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Lets talk Digital TV and rabbit ears.

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Old 08-26-2008, 10:55 PM   #1
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Lets talk Digital TV and rabbit ears.

Right now Tracy and I have 2 TVs and one set of rabbit ears to watch Tv off of. The current rabbit ears are some cheap ones from K mart. Nothing fancy about them. In the bedroom TV with the rabbit ears hooked up I can CBS and barely get NBC. That is it.

When we move the rabbit ears out to the living room we can barely get Fox, get NBC ok, ABC ok, CBS limited, and a local KUSI channel.

Both of the TV's are old school enough that I will be needing the converter box if we stay with rabbit ears.

My question is will the digital box help boost the signal so I can pickup channels better then then I do now? Also would a better set of rabbit ears help get the signals better as well? I just do not want to go drop a few hundred bucks on this stuff and not get any better TV. I figure in a year or year and a half we will probably get cable or directv anyway so it is only a short term solution.

Cable will run $40-50 a month so it will be cheaper to stay with broadcast but if I am stuck with only 2 channels then I will start forking over for cable even though we are only home for 8-9 days a month.
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Old 08-26-2008, 11:49 PM   #2
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...This might help...Think of am radio and fm radio...When fm came to service it was digital, as in 102.7..

...For example:

...The chanel on tv, let's say your channel 8...It is now broadcasting as 8, 8.1,8.2,8.3...Channel 8 is the current broadcast signal...Channel 8.1 is the same channel being transmitted in a different screen format and is digitized...Now, channel 8.2 and 8.3 are addittional channels being broadcast from the same station...Say, 8.2 is there live newsroom feed and 8.3 is their uplink...

...I know, maybe to much info..

...Your reception area will still be critical for your rabbit ears..They do have rabbit ears that will be better and can pick up some of the digital channels but they use the dial style and you need to slide the channel in...

...I would look into getting a better roof antenna and the hd box...Most tv station sites have a digital tv info page as I believe it is required by the FCC...On these info pages they all have a link for a coupon for the digital box...

...This is the page from channel 8 and if you look at the bottom of the page, it has a link for the coupon...
http://www.cbs8.com/dtv/

...I hope this helps some...
...Now my problem, lol...How do I get digital on my 5" tv in the X???...




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Old 08-26-2008, 11:50 PM   #3
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It costs 50 dlls and it does help a lot with reception, at my uncle's he gets more channels than he did before, so why not buy one and try it out?
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Old 08-27-2008, 12:35 AM   #4
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Here is my input since we just got DTV converter boxes...

We finally got a DTV since we have one really old TV and one bleeding edge HDTV. The old TV is an old sony.. So old that the remove is just one step above a clicker.. the TV only goes to channel 13. The big TV is a Panasonic HDTV circa 2000. That means no DTV tuner or HDMI inputs..

The old TV picks up 1.5 channels with the rabbit ears.. (Channel 13 is clear, channel 18 is very snowy)..

I tried both the Insignia available from Best Buy and the Apex dt250 (also available at best buy).. Neither box picked picked up any stations at all with the rabbit ears that pick up 1.5 channels of analog.

On the big TV we have a 160" Dual band big antenna on the roof.

We were getting snowy channel 4 and picked up 6 ,13 and 18 only.

I hooked up the DTV converter box and now get channel 4, four channel 6's(PBS), channel 11 (fox), three channel 13s (cbs), channel 18.

During the day we can pick up two more statoins...

Soo.. the DTV box "might" help, but it might not.. I'm going to replace the big old roof mount antenna with a grid style antenna (still directional). It should have better gain and much less wind loading (smaller antenna).. As it is now, I have it aimed at the tower which is 30+ miles away..

BTW.. Using the CEBC coupons the apex and the Insignia converter boxes are $19 from best buy.. After 2 days of having them I'm going to return the Apex box and exchange it for a 2nd insignia. The apex supports intelligent antenna (I think thats what you call it) and has s-video out but the remote control is so bad that the extra features don't mean anything.. the button clicks aren't seen, or it thinks you hit the button twice.. sometimes I got it confused.. I hit channel up and it thinks I hit channel down...

Just going to Digital cleaned up the picture so much, even when using the composit input on the tv that I'm not going to worry about running svideo..

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Old 08-27-2008, 03:42 PM   #5
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Don't forget, you can get coupons from the Gov't to help pay for the converter boxes!




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Old 08-27-2008, 03:46 PM   #6
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Don't forget, you can get coupons from the Gov't to help pay for the converter boxes!
That is what I did.. and they are good for 90 days.. If your going to use them online, don't wait until the last minute.. a few places I checked wouldn't take the coupons becuase ours were set to expire in 2 days...

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Old 08-27-2008, 03:57 PM   #7
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what you guys really need to boost your pickup is to get an amplified antenna, wich will run ya somethin to the tune of 30-80 bucks depending how nice of a unit you want, ie variable gain, hdtv, etc

the converter box's only job is to make sure your old tv can interperate the new digital tv signal




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Old 08-27-2008, 04:04 PM   #8
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You mean something like this? http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=search

I got something like that from a RadioShack amplified antenna (it looked like a 6 ft piece of square plastic tubing). It didn't help when we were running analog but I think I kept that amplifier and can always plug it inline with what we current have..

I do plan on replacing the old RS big antenna (160" 57 element) with a more effieicent high gain less wind load antenna.. but if an amplifier would help I'll do that too.

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Old 08-27-2008, 04:18 PM   #9
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Remember that the new HD signal don't have anywhere close to the range of the old radio/TV waves. You probally need a Amp. Or just go pick up a small HD tv for a few hundred bucks.

It's cheaper then tires, Matt!!!




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Old 08-28-2008, 01:13 AM   #10
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was refering more to the little tv, i honestly dont know much about roof antenas but what i was thinking was more like this http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1118844608800




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Old 08-28-2008, 10:52 AM   #11
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was refering more to the little tv, i honestly dont know much about roof antenas but what i was thinking was more like this http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1118844608800
ahh.. gotcha.. that wouldn't work for us.. but may work for Matt.. We are considered Far Fringe. We are effectivly 30+ miles from the tower.

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Old 08-28-2008, 11:53 AM   #12
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Get basic cable service - it's much better. I know, I know, you guys are never home..

Next step is to get a real antenna. I know it's cool to have Tracy hold the rabbit ears in weird positions (dirty minds!)..

The DTV tuners will either work or not at all. The beauty of digital TV is the signal is cleaner, when there is enough strength..

My last suggestion - for laugh and grins, is there any coax in the house? Hook it up and see what you get - sometimes they act as giant antenna's, and improve reception..




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Old 08-28-2008, 06:19 PM   #13
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I've found that digital signals are easier to tune than analog. When we actually tried rabbit ears (before cable and satellite) we could barely draw in the strongest local channels, and we had to constantly fiddle with the antenna.

Now, with a new 37" Samsung widescreen, we can draw in digital signals WITHOUT any antenna! Just the set alone -- no box, no nothing -- can draw in about 20 local channels. I was impressed.

We're still on cable (current landlord won't allow satellite, which is best by far) but the number of channels we recieve doubled from just the digital tuners in the set.

I'd get the converter box and see what happens... You'll need it anyway. One of our local analog channels is already sending scrolling messages across the screen saying that they will begin reducing power to their analog channel in October. Though the change comes after the first of the year, many stations area already in process and there are lots of things different already.




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Old 08-28-2008, 08:44 PM   #14
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I think we are just going to get a basic cable or satellite dish package. By the time I buy two converter boxes and another antenna I could pay for a few months of cable right there. I doubt I am very close to any of the broadcast points anyway because we live in the back country of San Diego. Now I just need to get around to running the coax cable where I want it.

I sure am not going to let the cable installers do it cause I have seen how they do it. I understand why they do it the way they do I just don't want it done on my house that way.
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Old 10-10-2008, 05:40 AM   #15
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If you can, put up an antenna outdoor antenna. Rabbit ears are not worth fooling with unless you have no other option. Radio Shack outdoor antennas are fine for most people. Some people get good results with a outdoor antenna in the attic. The digital boxes will likely get more stations because each station can have 2 or 3 sub channels. The DTVPal box, sold at Sears, and Kmart, even has a program guide like cable or dish. Real high definition tv, HDTV is free from an antenna and can be a higher quality picture than cable or dish. The cheap converter boxed that the government coupons work on do receive HD but convert it down for standard tvs. It's still a good picture. Other set top boxes have been out for several years already that have hi def outputs. I think any new tv purchased now has the digital tuner in it.
Here's a link for the government coupons https://www.dtv2009.gov/
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:04 AM   #16
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what you guys really need to boost your pickup is to get an amplified antenna, wich will run ya somethin to the tune of 30-80 bucks depending how nice of a unit you want, ie variable gain, hdtv, etc
Personally I think they're a waste of money. I've never seen an amplified antenna that worked better than a decent set of un-amplified rabbit ears. In fact I don't think I ever had one that even worked quite as well.




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Old 01-09-2009, 01:34 PM   #17
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...Hmmm, I keep hearing that this may not happen next month as planned...There seems to be talk about delaying this...
http://www.cbs2.com/video/?id=89035@kcbs.dayport.com




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Old 01-11-2009, 08:40 PM   #18
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My dad's been getting into the DTV conversion. He's a radio guy and kind of predicted this years ago.

They have DirecTV (which I can't stand, but can't talk them out of it) and they do get their local channels. However, they only get about 4 of them in HD, and they don't give you the additional channels (you get whatever one their main broadcast is in HD and that's it, no 6.2 or 6.3). That wouldn't be a big loss, but they like the 24-hour local weather station that channel 6 puts out, and they want to get PBS in HD.

To pick up all the rest, they had a set of rabbit ears hooked up to the DirecTV receiver (the HD ones used to have a digital tuner built in, the new ones don't and they had to bitch to get one when theirs broke). This let them pick up the additional channels and puts them in the line with the rest of the locals on the sat box.

There was also a TV in the bathroom that got its signal from an attic antenna. My dad went to RadioShack and bought this VHF/UHF antenna. This was so they didn't have rabbit ears in the living room anymore. The tuner in the bathroom TV is poor and doesn't pick up some of the stations if the signal is split. My dad ended up going back to RadioShack and buying this UHF antenna just for it.

The signal from the larger antenna was eventually split so the lounge TV could have a DTV converter on it in addition to the satellite box so they can pick up the weather and stuff.

As far as the rest of the DTV stations, at least here, you're not missing much. There's some religious crap on one of them, and another one plays old movies continuously. The only really useful one is the "Weather Plus," which I've seen in other cities, and if they'd get cable we'd get the Weather Channel and it wouldn't need it either...

If you do plan on getting an antenna for the new DTV stations, all you really need is a UHF antenna like this one. After the conversion, all of the DTV stations are going to be on UHF. Remember all antennas installed outside must be grounded and never installed near overhead power lines.

We mounted ours in the attic due to homeowner's association restrictions. They still work pretty well despite that, tho, and we are out in the boonies. We mounted them to a pole attached to this tripod, with the larger one underneath the smaller one. The smaller one is way up in the peak of the roof, which is out of the way, and though the larger one had to be lower it is still high enough it won't be in the way.

Oh and about amplifiers, we've tried a few, but have never been pleased with them with either digital or analog TV. They just don't appear to do anything. With enough money, you might be able to find a useful one, but with the right antenna you can get a pretty good signal especially if you're in town.

My prediction for the DTV conversion is that it'll probably get pushed back 6 months to a year, and then it will finally happen. The stupid people who still ignored the warnings will raise a whole bunch of hell, eventually causing it all to go back to both analog and digital signals.
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:35 PM   #19
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When we had a dish, I used one of these with good success.



http://www.amazon.com/Terk-Amplified...tag=dogpile-20

They feed right in via the dish cable and if the dish is allowed, so is the antenna.

We now use digital cable, but I preferred DirecTV to Insight (other than having broadband Internet service!). I got more channels, with better quality for less money. I'll probably go back to DirecTV once I move out of the city, and for Internet, who knows? Depends how far out I am -- either cell link or satellite uplink (pricey).




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Old 01-11-2009, 09:36 PM   #20
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All channels are NOT going UHF.. Most channels will be there though. I'm looking for the chart again, but in the Tucson area one of the DTV channels is currently on UHF but once the transision officially happens they will end up on VHF.

I'll post the current and final channel assignment chart once I find it again.

~Mark




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