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TV Antenna Help!!!!! How and Where do I begin?

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Old 08-19-2010, 03:28 PM   #1
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Default TV Antenna Help!!!!! How and Where do I begin?

Here are the basics:

- I don't want to pay for any kind of cable and I want as many tv channels as possible.
- I want to know exactly what to shop for ( I have read many different forums and websites that have conflicting how-to's, therefore I am totally lost on what I need)
- I don't understand any of the tv jargon "techie words" that are spoken on the websites/forums
- (Not sure what you need to know here) I have a Daewoo Plasma Digital Dream TV (without a coaxial cable attachment area), Phillips MX 3900D DVD Surround Sound System (without a coaxial cable attachment area), 2 old directv dishes from the previous owners (still attached but no "receiver boxes" in the home), HP Touchsmart All-In-One Computer (I use this as my main computer in another room far away from the TV I will be using, also this has a coaxial cable attachment area), Time Warner Internet (looks like its ran with cable), NetGear Rangemax Duo Wireless Router, 2 old Dell Laptops, Some rooms have Coaxial Cable coming out of the wall from the previous owners, Several rooms have a coaxial cable outlet/port in the wall, Nintendo Wii Console
- We live in Princeton, NC (zipcode 27569) out in the country
- My home is technically 3 stories
- I have gone to Antennaweb.org and input my information but I don't know what I am looking at when I see the "results"
- I am in no rush so I can order products over the internet since it is cheaper
- Right now I am using $5 bunny ears from Family Dollar on my HP Touchsmart All-In-One Computer and receive about 7 channels with a few of them duplicates (making it about 12 channels total), I was considering buying the "Antennas Direct DB8 multidirectional Antenna" but that doesn't have to be, I just need your help
- How can I get tv channels like AMC, FX, History, etc from an antenna-if I can't .....how can I get that on my tv (maybe that's a whole other question to be asked and answered)

Can anyone help me, I don't even know where to begin or what to buy?

Thanks in Advance
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:19 PM   #2
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The first thing that you need to do is discover what channels are available to you over-the-air (aka for free). Please go to the TVFool website, one option on their entry screen to run an analysis, then type in your address with zipcode etc. At the top of the report is a 'radar plot'. When I look at a radar plot for your zipcode, I see alot of strong signals coming from around 300 degrees on the compass. CW, MyN, CBS, Fox, NBC, ABC and PBS. On the list of channels, the weakest signal is PBS - Noise Margin (NM) is 25, power is -65 dBm. These #s are well above what are the generally accepted minimums.

Your post mentioned History and some other non-broadcast channels. These channels you will NOT be able to get with an antenna. If you have to have these, then you might not be able to go 'off the cable'. There are however some low-cost/lesser-cost options to consider. These are delivered over the internet. NetFlix Video-on-demand @ $10 per month has a lot of movies plus documentaries including some from History channel. I am not certain what content they have but Hulu Plus (again $10 per month) is currently rolling out nationally. Amazon and BestBuy-Cinema Now also offer pay per view. You may elect to buy some special hardware for these services but who knows. One disclaimer, these will be only DVD quality unless your internet connection can do about 5 meg per second. High Def quality from these services requires 5 or 6 Meg per second download speed.

From the 'Real' channel column of the report, NBC is on channel 11 which means that you will want both UHF and VHF reception (aka a combo antenna). With your distance, I think some others need to give you specific antenna recommendations. But considering your distance, start out with a lot of gain at the antenna. Added amplifiers will not correct an improper antenna choice.

Last edited by Steve_Weggus; 08-19-2010 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:35 PM   #3
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To brookemil,

First, forget antenna web, TVFool.com is so much better.

And for its worth, here is your talc standard zip based TVFool report. Your exact address gold standard report may be better worse, or about the same.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...9fbea948118d43

Stripping all the rocket science technobabble off, look at four factors, the set of channels that are Line of sight, NM(db), distance in miles, and which real channels are UHF and which are VHF.

By my read you are in an excellent area for OTA television reception, rabbit ears will only get a few of them, and because you live in an area where many channels are coming in from many directions, you will probably need a combo VHF/UHF antenna with an antenna rotor to get most channels.

Sadly Steve is probably correct, you will not get premium channels OTA, but anything over 15 NM(db) is probably easily gettable with a fairly cheap winegard 7694P antenna and an antenna rotor.

Just my initial take, but for more accuracy, go to TVFool. com and run an exact address report.

But in terms of where to begin question, the place to start is at what can I get without spending a bazzion dollars. I know some posters on this forum who would almost kill to live in your neck of the woods. You can always google station call letters to find the content of various stations.
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Last edited by NonMcTubber; 08-19-2010 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:59 PM   #4
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My opinion is that the first thing you need to investigate is what wire is in the walls and make sure that it is good wire before you invest a lot of work into this project.

One thing you forgot to mention was how many televisions you wished to deliver your signal to and how many times you wished to split the signal.

All the foolishness about the J poles and Dish set up's isn't going to do you any good unless you are willing to subscribe and activate a dish.
The only advantage you have is the fact that you can delete the premium local channels from the Dish and use the antenna for your locals. But as others has said, there is not much to be gained if your plan was to record television while you are not home - because there will be no one there to turn the antenna for you - when the stations switches from one market to the next.

You have a lot of good channels in the green and they should come in easily with a good antenna. The 7694P is a good starting place.
The 7696 would probably be a even better option.
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:36 PM   #5
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Maybe its time to address that Brookmil question of. "How can I get tv channels like AMC, FX, History, etc from an antenna-if I can't .....how can I get that on my tv (maybe that's a whole other question to be asked and answered)"

Well color me in the same boat, if I could get just my choice of Dish or Diirect TV channels for just $5.00/month each I too world cheerfully reactivate my existing satellite Dish and have both the best of both worlds in OTA and satellite television reception.

But no no no us silly rabbits, Satellite companies refuse to let us have choices, and instead demand we pay $70.00/ month to buy a whole package of mainly worthless junk just to get a few channels we want.

And until congress says oh no you don't, that is the reality of subscription based TV, be it cable, Uverse, FIOS, or satellite. You buy all the junk at rip off rates or you get nothing.

As for me, I fired Dish years ago, their delusion is that I will come crawling back and their delusion is that I will ever play their game. Bottom line, I might pay Dish $15.00/ month and instead they get nothing from me. They think they can outlast me when I can outlast them. Kinda of a lose lose there for me and Dish, but hell will freeze over before I will pay a fortune for mainly junk I do not want. OTA TV maybe mainly junk too, but at least free junk.
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Last edited by NonMcTubber; 08-19-2010 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:27 AM   #6
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The key is to have one account, 4 old dishes and receivers, put up the 4 dishes at different locations. Share the bill between 4 people.
Agree - if you rent it - you pay for it.
Then you get your dish for about $18 a month for America's Top 150

That is the reason why the Dish Network has gone to these new style dishes - to eliminate people from getting their signal, without paying the full amount. That is also the reason why they ask for their old LNBC and receivers back when you cancel the subscription.

You can keep the dish and the J pole - because the shipping costs more then what it costs to stamp it out. And if the next homeowner see's it on the side of the house - they might inquire and have it turned back on. So it is a advertisement for the Dish or Directv
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Old 08-20-2010, 10:32 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone, I will admit I am still confused. I am a visual learner so if it can't be drawn out for me then it definitely has to be spelled out. I will keep checking this post for updates.

Here are some responses to your various comments:

- I am only wanting the tv set up in my living room. OUr children aren't aloud to watch tv until they are 4 anyway and so we only need it for after their bedtime, i.e. football games, american idol, etc!

- I will look at the model antennas you gave me

- And I will recommend this sight to others!

I wish I was good at this techie stuff. If anyone needs help with religion, politics, motherhood, marriage counseling or medical issues - I can help you with that! Thanks again.
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brookemil View Post
Thanks everyone, I will admit I am still confused. I am a visual learner so if it can't be drawn out for me then it definitely has to be spelled out. I will keep checking this post for updates.
Another question for you, brookemil. Who will be doing the actual work of installing the antenna, and hooking it to your TV?

It sounds to me like it may be best for you to find an installer in your area, to help you with your antenna installation.
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