High Def Antennas

To go along with the high def TV I could care less about,my wife got Dish.A monthly bill for crap programming bugs me .I have heard, maybe here, that high def antennas do a good job for the one-time cost.

Your experiences?

rabbit ears might work for you
that’s all I use - in the Denver area, I can pick up maybe 20 or so stations. I do get occasional interference from planes and bad weather - i.e. heavy rain or snow, but overall, it wasn’t worth going for a bigger better antenna to just get more crappy stations. I get all the main networks, pbs, and universal sports; good enough for my tastes

seem’s I’ve heard somewhere that HD signals are sent out with less power, so are more prone to interference, and the signal strength fades a lot faster with distance than the old analog signals.

anyway, if you line in a fair sized metro area, you probably can get away with using a simple rabbit ear’s antenna and save yourself the price of cable or dish tv

FTA - satellite
Do a quick search on your favorite search engine for FTA satellite receivers and see what comes up.

Antennas work fine…
…provided that you have broadcast stations to tune into. :wink:

There is nothing different about antennas for digital vs. analog TV, though the product hype you see may try to convince you otherwise. I’m still using the same Channel Master antenna/rotor/amplifier combination that I’ve had in my attic for ~20 years. I checked some antenna FAQs and they indicated that there was no need to change the antenna. It works fine and I get many more channels than I did with analog TV.

The only change I’ve made since the digital conversion was to upgrade the coax cabling down from the antenna and between the antenna system components (amp, splitter cables to non-HD TVs) to RG6U quad-shielded cable, which reduces electrical interference from appliances and such. Frankly, that should be done to any older antenna or cable system, as the newer cabling and compression connectors are far superior to the older double shielded cable and crimp connectors. Home Depot sells the cable, connectors and tools for the job and it cost me less than $100 to rewire everything.

For HD connections between audio/video components (receiver, DVD player, VCR), you should use either HDMI or Component Video (red, blue, green, often with red/white audio cables attached) cabling not Composite Video (red, white, yellow) or coax (a.k.a. “RF”).

If you’re using converter boxes on analog TVs, you will not get HD, as the standard boxes only support 480p resolution, which is not HD.

You can get HD tuners for HD TVs that don’t have digital tuners. I use a Samsung DTB-H260F with mine. They’re expensive new (~$180), but if you check out Craigslist, eBay, your local classifieds or yard sales, you can find good deals on them. I lucked into mine, which was only a few months old, for ten bucks on Craigslist.

BTW, “indoor antennas” for digital TV still suck as badly as they did for analog TV. Although some of them have eye-catching shapes, their main component is still a pair of plain ol’ “rabbit ears” and they suffer the same limitations. The difference is that with digital, you don’t get a snowy picture, it just freezes or you lose it completely.

start cheap and work up
I have never had cable and find the the free to air stuff is plenty for me. Brian is spot with the antenna tech talk. Check out http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx for channels you can get locally, direct and strength. Plus general facts on antennas.

weingard 9095hd antenna
its big but works on every install.

That’s for channels 14-69 only

– Last Updated: May-08-10 6:43 PM EST –

You need an antenna with a VHF section to get channels 2-13 reliably. Mine is similar to this one:


There are smaller, less expensive models if you don't need long range capability.

dude what are you talking about
2-13 do not exist anymore vhf is last century for tv.

Might not get what you want

– Last Updated: May-08-10 11:35 PM EST –

We kept our old TV, added the converter box. We get maybe 2 or 3 decent channels now, out of a few more total. The guy down the hill upgraded his antenna and said he got NOTHING for the expense. We have been perfectly happy without watching TV all this time.

We also have no cell phone reception here. The terrain is a killer. Yet this is less than an hour's drive from Denver.

Ummm, not really
In the Minneapolis area we still have a couple in the 7-13 range. 2-6 seems done.

Maybe where you live…
…but locally I get channels 2 (PBS Boston), 4 (CBS), 5 (ABC), 7 (NBC), 9 (ABC), 11 (NH PBS) and 13 (local access). IIRC, there’s also programming on channels 8 and 10, though I don’t watch them. VHF is definitely NOT dead in New England.

got DSL?
Found a s-video output on the back of my computers video card. Found a s-vid input on the back of the tv. Punched a small hole in the wall between the office and the living room ran a few feet of s-vid cable between the two and watch alot of the same shows on-line, on the tv, when I want to see them, not on their schedule. Connect up to hulu.com, netflix, ABC, PBS, etc. they show alot of their programming on line, movies, old tv shows

We are one of the few without cable
We cut it out years ago when we needed to for financial reasons. We have a rear projection tv and a digital antenna. We get a couple of stations at most with a fair amount of times “no signal” especially at a good part in the movie! oh well, we do not want to spend the money on cable every month. We watch only a couple of shows a week anyway. If we had cable, we fear we just might become couch potatoes to justify the cost of cable!!

You are not alone.
I haven’t had cable in years. We also haven’t had regular TV since the nation went digital. We do have a digital TV we use for netflix and netflix streaming, but the TV won’t pick up any signals, except for one extremely obnoxious religious channel. Can’t even pick up the local stations. I did have an old roof-top exterior antenna mast, that I had connected to CAT 5 when my 100 year old house was rewired, but it made no difference to receiving signals. We rarely use the TV, except for weekly, or twice weekly netflix movie. I admit that I like the netflix streaming feature available if you have DSL. Most days I don’t watch anything at all, but some days I’ll spend 30 minutes or an hour watching something from the internet. I don’t miss television, except for local news. I get our local newspaper for that, but it’s a pretty skimpy paper and not really worth the paper it’s printed on. We recently stayed in a motel on part of our vacation to-and-from our Buffalo River trip. We had the “luxury” of cable in the rooms. I couldn’t imagine actually paying for it. Full of commercials. Not much content. I just can’t imagine going back to the day of sitting on a couch flipping channels looking for something to watch. If there is something really special someone has told me about on PBS, National Geographic, Discover, History channel, etc., I can usually find it on the internet. There is one network show I watch by going to ABC.com the day after the show airs, and I can see it with much fewer (and shorter) commercials than on regular TV.

My antenna is Winegard HD7210P
It’s about 7x9 feet, and mounted in my attic. The broadcast towers are about 20 miles away. Works well for the 10 or 12 stations 3-66 that I have locally. Definitely check out antennaweb.org to see what stations you can reasonably expect to get based on your zip or lat/long. You don’t need an antenna labeled “high def,” (since there was never a special high def spec, even with the old system), though they probably all are, now.

Nope, never had it
I’m trying to simplify life, not clutter it further with subscriptions and other commitments. I have a habit of reading too many books at one time already, and with the Internet that’s enough “inside distractions”.

I do make an exception for satellite radio, though–have to because FM reception also is utter crap here.

Just got
one of these: EZ-HD TV Antenna


Don’t let the name be a put off. The guy flat out says there is no difference in antennas as far as HD or anything else goes. Why he calls it that??? Pretty informative website as far as antennas go.

It claims a range of 50 miles, don’t know. I live 15 miles from the broadcast towers that host all the stations in my area. Works great. Gets high VHF and UHF channels.

Very timely thread
We’re also downsizing our monthly financial burden. I’ve ordered a converter, and have been shopping antennas. We’re about 40 miles from town, and I want to mount it in the attic if possible. So a HD antenna isn’t necessary?

They’re all HD antennas
"HD" is just a marketing gimmick. That’s not to say all antennas are equal. Look at the recommended types for your area on antennaweb.org. They show a color wheel of applicability for your channels. When shopping antennas, look for one with the matching color wheel.

Yeah, when I had to look for expenses to cut, pay TV was the first to go.

crap is crap

– Last Updated: May-12-10 8:59 AM EST –

does it matter how little it costs?