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Can anyone explain the basics of OTA HD?

Old 10-10-05, 01:20 PM
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Can anyone explain the basics of OTA HD?

While I was researching this for my parents I noticed my situation, being an apartment dweller, does not look so good for getting HDTV signals. None of HD locals come with cable or dish packages, its all off-air antenna? How are apartment users getting HDTV then? Depending on channel some of these need a pretty big adjustable antenna. It was hard enough getting the complex to allow me to place a dish on a wood pole in my garden. They surely will not allow me to install huge antenna. Though the apartment does have its own huge antenna, I never use it as it gives a crappy picture. Could I likely leech HDTV signals off that or do you new some special type of antenna made within last few years? Does it have to be pointed in certain direction, needing a line of sight like Dish Network? (A clear view of SE for example)




HDTV signals in my area.
* green - uhf WPXE-DT 55.1 i KENOSHA WI 18 29.5 40
* lt green - uhf WJJA-DT 48 IND RACINE WI TBD 18 29.0 48
* lt green - uhf WMVT-DT 36.1 PBS MILWAUKEE WI 18 29.5 35
* lt green - uhf WISN-DT 12.1 ABC MILWAUKEE WI 15 30.3 34
* lt green - vhf WMVS-DT 10.1 PBS MILWAUKEE WI 18 29.5 8
* red - uhf WTMJ-DT 4.1 NBC MILWAUKEE WI 18 29.2 28
* blue - uhf WDJT-DT 58.1 CBS MILWAUKEE WI 15 30.2 46
* blue - uhf WCGV-DT 24.1 UPN MILWAUKEE WI 18 29.5 25
* violet - uhf WVTV-DT 18.1 WB MILWAUKEE WI 18 29.5 61
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Old 10-10-05, 01:32 PM
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Well, if your garden is an area for your exclusive use (as opposed to joint use with other tenants), there's nothing the landlord can do to keep you from installing a small satellite dish or an antenna. Same goes for homeowners' associations.
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Old 10-10-05, 01:53 PM
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I live in the flats of San Diego and have a cheapie $20 rabbit ears antenna that I bought at K-Mart that I placed it indoors right next to the TV and pulls in everything. Try it out and if it doesn't work, simply return it.
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Old 10-10-05, 03:15 PM
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HDTV needs three things. A UHF antenna, an hdtv receiver and an hd capable tv.

If you can mount a UHF antenna, it needs to be pointed at the source of the signal. If you are local enough an indoor antenna may suffice.
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Old 10-10-05, 04:00 PM
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I live in an apartment and have no problem getting very strong OTA signals, even for towers that are 50 miles away. I use one of those UHF double-bowtie indoor antennas.
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Old 10-10-05, 04:32 PM
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You could use the communal antenna, but if the signal quality is poor, it won't be of much use.

Although I'm not in an apartment and live a pretty good distance away, I keep my antenna in my living room and can pick up all of my locals without much trouble. I use a Channel Master 3010 StealthTenna and a Channel Master 3042 amplifier. Depending on where the towers are located, you might have to move it around to get the strongest signal on different channels.
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Old 10-10-05, 05:54 PM
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The communal antenna isn't always an option. For example, the communal antenna in my building redirects some of the local channels to other channel assignments and you cannot pick up the OTA digitals on it.
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Old 10-11-05, 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by madara
Could I likely leech HDTV signals off that or do you new some special type of antenna made within last few years?
Antennas haven't really changed much since their glory days. Any old UHF antenna will work. Heck, coat hangers work for some people.

Originally Posted by madara
Though the apartment does have its own huge antenna, I never use it as it gives a crappy picture.
Digital is all-or-nothing. It doesn't suffer from interference like analog does. If you have a steady digital signal, it will be a perfect picture. Just because you get a crappy analog picture doesn't mean that it isn't good enough for digital.
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Old 10-11-05, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by sdcrym
Well, if your garden is an area for your exclusive use (as opposed to joint use with other tenants), there's nothing the landlord can do to keep you from installing a small satellite dish or an antenna. Same goes for homeowners' associations.
Just an addition...

IIRC, 36" is the max size guaranteed to be allowable by the FCC.
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Old 10-12-05, 02:15 PM
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Alot of great responses, thanks guys.
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Old 11-19-05, 11:42 PM
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I have decided to go this route as well. I'm pissed at Time Warner as they refuse to add Fox and WB to the HD cable channels and I'm just sick of $100+ cable bills when 95% of the stuff I watch is either on basic cable or regular TV.

I added an HDTV OTA receiver and I went ahead and bought a $40 indoor antenna. Everything except for UPN was within 15-25 miles and all the channels come in clear as a bell except for UPN, but that one has little of interest and I can watch it in SD anyway. Now my HDTV channels are paid for and free from now on and I can drop back to the must less expensive $45 basic cable and dump their digital crap channels and partial HD. I'm seriously considering dumping cable all together since I buy most everything I want to watch on DVD anyway.
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Old 11-21-05, 11:30 AM
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I live in Astoria, NYC. Just the other day I had purchased the Terk HDTVa, because I thought I needed an antenna like that to receive HD Signals. I was already connected to the Antenna that's on top of my building (I don't have cable yet), through a cable line. I found out by using that Antenna (not the terk) I could also receive HD broadcasts, so I am going to go return the Terk Antenna today, and just use the connection that was orignally in the apartment. At first the other channels didnt' come in, but I had the TV automatically scan all the channles, and it picked up a lot more channels. HD came in great (I have a clear line of sight to the empire state building).
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Old 11-21-05, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by leest3
I live in Astoria, NYC. Just the other day I had purchased the Terk HDTVa, because I thought I needed an antenna like that to receive HD Signals. I was already connected to the Antenna that's on top of my building (I don't have cable yet), through a cable line. I found out by using that Antenna (not the terk) I could also receive HD broadcasts, so I am going to go return the Terk Antenna today, and just use the connection that was orignally in the apartment. At first the other channels didnt' come in, but I had the TV automatically scan all the channles, and it picked up a lot more channels. HD came in great (I have a clear line of sight to the empire state building).
Yep, any standard UHF/VHF antenna will work. An outdoor one should be excellent. I hadn't owned an antenna in years though so I picked up the Terk HDTVi and it works perfectly.
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Old 11-23-05, 10:59 AM
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OTA HD rocks! And it is free! Well except for the cost of the receiver and antenna. I can't wait to watch tomorrows games in HD!!!
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Old 11-24-05, 09:25 PM
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I watched the Cowboy game in HD and it was awesome. I have a Voom receiver and got pixal break up only once and that was for about 5 seconds on a commercial. Very, nice pic. Will have to see what games can get on Sunday!
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