Help with tv reception please

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by nostalgia, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. nostalgia

    nostalgia Well-Known Member

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    Our tv reception stinks!
    We don't want to have to get hooked up to cable or satellite but...

    Surely there must be something we can do to improve our tv reception.
    We live on top of a ridge and would prefer not to use an outdoor antenna because of lightening if we can find another solution. Seems like we get good reception to the west of us but the east is terrible, (there is another ridge above us to the east that blocks good reception).

    Has anyone used an indoor antenna that really works? Any advice other than moving that mountain or moving the house, would really be appreciated. :)
     
  2. earthship

    earthship Well-Known Member

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    There isn't anything you can do if you aren't willing to at least get an antenna outside. These days there is little effort put into free air transmissions - all the dough is in cable and satellite. Not only do you need to get outside, you may need a rotor to point the antenna in different directions. You may need a single booster; especially if your station (or some of them) are UHF channels. Ask around or call the television stations and ask where their antenna(s) are located from you (which direction). If you insist on being inside they make some powered rabbit ears antennas. Also you might try moving your set around the house, closer to outside walls, moving the antenna higher or lower. That's about it.
     

  3. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    I have seen an outdoor antenna in an attic that worked. It was set up on a rope and pulley rotor system.
     
  4. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Why are you worried about lightning? A properly grounded antenna isnt any more a risk than a roof or chimney is. If you insist on using an in door antenna then get it as high as possible in the attic.

    First step is to figure out where your TV stations are, All in the same direction, different directions? An omini antenna or a rotor will help with directions.
    Next step is to use a preamp at the antenna. You want a good UHF/VHF amplfiier. Next is to get GOOD coax cable with properly terminated ends. RG6 is your only option. RG59 is not a good choice. Radio shack and wallmart is NOT a good source for quality cables.

    If you want to connect to more than one TV then run the antenna down to a central part of the house and use a splitter to split the signal, Again quality units. You will most likely also need to inject power to the amp at the splitter as well. Run RG6 lines to each tv from the splitter.. connect up your TV and watch.
     
  5. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Well, good antennas cost money... and many are not cheap. The "TV" you get with an antenna is downright lousy... all the network stuff... 90% of it is garbage and 40% of it is commercials. Even with the best antenna, how many channels can you get? Get satellite and be done with it.

    cheers,
     
  6. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

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    We have had an antenna with rotor on the roof for 18 yrs. and never a problem with lightning, only once in awhile with the wind. If you are in a lightning-prone area, you could always put the antenna on one of those metal towers, instead of your house. In fact, my inlaws lived in north central Ohio, not very near any stations. They had their antenna on a 50-foot tower, and they got channels from Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, and sometimes even Dayton and Youngstown.
    We have cable and satellite available, but I just don't want to PAY for something that should be free! I have seen what is on cable and most of it is just more junk, like the networks. I prefer to spend $15 a month for Internet access, instead of $30 or more for TV. Guess I'm just old and out of date!
     
  7. RAC

    RAC Guest

    One thing to keep in mind is that if you live in the boonies, there just aren't any stations to get, period, no matter how much you spend on an antenna system. If you live in or near a major metro area, there are far more stations to choose from. Where we used to live, we used to get 7 out of the 12 VHF stations (the 3 networks at the time and the rest independents) plus 5-6 UHF stations, not counting the foreign language stations.

    Part of the problem is that I doubt that there are any true independent stations left--they've either gone to megastation status (KTLA, for example, or WGN) and/or are FOX, WB, or UPN affiliates (and IMHO, only FOX qualifies as a "real" network because they maintain a news department. The other two are glorified "graveyard" or rerun stations, even though there are some new shows on them).

    What I don't think is fair about the satellite/cable channels is that there is virtually no good programming late at night for those on different schedules. Watching infomercials on free TV is one thing, but surely there is enough programming old and new to keep those stations running 7/24 without infomercials. While there is the occasional infomercial I'd like to watch, it would be nice if there were just separate infomercial stations with a guide so you know which infomercial is showing at what time. I really miss late-night/early morning sci-fi and horror films.... And of course if you want to see any reruns of older shows like Star Trek, etc., you're pretty much out of luck unless you have cable or satellite, or want to rent them or buy them. And with all of the "packages" so many of the stations you get you don't even want, like QVC, HSN, etc. So out of the 100 channels (never mind the music stations (are you going to watch the name of the songs scroll along the TV screen all day?) you might actually watch maybe 20.

    So look at what you actually watch. A lot of the better shows are actually on PBS or on cable/satellite, if you're looking for do-it-yourself shows. But also remember that all of those stations have websites that have the recipes, projects, etc. Instead of the movie stations (HBO, Cinemax), I would recommend Netflix instead. Much better value for the money.
     
  8. okgoatgal2

    okgoatgal2 Well-Known Member

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    well, i live in town (albiet 35 miles from the city where the tv stations are) and get um...2 channels, not totally clear, either. abc and the pbs/oeta station. luckily, i don't care for tv...watch the weather in the am when i need to go somewhere...don't think i've watched a tv show in 8 months or so, at home. rent movies on the weekend for the kids. that's it...don't watch during the week, it seems to kill their brain cells.

    so i'm no help, just couldn't resist putting the option out there to just do w/o it. :D
     
  9. Unreg Dave

    Unreg Dave Guest

    I am anti-television, but I watch it anyway (wink). I also live in the mountains, so I get three channels: PBS, NBC, CBS. I won’t buy cable either; it’s a rip-off.

    I use an amplified antenna made by Radio Shack. I think I paid $20 for it. It is just a basic rabbit ears device with a UHF loop. There is a transformer that plugs into the wall. It works ok if you are willing to do some “reception ballet” every time you change the channel. I had a similar but better one made by Magnavox, but it ceased to work after a friend plugged a hair dryer into the same extension cord it was plugged into.

    If you are watching UHF, shorten the telescoping antennae all the way and lay them flat because they interfere with the signal being received by the loop antenna. I was glad to learn this because my favorite channel is PBS.

    Good luck!
    Dave
     
  10. Unreg Dave

    Unreg Dave Guest

    I am anti-television, but I watch it anyway (wink). I also live in the mountains, so I get three channels: PBS, NBC, CBS. I won’t buy cable either; it’s a rip-off.

    I use an amplified antenna made by Radio Shack. I think I paid $20 for it. It is just a basic rabbit ears device with a UHF loop. There is a transformer that plugs into the wall. It works ok if you are willing to do some “reception ballet” every time you change the channel. I had a similar but better one made by Magnavox, but it ceased to work after a friend plugged a hair dryer into the same extension cord it was plugged into.

    If you are watching UHF, shorten the telescoping antennae all the way and lay them flat because they interfere with the signal being received by the loop antenna. I was glad to learn this because my favorite channel is PBS.

    Good luck!
    Dave
     
  11. Swampdweller

    Swampdweller Well-Known Member

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  12. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    I'm with Dave--I use the same device here and have learned I can get NBC, CBS, PBS, and Fox on a day when the wind is blowing right. That is more than enough distraction when I am looking for it.

    Don't assume those of us who watch TV don't read. I go through dozens of books a month when I am on a roll-- and we're talking 90% non-fiction, science, how-to. And honeymoon. And garden. And am self-employed. And...and...and...
     
  13. nostalgia

    nostalgia Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone for the helpful information. We are considering the outdoor antenna on a pole but we will also try all the other good advice too. That is if we can find a cheap antenna and pole somewhere. ;)

    We have found at least 10 stations on the tv but alot of them are just snowy. Was hoping to be able to find a way to see them more clearly.

    I will not break down and buy the cable or satellite! Both are at least 40 dollars a month to subscribe to here and that is the basic. That's more than I want to pay for entertainment. I can purchase at least 8 videos a month for that price. That's almost 100 videos a year. I would much rather spend my money on something I can keep and watch any time I want, not just when it's showing.
     
  14. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    Basic satelite packages start at 20.00/mo. and that includes 40 channels. If you sign a years contract they will give you the equipment and come out to install the dish and box at your place for no charge.

    We lived without television for many years because our mountains preclude the use of ANY antenna. Well, maybe if we erected a 1000' tower...

    When we first got Direct TV, we had to sign up for the full package deal for a year to get the reduced price equipment. I'm here to tell you that going from zero reception to having over 200 channels to try and choose from is AMAZING.

    We switched to Dish a while ago to get the local area channels which Direct didn't plan to offer in our area. Our monthly bill even with the local channels is 40/mo.

    I don't miss the days of driving in to town, renting videos at three or four dollars a whack, having to drop everything to watch them and get them back in time to avoid the outrageous late charges.

    While I'm sure I could get used to it, it's amazing to me when I see other folks' TV reception in town off the translator or from the cable company. Their picture clarity is way poor compared to the digital quality we get here at home.

    I grumble at the monthly bill and spend enough time on the computer anymore that I consider doing without the TV but sheeoot, it sure is nice to just kick up my feet and travel to Africa with the Animal Channel photographers. Why just last week, we toured the White House even though it is 3000 miles away and this morning I was sitting in the totally devastated city of Bam, Iran, sharing the horror and the smell of death.

    Hope you can find something that works for you and doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
     
  15. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    One other point, imagine how many digital quality videos you could record a month off the dish! I'm not usually that fond of watching something more than once, but I do copy a lot of programing to video for folks that don't have a dish.