo ( not that I have any problem at all with Tivo – I dont.)

  6. Will Collier Says:

    Thanks. I’m dialed in to the transmitter location as well as I can manage. I emailed the station engineer, and he told me (a) I was probably too close to the transmitter for a preamp to be helpful, and (b) he was doubling their transmit power in the middle of December. Maybe he’s right, then again, maybe he just wants to get rid of me.

    I’m not worried as far as seeing the game itself; I’ll be there in person (2005 will mark 31 straight years of attendance for me). But it would be nice to have a lovely HDTV recording of the humiliation AU is going to put on the overrated and toothless masses of uat…

  7. jmaster Says:

    It sounds like you have already tried most of the easy (and free) stuff.

    Just digging a little, but I am assuming you are talking about WGCL. If so, I see they transmit on UHF 19. Trees shouldn

  8. Stephen Green Says:

    Try this one, Will:

    Our local NBC affiliate doesn’t broadcast in HD. They also don’t approve waivers to allow DirecTV to provide viewers with HD feeds from other cities.

  9. richard mcenroe Says:

    You’re not fooling anybody.

    You just got the big teevee to watch Alyson Hannigan on How I Met Your Mother

  10. Mike Daley Says:

    For Pete’s sake, BUY A NEW 21st Century Antenna!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Mike

  11. jmaster Says:

    Stephen,

    Holy crap! I despise government intervention as much as the next little

  12. Nancy Says:

    Coming out of Lurkerville here–my husband’s into this stuff. Here’s what he says, “Digital signals can be a bit odd when compared to analog and often the best signal is not received when aimed directly at the source. Don’t point it at the station. Try rotating the antenna while someone is watching the meter.”

    Good luck!

  13. andy Says:

    Thanks, but I’m not getting cable, ever. Cable companies are the lowest form of life, and besides which, my local cable monopoly (Charter) is a good $25 a month more expensive than the same service on satellite.

    I actually switched from cable to Dish and then back to cable, primarily for the cut-rate pricing on both internet and digital when they were paired together (and their internet blows away the DSL I had previously). While I had problems with the cable company back in Alabama, I’ve been nothing but pleased so far here in Colorado.

    Either way, good luck, because I want you to have high-definition memories of Auburn getting rolled over. 🙂 (Seriously, looking forward to the game – should be a good one)

  14. Joel B. Says:

    Alright, you want more information than you can fathom? Try http://www.avsforum.com. They have a section devoted to Local HDTV reception and antenna issues.

    However, I can tell you from the start what your best bet is probably going to be. Assuming (as is highly likely) that all your DTV channels are being broadcast on either High VHF (10 and above) or UHF, you would want to purchase a channel master 4228 antenna. They can be purchased online for about $50. Excellent antennas, and pretty manageable. They also fit well into one’s attic if that’s your preference. (Although attic reception can create its own troubles). The 4228 can be found at http://www.solidsignal.com or http://www.warrenelectronics.com or a couple other sites. To get a good comparison of antennas look here

    http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/comparing.html

    FWIW, the Antenna’s Direct DB8 or the Winegaard 8800 would be best if 19 is the only channel you’re after.

    It’s also completely accurate that putting a pre-amp on an antenna can cause complete loss of the signal. The reason for this is partly related to the fact that the most relevant factor is your signal to noise ratio and not all pre-amps are incredibly clean. In that regard the Channel Master 7777 is widely regarded as one of the best (very low noise ratio.) But more commonly the issue is that the pre-amp so overstrengthens the signal that it either a. clips the tops and bottoms of the signals (which for digital kills the whole thing) or, the tuner is overloaded. Hard to tell for sure if a pre-amp would help or hurt, but if you are close…it’s probably not necessary, but the right antenna would make a substantial difference.

  15. grandpa stole bets Says:

    Program on the emergence of civilization.

    “14 species of large animals capable of domesitcation in the history of mankind.
    13 from Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
    None from the sub-Saharan African continent. ”
    Favor.
    And disfavor.

    They point out Africans

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