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All things related to HDTV Home Antenna reception including antenna recommendations, channel listings, basic questions and more!
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We currently have Dish Network HD receivers and programming which includes all local HD stations EXCEPT the one we really want...the local Detroit PBS HD station (WTVS HD). Ironically, I think this was one of the first stations to broadcast HD in the entire country. Anyways, what is the best antenna for the sole purpose of picking up the WTVS HD OTA signal...in other words, the least expensive antenna that does the job.
Area Code: 48180
Thanks in advance!
Good morning LogicDictates -
Since you are less than 20 miles from the Detroit TV channels and you only wish to receive WTVS channel 56 which is broadcasting their digital signal on channel 43 the HD-1080 antenna should work for you.
For days, I have avoided this post, due to the fact that there is no real answer.
The BEST vs. the LEAST EXPENSIVE?
The best antenna is one that will receive all channels well - with the least amount of drop out and interference.
20 miles is not the real issue, the issue is how many watts does the station produce, how high is their transmitter antenna, how high is your antenna and is there any stations near you that produces a higher amount of power that could drown out your signal.
I was talking with a engineer yesterday about a situation in Waynesboro Virginia where he had a friend that is a electrical engineer for GE Faunac that owns a house down in town. A local PBS station has a transmitter antenna less than 20 miles away and you can see the light on the top of the transmitter from this persons house. He has a old but good Channel Master antenna and cannot receive even one DTV signal.
At the same time, the engineer has a cabin in the George Washington National Forrest that is beside a hill and in the middle of a Forrest of trees and he has a decent signal.
The answer is that the transmitter has a reflector above and behind the antenna stick on one side that reflects the signal in a certain direction better than others. Without the reflector, the signal just drifts off into space. With the reflector - it shines brightly in one target area and then not as well, but good in the other directions.
Because of the reflector, it creates nulls and voids - where you can't get a signal - even though you can see the transmitter antenna. When that happens, the best you can do is climb up on the tower and move the reflector a little to try to get it to produce a usable signal in the direction you wish it to go.
Distance is a factor, but antenna height and reception is two goals of any antenna system.
UHF - trees, hills, mountains, valleys, buildings more than 4 stories tall, leaves on trees, other signals, rain, airplanes, migrations of birds, swarms of bugs - anything that gets in between you and the signal will block the signal. No matter how close or far away.
VHF - is now low power. Stations that you received well before, sometimes no longer comes in at all.
VHF is more susceptible to interference than UHF, but VHF works better in urban settings because it will go up one hill and down the next, it will go a little better through buildings and trees and things that you have in a city.
If the FCC would have removed all VHF signals, then you wouldn't need to buy a combo UHF / VHF antenna.
Winegard could sell you a YAGI stick $59 antenna and it would work well from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
They could use the money that they have to spend for development of better antennas in the VHF range on making the best UHF antenna and would dominate the market.
Consumers would only need to buy one antenna and a rotor and point it in the right direction to have the best television reception.
What's the best antenna for you? The largest one that you can put on your roof, with a antenna rotor.
If it has too much loss between the antenna and the television, then you need a good RG 6 Quad Shield coax wire and a pre amp to match.
VHF low signals are hard to receive and UHF high signals are almost as bad.
We went through all this one other time, back in 1958 when over the air television boomed and people bought television sets and antenna's and experimented until they found a set up that worked for them.
You just have to remember that back then, some city's only had one or two television stations. When you wanted to watch television - you turned it on and when you were done, you turned it off.
Television took the place of walk in movies. To see a movie, you had to spend $.25 or $.50 and you walked into a movie theater. You sat there for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours and you watched a movie.
Then you went home and there was nothing else to do.
When television came along, people quit going to the movies and stayed home. They could spend $300 - in 1958 money and could buy a television and spend $25 for a antenna and $10 for a rotor and get entertainment up to 24 hours a day.
$300 then was like $5,000 today!
50 years later, we take for granted what we got for free over the air! We expect good service for sometimes nothing more than the price of a new television - $300.00 When the television doesn't work anymore - we throw it away and we buy a new one.
But when it comes to buying a decent antenna and wire and set up, we refuse to pay someone to come and install it for us - because for years we could hold a coat hanger out the window and get reception and so we figure that there is nothing to putting up a television aerial and that all you have to do is buy something - anything, no matter how much it cost and it should work for you.
Then when you buy it, and it is the wrong side and it is hooked up wrong and there is no rotor to point it in the right direction - we come on the internet for help. Usually some kind hearted person will give advice - which we won't take - because we don't want some big ugly antenna on our roof and we don't want to spend $80 on a antenna rotor and we don't want to be bothered with having to turn it every time we want to watch television from a transmitter in a different direction.
In the end, we take the antenna down and we give it to the garbage man or we sell it at a yard sale and we pay for cable. Now we are back to 1955 when we paid to go to the movies and only were entertained if we had money.
All I will say is for you to say thank you to all the rich people out there that bought wide screen televisions, that wanted HD tv for free and encouraged our law makers to change the way we broadcast television and made it harder for us to watch.
While you are at it, you can thank all the people with the cell phones too - because they were the direct beneficiary of the taking of the higher frequency UHF channels.
Welcome to 1958
The problem with saying that you only want to watch one television station is that once you turn the television on and you find a station that you like, you will want to watch it.
If the reception for that station is anything less than 100%, you will get aggravated because you can see it but it doesn't work right. That will make you want to watch it even more. Before long, you will find that on the nights that Deadlest Catch or Ice Road Truckers or American Chopper isn't on - that your cable / satellite TV will be shut off and you will be watching the OTA television, even though you have cable and 250 stations.
Over The Air television is going to give it one last shot at being number one before they give up the ghost and become all infomercials and news - just like AM radio.
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