Monday, October 4, 2010

HDTV Antenna

I'm currently playing around with the idea of installing a roof mounted HDTV antenna.  I recently purchased (and subsequently returned) an indoor HDTV.  What I found was that I could get maybe 1 channel to come in, but that was about it.

My neighbor's have what appears to be a roof mounted outdoor HDTV antenna and I am debating on going over there to introduce myself, and ask them about their reception quality as well as make/model of their antenna.  This would make a good free television resource for Ericka and I as we get deeper into our new lives sans traditional cable.  It's hard to imagine a world where people would just be able to pluck free tv right out of the air...but as some of us can remember, thats how you got TV 20-30 years ago!

Crutchfield has a really good write up on what to consider when choosing and installing an HDTV antenna.

A friend of mine who had commented on a previous post currently uses an HDTV antenna and had this to say about it:

"If you have a place to put an antenna and have a PC or TV with a tuner, you can get all the basics (PBS, NBC, CBS, FOX) OTA HD.  I had (have) an amplified antenna in my attic and was able to get all of those with plenty of signal.

I have a Terk HDTVo antenna. 

I am nearly positive that the frequencies used for the OTA signal is common with the cable channels, so I ran a dedicated line to my tv/pc for the OTA stuff.  That is probably the safest way to do it.  Where you have only the internet coming in on the coax, you might be able to get away with sharing the line, I don't know.  You might have interference on either the internet or the OTA signal.  You could always give it a try and see what your results are.  I would say the same on the injection point.  It may matter where you try to introduce the signal.  Splitters and such are designed to pass the signal going to a particular direction.  " - Brian Finkele

He Brings up a good point...if i were to use the exsisting co-axial running throughout my house (theres a coax port in almost every room), am I going to run into any issues with signal quality on either the TV's or my internet connection?

If i were really carefull, I may be able to isolate the Coax comming into the house and into my office where the internet modem is and segregate the rest of the coax tha tmight be running to the televisions.  This would prove tricky as the wiring all comes in and is split in the basement and it's a complete rats nest.   Still, it would be interesting to try, and my only investment would be the hardware and installation with the fruits of my labor being free television for most of the major networks delivered in digital or digital HD. 

The great improvement over today's digital signal versus Analog broadcasts of yester-year are that with a digital signal, you get crystal clear broadcasting (assuming good reception)versus the snowy/ghosting of TV broadcasts of our childhood. And as the crutchfield article points out, your HD is going to be uncompressed and most likely will look sharper via Antenna versus HD delivered over Coax.

I have some phone calls placed to some local distributors and installers and I would still very much like to get our neighbors input on how theirs works, but the more I think about it, the more likely I'm going to seriously consider giving this a go.

I'd appreciate anybody's input on the subject!



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