Help with TV signal

aliris19December 3, 2010

Hiya. I just bought a TV for the first time in 14 years. Last time you just plugged it into the wall. This time it seems it's necessary to have signal converters and there are gazillions of subscription options/necessities and dishes available ... it is very confusing to me;I don't really even know how to start.

Can anyone help me through this? I currently have internet FiOS to the house so I presume I could call FiOS and get that altered to include TV signal. But they're so much more expensive than other services -- how do they compare? There's Sezmi for $5/mo, and then there's dishes you can put on the house. But which of these options requires yet additional equipment? I am pretty overwhelmed. Thanks for the primer.

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Let's see what you can get by using an antenna: please go to the link listed below and enter your information. Post the link to the results of your report back here, and let's see what you can get for nothing more than the cost of a TV antenna. Your privacy is assured by using this method, as no personal information will be posted.

Here is a link that might be useful: antenna report

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 10:05PM
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Thanks, tigerbangs. I went to the site but at first didn't go through with entering the information because I cannot imagine it's the case that we don't have a lot of signal. I live on the westside of Los Angeles and if there is no signal here, then there is likely none anywhere -- which for all I know, may be the case. Again, I am utterly confused as to what the situation is like signal-wise out there these days. Once upon a time these signal frequencies were considered the peoples', like utilities. Now, it's just a market commodity.

I gather, though, from what you're saying, there might yet still be signal available that's free? I just don't even get how this works?

BTW, I have minimal TV needs -- basically, public television would do me just fine. And I suppose C-Span. My husband likes to watch basketball but I've forced the guy to do without for years now. I dunno - the problem with TV is having signal, one might watch it.

Anyway, thanks for the attention, tigerbangs. After writing this I did go ahead and use TVFool and determined that indeed there is a ton of signal here, "All" and a multitude of it. I just have no idea how to grab it.

Thanks for your thoughts...

p.s. If movies were available to me on the TV I'd probably watch one every now and then....

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 12:28AM
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If you've done as tigerbangs suggested and found a lot of stations in your area, you're almost there!!

If this is a new TV then you don't need a converter box to receive signals off the air. Also, don't get fooled into buying an antenna that leads you to believe it is the only kind to use for the new digital signals. Any antenna receives digital signals. I suggest starting with rabbit ears if you already have them. If you already have an outside antenna, hook that up to the tv. The next thing is to go into the tv's menu function and select "auto find" and the tv will look for all the signals you are receiving.

If you do not have rabbit ears or an outside antenna, and there are lot of stations near you, and you plan to buy an antenna, I highly recommend the WINGARD 2000 omni directional antenna. It has a built in signal amplifier, you don't have to aim it anywhere in particular and the customer service and product support from Wingard is superb. You can mount it in your attic for the most part.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 1:02PM
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I'm sorry, but that's terrible advice: the Winegard MS 2000 is an omni-directional antenna and has no ability to reject the multipath distortion that causes digital TV signals to pixelate and drop out.

Putting such an antenna in the attic is even worse, since the attic causes even more signal reflections that make matters worse, and attic installations reduce the amount of signal available to an antenna by 50% and more.

Furthermore, a preamplifier such as the one in the MS2000 can and will overload in the face of strong local TV stations, and may cause some stations to disappear.

Without a doubt, your best reception will come from a small directional antenna like a Winegard HD-7694p or an AntnennaCraft HBU-22 mounted on the roof and aimed at the Mt. Wilson transmitters

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 5:02PM
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I neglected to mention that,if you have a WiFi router in the house that you can purchase an inexpensive Roku or Apple TV box, connect it to your new TV, and watch movies either free, or at a very small fee.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to info about Roku

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 5:09PM
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Well, actually it is not terrible advice just as I wouldn't take a confrontational stance to judge your opinion as terrible advice. The OP is obviously not technically inclined and is looking for a solution to simply set their tv down, connect some type of simple means to get what they had when using the analog tv, plug in the tv and turn it on and watch some tv.

According to the OP, there are a ton of signals in the area. I'm not particularly hooked on any specific manufacturer or model of product. I merely recommended the Wingard 2000 is good for up to 40 miles so if there are as many receivable signals in the area as the OP implies, placing an antenna in an attic will block at least 50% of the signal depending on what the roof is made of, minimizing overload and I don't think micro mapping will be a significant problem.

Attic installations where possible are quite common because the antenna are not aesthetically intrusive, easily maintained and the homeowner doesn't need to get on the roof and can install them themselves. Omni directional antenna don't require being aimed in a particular direction making it more of a plug and play situation for someone not particularly knowledgeable of what stations are where.

If mounted on the roof outside the structure, using the pre-amp wouldn't overload the face of the signal. The preamp energizes proprietary circuits which modulate and amplify the weaker signals just as the large outdoor antenna with the varying lengths of arial are designed to do. The omni directional design of the antenna would allow them to pick up signals from any direction. A directional antenna would limit the user to what is in the direction the flat panel is tuned to and adjustment is necessary until they get it right. A flat panel is nice if you know where to place it, what stations you can expect to get and have the means and technical knowledge of attaching it. The OP made it quite clear, they don't have the knowledge for that sort of thing. I'm certain from this post and another they posted, the OP is not into all that. They want to watch the news and an occasional sports event.

Original Poster, in my honest opinion, if you are correct and there are a ton of signals in the area, a set of rabbit ears will most likely satisfy the viewing preferences you described in the original post. That is where I still say you should start, go into the new digital tv menu options, do an auto scan and see what you get. You should receive the same things as you did before and maybe even more. If there is a particular channel you think you should get, manually tune the set to that channel and adjust the rabbit ears just as you did on your analog tv until you get the signal. Then manually add that channel to the list the tv already found on it's own. To do more, you would then need a different antenna or, a cable or internet hook up or satellite service.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 11:37PM
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Boys boys ... please stop YELLING!

Thank you one and all for the advice. I appreciate that it isn't always obvious what the right answer is. I appreciate disagreements. I appreciate independent confirmation or at least commentary... anyone else care to weigh in?

I actually haven't yet had a chance to read through all this but am looking forward to it. I'm not a complete computing novice, but I don't really know much at all about televisions. There is some hope I may be able to figure this out, but not evaluate validity so again, I will appreciate hearing from others.

Thanks for weighing in, all.

BTW, I happen to have a tall and holey attic, so if ever there was one in which an antenna can be mounted, it might be mine. Dunno ...

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 12:03AM
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Hi again -- I've read now. Clearly tigerbangs is familiar with LA and Mt Wilson, the peak to the East with a gazillion station antenni atop.

When I did go through the exercise of having the program tell me about signals in my area, it declined on the grounds that there were just too many. I think here in the heart of communications there are likely to be just far, far too many signals floating around than too few. My concern was worrying that they are all zipped up in pay channels, and wondering how to access them.

It is welcome news to me that there is a chance just plugging in my TV will bring lots of programming. That would be great. I'm of the tribe that would welcome the punishment the joke would mete out to those who don't pay their cable bill: all CSPAN all the time. That would suit me just fine, truthfully. TV news, however, I'll stay well clear of: I find it all most thoroughly repugnant; biased and fear-mongoring. PBS news is OK some of the time, sort of. But I don't sit down to watch it. I get most of my news from Harry Shearer.

Therefore my plan of action will be to go slowly. The set is an Xmas present, so come the big day, I'll plug it in and see what happens. It sounds as if I must navigate through a menu to a place that scans for stations and then perhaps save them -- perhaps there are some I need to delete? Then it sounds as if there's a way to evaluate and search for stations the autoscan might have missed. That is, if PBS doesn't turn up there should be some way for me to force it into my saved set of signals.

From there I'll see -- if there are too few signals found that could only be because the internal antenna can't deal with filtering so many different signals. Probably there is something out there for doing that. Perhaps an attic installation with its inherent interference, would be just the thing to tamp down signal. Or maybe it needs to be done with more control.

I'll cross that bridge if and when it's necessary. I haven't even enough knowledge never mind time or interest to try to do so in advance.

The other piece of information you've helped provide is that there is TV out there that is not being ransomed by cable companies. It is not, evidently, necessary to pay a monthly subscription rate for TV. That's new news to me and welcome news too.

Thank you very much for clarifying some of the issues I need to address. I couldn't even get that far prior to your help. I appreciate that an attic installation of an antenna might be controversial; I'll research the matter further before installing it should it come to that.

Thanks all!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 12:52AM
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Here is a link to the Wingard site. This link is the installation manual for the antenna I suggested. It shows an attic mounting, if you choose to go that route.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 8:18PM
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I wanted to followup on this. The suggestions here pointed me toward waiting to sign up for any commercial signal and I am glad I did. When I scan I found 3 analog and in the order of 90 digital signals. Course many, many of these are in unidentifiable asian languages -- we watched the coolest folk-art-dance show of some fable with amazing costumes and weird and exotic music at the holidays that was clearly something of a tradition for someone -- no idea who. Thai? Hmong?

Anyway, it seems I don't even need the converter box sent by the government; I just plug my old rabbit ears (are these analog or does it not even matter) into the TV directly.

I will also mention that I bought a blu-ray player from Best Buy that worked great for a while until getting the Green Screen Of Death written about by many online (DVD plays with audio but no picture). I was unable to resolve the problem trying a gazillion things centered around shutting off and restarting and resetting, etc. But after shutting down the machine for 24 hours it seems to have reset itself. Not sure whether unplugging for 5 minutes would have been enough; I didn't for more than 30 seconds. But I wanted to pass along this hint in case anyone searches on Green Screen.

Thanks for all the help!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 3:33AM
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