Low tech TVs

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Low tech TVs

Postposted on Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:02 pm

I don't have cable, satellite, or any of that jazz. How can I cheaply get the local stations? I'm in an apartment, so rooftop antennas are out of the picture. I want flawless broadcast TV, and my $10 RCA antenna isn't cutting it :D
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Postposted on Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:08 pm

Move into an apartment building that has 1 or 2 roof top antenna's for everyone i.e. signal shared/split through out the individual apartments.

Thats how it works over here, every apartment has a tv socket that connect to the common antenna. All free.
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Postposted on Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:15 pm

Well, the whole issue becomes moot in about a year -- analog TV broadcasts in the US will cease for good on February 17, 2009. So you might as well either get a digital TV, or at least a digital broadcast converter with an analog output (to use with your existing TV). Assuming your signal strength is reasonably good, you'll have flawless reception. If your signal strength isn't so good, you won't be able to receive the stations at all... digital TV is like that, it's an all-or-nothing deal.
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Postposted on Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:18 am

If you live in an apartment with an attic, you might consider installing an antenna there. Other than that there isn't much you can do.

Have you checked out http://antennaweb.org ? It should give you a good idea for what kind of antenna you'll need to pull in a given station.

Antenna types: http://antennaweb.org/aw/info.aspx?page=more_info
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:13 am

Vrock's links are good. This isn't a permenent residence at all, just where I live while I'm going to school. I don't want to mess with any large antennas or anything.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:30 am

If you want perfect reception and antennas can't give it to you easily, you're pretty much SOL - getting a dramatic increase is pretty difficult. Small amplified indoor antennas give a bit of a boost in my experience, and if you get your picture quality to "sort of OK" with analog there's a decent shot at digital reception. I have http://www.rcaaccessories.com/Antennas/ ... NT301.html connected to http://www.vboxcomm.com/product3.htm#1 in my living room and when conditions cooperate I can get perfectly fine digital reception (although dropouts and hiccups aren't uncommon) which giver a "perfect" picture when it works. Analog reception in the same location is pretty crappy. Could always try a digi tuner and return it if it's not working for you.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:47 am

Too bad I didn't see this post yesterday.

I saw yesterday that woot.com had a set top DVD recorder with a HDD built into it and a digital tuner on sale for $99.

If you can get a digital tuner, the digital broadcast in your area will probably come in much better than the analog broadcast. I live out in the country and have been using a digital receiver to pull in the HD signal on my rooftop antenna. The tuner downconverts the picture and outputs it via S-Video to my trusty old analog TV. Much better signal than I had with the analog tuner.

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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:52 am

Don't forget, most cable companies have a basic cable which is just like 10 channels, mostly the broadcast ones, for ~$15/month. It's a pretty viable solution.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 12:22 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:Don't forget, most cable companies have a basic cable which is just like 10 channels, mostly the broadcast ones, for ~$15/month. It's a pretty viable solution.
Not around here. You'll pay about $25 for basic cable, and it's 13 channels IIRC.

Personally I'm hoping that a la carte cable comes to pass. I only watch about 10 channels, but I have to pay for 70 to get them. :evil:
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 12:23 pm

Vrock wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:Don't forget, most cable companies have a basic cable which is just like 10 channels, mostly the broadcast ones, for ~$15/month. It's a pretty viable solution.
Not around here. You'll pay about $25 for basic cable, and it's 13 channels IIRC.

Personally I'm hoping that a la carte cable comes to pass. I only watch about 10 channels, but I have to pay for 70 to get them. :evil:
They'll probably keep rates at like 5 or 10 bucks a channel to make it uncompetitive. :-/
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 12:29 pm

mattsteg wrote:
Vrock wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:Don't forget, most cable companies have a basic cable which is just like 10 channels, mostly the broadcast ones, for ~$15/month. It's a pretty viable solution.
Not around here. You'll pay about $25 for basic cable, and it's 13 channels IIRC.

Personally I'm hoping that a la carte cable comes to pass. I only watch about 10 channels, but I have to pay for 70 to get them. :evil:
They'll probably keep rates at like 5 or 10 bucks a channel to make it uncompetitive. :-/
That would suck and completely defeat the purpose of a la carte cable. So yeah, you're right, that's probably what they'll do.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 12:37 pm

Would this be even remotely useful?

I don't know if you even need an antenna for it - just something I had in my head for about 2-years now.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:49 pm

lex-ington wrote:Would this be even remotely useful?

I don't know if you even need an antenna for it - just something I had in my head for about 2-years now.
Useful for what? It looks like a satellite tuner. I'm sure you'd need a dish and service to use it. Legally, anyway.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:57 pm

Vrock wrote:
lex-ington wrote:Would this be even remotely useful?

I don't know if you even need an antenna for it - just something I had in my head for about 2-years now.
Useful for what? It looks like a satellite tuner. I'm sure you'd need a dish and service to use it. Legally, anyway.

I'm guessing he meant as a digital OTA receiver.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:05 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Vrock wrote:
lex-ington wrote:Would this be even remotely useful?

I don't know if you even need an antenna for it - just something I had in my head for about 2-years now.
Useful for what? It looks like a satellite tuner. I'm sure you'd need a dish and service to use it. Legally, anyway.

I'm guessing he meant as a digital OTA receiver.
Oh. Is that what it is? Heh. :oops:
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:12 pm

Vrock wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Vrock wrote:
lex-ington wrote:Would this be even remotely useful?

I don't know if you even need an antenna for it - just something I had in my head for about 2-years now.
Useful for what? It looks like a satellite tuner. I'm sure you'd need a dish and service to use it. Legally, anyway.

I'm guessing he meant as a digital OTA receiver.
Oh. Is that what it is? Heh. :oops:
Well, it is a satellite receiver.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:39 pm

mattsteg wrote:
Vrock wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Vrock wrote:
lex-ington wrote:Would this be even remotely useful?

I don't know if you even need an antenna for it - just something I had in my head for about 2-years now.
Useful for what? It looks like a satellite tuner. I'm sure you'd need a dish and service to use it. Legally, anyway.

I'm guessing he meant as a digital OTA receiver.
Oh. Is that what it is? Heh. :oops:
Well, it is a satellite receiver.

Yeah it is a satellite reciever, but it might do digital ATSC reception (I know that my satellite receiver does.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:37 pm

SpotTheCat wrote:Vrock's links are good. This isn't a permenent residence at all, just where I live while I'm going to school. I don't want to mess with any large antennas or anything.

Have you got any large metal surfaces near you? When I was a kid we couldn't afford an antenna so the TV was linked to the fireplaces metal chimney and the houses metal gutters via the down pipe. Do you have a fire escape on the side of the building?

You can skip digital it pretty much requires LOS, plus the all or nothing nature is really annoying.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:49 pm

dragmor wrote:You can skip digital it pretty much requires LOS, plus the all or nothing nature is really annoying.

What? That doesn't make any sense at all.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:56 pm

He's claiming it pretty much requires line of sight, and that, as stated by a few others, you either get it or you don't.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:01 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
dragmor wrote:You can skip digital it pretty much requires LOS, plus the all or nothing nature is really annoying.

What? That doesn't make any sense at all.

Which doesn't make sense?

a) That you need more towers for digital since the signal doesn't go around terrain as well.

b) The all or nothing transmission is annoying? Some mild colour lose or snow is nothing compared to losing the picture. As long as the audio is ok you can get away with pretty much any reception.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:05 pm

SpotTheCat wrote:He's claiming it pretty much requires line of sight, and that, as stated by a few others, you either get it or you don't.


Yup, that's the nature of the UHF part of the spectrum.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:05 pm

dragmor wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:
dragmor wrote:You can skip digital it pretty much requires LOS, plus the all or nothing nature is really annoying.

What? That doesn't make any sense at all.

Which doesn't make sense?

a) That you need more towers for digital since the signal doesn't go around terrain as well.

b) The all or nothing transmission is annoying? Some mild colour lose or snow is nothing compared to losing the picture. As long as the audio is ok you can get away with pretty much any reception.

a. In Orlando, the towers are like 35miles from my parents house, yet the digital signal is pristine. That definitely does not qualify is necessitating LOS.

I'm mostly arguing semantics. Instead of saying that 'it pretty much requires LOS' (which it doesn't) you should instead say that the signal degrades faster and so the distance from which you can receive a signal with an equivalent antenna is shorter.
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Postposted on Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:31 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:a. In Orlando, the towers are like 35miles from my parents house, yet the digital signal is pristine. That definitely does not qualify is necessitating LOS.

Depending on how high the towers are, and what is between them and the towers, that could still be pretty close to LOS.

I'm mostly arguing semantics. Instead of saying that 'it pretty much requires LOS' (which it doesn't) you should instead say that the signal degrades faster and so the distance from which you can receive a signal with an equivalent antenna is shorter.

That's not quite correct either though. The problem with digital isn't that it "degrades faster", the issue is that it degrades more or less instantaneously once you cross a certain threshold. It will look essentially "pristine" until you reach the point where the error correction is overwhelmed, then it just drops out.
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Postposted on Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:25 am

How is the digital signal broadcasted? Is it a digital stream modulated into an analog carrier (like how Dolby Digital worked on Laserdisc), or is it pure digital?
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Postposted on Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:55 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:a. In Orlando, the towers are like 35miles from my parents house, yet the digital signal is pristine. That definitely does not qualify is necessitating LOS.

Depending on how high the towers are, and what is between them and the towers, that could still be pretty close to LOS.

I'm mostly arguing semantics. Instead of saying that 'it pretty much requires LOS' (which it doesn't) you should instead say that the signal degrades faster and so the distance from which you can receive a signal with an equivalent antenna is shorter.

That's not quite correct either though. The problem with digital isn't that it "degrades faster", the issue is that it degrades more or less instantaneously once you cross a certain threshold. It will look essentially "pristine" until you reach the point where the error correction is overwhelmed, then it just drops out.

Lots of trees and buildings are between them.

Gotcha about the 2nd part.
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Postposted on Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:39 pm

Vrock wrote:How is the digital signal broadcasted? Is it a digital stream modulated into an analog carrier (like how Dolby Digital worked on Laserdisc), or is it pure digital?


It's a completely different type of modulation from AM or FM. The data is modulated in the phase shift. I can't even begin to explain it. I had an EE who had just taken a class in digital modulation try and explain it to me but it was way over my head.

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Postposted on Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:06 pm

In my understanding of EE, you can't modulate a purely digital signal through EM waves. Neither antenna will work well because of the discontinuity of the signal.
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Postposted on Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:10 pm

SpotTheCat wrote:In my understanding of EE, you can't modulate a purely digital signal through EM waves. Neither antenna will work well because of the discontinuity of the signal.
So....how's it transported then?
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Postposted on Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:21 pm

Vrock wrote:
SpotTheCat wrote:In my understanding of EE, you can't modulate a purely digital signal through EM waves. Neither antenna will work well because of the discontinuity of the signal.
So....how's it transported then?
like this

Apparently it uses 10% of the energy NTSC does for a given coverage area.
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