How do I get tv over the air or through an antenna?

Discussion in 'Audio/Video & Home Theater' started by leglez, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. leglez

    leglez Platinum Member

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    I recently got rid of cable and I know you can get the basic channels (3 nbc, 4 fox, 5 cbs, 9 abc) through an antenna or rabbit ears or something. But with the switch to digital will that still be able to be done? I remember whenever the cable guy was hooking the cable up at my house he told me I could receive hd channels over the air whenever I didn't have cable (71-2, 72-1, 72-2, 73-#). So earlier this month when I had my cable turned off I tried to access 71-2, 72-1, 72-2 and whenever I do a reception bar shows up in the bottom left corner with only 1 bar. So does that mean I need an actual antenna to receive those channels or what?

    According to http://www.antennaweb.org I need a Violet vfh/uhf antenna.

    I don't really ever watch tv thats why I got rid of it, I watch a lot of movies and stream using netflix. I just want the basic channels for the local news and so I can watch that whenever I am going to sleep rather than netflix.
     
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  3. Shadowknight

    Shadowknight Diamond Member

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    The ANALOG channels are going away (with the exception of low-power stations) but the DIGITAL stations (like 71.2) are going to be around after the transition.
     
  4. sdifox

    sdifox No Lifer

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    you don't have an old rabbit ear antenna sitting in the garage? Just go pick up an antenna antennaweb recommended.
     
  5. KeithP

    KeithP Diamond Member

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    I recently canceled my cable as well and turned in my box (Time Warner Cable in my case). However, instead of using an antenna, I just plugged the coax cable that was going into my cable box directly into my TV.

    Through this connection I get all my local channels and their high def feeds, plus other cable channels like TNT, TBS, MTV, Comedy Central etc. They aren't encrypted.

    You may want to give that a shot before buying an antenna.

    -KeithP


     
  6. bruceb

    bruceb Diamond Member

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    By all rights, if you did in fact cancel all cable service, the cable co should have turned off your drop at the pole or weatherhead. So it may work for a little while, but sooner or later, they will catch up to getting the disconnects done. As to the OP's issue, you will need some sort of decent antenna and a Digital Converter Box to get Over The Air signals as of Feb 17 when all stations stop sending Analog over the airwaves. You can try the cable direct into the tv and see what happens (presuming all you did was return the high def box & still have / pay for basic cable). You may need to tell your TV to rescan for active channels after you do this. See your owners manual for instructions.
     
  7. sivart

    sivart Golden Member

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    If your TV has an ATSC tuner (most newer HDTV's do), then simply plug in an antenna and do a channel scan. Just like in the old analog cable days (non-box)
     
  8. sswingle

    sswingle Diamond Member

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    Yea, the cable company is still letting basic and QAM through. If you completely cancelled cable, they will disconnect that sooner or later.

    To the OP, get the antenna. Even if you are in the city the channel is being broadcasted from you need rabbit ears at the very least. Antenna in the attic or on the roof is going to be even better.
     
  9. robphelan

    robphelan Diamond Member

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    will placing the antenna in the attic work well?
     
  10. leglez

    leglez Platinum Member

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    I tried plugging cable into it and nope it doesn't work. I am pretty sure they came out and disconnected it a few days ago whenever they were replacing my modem.

    Also my TV does have an ATSC tuner, so does that mean I don't need a converter box? Also can I have the antenna inside pointed north (the direction of the towers) and it should pick it up? Or do I need to have it outside?
     
  11. sivart

    sivart Golden Member

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    A converter box is an ATSC tuner (SD only), so no you don't need a converter box. It may work inside your house as far as the antenna goes, but that depends on a lot of variables. Try it out and see.

    I have an antenna in my attic and can pick up all my area's locals (~18 miles to towers) and 3/4 of the locals of the area north of me (~60 miles from the towers).

    Inside my house, I could get all the locals but would sometimes have to reposition the antenna (annoying) and look at the antenna (unsightly) :)
     
  12. zzuupp

    zzuupp Lifer

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    Since your TV already does ATSC, then you do *not* need a converter box.

    IIRC, in antennaweb violet = large, directional & outside. Antennaweb tends to be quite conservative in its estimates. You might be able to get away with medium sized amplified indoors.

    For a second opinion, try tvfool.
     
  13. sportage

    sportage Diamond Member

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    Any metal antenna will do, for some, even the old rabbit ears might do it.
    You may not need a special digital antenna. I know few that just stuck a piece
    of wire in the ATSC tv antenna connector, and it worked out great.

    While people like me, in the middle of our capitol city, but happen to be located in an area lower than the surrounding terrain, I needed to get a 10 foot extension for my roof top antenna. And I still get breakups on digital ABC network station.

    Yeah digital will be great and allow people to get a lot more stations from the old
    three (nbc, abc, cbs), where as those stations can now transmit several digital channels layered. But... a good antenna is going to be the new issue with a lot of people
    hoping to dump satellite or cable to save money.

    I lucked out. Remember the old satellite provider called VOOM ???
    They offered FREE install, that included a FREE roof top antenna, for local digital
    stations. This was way back some 5+ years ago.
    VOOM came back out, 3 times, to put a better digital roof top antenna on the house.
    due to break up issues with some local stations.
    I finally had this massive roof top HD antenna, FREE, courtesy of VOOM satellite tv.
    When VOOM went ka-boom, they only wanted back the satellite box, no other hardware.
    So this digital antenna from VOOM, that I have now, would have cost at least $400+ for a local tv service company to install and tweak.
    All I did end up doing was to go from a 5 foot extension mast to 10 foot mast.
    But I still have some issues with ABC from time to time.
     
  14. sportage

    sportage Diamond Member

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    The government really needed to add some antenna program to the converter box program, hand and hand. Because even with a converter box, a lot of people are going to have reception issues, or no reception at all, using digital. Because of antenna issues.

    Many will find they need a VERY good roof top antenna, in order to even get the digital signal. These are the people in for a nasty surprise.
    And for a good roof top tall digital antenna, that cost will be your out of your pocket.
    And could cost some $300+, from your local tv service company.

    The government is misleading people in thinking they only need the converter box.
    The box is 50% of it. A good antenna is the other 50%.

    While the old analog transmission can find its way to your tv, poor and fuzzy as the quality might be, with digital it is either ?ON? or ?OFF?.
     
  15. cKGunslinger

    cKGunslinger Lifer

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    I bought this for $20 a week ago and received about 20 digital channels, about half of them in HD. Only does UHF, so I'm missing out on the local ABC station.
     
  16. leglez

    leglez Platinum Member

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    How did you get it for $20? I am seeing $80 on amazon.

    Also has anyone here heard of the coat hanger antenna? I saw it on youtube and all the responses seem like it works. I might try that out before purchasing one.
     
  17. Shadowknight

    Shadowknight Diamond Member

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    I've made the coat-hanger antenna and it works well, the only reason I got rid of it was because my cats like to rub their faces into things and I didn't want them to poke their eyes out on the exposed wires.
     
  18. Oyeve

    Oyeve Lifer

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    3 buck radioshack rabbit ears work just as well as any fancy antennae. I use the anntenaes that came with my VCR (over 20 years ago) and I pull in about 50 stations in NYC and about half are in HD.
     
  19. sivart

    sivart Golden Member

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    When my cousin moved into his house, we hooked his HDTV up to the cable outlet to see if it was active...it was not, but there was enough cabling through the walls and attic to act like an antenna and he picked up 2 local channels being 25 miles from the towers :)

    So all you really need is a piece of metal coming out of the TV and headed skyward :)
     
  20. techwanabe

    techwanabe Diamond Member

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    I got a coax cable long enough to run to the window and plugged the old rabbit ears into it. I can get by decent on that for now.
     
  21. zzuupp

    zzuupp Lifer

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    Yes. I think there is more than one design floating around. If you've got the time, it might be worth the try. From violet-range, I would not hold my breath.

    If you have more time, check out hoverman antenna