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Pre-amp advice and a digital tuner box (HD)

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Old 10-29-2012, 01:30 PM   #1
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Default Pre-amp advice and a digital tuner box (HD)

Hey all! Found this forum while doing some HDTV research..

Well, me and my roommate are ticked off at AT&T... Their HD service (along with internet) goes down at least once an hour where we live. So, long story short, he bought an antenna and we wired up the house this weekend.

Antenna (not exact, but extemely close): Antennas-Direct-13dB-Multi-Directional-HDTV-Antenna-DB4-P147996 (cant post the link, but the picture is near the same...)

We have a 50 foot run going from the attic to the basement where there is a 3-way splitter going to the living room, and the bedrooms.

We understand that a pre-amp is needed. Some of the channels come in perfectly while others go out every few seconds. We were not able to locate any power in the ceiling. There is a light in the celing, but that is controlled via a switch in the hallway. This would not be an acceptable place to "jump" to for power.

So, how do you all feel about an inline amp or a distribution amp? Pro/con of both? I was leaning towards an inline camp in the attic... But a distro amp in the basement would be 100x easier.

Also, my TV was purchased overseas (prior military) and it is very nice 54 inch TV, but it is multi-system... NTSC, PAL, etc.... But... this did not include digital channels, just analog... So, i need a HD tuner... Any suggestions?
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Old 10-29-2012, 01:53 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum! :-)

We need additional information to better understand your situation. Can you please go to www.tvfool.com and run a report for your exact location and antenna mount height above ground level? Save the report to your HDD and include it your next post as an attachment. We will not see your address on the report but will have a better appreciation for reception challenges and opportunities at you place.

Are you aiming through the roof or through the gable? Please describe the roof and gables. Is the roof a plywood deck covered with asphalt shingles? What is the outside covering on the home: wood, vinyl siding, stucco, or what???

We need to know length of cable run to calculate distribution losses. What is the maximum run of cable from the three way splitter?

Can you provide a brand name and model number for your tv? It must have a digital tuner if you can acquire any stations at the moment... Which ones could you receive and which ones were cutting out?
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:10 PM   #3
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Hey Rick.

I would love to goto TV Fool and give you the info you need... But the past few days, all i get is a "Connection Reset" from their server (detailed chrome error: Error 324 (net::ERR_EMPTY_RESPONSE): The server closed the connection without sending any data.) But i have no problem giving my "general location". Douglasville GA. The antenna is aimed at 90 degrees or so, toward Atlanta GA.

The roof is your typical asphalt shingles and plywood. I am not sure how to explain the gables... We mounted a piece of wood between the 2 gables and have the antenna mounted vertically aimed toward Atlanta.

Since i am at work, all of this is approximations. But i know the cable (pre-fabed) from the antanna to the basement is 50 ft. Each cable to the rooms were cut to length by the AT&T installer. Master BR is about 15 feet from the spliter, My room is about 20 feet from the splitter, and the living room is about 35 feet from the splitter.

Hitachi LE46T05A should be my TV... I am at work right now and dont remember the model 100%. Also, i was wrong about the 54 inch... It is a 46 inch.
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:41 PM   #4
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TV Fool has been down all day.
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:59 PM   #5
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Hopefully tvfool comes back on line soon... I tried using AntennaWeb for Douglasville, GA with a zipcode of 30135. No channels were found. I then tried a second zip code 30133 and many stations were found. You have one low VHF, two high VHF stations, and 15 UHF channels. You'll need to add a VHF antenna to get the VHF stations. The low vhf channel is WUVM-LP (an aztec america station). Do you want this one? The high VHF stations are: WXIA, NBC, real ch 10 and WGTV, PBS, real channel 8. Presumably you want these, correct? You may be able to acquire the high vhf channels with a Y5-7-13, but we need the tvfool report for a better prediction at your location. Depending on the report, you may need the larger y10-7-13.

Distribution losses in your setup are approximately 12.5 dB (7.5 dB for three way splitter and 5 dB for cable run) for your highest frequency station, less with lower frequency stations. A general rule is to buy a pre-amp that covers your losses plus about 10 dB for overhead. You can buy pre-amps with single input or pre-amps with separate VHF and UHF inputs. If you buy one with a single input, you'll need to purchase a UVSJ which joins the signal from a UHF antenna and VHF antenna into a single downlead. Radio Shack sells them for an expensive price but solid signal has a much better price.

I will revise/flesh out my recommendations answer when you can provide a www.tvfool.com report. In the interim, check the links below.

VHF antenna http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp...u=716079000987
UVSJ http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp...nna-%28UVSJ%29
possible preamp http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp...r-%2810G201%29
another preamp http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp...u=615798100100
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:27 PM   #6
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Shift1186,

Tvfool is backup. Looking at the results for zipcodes 30133 and 30135, the y5-7-13 should be a good choice. A pre-amp is not a good choice as it will likely overload due to the strong signals in your area. If you want an amplifier, I suggest replacing your three way splitter with a channel master 3414 distribution amp. Terminate the unused end with a terminator. You likely could avoid an amp altogether if you mounted your antenna outdoors on the roof.

Digital tuners are becoming hard to find. I'd give a tivo consideration since it is very mature technology, proven to work, and has dvr capability. It is expensive but you're paying for ease of installation and a shallow learning curve. The other OTA dvr's have been problematic for too high a percentage of customers to recommend. I like the CM7000 Pal dvr but when it has problems, it's stinky....

Last edited by IDRick; 10-29-2012 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:32 AM   #7
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Thanks Rick! I was just assuming we needed some type of pre-amp since we live a decent distance from Atlanta. Sadly, none of our TVs have a nice signal meter. If a distribution amp wont negatively affect the performance, we may just pick one of those up. For some reason, the living TV doesnt find any channels in the search. My buddy's TV (approx 65 foot run with 3way split) picks up about 16 channels.

DVR isnt a big deal, but i will look into a Tivo... I have used them before and they are easy and fairly nice.

Thanks for the advice so far!
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:10 AM   #8
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The issue in the living room could be a cable issue or it could be a poor tuner in your tv. Can you try something for me? Move your living room tv to your buddy's location and see what it finds at this known "good location". What does your tv scan? Then, move your buddy's tv temporarily to your living room and scan for channels. What does it find? Report your results and we'll discuss.

Try the above test first. The distribution amp should not overload your tv tuners but rather will reduce distribution losses (7.5 db + some cable run loss). Fixing a cable issue (if one exists) is the first order of business and adding an distribution amp is second (if needed).
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:16 AM   #9
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Well, the living room TV is mounted on the wall, so that isnt moving. Before we installed the antenna in the roof, we tested it with a 6 foot chunk of cable. The Living room TV picked up about 24 stations (aimed roughly 90 degrees, going through drywall, insulation, plywood, wooden siding, and 2-3 trees right outside the house at a height of about 8 feet.

We could move his TV to the living room to test.

My TV find no channels, but it is scanning Analog only.

Forgot to mention that the antenna is about 40 feet from the ground in his attic, but is sadly still about (rough estimate) 10 feet from the tree line.
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:31 AM   #10
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Please do test with your buddy's tv in your living room. Also, do you have a barrel connector on-hand? see: http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp...ngle-Connector

If so, try this test. Remove the 3 way splitter. Connect the lead from your antenna to the cable for your living room tv with a barrel connector. Scan for channels. Are channels found? If so, remove the barrel connector and test each port on the three way splitter (connect antenna lead to the in port and connect to each of the three output ports in turn). Repeat scan and record results. It could be that you have a bad port on the three way splitter. Let us know what happens.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:26 PM   #11
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Hey all! Just a heads up. We found out what was wrong with the Living room run. The cable from the uVerse went all over the place... Long story short, it wasnt plugged in. We had to run a cable to the distro amp.

Gave Radioshack a try and got a cable TV distro amp. supports 51 to 809 Mhz or something long those lines. It was about $25. Figured if it came down to it, we could return it, but it is working great!

We are now feeling the need for the separate VHF antenna...

I am still looking for a solution to my stupid multi-system TV that doesnt support ATSC. Anyone have any experience with KWorld SA295-Q DE HDMI Edition TV Box - ATSC? aside from paying $100+ for a Tivo, this is the best i could find.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:16 PM   #12
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Thanks for the update!

Here is a digital tuner for OTA, see: http://www.firebird-systems.com/grap...i-dct210.shtml Worth a look see and a call to the distributor. I couldn't find reviews on it...

The Kworld's have gotten mixed reviews and are strongly criticized for poor or non-existent manuals. From what I can tell, it appears that the Kworld does not allow you to manually edit channel lists... Can be a deal breaker if you don't want all the available channels in your area.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:42 PM   #13
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Consider the Boxee for streaming over the internet (http://www.boxee.tv/#home) and their new attachment for tuning live tv (http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-573...cutting-users/)
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