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How do I get OTA channels on my HDTV?

Old 12-31-08, 10:40 AM
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How do I get OTA channels on my HDTV?

I've ditched cable (it's not worth it paying for it by myself) and I'm not sure what I need to do to get the standard OTA channels on my HDTV (a Samsung LN-T4661F). Do I need an antenna? If so, what kind? I thought new TVs had the antennas built into them and could just grab the signals from the air but I tried scanning and pulling the channels and nothing came up.
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Old 12-31-08, 10:59 AM
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Enter your address in this site and it'll tell you the type of antenna you'll need.

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

Then you should be all set.
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Old 12-31-08, 11:10 AM
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Okay, I guess I need a Medium Multidirectional Antenna.

Are these the ones I can just grab at a Targét or something?
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Old 12-31-08, 11:27 AM
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And once you pick up a converter feel free to get in line for another type of "bail out". Every good American is entitled to one, even you ...... https://www.dtv2009.gov/ApplyCoupon.aspx
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Old 12-31-08, 11:56 AM
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He doesn't need a converter box.
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Old 12-31-08, 01:29 PM
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Ahh, my mistake. But for those that .... uhhmmmm, do .......
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Old 12-31-08, 02:08 PM
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http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2131034
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Old 12-31-08, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by PixyJunket
I thought new TVs had the antennas built into them and could just grab the signals from the air but I tried scanning and pulling the channels and nothing came up.
TVs have tuners built into them, not antennas. You need an antenna to catch the signal for the tuner.

How you add the channels will be well covered in your TV's owners manual. You'll connect an antenna, then have the tuner scan the spectrum to find the channels.

Originally Posted by visitor Q View Post
And once you pick up a converter feel free to get in line for another type of "bail out". Every good American is entitled to one, even you ...... https://www.dtv2009.gov/ApplyCoupon.aspx
You're aware that taxpayers aren't paying for those coupons, right? It's not a bailout.

Last edited by Mr. Salty; 12-31-08 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 12-31-08, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by PixyJunket View Post
Are these the ones I can just grab at a Targét or something?
Uh, no.

Probably not.

There are 2 brands that ought to cover every person: Winegard. ChannelMaster. There are a couple others that aren't total ripoffs like Terk, but why bother when these 2 exist?

Try here, it isn't the easiest website to read, but a good store otherwise:
www.starkelectronic.com/hdtv.htm

If you absolutely MUST try a settop/indoor model, search for "Silver Sensor". Don't pay more than $25, shoot for $20.
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Old 01-01-09, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Salty View Post
You're aware that taxpayers aren't paying for those coupons, right? It's not a bailout.
If it's not sponsored by the govt' then who is financing this?

http://nvmoneymatters.com/?p=1333

"Alternatively, the NTIA could request another $330 million in government funds to cover the extra cost of fulfilling all those coupon requests. It looks like that’s an option getting some consideration from lawmakers."

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/frn...PRM_080424.pdf

The NTIA is ....

"A bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is the President's principal adviser on telecommunications and information policy issues, and in this role frequently works with other Executive Branch agencies to develop and present the Administration's position on these issues."

source

Last edited by visitor Q; 01-01-09 at 12:20 AM.
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Old 01-01-09, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by visitor Q View Post
If it's not sponsored by the govt' then who is financing this?
The government auctioned off the bandwidth that's being freed up by the switch to digital, to the tune of several billion dollars. A percentage of that revenue was earmarked for the coupons to help ameliorate the cost to consumers. So, in other words, the telecoms and other companies financed it, not taxpayers.
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Old 01-01-09, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Spiky View Post
Uh, no.



Probably not.

There are 2 brands that ought to cover every person: Winegard. ChannelMaster. There are a couple others that aren't total ripoffs like Terk, but why bother when these 2 exist?

Try here, it isn't the easiest website to read, but a good store otherwise:
www.starkelectronic.com/hdtv.htm

If you absolutely MUST try a settop/indoor model, search for "Silver Sensor". Don't pay more than $25, shoot for $20.

I had a Silver Sensor type antenna till a storm ripped it down. It worked well! Course in Dallas all the antenna's are in one location on one hill. So even tho I was 25+ miles away, I could lock in and get all local HD channels.
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Old 01-01-09, 12:49 PM
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I used rabbit ears for years for my OTA reception. The reception was hit and miss, so I recently got a flat plastic antenna made by RCA. It's about 12" x 12" and maybe 1/2" thick. It just lays flat beside my TV and looks like a tray. It can be hung on a wall, but they recommend laying it flat for the best reception. Compared to other style antennas made by RCA, they rated it superior when it comes to reception. It was about $30 at Best Buy.
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Old 01-01-09, 04:10 PM
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Thanks, Salty. I had not reviewed the matter that closely.
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Old 01-02-09, 03:44 PM
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What do you guys use for VHF? One station in my area will be VHF come February, they're all UHF now.
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Old 01-02-09, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by PixyJunket View Post
Okay, I guess I need a Medium Multidirectional Antenna.

Are these the ones I can just grab at a Targét or something?
Antennaweb tends to overestimate what you need. I'd try a Silver Sensor and see what you can get, unless you have any large buildings or hills in your way.
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Old 01-02-09, 08:39 PM
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I have a similar question. I tried an RCA antenna (ANT1251), I tried a Terk antenna (TV5), and in both cases I only get one digital channel. It's from the closest broadcast source given by antennaweb. I'm baffled as to why I can't get other broadcasts. Not even a hint of other digital broadcasts.

I can get an analog broadcast from NBC, but nothing on their digital channel. Any thoughts? Do I just need a more powerful antenna, like the Terk HDTVA?
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Old 01-02-09, 10:16 PM
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According to AntennaWeb, how far away are the other transmitters, and in what direction? Do you live in a hilly area? Are there other possible obstructions? Without details, we can't help you.
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Old 01-02-09, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by aktick View Post
What do you guys use for VHF? One station in my area will be VHF come February, they're all UHF now.
My UHF antenna does just fine for VHF. Which doesn't mean they all would. But most digital will be in the upper VHF, you might be just fine. Compare with the analog signal right now to see what you get.

Originally Posted by LoomisP View Post
I have a similar question. I tried an RCA antenna (ANT1251), I tried a Terk antenna (TV5), and in both cases I only get one digital channel. It's from the closest broadcast source given by antennaweb. I'm baffled as to why I can't get other broadcasts. Not even a hint of other digital broadcasts.

I can get an analog broadcast from NBC, but nothing on their digital channel. Any thoughts? Do I just need a more powerful antenna, like the Terk HDTVA?
You have tried shit from 2 sources. Sorry about that, but you know what they say, Fool me 3 times.... Read my first post (#9). Also, answer Mr. Salty's questions and I'll bet we can offer advice. I don't know if he was directing them at you, but they apply.

I guess that HDTVA is the Terk version of the Silver Sensor, but you can find it cheaper without "Terk" printed on the box.

You did search for digital channels, right? It's not like analog, you have to run something from the TV menu.
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Old 01-03-09, 01:15 AM
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According to antennaweb, I'm 12.5 miles from the station I get. ABC, CBS, and NBC are all about 30 miles in roughly the same direction. I can get the NBC analog station, but not the digital.
It's not hilly here. I'm trying from the second floor of my townhouse. There aren't other taller buildings around -- the adjacent townhouses are the same height.

Yes, of course, I searched for digital channels. And I find one. I just don't get any others.
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Old 01-03-09, 10:31 AM
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I played around some more this morning. In addition to the digital PBS I was getting last night, I am now getting a digital CBS station. What's odd is that it's not my closest station. I am in Durham, NC and am trying to pick up the broadcasts from the towers in Raleigh about 30 miles away. Instead, I'm getting the Greensboro broadcast from 50 miles away.

Any thoughts on why this might be?
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Old 01-03-09, 01:41 PM
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30 miles is Small antenna territory if you don't have much reflection or hill issues. Rabbit ears might even work. But it's probably a directional issue. And that is always confused by being inside. You might try running the antennas you have outside, just to see what happens.

If you can't get those indoor models to work, I would probably try the HD-1080, it's listed at the Stark link I posted above. Should be easier to aim than those funky ones and shouldn't need an amp at your distance. These bow-tie hybrid models are the best.

Here's another similar antenna. I know I said there's no reason to look at other companies, but for online purchasing, Antennas Direct is a good option.
http://www.amazon.com/Antennas-Direc...1011282&sr=8-5
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Old 01-03-09, 07:37 PM
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I tried the antenna I have at a friends house nearby and it works fine. So I think the problem is that the neighboring townhouse is in the way of the signals. Does that make sense?
So the question is, do I have to mount an antenna outside or will I be able to use an antenna indoors if I get the right one?
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Old 01-03-09, 08:40 PM
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That does make sense. You can try checking that box on antennaweb to see what it recommends.

A more powerful antenna might work inside. But getting out of the way of the other building is the real solution. Which probably means up on the roof. The answer is different for every single location, so it's hard to give definite advice.
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Old 01-03-09, 08:59 PM
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Basically what I did, was get a 50' cable and tried in different locations. The "golden" rule of antenna is "higher is better". But if you can get a signal, then that is all that matters.

I could actually get all local HD channels on my pj by hanging the antenna from the ridge beam in my attic. It worked well. At the same time I got no channels down lower in the room itself.
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