ota tv antennas

albert_135August 4, 2012

I have never lived anyplace where there was OTA reception.

We are moving to a small city that has five stations with strong signals according to a government website.

So how and where does one start shopping for antennas knowing nothing about them and having never used them.

[Google first pulls up Angie's list but I find nothing there about antennas. Then several ''yellow page'' sites which list satellite and the like. No ghit on the first page mentions OTA antennas.]

Does one just go to Walgreen's or WalMart and buy something and try it?

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yosemitebill

Just a few questions:

1) How far in miles are you from the transmitter sites?

2) Are they all together on an antenna farm (a single shared area) or do they come from different directions?

3) Do you know the actual channels they are transmitting on as opposed to the "virtual channel numbers" that they call themselves and are displayed on your television?

4) Is the terrain flat or hilly?

5) Are you looking to use an indoor or an outdoor antenna?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 10:44PM
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jimisham

Here's something that might help you decide.
There's also tvfool.com and antennaweb.org

Here is a link that might be useful: Antenna Point

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 9:06AM
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albert_135

The transmitter sites seem to all be on a mountain 29 miles away between Carson City, Lake Tahoe and Reno.

I've no clue as to channel numbers yet.

Indoor vs. outdoor is one of the questions we are trying to answer.

A .gov site which said there were five of them a few weeks ago now says there are only four. Antenna point linked above says there are seven.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 5:46PM
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jimisham

Checking Reno on Antenna Point, it looks like you're going to need a combination VHF/UHF antenna. For the best results I'd go with an outdoor antenna. And looking at the other two web sites I gave you, it looks like the transmitters are in different directions, so you may need a rotor to change directions. Check the Yellow pages of your telephone book for 'Antennas'. That should list dealers in your area. Also check to see what your neighbors are using.

Here's a company with a good reputation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solid Signal

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 8:55AM
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yosemitebill

I'm familiar with the area - the three major networks transmit off Slide Mountain, as well as a host of other services up there too. PBS and Fox transmitters are up above I80, north of Reno, but close to one another.

With the distances, you are probably more in the direction of Fernley, and the arc for receiving both areas without using a rotor is pretty good.

You do need an outdoor antenna, and not one of those Star Trek looking ones, but a traditional antenna design. The stations are both VHF/UHF which require just a good old fashion TV antenna.

By the way, there is no such thing as a digital or HDTV antenna - it's just a television antenna tuned for the required frequency spectrum - an RF frequency is an RF frequency and the antenna does not know or care about how the information is encoded.

Unfortunately, several manufacturers designed and sold antennas, and still do, under the false assumption that all digital television was only going to be broadcast on UHF channels.

Retailers for antennas are not as prevalent as they once were but I included a link for something that should work for you and is available at Walmart - just to give you an idea of what you'll probably need.

Here is a link that might be useful: Antenna at Walmart

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 10:34PM
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albert_135

Since WalMart has such a good return policy, they told me 30 days on electronics, one could get a WalMart inside antenna and play with it for 29 days and return it. If one went that dubious route which WalMart antenna would you try first?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 2:49PM
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yosemitebill

The RCA ANT700R could be used indoors as well as outdoors.

BTW It's not really dubious if it does not work.

Here is a link that might be useful: RCA ANT700R at Walmart

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 6:03PM
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lbpod

And don't forget to get a converter.
There are no more gubment certificates
for them, so you'll have to pay the shot.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 8:39AM
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xand83

Albert, are you going to be getting cable internet? If so, skip the antenna and just (using a basic cable splitter) run one wire to your cable modem and the other to your TV. If you have a newer TV with a digital tuner, you'll get all the OTA channels for free, in HD. And then some. I sent our new OTA antenna back to Amazon once I figured that out. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 1:43PM
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floweroos

i agree with it.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 1:51AM
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albert_135

RCA ANT700R at Walmart suggested by yosemitebill above gets 13 -14 stations - according to spouse. I have not yet been to the house to see the quality or to see if she is counting correctly.

Thanks to everyone for saving us perhaps $70-100 per month.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 11:38AM
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svejkovat

"Albert, are you going to be getting cable internet? If so, skip the antenna and just (using a basic cable splitter) run one wire to your cable modem and the other to your TV. If you have a newer TV with a digital tuner, you'll get all the OTA channels for free, in HD. And then some. I sent our new OTA antenna back to Amazon once I figured that out. Good luck!"

True that? True with caveats? How can that be?

I seriously need to look into that OTA hookup via my cable internet connection. How did I not know that? I spent a week on a very popular OTA section of a very popular home theater forum and there was no mention of this.

In case anyone else finds their way here with similar questions regarding antennas I'll suggest simply identifying the type appropriate for your needs and simply ringing a couple of doorbells on homes in your area that have similar antennas on the roof.
This very common antenna will do you just fine...
http://parchoonbazaar.com/images/TV%20Antenna/tv-antenna-large-4-23-07.jpg
Most owners will give them to you for the "service" of removing them. In 2012 the vast minority of roof mounted television antennas are set up to receive OTA digital broadcasts. The rest you see are simply vestiges of analog service and the owners never bothered to ladder up and take them down once they switched to cable.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 12:26AM
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svejkovat

Follow up to above. I did ask on another forum about simply using linking into my internet cable feed. Here was the reply.

Original Quote...
"Albert, are you going to be getting cable internet? If so, skip the antenna and just (using a basic cable splitter) run one wire to your cable modem and the other to your TV. If you have a newer TV with a digital tuner, you'll get all the OTA channels for free, in HD. And then some. I sent our new OTA antenna back to Amazon once I figured that out. Good luck!"

My Question at the other forum....
"What about that? True with caveats? Just his imagination? If true, why did I not find any "heads up" regarding the possibility of this during all of my research concerning OTA antennas and reception?

Thanks for all your help here."

Member's response....
"Partially true with caveats. Often times cable companies just neglect to block the "broadcast basic" when you sign up for internet. "Broadcast basic" by law includes all local full power stations for your DMA. Often times they are in HD and there are requirements that they be in HD if broadcast in HD (I don't know how that works since when I stayed in Philly, the local CW, that I know broadcasts in HD, was only SD on the hotel's pay service.). Broadcast basic service often doesn't include multi-cast channels, (i.e. you don't get the dot 2, dot 3 etc. channels) and the cable companies degrade the HD to save bandwidth (the picture isn't as clear and has a lot more compression artifacts). Also, if you're in an area where you can get out of market stations on your antenna, you won't get those with broadcast basic (I'd lose 50% of my channels if I signed up for broadcast basic).

Finally, the cable companies have petitioned the FCC for, and will probably get, the right to encrypt broadcast basic, so those folks that are getting it for "free" will probably lose it soon."

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 1:21PM
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albert_135

No. I've not thought about a cable hookup. I'm confused. Were I going to get a cable hookup why would I even ask about an antenna?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 1:58PM
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