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Am I screwed when it comes to OTA TV?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by AddictiveStew, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. AddictiveStew

    AddictiveStew Member

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    Wife and I just cut the cord about 2 months ago and I was perfectly ok with receiving a few local channels over the wire as a freebie in addition to our cable internet service. Sadly, the FCC has now made it legal for cable companies to encrypt even basic, local channels that are typically available OTA. So.... Now I'm exploring antenna options again and this brings me to my TVFOOL report:

    http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id=46ae5d6f59e7c8

    Am I just screwed? Most signals are 2Edge from me that I even care about. All of the channels listed @ 110 degrees are the ones I care about, not any of the others. Any suggestions? Or should I push the wife for a cheap Dish plan? I really just need a few local channels for news and weather. Thanks all!

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  2. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    If you have high speed internet I would highly recommend the Roku system . . . easy to connect and you can add channels to it -- including CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, etc. Coupled with Netflix and some additional channels and you should be able to get the same, if not more, programs than you were before. My wife and I left DirecTV . . . and we haven't looked back since then.

    Only possible negative is if you're a big sports fan as it isn't the best for sports.
  3. AddictiveStew

    AddictiveStew Member

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    I do have a Roku, but how do I add CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox? I've been streaming local news in the morning with my Chromecast but the performance leaves much to be desired.
  4. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I think you have to add the channels via the Roku connection on your computer . . . and then it automatically adds them to your
    Roku. It's been a long time since I added channels though.

    There are other very good free channels you can add as well . . . Play On is a fantastic one. My wife has been watching the new season of Downton Abbey as episodes are broadcast in England.
  5. AddictiveStew

    AddictiveStew Member

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    I appreciate the feedback! I was hoping someone could maybe comment on what antenna I could get that would be effective in this scenario?
  6. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    I've considered "cutting the cord", but I can't give up live broadcast for news and sports.

    We trimmed our DISH package way back about a year ago and a half ago when my wife stopped working to be a stay-at-home mom. We audited the channels that we actually watch and then picked the lowest package that covered those channels (in HD) with only a couple of casualties.

    I actually called dish to see if they had some sort of local channels only package, but they don't offer that.

    Keep an eye on these guys. When they expand to your area, it might just do the trick! https://www.aereo.com/

    -SF
  7. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    Get a good antennae installer to come over and do a reception test. They can tell if you should bother placing an antennae or not. I would have done it in a heatbeat, but I live in a bad place reception wise. Your entitled to anything you can pull in and its only HD now.

    Also, your cable provider may have a local only basic package, mine is 9.00/month. They don't advertise it, in fact they try to hide it. Just call up and ask them if this call is being recorded, if they say yes, ask them directly if they have a local only service and make them answer yes or no.
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I am an OTA TV guy. I built my own antenna, a UHF style using some old romex, a radio shack balun, and a 2x6, and from in the attic I get very good reception for all major networks broadcast about 40 miles away and with a 20 degree spread.

    First step for you is to stop using that TVfool and go to the other one,

    http://www.antennaweb.org/Default.aspx

    This site is better and gives you more data about what you need for an antenna.

    No, not all OTA is in HD. It is not even all in digital but most is digital since the transition and you will find your stations in low VHF, hi VHF, and UHF. When watching a program they usually tell you if and when they are being broadcast in HD which is most of the time on major networks and for shows like the news or jeapordy. You will find that HD from OTA is superior to any compressed HD from comcast.

    We love our OTA system. I also supplement with ROKU streaming netflix. I was a comcast customer about two years ago and have saved thousands, yes thousands, of dollars since upgrading to OTA.
  9. AddictiveStew

    AddictiveStew Member

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    Funny you should mention that. I have used antennaweb, and it says I will get zero channels. I saw that my cable company has the local package for $19.99/mo with about 30 channels. I might go with that.
  10. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    doh! i meant digital. thanks for correcting me.
  11. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    30 channels, sounds about right. also, look in the goodwills or buy through ebay a lifetime tivo DVR box. it has updateable listings for your service (i bought the USB internet device) and you never need to pay a monthly fee plus you can record shows/etc. i've had mine since 2005. Its not HD, but neither is my local basic. Just bought another the other day at the goodwill for $5.
  12. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    do they let you buy your own cablebox instead of renting? more savings.
  13. AddictiveStew

    AddictiveStew Member

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    They let you use the QAM tuner in the TV.
  14. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    sorry, I meant cable modem for internet/tv?
  15. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    Go to High def forums and sign up. Then go to Local HDTV Info and Reception sub forum. Enter your TV fool info and ask what they recommend.
    I don't know much about it, but it kind of seems to me that you might need two antennas. Either way, they'll tell you what you can do.
    iirc, you have to have 5 posts before you can post your TV fool link.

    I dumped my cable this past summer signed up for netflix streaming and get 33 channels OTA, and the picture is better than it's ever been.
    DIL sent me an email the other day about a device that Google has out called chromecast. She said it costs $35 and plugs into an HDMI port, like a thumb drive.
    It supposedly receives all of the streaming services and can be operated from PC, tablet or smart phone.
  16. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    33 live channels? local too?
  17. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    Yes, 33 channels from OTA, I'm not too far from most of the transmitters though. I think my furthest channel is about 50 miles away.
    All I have is a small multi-directional antenna, attached to my chimney.
  18. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    oh, i thought you got 33 channels through Netflix. Thought it was a service I've never heard of.
  19. AddictiveStew

    AddictiveStew Member

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    I do have the Chromecast and it's pretty awesome! I stream local news in the morning from a tab in Chrome to the TV. It works very well!
  20. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    The new digital signals are unforgiving if in hilly areas or any buildings. IMO you'll need a rooftop antenna. If you choose to use a rotor, don't buy a radio shack special. A good one could cost some coin. A weather master won't last a year with my winds.

    I ended up bolting the antenna in one direction. Also, a good ground wire/cable off the antenna. Antennas are excellent lightning rods.
  21. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    He won't need or want a rotor if all stations are relatively in one direction. He said that all are at 110 degrees so that's a huge relief. Rotors suck.
    flyingcow and mass_burner like this.
  22. scajjr2

    scajjr2 Member

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    This is a good site for everything OTA and a lot of antenna discussion: http://www.dtvusaforum.com/forum/ .

    We cut the cord 3 years ago. Put 2 antennas up in the attic (one aimed toward Boston the other toward Manchester, NH), added an amp and a couple splitters, used the existing coax from the cable TV to connect the 5 units (3 TVs, 2 PCs with TV tuner cards). We get about 30 OTA channels. Also have mini HTPC's connected to plasma in living room and in the master and spare bedrooms. Using PlayOn, Amazon prime and what I download or rip to our home network NAS devices all our watching needs are met.

    The only drawback to OTA is if you need sports, there it just can't compete with cable.

    Sam
  23. dmmoss51

    dmmoss51 Feeling the Heat

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    I think Dish Network has an unadvertised plan that is around @15/month and includes local channels and similar to basic cable.
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I just set up PlayOn and must say I am disappointed in the visual quality. The compression is huge making text very fuzzy. We have a very fast internet connection on a fast computer and get fine quality when watching something like the Daily Show on an HD monitor, but the PlayOn version was much poorer. Is this correctabl? All of the user settings are at Max.

    Edit: Nevermind, cancelled PlayOn.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  25. loadstarken

    loadstarken Member

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    I cut the cable 11 years ago and I recommend that everyone should!

    I bought an antenna from monoprice and threw it into the attic and it works great. I also have HTPC's connected to each TV and stream thru amazon prime, hulu, netflix and other places.

    My brother in law that moved to TX from WA complained that he can't watch sports live and can't watch UW games so I told him about a product called a slingbox. He talked his parents into using it with their cable package so now he can watch UW games. He also sends his parents some cash to help out with their cable bill.

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