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O/T Digital TV...

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by Jollytrapshooter, Jun 17, 2009.

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  1. Jollytrapshooter

    Jollytrapshooter Member

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    What a joke! Been fighting with digital TV since it was required of all stations to stop broadcasting analog 5 days ago. I went from 7 (whopping) channels to ONE that cuts in and out periodically. Am I the only one that has problems with it? We've gotten 2 different antennas that don't work worth a crap, and at this point, I'm getting quite frustrated...Anyone found a GOOD antenna that actually picks up this crap they call "digital"? Thanks, Josh.
     
  2. pyrdek

    pyrdek Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    The above listed web site tries to predict the received signal strength at a location you specify by street address. I found it to be fairly accurate for my location. The "No Signals" stations are indeed gone. I invested in a very high gain UHF antenna (all of the signals in my area are UHF) to maximize my chances. I also invested in a low noise preamp. I could not get the lowest noise one that I wanted because it was always listed as sold out or on backorder for the past several months. The particular antenna I selected provided the highest gain AT THE CHANNELS OF INTEREST TO ME.

    When checking specifications, be sure to use the RF channel since that is the actual transmitted frequency. The channels you are used to may or may not actually be on the same RF channel. Many stations ended up with a different actual transmitted frequency although the TV will show it as the traditional Channel number.

    Many areas will require a UHF/VHF antenna because there will be at least one station that will remain on the VHF band.

    When looking for a preamp, the lower the noise figure the better the preamp. To many people simply buy the pre-amp with the highest gain but if it also has a high noise figure all you are doing is amplifying noise. Also be sure to use RG-6 coax cable. Older cables or other than RG-6 will have higher loss and thus put less signal into the TV. Run the shortest possible cable from the actual antenna to the pre-amp input. That will provide the greatest signal into the pre-amp. Insure that all of your coax connectors are the securely crimped on style. Screw on connectors sometimes do not work as well.

    The web site listed also lists antenna manufactures and other pertinent data. Spend some time looking at the various pages on the site.

    Then, sometimes in spite of everything you do, the TV Gods will simply rain on your parade. At some times, when a fair distance from the transmitter, atmospherics can simply erase a signal from your area. The best antenna, pre-amp and co-ax simply can not get you a signal if there is none there to begin with.

    My previous jobs included being a Chief Transmitter engineer at a TV station and, prior to that installing commercial TV distribution systems in schools, hotels, and such. I had some background knowledge to draw on but it still took a lot more work on my part to even get the signals I now get, and there are some from 30 miles away that I simply can not get period, than it should have. Thank your "benevolent" government for throwing some of us that live away from the major metropolitan areas "under the bus" in the name or "progress".
     
  3. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
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    25,254
    Location:
    Deplorable Bitter Clinger in Liberal La La Land
    Analog was bad enough in our area, but digital really sucks. It's a real boon to the cable TV and satellite TV vendors.<br>
    <br>
    We have rural areas that were served by UHF analog repeater stations. Now they are cut off.<br>
    <br>
    Brilliant plan by gov.org.
     
  4. pyrdek

    pyrdek Well-Known Member

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    When an antenna says "multi-directional" it does NOT mean omni-directional. A multi-directional antenna still has some areas where the signal will not be picked up but a another transmitter on a different heading from the antenna will be picked up. Multis are good if all of the signals you want are in the same general area. If the signals come from, depending on the specific antenna, about 30 or 40 dg. window, a multi should work well for you. On the other hand, if, like in my case, the signals are on significantly different headings, you may have to go with a rotor and/or a uni-directional antenna.

    The best advice is to carefully check out the specific antenna(s) you are considering and see if their specifications meet your needs. Remember also that some days propagation may be exceptional. One night, nights are generally better reception anyway, I was picking up 15 or 20 stations from over a hundred miles away but the next morning, stations 30 miles away were non-existent at my location. Just a few hours difference took away Pittsburgh, Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Alliance (OH), Erie and a few that I don't know where they were from that I had been watching with a very solid signal. You should base your decision on what antenna and so forth on more than just a few hours viewing.
     
  5. wm rike

    wm rike Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
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    I've been messing with it four about 9 months. My civilian observations have been this:

    For analog use I have an antenna in the attic and leads going throughout the house. It also delivers the best digital picture. Hands down.

    Analog rabbit ears (two sets) and a six-inch length of copper wire have each delivered a good digital picture.

    I have purchased (and subsequently returned) four different digital antennaes that sucked. Just sucked. What is this - the emperor's new clothes? The six inch copper wire was worlds better.

    Toshiba digital TVs (two) can only sort our about half the digital stations in our area. Won't buy any more of those. If I put a tuner box between the antenna and the Toshiba(s) everything is aces.
     
  6. Trussman2

    Trussman2 Active Member

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    Feb 28, 2009
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    155
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Just got an email from a friend with a youtube link about how to make your own antenna using wire coat hangers......hope the link I attached works for ya....

    My experience has been poor as well. Have DirecTV wired through the whole house except for the bedroom.....left that hooked up to the old antenna.....works great in a storm when the dish is long gone. Put a converter box in and I don't get anything worth watching for digital channels..........all I want is the news....


    Digital Sucks for now..............
     
  7. highflyer

    highflyer TS Member

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    I lost several channels and can't get them back. On the other hand I gained some channels that I didn't have before. The only channels that come in good on my television in my bedroom now are the UHF channels.
     
  8. CharlieP

    CharlieP TS Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
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    Cable or satellite. Analog and antennas have gone the way of buggy whips.
     
  9. X Trap 2

    X Trap 2 TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    1,125
    My one main set in the living room with box works great as it did before the switch.

    The one in our bedroom also worked great and had 300 ohm lead so I upgraded to 75 ohm when I installed the box as it needed the 75 ohm connector. I now have little white dots all over the screen. I can touch one wire where the vhf/uhf splitter goes to the TV and the dots go away. Any suggestions.

    One in sewing room has digital tuner and works so so with rabbit ears. I am going to put an antenna in the attic to fix it.

    The box lets us get weather and satellite weather but I hardly watch it. I plan on setting the box to skip all but the channels that we had before. Most of the new channels are not of any use to us and some are not in English. Ray
     
  10. squirrelkiller

    squirrelkiller TS Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2008
    Messages:
    353
    This brillant move was a mistake from the start. Weather really affects this signal. We live in the middle of nowhere and rely on a weather radio, always have. We also have Direct TV, Wildblue and the forced digital TV. In the old days we use to get "local" channels with antenna when the weather would snuff out Direct TV and Wildblue and still get to see what was going on with the weather with the "old" TV. We live in tornado alley. Many people are in the dark with the "new" system. Has anyone seen an "emergency broadcast system announcement" since the new era of TV?

    Govt.- Lack of thinking, lack of brains.
     
  11. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Deplorable Bitter Clinger in Liberal La La Land
  12. pyrdek

    pyrdek Well-Known Member

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    Actually the process of going to digital tv started many, many years ago. Back in 1982 I was working as a TV transmitter engineer and the first actual over the air tests of what evolved into the digital TV we a saddled with today began testing. The problems discovered then, terrain effects, multi-path transmissions, reflections, phase coherence in RF amps, both transmitting and receiving, signal loss and attenuation etc. were discovered in the initial testing. There were at least two different systems that were the initial test candidates and both had problems.

    I got out of the transmitter engineering around 1985 and test was still going on. I continued to sort of keep an eye on it for the next few years but eventually I didn't even try to keep abreast of what was happening. Many of the problems discovered in the initial testing, as witnessed by postings here and elsewhere, still remain.

    The actual law mandating the shift to digital was signed several years ago. I can't recall if it was Clinton or Bush (or which Bush) but it was back somewhere in that era.

    The gainers in the transition were cell phone companies and the government because you may recall that there used to be UHF channels up to 83. Now they end at 69. (Gee, thinking about that MAYBE it WAS Clinton ;-) the higher frequencies were bid on and eventually cell phone providers paid close to 20 Billion dollars for the rights to those frequencies. You hear talk of "Emergency Radio" for police, fire etc. as gaining some of this. Yes, they did but it sure wasn't a very big chunk of the pie.

    The other gainers, although they resisted the change at first, are the broadcasters. They can now air several different programs using sub channels. Originally, Digital was talked about being all High Definition but that soon went by the wayside when they realized the true HD was not making a very rapid or large penetration into the market. The same channel used for 1 HD transmission could air four regular (standard definition - equivalent to what had been analog quality) signals. Another thing that is not mentioned is that broadcasters can actually take a portion of their channel and sell the use of it to other private and not for public viewing, companies. Things like news services, stock quotes, or other corporate data transmissions were mentioned. I do not know if that provision still exists and if so, if it is being used by any broadcaster.

    The broadcasters also, most often by those who paid more attention to the bookkeepers than the engineers, could run lower powers and thus save on utility bills and with greater automation, could hire less educated, trained and knowledgeable technicians to run the station. (This actually started back when I was in TV and was one of the reasons I left the field.) If you just compare the audio or video quality of many stations today to what was years back, even with the less sophisticated equipment in use then, the sound or video varies wildly in both level and fidelity nowadays.

    Those broadcasters who made a commitment to quality and service usually ended up paying more for engineering studies, field tests and purchased equipment suitable for the higher quality service they wished to provide. Those broadcasters who looked toward "cost containment", financial "responsibility" or maximized profits are most often the same stations that provide the poorer quality service. Did you ever wonder why two or three stations, located on the same hilltop 20 miles away will have one station with excellent signal while their neighbor, maybe only hundreds of yards away can not even be seen? Think you have the answer now?
     
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