Antenna and DVR


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Old 09-14-23, 07:08 AM
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Antenna and DVR

I recently cut the cable and decided to go with over the air for TV entertainment. I now need a decent indoor/outdoor antenna to receive the full range of available stations. Im currently using a set of old rabbit ears but they dont do the job.
So, I did a quick check on Amazon and Home depot for one of those current antennas and the prices range from $15 to over a $100 or more. Some are listed as digital and some are listed as amplified.
So what should I look for and how much should I spend? Does price make a difference?
BTW my only option to mount the antenna is on a north wall. I believe in my area most stations are south bound.
Also, Im interested in an over the air DVR. Anybody use one? How well do they record and how much do they record. Are they worth it? Any recommendations or opinions? Would they be combined as both an antenna and DVR?
 
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Old 09-14-23, 08:35 AM
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I cannot help much with your question about antenna. I am using an interior bow tie for OTA channels, but I have direct line of sight to three towers 4 miles away.

However, I have found that Sling has several of my local channels (one of which I cannot get OTA) and Roku does as well (on its Live TV app.). Before I cut the cable I checked for OTA but have not had to use it since.

A bow tie also worked better than rabbit ears at my vacation home in Maine where I now get 6 channels instead of 2.
 
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Old 09-14-23, 09:00 AM
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The vast majority (I would say 95%) of U.S. commercial over the air TV stations broadcast on channels 14-51 which are all UHF..(Think of the channel number in the station's logo as part of the station's name as opposed to a technical identification.)

UHF channels are picked up by the bowtie or ring or zigzag between or attached to the rabbit ears. The rabbit ears themselves would be needed if there is are stations actually using channels 2-13 (VHF).

Cable and satellite systems deliver TV channels using a different format from over the air stations. (You may recall r the TV setup menu selection CATV versus ANT that changes between cable and OTA signal formats). You must select a DVR that accepts OTA transmission formats (ATSC being the most important).

Digital Antennas

Back when analog TV stations were changing over to digital broadcasting, the average person judged that, given the same TV set (and any needed set top converter boxes) and any given antenna in a portable environment such as in a recreational vehicle, the average digital station became unwatchable at about 2/3 the distance of the average analog station. The digital station blanked out more annoyingly before the analog station blurred out as annoyingly. So,manufacturers had to put a more elaborate antenna in the box to call it a digital antenna and have the same mileage ratings printed on the outside. Or some manufacturers marginalized the few stations using VHF channels and omitted the longer fins from the antenna when calling it a digital antenna. Otherwise a digital TV antenna is the same thing as an analog TV antenna.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 09-14-23 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 09-14-23, 10:22 AM
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Allen, I'm a bit confused on your second paragraph.
UHF channels are picked up by the bowtie or ring or zigzag between or attached to the rabbit ears. The rabbit ears themselves would be needed if there is are stations actually using channels 2-13 (VHF)
All of my local stations (2-NBC, 4-CBS, 7-ABC, 6-FOX via cable) use the same numbers with a dash 1,2,3 or even 4 as OTA designation. So, are these stations still VHF?

​​​​​​​BTW these are the channels I would want often.
 
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Old 09-14-23, 11:25 AM
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When everything went digital the frequency used to broadcast OTA went out the door. So your old channel "7" might have gone to a UHF frequency but kept the designator "7" even though it was not using the frequency that channel "7" used to use. For ex: my old channel 3 broadcast on channel 35 now.

Use either https://www.antennaweb.org/ or https://www.fcc.gov/media/engineering/dtvmaps to find out where your broadcasting antennas you desire are located and distance away. Pick an antenna based upon that. i.e if they are in mainly one direction choose a directional antenna, all around you choose a "omni" directional.

I use an omni directional (old Winegard MS2000) that picks up channels located over 40 miles away easily. Sometimes I can grab some that are around 95 miles out.

Edit: I use an OTA Tivo to record everything which works fine.
 
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Old 09-14-23, 03:45 PM
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It all depends on terrain. HDTV signals don't penetrate anything very well.
Hills and mountains block the signal.
Any type of siding that uses a foil backer will block the signal.
You typically need line of sight.

I am 20 or so miles from NYC with a big mountain in between.
I can rarely can pick up any NYC signals.
I can pick up all the shopping and PBS channels from all over NJ.

Antennas are experimental. Try different ones in different locations.
Be careful as to their aim too.
 
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Old 09-15-23, 02:43 AM
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Digital antenna is marketing hype. An antenna picks up the signals regardless of signal format. Ask a broadcast engineer.

I've used an indoor flat-panel antenna for years and and found the biggest difference, other than the wavelength limitations, is the way different TVs handle the "digital cliff". I've watched RF channels 8, 10 and 13 with my panel and even decoded RF 5 in two different cities a couple of times.
 
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Old 09-15-23, 04:46 AM
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Thanks to all who commented. I now have a better understanding of what to purchase.
 
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Old 09-15-23, 05:31 AM
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The dash numbers refer to subvchannels. The U.S. digital standard (ATSC) allows a station to broadcast up to six programs although not all in high definition. For example TV-Three broadcasts on actual channel 35 and has the postion 3 on your remote. You key in 3-1 for the show the station conisders most important such as ABC network news, key in 3-2 for the CW network that TV Three currently has the broadcasting rights for, 3-3 for home shopping, etc. All occupying the same UHF channel 35. If I remember correctly, if a station uses all six subchannels, none can be in high definition.
 
 

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