High Def Forum
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Free HD Channels

shortymet55
11-25-2007, 04:10 PM
I hear some people hook up there new HDTV's can are getting like 1 or 2 HD channels. Im guessing there using a satellite right? I have comcast Digital Cable and HD in my family room, but in my room, where ill put my TV, I only have basic cable. Is there a cheap way to get a few HD channels? Im pretty sure Comcast Basic Cable wont have any.

processed
11-25-2007, 05:47 PM
The only way to get any HD programing in your other rooms that have only basic cable is to either put HD set top boxes on them with a digital cable signal, or use an over-the-air antenna hooked up to your HDTV to get local HD channels for "free".

birmingham
11-25-2007, 06:00 PM
I hear some people hook up there new HDTV's can are getting like 1 or 2 HD channels. Im guessing there using a satellite right? I have comcast Digital Cable and HD in my family room, but in my room, where ill put my TV, I only have basic cable. Is there a cheap way to get a few HD channels? Im pretty sure Comcast Basic Cable wont have any.

If your TV set has a clear QAM tuner, you may be able to receive your local network HD channels with your basic cable service. Run the cable coax directly into the RF connector of your TV set (bypass the cable set top box if you have one) and tell your TV set to scan for digital channels. If your set doesn't detect any channels, either your set doesn't have a clear QAM tuner or your cable company is not sending these channels in this format. As previously stated, you may be able to pick them up with a simple over the air antenna (i.e. rabbit ears) if you're close enough to the transmitter towers.

shortymet55
11-25-2007, 06:15 PM
I dont have the TV yet, but im getting a Vizio http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/navigate.do?catg=535&item=354180&prDeTab=2&pCatg=5883#A . It says, "Built-in ATSC/NTSC tuner allows you to receive over-the-air HD, digital and analog broadcast with an external antenna or Clear QAM channels on your cable" So it will have the Clean QAM tuner. Hopefully I can pick up a few. If not, how much is an antenna?

birmingham
11-25-2007, 06:35 PM
The type of antenna you would need to pick up your local OTA HD network channels is dependent on the distance between your location and the transmitter site and the terrain. There are several web sites which can tell you what type of antenna you will need to receive these broadcasts. I really suspect that your cable system supports clear QAM which means the Vizio set you intend to buy should have no trouble receiving them. If you give me your zip code, I can help you determine what kind of antenna you may need if the clear QAM option doesn't work. Good luck.

Scottnot
11-25-2007, 08:59 PM
I hear some people hook up there new HDTV's can are getting like 1 or 2 HD channels. Im guessing there using a satellite right? I have comcast Digital Cable and HD in my family room, but in my room, where ill put my TV, I only have basic cable. Is there a cheap way to get a few HD channels? Im pretty sure Comcast Basic Cable wont have any.
When you get the TV, do a channel search.
There have been quite a few post on this topic recently, and I recall that with Comcast you will get quite a few HD channels - essentially everything that is available via local OTA and perhaps a few others as well.

GadgetFreek
11-25-2007, 09:09 PM
I am guessing basic cable meaning no provider?

I have optimum and my room was the only room in the house without the box :( I just picked up my LCD with built in tuner (all three types) and I now get all my basic channels (2, 4, 5, 7, 13 etc.) in HD built in! :yippee: And wow what a difference!

I also get the new digital channels they are starting to implement for 2009 ... :rolleyes: all w/o a set-top or any type of antenna.

G-Man01
11-25-2007, 09:25 PM
Many people are unaware that local TV stations have been broadcasting digital signals over the air for years and are required to by law now. They broadcast the same content over the air simultaneously along with the old regular (analog) signal. You do not need a special antenna to receive the newer digital signals. A good old in house set of rabbit ears or roof mounted aerial antenna that received the old analog signal is all you need to pick up the new digital signals. The catch is you have to have a digital TV or digital receiver in order to view the signal.

Over the past couple of years local stations have been upgrading these free and required digital signals to High-Def (HD). The digital signal is a legal requirement; however the HD upgrade part is optional. This explains why some cities and/or various stations within our cities may or may not broadcast locally in High-Def.

Now in order to view those stations gracious enough to broadcast their digital signals in High-Def you must have an HDTV, but you do not need cable or satellite to get it. You only need a well placed regular old indoor or outdoor antenna.

Most HDTVs have a standard coaxial screw-in type connector marked ATSC for this purpose. Even the cable and satellite companies are still working deals with local stations to feed local content through their satellite networks in High-Def. In many cases local channels over the air are in High-Def, but the feed we pay for, say from DirecTV is still 480i which looks crappy on an HDTV.

So for now, those of us with cable or satellite must receive our HD signals from 2 sources:
1) The Cable or Sat receiver for HD like HBO and other High-Def channels.
2) An Off-Air Antenna for local High-Def channels.

The free local HD digital signals transmit up in what we know as the UHF range (above channel 13). That confuses people because their local channels are usually 2-13. Here is what is going on:

Your local station, for example let’s say channel 4 (NBC in my city) still transmits the old grainy analog signal on channel 4 (VHF), but transmit the new HD digital version at the same time on channel 32 (UHF). Embedded in that digital signal is a header that tells digital or HDTVs that even though it is channel 32, to display it in the TV as 4.1. This is so that viewers do not become confused with a whole new set of channel numbers that they’ve become accustom to over the years. So 4 or 4.0 is still the same old analog channel and 4.1 would be the newer HD digital channel even though it is really channel 32.

Some people buy inexpensive indoor rabbit-ear antennas to test their new TVs to see if they can get local HD channels. They often give up, but you should be patient. The reason it can take a while is because your TV needs time to translate channels in the signal header or the test antenna may not be positioned to get a good signal long enough to translate the header. If this is the case, another way to test is to search the Internet for local stations in your area for their true UHF channel number and input that directly from your remote. This will by-pass translation and at least prove if you do get local HD channels worth purchasing a bigger more permanent antenna.

Footnote 1: Most local programming is not in High-Def until prime-time when the major networks begin their shows like Chuck, Heroes etc., so wait until then to see true HD content through your local stations.

Footnote 2: Funny how the industry changes names on us. What used to be the old rabbit-ears type antenna is what they refer to now as an Off-Air Antenna. To me that is more On-Air than cable or satellite… but whatever.

Footnote3: Many newer High-Def DVR satellite receivers like from DirecTV have an ATSC antenna input so you don’t have to switch between the Satellite receiver and TV to get local HD content. Instead of connecting your local antenna to your HDTV, you connect it to their receiver. Not only will it feed the signal through your DVR/Receiver, but you can pause or record it as if it were one of their channels. It even detects the local channels and blends the guide information in with their content information in the channel line-up.

sam9007
11-25-2007, 10:38 PM
1 or 2?

They have more for you if you have cable or dish!