Antenna Help Please

qmarkerJanuary 7, 2007

I want to get rid of my cable TV service entirely. I want to simply have local channels and perhaps subscribe to DVD rentals?

My problem is that the only TV antenna's I can relate to are the good old fashioned rabit ears from my era. I went looking on the web and I am so confused with the variety of INDOOR antenna's that are available to purchase.

I have 4yr old TV's in 2 rooms but neither is HDTV. Simply flat screen's. I currently have cable with a splitter connected in the basement. I could drop basic cable and just contract for the cable ariel for local reception. But even that is not cheap by the month and just keeps going up. It seems like I could just purchase an antenna instead?

I sure would appreciate any clarification on the antenna's I could or should purchase. I simply want local reception and the ability to play DVD's in each room.

I live in a suburb where outdoor antenna's are not acceptable. My son suggested an old fashioned house antenna inside the garage rafters connected to each TV via the basement. I am hoping a simple indoor antenna will do the trick?? I live in a suburb of Milwaukee, WI. It has always been nick-named Tinsel Town because of the poor reception with cell phones, CB's etc.

Also, would I need an antenna for each room? My son also tells me they have them in picture frames and/or decorative items these days.

Lastly, I would like to know if an antenna gets connected the same way the cable did? I go back to the old VHS days.

Thank you in advance for your expertise!!


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Just go to the Crutchfield web site, and search "HDTV antennas" to get an idea of what these are. better yet, ask one of the technicians to see what works in your area. If you don't have HD TV's, then all you need is a UHF/VHF antenna. Make sure that you tell the technician what type of TV you have (HD or analog).

Most UHF/VHF antennas receive over the air HD signals, but newer models may be a little stronger. The indoors ones may be more expensive than the roof ones, however, and sometimes you may have to match it to an amplifier. You should be able to check how a roof antenna works indoors (in the garage or something). See if one of your neighbors has a roof antenna you can try in your garage or another room in the house. if it picks the signals clear enough, then an indoor antenna may work just the same. All you should need is one antenna, and it's a shame you can't have one on your roof, because these are not very expensive. I see some advertised from $39.00 to $149.00 depending on their rated range. Some are LOW, MED, or HI range. The high range are more expensive because they are designed to pick signals from stations perhaps 50 miles away.

All you need is one antenna in the house, and have a couple of splitters to connect the other TV's to the same cable from the antenna. The splitters can be located at a central location in the house.

And yes. The antenna is connected the same way as before: cable from the antenna to the VCR/DVD, and from there to the TV. But if the DVD is only a player, then it does not have an antenna jack on the back side. Only DVD recorders, or DVD/VCR combos have antenna jacks on the back.

Keep in mind that around 2009 or so, analog TV's like yours may not be able to receive HD signals unless you can add a signal conversion box to the system (between the antenna and the splitters for the cables going to other TV's).

The technicians at Crutchfield can explain all that to you, or you may be able to read it yourself at their web site.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 12:23AM
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Here's a link to a web site that will give an idea of what kind of antenna you need for where you live. It'll depend on how far you live from the TV station's towers.
Maybe something in the attic would work.

Here is a link that might be useful: TV Antenna

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 7:51AM
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Another option is to call your cable company and ask for a rate card. I have Comcast and, in my city, they are required to offer a level of service that is just broadcast channels and a couple of others (like the Weather Channel, public-access, etc.). It's cheap -- around $8 a month. And it offers the same quality of reception you get with "basic" cable.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 8:32AM
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"I live in a suburb where outdoor antenna's are not acceptable. My son suggested an old fashioned house antenna .."

By "not acceptable", do you mean that some local ordinance prohibits you from installing an antenna? I thought that FCC regulations prohibited local jurisdictions from precluding outdoor antennas being used for reception.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 9:14AM
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I was reading about roof and indoors TV antennas on the Internet, just to verify if i was correct about UAF/VHF antennas being able to receive over the air (free) local HD TV transmissions, and I was correct. An UHF/VHF antenna will receive all the free HD signals, some as far as 70 miles away or so. Now, these antennas won't receive the cable HD signals.

Also, there are UHF/VHF, and FM antennas one can buy. The FM is for the radio or receiver, of course. I don't remember exactly, but either the UHF (of the VHF?) portion of the antenna receives over 99% of all the free over the air HD signals, and the other one receives the rest. Just buy an an UAF/VHF antenna, not just one with only VHF or only VHF. Dealers will try to sell you a HDTV antenna, of course. Just be aware of the facts about these antennas.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 1:53AM
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Here is good news for you! I use powered rabbit ears that you can buy at many outlets on my three TVs. If you only want the local channels they are fine and they are cheap, about twenty bucks. Do not use a splitter as advised as the location of each set will need an adjustment of the direction of the rabbit ears. As far as HDTV goes I don't have a set that is ready and I will cross that bridge when the time comes and not worry about the antennas which are already on the market and aren't that expensive either. BTW, the powered antenna simply means that it can boost the signal electronically, so make sure you don't buy just the original type. If you have questions, go to a Radio Shack where the employees will know exactly what you are talking about. And, as I do, enjoy the free airwaves...!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 9:48AM
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RE: VHF/UHF antennas

I just got into this -replaced our 1986 27" Zenith (no color last 1 1/2 years) with a CRT model (because it fit our cabnet) 27" Insignia NS-27RTV (Best Buy) $261.10 including disposal fee($8) and tax ($17.11) strictly thru-the-air transmission (digital and analog) via our 2 state-of-the-art 1982 UHF/VHF antennas in the garage rafters (only 4 stations then) and an extra hanging on a hook for occasional use on one of the channels ---WOW!!!!

Talk about coming in out of the stone age. Got stations we didn't know existed but lost one. I used to adjust the antennas with a long stick. Not anymore - put a ceiling in the garage (1994). Still, the old antennas do a job that's good enough for whom its for.

Obviously we are not obsessed with TV.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 10:32PM
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You got it, mxyplx.

Best of all, you saved $ by using the old antenna. :) i got the information from the free antenna installation guides at Crutchfield.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 2:44AM
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I have a Zenith HDTV with a built in HDTV tuner that gets HDTV programs off my outdoor roof antenna. A few of the stations tend to break up and lose the signal, but that may be because the transmitter power is less for those channels. It could also be I need an antenna rotator to aim the antenna directly at the different transmitter locations. Luckily I live in a neighborhood where you can do just about anything you want with your property. Freedom! BTW, I don't believe there is anything like a special HDTV antenna, unless thats just a regular antenna with more elements on it. You can buy roof antennas at Radio Shack or Home Depot or just about any electronics store. My antenna is about ten years old and still works fine. You could put the roof antenna in your attic but the roof would weaken the received signal somewhat, and might also cause ghosts.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 11:59PM
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Any indoor antenna is going to need rotating for best reception from different channels. I still recommend the powered rabbit ears that increase signal strength. I do very well with these but admit to not watching much over the airwaves TV in favor of DVDs...

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 9:57AM
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I want to buy a small TV for my bedroom, and don't want to hook it up to the cable. Just want the network channels. Will regular rabbit ears work for that?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 10:51AM
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up until Feb 2009 ... then the broadcasters (over the air) will stop transmitting regular (analog) TV.

They will all have to transmit Digital TV only.

Unless your TV has a digital tuner, it won't work for over-the-air transmissions.

It will still work with cable/satellite boxes and DVD players and VCRs.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 6:01PM
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you can now get a coupon for $40.00 off teh digital to analog convertors that will allow all old TV to still work for OTA reception. mine should be here soon.

i have a set of rabbit ears in my attic feeding a splitter that then feeds 2 TVs. my old tv cann ONLY pick up 1 channel, but my new HDTV picks up 12, 6 of those digital. not bad for an unpowered set of rabbit ears INSIDE the house! my old tv won't even pick up the local low power station that is 5 miles away, but the HDTV gets it crystal clear.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 3:31PM
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