1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Who knows OTA TV? (Dealing with hilly terrain)

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Badfish740, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,408
    We're really tired of paying for lots of channels we don't watch, plus we're looking to cut spending any way we can so that my wife can stay home with our daughter instead of going back to work. All the money we currently throw away on satellite TV could be put to much better use. However, we do still want to be able to watch NBC/ABC/CBS shows as well as NYC media market local news and sports. According to www.antennaweb.org this might not be possible? Here is the information I entered:

    Location: High Bridge, NJ 08829

    Are there any buildings, steeples, towers, or other structures taller than four stories within four blocks of your location, airports within two miles of your location, and/or many nearby trees over 30 feet tall: Yes

    Antenna Height: I entered 30'. My masonry chimney is 23' tall so it would be easy to install a 7' tall mast on which to mount an antenna.

    They recommend a "red" antenna-channel selection given is as follows:
    Blue-VHF WNJB-DT 58.1 PBS NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ 110°/21.2 miles away-channel 8
    Blue-VHF WPVI-DT 6.1 ABC PHILADELPHIA, PA 215°/46.5 miles away-channel 6
    Violet-UHF KYW-DT 3.1 CBS PHILADELPHIA, PA 215°/46.5 miles away-channel 26

    High Bridge is located in a hilly area of Northwest NJ in a small valley that is about 48 miles west of the New York City network (NBC/ABC/CBS/Fox) transmitters. Our elevation is about 400' above sea level, but by using Google Maps (with the terrain setting on) to draw a straight line between my house and the Empire State Building where most of the transmitters are located, I can see that there is an 800' high ridge (400' higher than my home) directly in the way. The ridge is located about 3 miles east of my house. Is this the reason that no NYC stations are listed for my area? Is there anything I can do about it? Just for the hell of it I went back and changed the antenna height to 60' and only picked up one additional station in nearby Bethlehem, PA. Any ideas on what type of antenna or other hardware I could use in order to get NYC TV out here? Philly TV only is a deal breaker because we're NY Giants fans, plus Philly news only covers South Jersey.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    28,634
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    If you find something that will do it, let me know. Since they went to all digital signals all of the money I spent to get OTA out here in the sticks turned into door stops. Anything between you and the signal kills it dead.
  3. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,408
    Hopefully this will generate a good discussion among other hearth.com cord cutters. I also posted this on a forum dedicated to OTA TV as well. I'm hoping that maybe just a big honkin' antenna like this one:

    http://www.antennacraft.net/Antennas/AntennasHBU.html

    will do the job. 145" is pretty big, but out here it might be our only option.
  4. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,438
    Loc:
    Delaware, Ohio
    My wife and I had OTA TV for years when we moved out of the city, but I got tired of dealing with flakey reception, so i signed up for DISH. I think we are closer to the towers than you are, and I still got fed up with reception issues with a rooftop antenna.

    We are starting to think about the same thing though, cutting costs where we can so that my wife would have the option to walk away from her job if she isn't able to keep working from home most of the time like she is now.

    We just audited the channels we watch and then reduced to the lowest package that had all but one of them. Saving $30 on my bill after taxes and all. My plan, if it comes to serious cutbacks is to go to the lowest DISH package that will let me get locals. That way, I cut to bare minimum cust but still get decent reception. If I need to cut anymore, I can dump the second receiver on the TV downstairs that doest get much use.

    -SF
  5. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Would be nice if you could pick and choose channels. Of the hundred or whatever channels I get I watch maybe 3 or 4 stations. I had to have that bigger plan to have Discovery and History.
  6. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,977
    Loc:
    Northern CT
    Yup, I hate getting stuck with "packages". I'm seriously considering dumping the sat. TV. It's nice, but way too costly. The package garbage is driving me away, and they won't budge on it. They did give me $5/month off as a customer retention, but it's still over $60/month - way too much!
  7. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,438
    Loc:
    Delaware, Ohio
    I was just doing a quick Google search. Depending on whether or not you own your receivers, you may be able to get locals only for a few bucks a month. Could be worth calling and asking about.

    -SF
  8. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,977
    Loc:
    Northern CT
    I do own the receiver. I seriously doubt they'd sell me just the locals, but I can ask…it's the package deal all over. I could get a lesser package, but the channels I watch are not in it.
  9. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,475
    Loc:
    SE Mass
    I live practically on the beach and have the rest of the state ( Ma isn't exactly flat) in the way.
    Most of the Boston stations I get pretty good with the antenna aimed right at them. (47 miles away ave. )
    I get Providence which is only 30 miles away but because the antenna is "off" by about 30 degrees anytime the wind picks up they cut out and are pretty much unwatchable.
    ChannelMaster 3020 with a ChannelMaster 0747 amplifier.

    A rotator might help a little with the stations I get that are off a little bit, but only in bad weather, maybe.
    Neither of my TV recievers have the capacity to add a channel after a tune search so I doubt a rotator would do much for me.


    I've replaced a high quality RG59 with a high quality RG6 and didn't gain anything.



    One thing that did help (channels cutting out) was I moved my antenna from one end of the house to the other which got me a few feet further away from trees.




    I got tired of Direct TV insisting my reception troubles was dish placement. They'd send one installer after another out and they were swapping it back and forth to the same places claiming it would work better there when it hadn't before. Enough was enough.
  10. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    889
    I am in northwest NJ as well, and tried to go over-the-air this past summer. It was a total waste of time and money. I went on antennaweb, bought a top of the line antenna from Crutchfield, and spent half a day installing it and running cables in my house. the only stations I was able to pick up were two local ones from eastern pa. When purchasing the antenna, I read dozens of reviews of people who said "I live in mountainous terrain, and this was the only antenna that worked. I pick up stations from 100 miles away" etc etc etc. My suggestion would be to downgrade to basic cable (10.00 per month from Cablevision), and get Netflix.
  11. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,408
    The forum that I just started posting on said right off the bat that NYC TV would be a challenge from our location, but it is possible. There are a lot of variables-antenna height, local geography, etc... I went to TV Fool and got a much more comprehensive picture of what is available at my location-you might want to check it out:

    http://www.tvfool.com/

    I'll look into the $10.00 a month Comcast deal as well-I didn't know they had that.
  12. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,847
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Yeah, they don't advertise it at all....you have to call and ask for it in most areas. Problem is, my basic cable used to be $10 and is now $18/month and several of the channels have gone away and been replaced with channels in a language I don't understand :)
  13. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,408
    I just called this morning-get a load of this: Basic (20 channels) cable is $10.00 a month-what a bargain! However, I also need to get my internet and phone through either them or the local phone company. If I get it through them the whole package comes to $106.99 a month!!! Yes, that's right, $10.00 a month for cable and $96.99 a month for phone and internet-and that's the basic package with no long distance and no super high speed internet. What a joke...if you guys need me I'll be constructing a 100' tower in my backyard :lol:

    UPDATE:

    This thing looks reeeeeeeally interesting:

    http://www.boxee.tv/

    This little doohicky will apparently allow you to interface with Hulu, all of the major network sites, Netflix, etc...through the internet with a remote and a user friendly format just like channel surfing on TV. In other words you don't have to sit in front of the TV with a laptop and a bunch of cables in order to watch stuff over the internet. You just sit on the couch and use a remote like you normally would. The other cool thing is that you don't have to buy the box-you can download the software for free onto a cheap PC or laptop and use that as your box. Then you just need to buy their remote ($40 on Amazon) to operate it. I have an old laptop sitting around that would probably work well for this. Finally, any day now they'll be releasing a tuner add-on so that you can seamlessly integrate OTA TV. If I go the free download route my costs would be as follows:

    Quality HDTV capable antenna - $100
    Assorted cables, mast, connectors, etc... - $150
    Pre-amp - $50
    Software - FREE
    Remote - $40
    TV Tuner add-on - $50
    PC cables, etc... - $50
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    $440

    At the rate I'm currently paying for TV (about $70 a month when you seperate the TV charge from the phone/internet bundle), payoff would be in about 6 years. Not bad as long as I can get the local channels to work OTA. I smell a project :lol:
  14. sparklow

    sparklow Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Messages:
    28
    Loc:
    North-central CT
    As with most things, you got to try it yourself to know. I use OTA TV only and it works well for me. I have less than $50 invested in it, so you can try it for little money and make a choice. I use a WineGard (sp?) HD1080 antenna, mounted in my attic on a mast I had, attached to 50' of cable which runs down to my basement and then attaches to my old cable system. Try it, you might like it - and you will save money.
  15. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,438
    Loc:
    Delaware, Ohio
    The phone/internet stuff adds another kink. I was thinking we were just talking about TV (since you mentioned satellite earlier).

    $96.99 is really high for phone and internet.

    I'm sure you can get the local phone company to give you a basic landline and low-tier DSL for much less. I would guess somewhere in the $50/month range.

    Another option is to check out dslreports.com and find a vendor that will let you sign up for "naked DSL" (DSL without phone service), and then sigh up for the lowest Vonage package (or ooVoo or Magic Jack, or a service like that for phone).

    I checked out that TVFool.com site. I ran a report for my address, but I have serious reservations about the results. It claims I should be able to pick up the Columbus, Ohio locals with an indoor antenna, but I know that to not be true at all. Even with a rooftop, I had trouble with the Columbus locals, so take the results with a grain of salt. YMMV, as they say.

    -SF
  16. rwhite

    rwhite Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Messages:
    604
    Loc:
    SW Idaho
    For Internet:
    So if the local phone company has DSL to your location there is no requirement to have a landline. I haven't had a land line in several years and pay about $50/month for internet ,although if you check often you can get deals for $30/month for a 6 months at a time.

    For network news on sattelite:

    The dish companies will not tell you this but if you cann and tell them you are going to cancel you can get just the major networks and PBS for $5-10/month. It's not local news though. You get the broadcast from either NY or LA. If you want local you have to write the local network and ask and most will not allow. I think only the local CBS granted me local news.


    For OTA:

    Search for repeaters in your area. My local repeater is 180 off the city that the news comes from. I tried to get reception from the broadcast city with no luck. I found the local repeater and pointed teh antenna that way and can get 17 channels.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,165
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    You all are not alone. I think this is coming and it will be over the internet. At this point I'm not sure who is going to take the lead here, it may be Google, but it is definitely in the works.

    Another option is the old BUD (big ugly dish). Regular satellite does offer smaller package deals the last time I checked. When we had a big dish we purchased ala carte. Our bill was only $15/mo for exactly the channels we wanted. And we still had OTA. Looks like the prices have gone up since then, and there may be less vendors, but it's still an option:

    http://skyvision.com/programming/alacarte.html
  18. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,355
    Loc:
    northern-half of maine
    FWIW-I have OTA TV. I can get a couple of stations where I am. But they are 56 miles from my antenna to transmitter. My elevation is high, nothing in the way between the two spots. i have a high end antenna, rotor, good cable, and in-line booster. But i do loose the channels once in a while. Sometimes it's when the geese are migrating :) Seriously, I only get a signal strength of 10 to 25 out of a 100. i am on the very edge of reception. Matter of fact I called the TV station, and they couldn't believe i was able to pull them in. but as I said, I'm in a high elevation.
  19. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,438
    Loc:
    NWI office - 2 Heritages; Chicago home - Woodstock
    TV isn't that great to begin with. Dancing with Britney Spears, American Idol, and commercials convincing you to buy things you would otherwise not want. And 20 news channels which don't tell anything meaningful. You'd be better off with Netflix and Youtube. Once you stop watching tv, it's hard to go back.
  20. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,355
    Loc:
    northern-half of maine
    Netflix has been our primary "channel" for the least couple of yrs.
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,165
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Agreed. We stopped watching commercials 30 years ago, the moment the mute button was invented! I stopped watching regular tv and news around 2000. But I still watch PBS for good British shows, American Experience, Nova, Frontline, etc. Bill Moyer will be returning tonight. We have a computer hooked up to the AV system and watch the Daily and Colbert shows online now.
  22. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,438
    Loc:
    NWI office - 2 Heritages; Chicago home - Woodstock
    I like American Experience and BBC America. Other than that, I'm good with the internet and Netflix. I can spend hours just researching stuff on the web. There's a bunch of things I would like to know more about. Sitcoms with laugh tracks aren't that interesting in my opinion
  23. Lighting Up

    Lighting Up Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Messages:
    340
    Loc:
    Roc City NY


    Badfish, great topic I'll be watching to see how you make out. I did have a below basic cable hook up for 7.99 years ago which they gave me because I told them I could not get any local station. My cable co is Time Warner and now I have all three cable, Internet-RR, phone package. That's why I like your topic, was thinking of making a change last week. I called TW to tell them I see all these ads from their competitors and even them for new customers so what were they going to offer me...thinking I was going to get the Thank you bull. However they took $30.00 off my bill which puts my bill closer to first time customers pricing...So you never know till you ask. Good luck, hope it turns out well for you.
    md
  24. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    5,740
    Loc:
    Northern MI - in the mitten
    I've not had any luck here with the OTA stuff. Most any stations are over in Traverse City and we can't get 'em. I guess we're too far out in the boonies.
    I think those have internet sites too, so no biggie for us if we really need that.
    CBS and TNT are 2 that have an online presence. Then there's hulu where many shows and movies are available.
    We dropped Direct TV about 3 years ago, and don't miss it much.
    I have a small PC I built back in '09 hooked up via HDMI to the big screen LCD TV if we want to watch a movie that way via either the internet or DVD.
  25. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,408
    We shall see-the folks over at the DTV forum are telling me that NYC area stations are going to be a challenge, but I'm going to give it my best shot. The part of NJ that we live and work in doesn't really get covered by Philly area news-not to mention sports.

Share This Page