HDTV

We’ve had ours for about 3 years now. It’s a 55″ Sony LCD projection. Built in HDTV tuner. Nothing fancy. But it is nice. When we got it we had arranged HD programming with TimeWarner cable. It sucked. There was no real programming really on at the time and locals were not a part of the packages available at that time. Then we got an offer from Dish Network. We signed up and got their equipment and got their programming. And it sucked as well. Again, no locals in HD. And it all continued to suck until earlier this year. We had dropped the HD stuff shortly after getting it because the programming just wasn’t there. But now that it’s getting good, and for us to get it back I have to upgrade my satellite receiver .. new technology they say. Had I kept my HD package they would have upgraded me for free. Now it’s a $200 charge. Oh well … Right now Dish Network offers over 30 channels in HD for $20 more a month less $10 in discounts because its a new service for us (but still no locals). I’ve not subscribed to it yet. Instead I bought an off-air antenna and hooked it up. I get 18 local digital TV channels of which 11 offer programming in HD. The cool thing about digital TV signals is you either get them or you don’t. No fuzzy pictures or ghosted images. You either get it or you don’t. 18 channels is impressive for where we live. I could pull in more if I put up a “real” off-air antenna, but I bought a small directional antenna that you have to mount outside and point it towards the signals to tune anything in. And it works great! It’s the TERK HDTVo … yes that’s an “o” not a zero. It is a small, highly directional UHF/VHF antenna. You must point it in the direction of the signals. The more accurately you aim it the better the signal strength.

To figure out which direction to point it I used the tools that the Consumer Electronic Association has on their website (www.antennaweb.org) to look up the direction I needed to point my antenna. And that site is dead on! I had to “average” the compass headings to come up with the best signal strength. The CEA also has tools to help you pick the right antenna. I needed an antenna with the Blue rating. So that’s what I shopped for. The TERK HDTVo is a Blue rated antenna. It had mixed reviews. I was leery but thought I’ll give it a try. I found the best price at J&R’s website. And they have a good return policy, just in case it doesn’t work out. In my case it did. There were so many mixed reviews. In my case I’d have to give it 2 thumbs up. It does what it says! But keep in mind, what works for me might not work for you.

HOWEVER … it sure would be nice to get both Dayton and Cincinnati locals but we are happy getting the Dayton channels and one Cincy. Right now I’m pointing the antenna toward the Dayton towers … so … I guess to get both I need to get a different antenna or perhaps 2 of them and point one to Dayton and one to Cincy. Maybe, just maybe I’ll get one honking big antenna. 🙂

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “HDTV

  1. Consumer interest in free over the air digital- HD TV is definitely on the increase. The number of visitors to our web site http://www.dennysantennaservice.com has skyrocketed over the past year, mainly do to the introduction of free over the air digital – HDTV.
    Choosing the proper TV antenna for a particular location is the main issue for most. Many consumer’s have a tendency to purchase antennas that are to small to do the job, digital reception is an all or nothing proposition, you’re going to want a strong signal. Also, there is a misconception that all digital – HDTV broadcast signals are on the UHF band (14-69) Currently it’s true, many broadcaster’s are transmitting their digital signals on UHF, because much of the VHF band (2-13) is currently being used to broadcast analog TV signals. However, when the digital transition is complete on February 17th of 2009, the date set when broadcasters will turn off their analog signals, things will change. There are only a handful of broadcast locations across the U.S. that have plans to remain 100% on the UHF band, most areas will have both VHF and UHF digital stations. This means if you purchase a UHF TV antenna now, chances are you may loose the ability to receive a portion of your digital channels in the future. Some areas already have VHF digital stations.

    My best advice is to purchase a TV antenna that is large enough to be certain it can easily receive all of the digital broadcast signals in your area, even during poor reception conditions. The antenna should be VHF/UHF capable, unless you are absolutely certain all of your stations are currently UHF, and will remain UHF after the digital transition is complete. To determine the channel number your area digital stations currently broadcast on now, and the channel number they plan to broadcast on after the 2009 analog shutdown date, visit http://hraunfoss.fccgov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf. When you visit this site, start by finding your state and then the city where your area stations are located. The channel number that appears in the first column is the current digital channel number of that station, the second column is the current analog channel number, and the third column is the tentative final channel number destination. The third column is the channel number where the station plans to permanently broadcast their digital signal. VHF channels are 2 – 13 and UHF are 14 – 69. If your not sure where or what stations are available in your area, visit http://www.antennaweb.org. This is a great site to visit, it will provide the city location of the stations in your area and much more.

  2. Great information Denny! As I said, I checked out several options. And Wife really didn’t want some big honking antenna. So I checked for smaller directionals. The TERK HDTVo is just that, a small directional that picks up what we need. It does both UHF and VHF. I get channels 2 (WDTN), 5 (WLWT Cincinnati), 7 (WHIO), 14 & 16 (PSB Dayton & Oxford), 22 (WKEF), 26 (WSWO), 45 (WRGT). I was really surprised to get channel 5 out of Cincy since I am pointing the antenna towards Dayton’s towers. Some stations have multiple channels like 7.1 and 7.2 or 5.1 and 5.2 … there is a ton of PBS stuff as well. Not all in HD but all in digital. As more and more stuff goes to digital TV (and into the HD realm) I just might be able to talk my wife into a bigger antenna. She sure is enjoying the locals we do get in HD right now! 🙂

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