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  1. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    So do you need a real "hdtv" antenna for good digital off the air U.S. NTSC reception?

    I am currently using an older pre-digital era powered antenna to record to a hdtv capture card. The main channels come in brilliantly. However there is one in particular that must be lower power and is not pulling in as close to 100% as the other channels are. Its an independent channel that used to be "uhf" and still carries that old number in the "virtual number" system.

    Would I need to buy a new antenna specifically designed for hdtv to get maximum reception? I don't want any digital dropouts.

    Or is this likely to happen on any room antenna (its a plug in room type not a roof aerial). If its a lower power station would they be hard to maintain maximum reception with any antenna regardless of design?

    I don't want to waste money if its merely marketing gimmicks. I do have another powered antenna that I will swap some other time to see if it is stronger. But beyond that should I invest in one? I wouldn't want to spend more than 20.00 usd on one however, would that be too cheap to be any better than a pre-digital era antenna?

    FYI I'm averaging 60-70% reception strength currently on the station in question. I'd like to get 80 or better to avoid dropouts.

    Edit -

    Originally Posted by wikipedia
    broadcasts its digital signal on UHF **** operates with an ERP of 1,000 kilowatts—all as authorized by the Federal Communications Commission. **** transmitter which is directionally aligned, is in the vicinity of its studios and offices on ****near the area of **** and *****. The transmitter is directional.
    If its directional will I have to figure out my orientation to it and point the aerial as close to its direction as possible to get a strong signal? Is a 1000 watts comparable to the metro detroit abc, nbc, cbs, and fox affiliates? Those stations come in nearly perfectly on the antenna I'm using. THis particular one is not as strong in comparison to my tests.
    Last edited by yoda313; 7th May 2010 at 22:02.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  2. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I use a regular Yagi UHF antenna from Radio Shack, with about a three foot boom. It's mounted in my attic with a RF amplifier for distribution to my installed coax system. Most of the HDTV stations around here are more than 100,000 watts. I also pick up some weak but viewable stations from about 60 miles away. All HDTV here is UHF, so any decent UHF antenna will work.

    My type of antenna is highly directional. But indoor antennas usually aren't. You can use AntennaWeb for the direction of your local stations and it has a map, so easy to point the antenna in the right direction. http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx Check Wallmart for some decent indoor antennas. I had a Terk/Zenith and it was junk and never worked. Rabbit ears were better.
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    I watch fair amount of over-the-air TV and must use indoor antennas. I have 2 Terk TV-4s and one dipole and loop antenna, all passive, all around $20 or less. People frequently have to try several antennas before finding the right one for their location. If you want something directional, Fishbone/Rooster tail-type indoor antennas are very directional but really only good for UHF.

    Most of the time, a UHF/VHF indoor antenna that worked well with a TV before the transition will still work well now. Those interested in the topic of indoor antennas should look at http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1037779 It was helpful, though biased towards UHF reception because the thread's originator doesn't seem to have VHF stations to worry about. The market I'm in happens to have several VHF stations, so I wish there was more coverage in that area.

    Unfortunately, most TV tuner cards seem to need a stronger signal than most TVs.

    Amplification may provide worse reception than a passive antenna with very strong signals, but can be helpful otherwise. The amplifiers included with amplified indoor antennas aren't very good quality and amplified indoor antennas start at $30, so I decided to add a good amplifier to one of my passive indoor antenna based on recommendations at the AVS Forums thread.

    I tried one of these http://www.kitztech.com. It is a pre-amplifier for outdoor antennas, and it significantly improved all my marginal signals without over-amplifying the strong ones. My TV tuner card performed well with all of them.

    It broke in less than a week and I had to return it, but I am considering trying it again. The only thing stopping me is a concern that static electricity killed the amplifier. (I get a static shock virtually every time I touch my indoor antenna, and anybody who uses them knows they have to be adjusted almost daily.) It has a one year warranty and a 10-day money-back guarantee. Kitz Technologies did return my money.

    This is another product recommended in the same thread: http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-Signal-Booster-1-Port-Amplifier/dp/B00122FCRG
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 7th May 2010 at 23:24.
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  4. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Thanks redwudz and usually_quiet. I'll to look into the links you provided.

    Also I forgot to mention there was some pretty nasty weather in the area last night and that might have impacted the reception. I usually use cable and dub with my hd dvr to my hauppuage hdpvr so I haven't worked with over the air in quite awhile.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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