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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure if anyone here uses free, OTA to watch TV, but I am hoping someone does.

Awhile back, I posted a thread and it proved for some lively discussion.

We are nearing the end of our discounted rate with ATT and I am not going with another provider except as a last resort. I ordered an antenna from monoprice.com per the suggestions on antennaweb.org.

I am getting a fine quality signal (100% according to my Eyetv), but I can only get around 50% on my signal strength. I have done some research and found that there are both pre-amplifiers and boosters that can help with strengthening your signal, but I am not sure which one to employ.

I have the antenna mounted on the highest point of my house, pointing in the correct general direction. There is a small 5v powering device that I run the antenna feed into and then connect that to my long-ish cable run (30 feet or so) and then into a 15db booster and then into a splitter, which goes to my TV and computer respectively.

While I can watch fine on my computer with the EyeTV, I can't get a consistent signal on my main TV (Samsung 32" LCD). I am thinking that a pre-amplifier will boost the signal strength enough, but hate to try that only to find out I need a higher power booster.

Does anyone have experience with this or want to offer me some suggestions before I spend more $$?

Much appreciated!!
 

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Hi Seth,
Not much help but, I'll comment anyway. I used an antenna for about a year, didn't use any boosters or splitters. Had a fantastic picture, much better than any of the "providers". Then I moved and the new location had a very, very poor signal. Tried powered antennas and boosters, then went back to Dish Network.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Mark. I should be able to get a great signal as I am not too far away from a majority of the towers being in the KC metro. I am going to elminate the splitter and see what happens. On another forum, the guys suggested that my signal may be too strong for my tuner on my TV (go figure :dontknow:)
 

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Have you considered that your TV may just have a poor ATSC tuner. Manufacturers know that most viewers use cable or satellite feeds. I have been noticing poorer and poorer performance with new TV's and OTA signals. The two HD converters I purchased from Rat Shack seem to be more sensitive than the tuners on the two flat screen TV's I have.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Have you considered that your TV may just have a poor ATSC tuner. Manufacturers know that most viewers use cable or satellite feeds. I have been noticing poorer and poorer performance with new TV's and OTA signals. The two HD converters I purchased from Rat Shack seem to be more sensitive than the tuners on the two flat screen TV's I have.
Interesting. I actually have tried three different setups now, with none working on my Sammy 32" in the living room, but all three working on my EyeTV that I have hooked up to my mac mini.

So, are you suggesting by-passing my TV's tuner by using an HD coverter box? Or maybe I misunderstood. Do they sell stand-alone DTV tuners?
 

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Interesting. I actually have tried three different setups now, with none working on my Sammy 32" in the living room, but all three working on my EyeTV that I have hooked up to my mac mini.

So, are you suggesting by-passing my TV's tuner by using an HD coverter box? Or maybe I misunderstood. Do they sell stand-alone DTV tuners?
HD converters output a standard NTSC signal. They're for old codgers like me who still have CRT based TV's. They used to sell stand alone HD/ATSC tuners. I haven't seen any lately.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
HD converters output a standard NTSC signal. They're for old codgers like me who still have CRT based TV's. They used to sell stand alone HD/ATSC tuners. I haven't seen any lately.
Thanks for the info! I always like learning about the wonderfully, geeky world of AV! :T
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I use an outdoor antenna in my attic connected to me tv- it works great now, but when I first put it up there, the signal was poor for some channels and I had to point it differently- it really made a difference.
Yeah, I just don't know where else to aim it. I am pointed direct toward the orientation that TVFool.com advised.
 

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What is the 5v supply powering and what kind of booster do you have?
 

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What is the 5v supply powering and what kind of booster do you have?
The 5v supply was included with the monoprice antenna. Based on some advice from the nice folks over at avsforum.com, I took out that antenna and replaced it with this one and removed the Motorola booster I had in the mix.

I now have the Channel Master antenna hooked directly to my 32" Sammy LCD and the picture is great. Apparently, I was too close to the broadcast antennas in KC and therefore the booster and amplification the monoprice antenna had were causing signal degradation by introducing too much noise.

The only remaining issue is a fluctuating signal strength, which I have come to find out is likely a cause of the ATT Uverse wireless router I have sitting directly behind the TV. The reason I think this is because as soon as I unplugged it last night and plugged in the antenna, I had no trouble at all. I restarted the router and the picture remained good, but fluctuated in strength. The avsforum folk suggest that I move the wireless router away from the TV to increase signal stability, which I plan to do in the near future.

Next steps:
1) Cancel my ATT Uverse package and save around $50 a month
2) Ground the antenna

Enjoy a great, FREE HD picture! I may invest a few hundred in a tuner/dvr unit that would allow us to continue to have the convenience of a DVR, but we'll hold off on that a bit.

Feel free to ask any questions or continue the discussion. I will be happy to participate!
 

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Hey Seth, we've never paid for tv, but use the OTA signal. Now it's great with DTV. We do pay for netflix and really like it as it has a huge selection of movies new and old, but I'm going to pick up a DTV tuner card for the computer to record shows as the old vcr is just too antiquated now. I hope it isn't too tricky configuring as I'm no computer guru.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey Seth, we've never paid for TV, but use the OTA signal. Now it's great with DTV. We do pay for netflix and really like it as it has a huge selection of movies new and old, but I'm going to pick up a DTV tuner card for the computer to record shows as the old vcr is just too antiquated now. I hope it isn't too tricky configuring as I'm no computer guru.
You are right in line with my thinking. Now that I can get local broadcasts free with a great picture, what is the point of cable unless you want all that poor (IMO) programming. Throw in Netflix, especially the ability to stream it to your TV (which we can do with our Nintendo Wii) you've got pretty much everything you could want for around $10 a month - I will take a $40 savings for a better viewing experience!

You shouldn't have too much trouble getting decent DTV tuner card that works well. If you have a Mac, the EyeTV products are great. Not sure about PC products, but I know there are folks on here that would be more than happy to help you.

And if your PC isn't easily accessible, you may want to consider a stand alone DVR that you can use with the OTA. The one recommended to me was this. I am considering it, but am waiting a bit before taking the plunge on that & see how we do without a true DVR.
 
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