Newbie help - dtv over the airwaves?

Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

Hi folks,

I'll admit it up front: I am a stubborn guy with a 15-yr old Panasonic
TV, picking up reception from a roof-mounted antenna. I have no
interest in getting cable or satellite, and no plans to get an HDTV.
But, I recently read that I can probably pick up digital signals from
the airwaves, and I happen to live in an area where there are plenty of
stations broadcasting digitally.

So, I'm trying to find out what I'd need to pick up digital broadcasts
with as little trouble and expense as possible. Since I don't want to
purchase a new TV (unless absolutely necessary), I imagine I'd need some
kind of set top box, but heck if I can find one on the web, and I know
very little about this.

What equipment would I need, and where can I get it cheaply? :-)

Thanks,
Dave
16 answers Last reply
More about newbie airwaves
  1. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    On Mon, 08 Nov 2004 23:42:37 -0600, Dave N
    <daven@mailinator.com> posted:

    >So, I'm trying to find out what I'd need to pick up digital broadcasts
    >with as little trouble and expense as possible. Since I don't want to
    >purchase a new TV (unless absolutely necessary), I imagine I'd need some
    >kind of set top box, but heck if I can find one on the web, and I know
    >very little about this.

    <http://www.hdtvpub.com/searchprodsbasic.cfm/cat_decoder/>

    Over the air Digital TV in the USA (includes SDTV, EDTV and
    HDTV) is always ATSC format.

    Cable and satellite systems may or may not use ATSC format
    Digital TV.

    Kirk Bayne
    alt.video.digital-tv Home Page
    <http://www.geocities.com/lislislislis/avdtv.htm>
  2. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    Dave N wrote:
    >
    > Hi folks,
    >
    > I'll admit it up front: I am a stubborn guy with a 15-yr old Panasonic
    > TV, picking up reception from a roof-mounted antenna. I have no
    > interest in getting cable or satellite, and no plans to get an HDTV.
    > But, I recently read that I can probably pick up digital signals from
    > the airwaves, and I happen to live in an area where there are plenty of
    > stations broadcasting digitally.
    >
    > So, I'm trying to find out what I'd need to pick up digital broadcasts
    > with as little trouble and expense as possible. Since I don't want to
    > purchase a new TV (unless absolutely necessary), I imagine I'd need some
    > kind of set top box, but heck if I can find one on the web, and I know
    > very little about this.
    >
    > What equipment would I need, and where can I get it cheaply? :-)
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Dave


    Dave:

    It should work IF you have a S-Video video in on the back of your

    older TV set....

    You need: Walmart $198 Digital set Top Box with S-Video Out
    or for a poorer Picture, Composite Out

    S-Video Cable of 6 ft or so...
    (Your older Analog TV set must have S-Video port In)

    A pair of Red & White Audio Cables

    What type of Roof Antenna do you have? UHF
    preferred...
    A UHF or Combo antenna as most Digital/HD programs
    are on UHF channels 14 thru 59
    A channel master 3021 ($25) 4 bay bow tie covers
    channels 6 thru 59, VHF (6-13 OK), UHF (14-59
    superb reception) use indoors requires no metal
    siding!

    Use of RG-6 dual shielded antenna Cable, not RG-59...

    To get local available Dig/HD channels in your area....

    go to http://www.antennaweb.org And Enter your

    5 or 9 Digit Zip Code....

    Last Column is the Digital Channel Number...

    Note Distance & Direction to Dig/HD Tower location.

    0 Deg is Due North... 90 Deg is due East...

    IF directions are all over the map (bad), Rotor needed?
  3. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    Dave N <daven@mailinator.com> wrote:

    >... I'm trying to find out what I'd need to pick up digital
    > broadcasts with as little trouble and expense as possible.

    1. Go to your local Walmart or http://www.walmart.com
    2. Buy the US Digital (USDTV) tuner for over the air broadcasts
    (cost: ~200 bucks).
    3. Connect it to your existing antenna and existing TV.
    4. Scan for local digital channels.
    5. Enjoy.
  4. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    "Dave N" <daven@mailinator.com> wrote in message
    news:Xns959BDCD8CC0B3davenmailinatorcom@216.196.97.142...
    > Hi folks,
    >
    > I'll admit it up front: I am a stubborn guy with a 15-yr old Panasonic
    > TV, picking up reception from a roof-mounted antenna. I have no
    > interest in getting cable or satellite, and no plans to get an HDTV.
    > But, I recently read that I can probably pick up digital signals from
    > the airwaves, and I happen to live in an area where there are plenty of
    > stations broadcasting digitally.
    >
    > So, I'm trying to find out what I'd need to pick up digital broadcasts
    > with as little trouble and expense as possible. Since I don't want to
    > purchase a new TV (unless absolutely necessary), I imagine I'd need some
    > kind of set top box, but heck if I can find one on the web, and I know
    > very little about this.
    >
    > What equipment would I need, and where can I get it cheaply? :-)

    Welcome, newbie.

    Besides the one for sale at Wal-Mart, Samsung has marketed several set top
    boxes
    that do Antenna-IN and Video OUT, which should serve your needs. (You can
    run the video into a VCR channel modulator if your TV is only RF-in.) It
    happens
    to be a Samsung that I bought earlier this year for under $250 at a
    "Tweeter"
    store in Southern CA.

    Do a Google search for:

    ATSC "set top box" Samsung

    and that should find things.Of course, if you drop the Samsung, you'll get
    everybody's
    products. "ATSC" is the key. It stands for Advanced Television System
    Committee,
    the group that developed the present US digital broadcast system. Expect to
    need a
    good antenna for consistent reception. The fifth generation chips, shown
    earlier this
    year in prototype gear, do a much better job with multipath reception, but
    they're
    not on store shelves, yet.

    http://www.atsc.org/faq/faq_general.html

    Here's a clip from an ebay page:

    Samsung SIR-T151 HDTV Receiver with Dolby Digital DTV Decoder by SAMSUNG
    (Rate it)

    Samsung SIR-T165 HDTV Terrestrial Receiver by SAMSUNG (Rate it) $479.99

    Sylvania 6900DTD High-Definition Terrestrial Set-Top Box/DTV Receiver by
    Sylvania (Rate it)

    Motorola High-Definition Off-Air Receiver (HDT101) by Motorola (Rate it)
    $285.99

    (Dunno why two of them have prices and two don't; the 151 is the one I got.)

    Get one. Get *something*. It's worth it.
  5. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    Sal M. Onella wrote:


    > Samsung SIR-T151 HDTV Receiver with Dolby Digital DTV Decoder by SAMSUNG
    > (Rate it)
    >

    >
    > Motorola High-Definition Off-Air Receiver (HDT101) by Motorola (Rate it)
    > $285.99
    >


    I won one each of these. The Motorola has better RF performance.
    The Samsung has a better user interface, but beware that certain
    stations can lock up older ones requiring a firmware
    download from Samsung. Don't buy a Samsung unless you can
    return it for credit if it locks up the first try.

    Doug McDonald
  6. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    "Dave N" <daven@mailinator.com> wrote in message
    news:Xns959BDCD8CC0B3davenmailinatorcom@216.196.97.142...
    > Hi folks,
    >
    > I'll admit it up front: I am a stubborn guy with a 15-yr old Panasonic
    > TV, picking up reception from a roof-mounted antenna. I have no
    > interest in getting cable or satellite, and no plans to get an HDTV.
    > But, I recently read that I can probably pick up digital signals from
    > the airwaves, and I happen to live in an area where there are plenty of
    > stations broadcasting digitally.
    >
    > So, I'm trying to find out what I'd need to pick up digital broadcasts
    > with as little trouble and expense as possible. Since I don't want to
    > purchase a new TV (unless absolutely necessary), I imagine I'd need some
    > kind of set top box, but heck if I can find one on the web, and I know
    > very little about this.
    >
    > What equipment would I need, and where can I get it cheaply? :-)
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Dave

    Go to a store and look at the output of one of these receivers on a standard
    tv before purchase. I highly doubt that the benefit would be worth it. DTV
    in a resolution a tv can display might be better but not enough for the
    money. If you have a monitor that can display 1024X768 or greater and have
    a1GHZ or greater CPU a better solution might be an HDTV card for your
    computer.
  7. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    "T Shadow" <knone@zilch.com.invalid> wrote:

    > ... Go to a store and look at the output of one of these receivers on
    > a standard tv before purchase. I highly doubt that the benefit
    > would be worth it.

    Even on an analog set, the PQ improvement is worth it if OTA ghosts are
    a problem on some channels. Speaking from experience, the USDTV
    (walmart) tuner works quite well in such areas. And a newer model will
    be available soon that works even better in such areas.

    With digital, you also get extra channels often not available on
    analog. 24/7 local news & traffic, local weather radar, ABC NewsNow,
    PBS sub channels,to name a few....

    An advantage to the cheap walmart tuner: If you buy one and don't like
    the results, just return it for a full refund. All you're out is a
    couple of trips to a bigbox store.
  8. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    <not@127.0.0.1> wrote in message news:Xns959E686775B63not@151.164.30.44...
    > "T Shadow" <knone@zilch.com.invalid> wrote:
    >
    > > ... Go to a store and look at the output of one of these receivers on
    > > a standard tv before purchase. I highly doubt that the benefit
    > > would be worth it.
    >
    > Even on an analog set, the PQ improvement is worth it if OTA ghosts are
    > a problem on some channels. Speaking from experience, the USDTV
    > (walmart) tuner works quite well in such areas. And a newer model will
    > be available soon that works even better in such areas.
    >

    Guess I should have added YMMV. He didn't say he had a PQ issue. Some are
    having problems with DTV too. Especially those that are really close to the
    Xmitters. Lack of tuner selectivity and/or multipath I guess.

    > With digital, you also get extra channels often not available on
    > analog. 24/7 local news & traffic, local weather radar, ABC NewsNow,
    > PBS sub channels,to name a few....
    >
    Forgot about this. I'm only getting 3 extra stations on PBS that are SD(1
    that I actually watch). Fox is only showing one channel at a time so unless
    the converter could change it to SD when they are Xmitting HD it would be
    unviewable. The show description and next show description would be a bonus
    too if the staions actually used it.

    > An advantage to the cheap walmart tuner: If you buy one and don't like
    > the results, just return it for a full refund. All you're out is a
    > couple of trips to a bigbox store.

    Haven't shopped for one of these. Was going by this post:

    >>> You need: Walmart $198 Digital set Top Box with S-Video Out

    ATI HDTV Wonder can be had for about $160. You can actually see a sharp HD
    quality picture and have PVR too. I have an ATI HDTV Wonder and wouldn't
    even consider a converter but then I'm a techie and getting the software to
    work was abit of a pain. Its not for everyone just wanted to point out
    another option.
  9. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    Honestly, Dave, you will see no difference in the quality of your
    television, unless you experience quite a bit of ghosting or snow.
    With Digital reception, you will notice that they will be elimated
    completely.

    I have a seven year old Sony 52" in our living room. We just
    purchased a 26" LCD HDTV monitor for the bedroom along with an
    over-the-air (OTA) set-top-box (STB). Wonderful picture on the new
    HDTV monitor using a DVI connection from the LG LST3510 receiver to
    the monitor. (The picture is in the "WOW, WOW, WOW. How could I ever
    have watched TV in any other way?") However, moving the receiver to
    the older Sony and using the component (RBG) video input that it has,
    no difference in quality of picture could be noticed over what we
    receive with basic cable. The picture was of the "So what's the
    difference?" Same antenna, same receiver, only difference was the
    television. The older analog 4:3 NTSB sets that display 480i will
    show only what it's capable of, even with component hookups. The only
    thing was, no ghosts. I'm not going to spend the money to buy an OTA
    STB for digital for that television.

    I spent all day last Saturday moving tv's around, thinking about
    putting the new 26" in the living room, and selling the 52". We've
    decided that we need the larger picture in the living room. The LCD
    is back in the bedroom, and the living room is waiting until we can
    afford the much larger price tag of a 46"+ HDTV. (I caught my wife
    daydreaming yesterday about what one hanging on the wall would look
    like, so it might not be too far off in the future.)

    For the past 20 years that I've lived in this house, we've used an
    antenna. Last March we got cable. Even the cable on the basic analog
    service has some ghosts, while the digital tier does not. It (cable)
    is a better picture than with the NTSB OTA tuner, and we get a larger
    choice of what to watch.

    However, one item to keep back for future reference. As soon as Jan
    1, 2006 (this date could be pushed back) the FCC has mandated that all
    analog broadcasting stop and be replaced with digital. In order to
    continue receiving your television with an antenna over the air you
    will be required to purchase said box, or a new TV with a digital
    tuner.

    Hope this helped.
    Russ


    "Dave N" <daven@mailinator.com> wrote in message
    news:Xns959BDCD8CC0B3davenmailinatorcom@216.196.97.142...
    : Hi folks,
    :
    : I'll admit it up front: I am a stubborn guy with a 15-yr old
    Panasonic
    : TV, picking up reception from a roof-mounted antenna. I have no
    : interest in getting cable or satellite, and no plans to get an HDTV.
    : But, I recently read that I can probably pick up digital signals
    from
    : the airwaves, and I happen to live in an area where there are plenty
    of
    : stations broadcasting digitally.
    :
    : So, I'm trying to find out what I'd need to pick up digital
    broadcasts
    : with as little trouble and expense as possible. Since I don't want
    to
    : purchase a new TV (unless absolutely necessary), I imagine I'd need
    some
    : kind of set top box, but heck if I can find one on the web, and I
    know
    : very little about this.
    :
    : What equipment would I need, and where can I get it cheaply? :-)
    :
    : Thanks,
    : Dave
    :
  10. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    "kw5kw" <qwerty.kw5kw@swbell.net.qwerty> wrote:

    > ... As soon as
    > Jan 1, 2006 (this date could be pushed back) the FCC has mandated
    > that all analog broadcasting stop and be replaced with digital.

    This is not true and never has been. The original date was at the
    *end* of 2006, and was never a hard cutoff date. Latest date is
    sometime ~2009 or later.....
  11. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    "Sal M. Onella" <salmonella@food.poisoning.org> wrote in message
    news:D6hkd.246648$a85.137726@fed1read04...
    >
    > "Dave N" <daven@mailinator.com> wrote in message
    > news:Xns959BDCD8CC0B3davenmailinatorcom@216.196.97.142...
    > > Hi folks,
    > >
    > > I'll admit it up front: I am a stubborn guy with a 15-yr old Panasonic
    > > TV, picking up reception from a roof-mounted antenna. I have no
    > > interest in getting cable or satellite, and no plans to get an HDTV.
    > > But, I recently read that I can probably pick up digital signals from
    > > the airwaves, and I happen to live in an area where there are plenty of
    > > stations broadcasting digitally.
    > >
    > > So, I'm trying to find out what I'd need to pick up digital broadcasts
    > > with as little trouble and expense as possible. Since I don't want to
    > > purchase a new TV (unless absolutely necessary), I imagine I'd need some
    > > kind of set top box, but heck if I can find one on the web, and I know
    > > very little about this.
    > >
    > > What equipment would I need, and where can I get it cheaply? :-)
    >
    > Welcome, newbie.
    >
    > Besides the one for sale at Wal-Mart, Samsung has marketed several set top
    > boxes
    > that do Antenna-IN and Video OUT, which should serve your needs. (You can
    > run the video into a VCR channel modulator if your TV is only RF-in.) It
    > happens
    > to be a Samsung that I bought earlier this year for under $250 at a
    > "Tweeter"
    > store in Southern CA.
    >
    I bought a Samsung SIR-T451 set top box from Crutchfield, a mail-order
    electronics dealer in Charlottesville, VA. Although it does not receive
    analog NTSC signals, it works well, even with a 15 year old analog TV. I too
    am taking baby steps into the digital world. You don't need S video
    connections (although they do produce better results).
  12. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    >I bought a Samsung SIR-T451 set top box from Crutchfield, a mail-order
    >electronics dealer in Charlottesville, VA. Although it does not receive
    >analog NTSC signals, it works well, even with a 15 year old analog TV. I too
    >am taking baby steps into the digital world. You don't need S video
    >connections (although they do produce better results).

    So what kind of connection DO you have between the SIR-T451 and
    your TV? A/V cables (three RCA plugs colored red, white, and
    yellow)? (one step down from S/Video, but probably not too bad).
    I don't think the TV I replaced the current one with HAD that type
    of input, though. It might have been about 15 years old.

    RF coax? (tune your TV to channel 3 or 4)? (Ick! You probably
    lose a lot of quality this way).

    Gordon L. Burditt
  13. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    Gordon Burditt wrote:
    >
    > >I bought a Samsung SIR-T451 set top box from Crutchfield, a mail-order
    > >electronics dealer in Charlottesville, VA. Although it does not receive
    > >analog NTSC signals, it works well, even with a 15 year old analog TV. I too
    > >am taking baby steps into the digital world. You don't need S video
    > >connections (although they do produce better results).
    >
    > So what kind of connection DO you have between the SIR-T451 and
    > your TV? A/V cables (three RCA plugs colored red, white, and
    > yellow)? (one step down from S/Video, but probably not too bad).
    > I don't think the TV I replaced the current one with HAD that type
    > of input, though. It might have been about 15 years old.
    >
    > RF coax? (tune your TV to channel 3 or 4)? (Ick! You probably
    > lose a lot of quality this way).
    >
    > Gordon L. Burditt


    Cable style & OTA Box / TV Interface connections:

    Best:
    HDMI Digital Video and audio Can be HD 1080i or 720p
    DVI Digital Video only Can be HD 1080i or 720p
    Component Analog Video only Can be HD 1080i or 720p
    S-Video Analog Video only Is 480i SD
    Composite Analog Video only Is 480i SD RF Coax
    Worst
  14. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    "Gordon Burditt" <gordonb.wfdv2@burditt.org> wrote in message
    news:cn37hf$2aa@library2.airnews.net...


    > So what kind of connection DO you have between the SIR-T451 and
    > your TV? A/V cables (three RCA plugs colored red, white, and
    > yellow)? (one step down from S/Video, but probably not too bad).
    > I don't think the TV I replaced the current one with HAD that type
    > of input, though. It might have been about 15 years old.
    >
    > RF coax? (tune your TV to channel 3 or 4)? (Ick! You probably
    > lose a lot of quality this way).

    I have absolutely the worst possible connection on mine, but since I'm
    just playing with it on my garage workbench, who cares?

    I have the composite video out of the STB going to the video input of a
    VCR and the RF coax (Ick! Yes, Ick!) to the TV RF input. The TV is
    a 1980's junker (whose CATV tuner only reaches Ch 36) but the
    pictures are still simply terrific.

    My old junk TV doesn't have any other inputs and *STILL* the picture is
    better than analog delivery. I did bring my STB into the house once and
    connect it to the S-Video input of my 35-inch Sony (CRT) TV. I guess
    I'm spoiled by a good cable company because I didn't really notice any
    difference with S-video. Maybe I should play with the sharpness control
    and see if I can get a little more picture detail from the S-video.
  15. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    "Gordon Burditt" <gordonb.wfdv2@burditt.org> wrote in message
    news:cn37hf$2aa@library2.airnews.net...
    > >I bought a Samsung SIR-T451 set top box from Crutchfield, a mail-order
    > >electronics dealer in Charlottesville, VA. Although it does not receive
    > >analog NTSC signals, it works well, even with a 15 year old analog TV. I
    too
    > >am taking baby steps into the digital world. You don't need S video
    > >connections (although they do produce better results).
    >
    > So what kind of connection DO you have between the SIR-T451 and
    > your TV? A/V cables (three RCA plugs colored red, white, and
    > yellow)? (one step down from S/Video, but probably not too bad).
    > I don't think the TV I replaced the current one with HAD that type
    > of input, though. It might have been about 15 years old.
    >
    I have the A/V cables with the RCA connectors.

    > RF coax? (tune your TV to channel 3 or 4)? (Ick! You probably
    > lose a lot of quality this way).
    >
    I tried RF coax on another TV set. Not the way to go, unless there is no
    other option.
  16. Archived from groups: alt.video.digital-tv (More info?)

    gordonb.wfdv2@burditt.org (Gordon Burditt) wrote:


    > RF coax? (tune your TV to channel 3 or 4)? (Ick! You probably
    > lose a lot of quality this way).

    I agree with "ick", but OTA DTV, even on ch 3/4 RF out beats snowy,
    ghosty, blurry NTSC any day. Not sure if it beats a good clean cable
    feed, but that's a rarity in many places. And the OP doesn't have
    or want cable - just OTA.
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