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Hope you have an outdoor antennta because
indor models don't work that well (at least for me).
I don't know the Kalamzoo area (except that Gibson made guitars there in the 60's, and now Heritage uses the facilities), but you need a good line-of-sight from your antenna to the HD transmiter antenna. Depending on antenna height and transmitter power, 30-40 miles is about the best you'll be able to do on distance. The HD transmitter is not always co-located with the main station transmitter.
Your local HD TV stations probably have web sites. Check these out and look for high def info. You can also call the engineer at each station descibing your location and asking for recommendations, or send him/her an email.
Google Weingard & Channel Master. They have plenty of good outdoor antennas.
You might try avsforum.com Lot's of experience there. I've been using a Channel Master in my attic for the last few years to pick up the stations in Boston. This has worked pretty well for me except the Fox affiliate which, I believe, happens to be to closest tower to me at about 35 miles. It's either multipath or atmospheric. These over-the-air HD broadcasts are by far the best HD pictures, especially live events, with the exception of HD-Net.
OTA is kind of tricky and sometimes takes abit of luck. I would suggest trying a cheap UHF antenna first to see if you can even get a signal. My experience with Terk antenna's has been terrible. They just never worked for me. YMMV
Have you considered getting your local HD broadcasts via Direct TV? Does away with the need for a seperate antenna.
thanks so far everyone.
I may just end up putting an antenna and rotor up on the roof and trying it.
Dweller I did go to the website you mention and it looks hopeful.
Dan ed my brother has the mother of all UHF antennas in his garage and maybe I will borrow it try that as well.
Agaffer I have a great big tree in the line of connection to the local sattelite and besides I am cheap.
Good luck, Phil. The only problem I see with HD and sattelite is too much compression. The difference in the sat broadcast and the OTA broadcast of the same event is quite noticeable. Unfortunately, compression is here to stay.
I installed my own $19.95 Ratshack antenna. (7 years ago)I live in a pretty good location where all the tv stations are due east..of me,thus negating a rotor.-- Oh, I must be blind, I see no difference in PQ. My sig. strength is 99.--- D* still only has the big 4 ABC, NBC, ABC, and FOX and no PBS-HD. By all means, get your own antenna and get all that free stuff. AND, lets not forget, all all digital recievers aren't created equal. With the same antenna; reception differs.
That's a very good point, avguygeorge. My late Toshiba HD receiver was much better both on sat and OTA PQ. But I have to admit that it is nice to have the recording feature. Would you happen to know if the new D* PVRs are better than the previous Phillips D* PVRs?
I second the outdoor antenna from radio shack. I purchased one from them for about $25 several years ago plus 10 bucks for a 5 foot mast, and hardware to attach it and put it up on my roof. Pulls in all the stations there are and they are about 60 miles away. Looks great on my 106" diagonal screen. As already mentioned if the broadcast antennas are in the same place, you might not need the motor.
Philjoet, definitely get an antenna and put a preamp on it and a roter so you can rotate to fine tune it, I watch almost all my HD OTA, its free and has tons more to offer than satellite or cable.
A standard UHF antenna is all you need for High Def broadcast.
I have a $15 Rat-Shack one that does fine.
The expensive "made for High Def antennas are a marketing rip-off. Way overpriced for the same UHF directional antenna of old, in a fancy plastic box for 10 times the price.
There is some website that actually can tell you the exact direction for all receivable stations from your zip code. I can't remember the site, but it was some sort os antenna site. You get names of stations, direction from your location, and distance. Both in print and a map. Fabulous.
Anyway, just use any good quality UHF directional antenna and you are good to go.
I watch ONLY via over the air on my Sony 42" plasma with HD tuner.
Yes, I have 2 of the cheap, but well regarded Rat Shack double bow-tie antennas. They haven't made them for a few years now and the guy at the local store didn't even know he had them. The in-line stock search pulled them up so off to the store I went. He was more than happy to sell both to me fo $5. I cut off the ribbon wire and soldered a 75 ohm adapter. They work very well, but the wife wanted them out of sight. So I went to channel master in the attic.
I have a cute story regarding my HD antenna, which I have related on another thread. I have a terk 35 antenna that points towards the main major area transmitter and it gets really good reception from my location which is about 15 miles from the transmitter. I got it from a fellow living quite close to me who for all intent and purposes has the same exposure and angle of reception as I, but he could not get any qualaity reception what-so-ever on his system. My picture is fine.
Still, I wanted to watch the Olympics in HD and the only station broadcasting them is located about 40 miles from me and there is a hill just behing my house that is in the way.l I went to Circuit City and bought another HD antenna that is square-looking(I don't remember the model...) which advertised that it could be used in an urban setting with inferior signals. I used a Radioshack inverse splitter(it allows me to combine to feeds into one cable) and I have the Terk antenna pointed at my main antenna and I tried to get the Circuit City antenna to bring in the remote feed, using the combined signal.
I logged into antennaweb and got the precise compass settings and I pointed the new antenna in the right direction, with a modification to compensate for the hill. Nothing.
I laid the antenna on my pitched roof and went inside to get a beer, having decided this was useless. When I got inside, the picture was perfect! It seems that the pitch of my roof matches just what I needed to get the picture, with almost no room for error.
The point(!) being that there is little room for error but luck and a beer helps.
One more observation, I tied my FM tuner into this system and it now gets great reception.
Just a little update...
I bought a Winegard 8200P antenna (one of the top antennas you can buy) on the advice of a local dealer, and put it into my attic first - to see what channels I could receive. I can get all the networks except for CBS which is very much what antennaweb.com told me when I entered my address etc. on their website (FWIW I think the info from antennaweb is spot on and worth a look).
I fine tuned the direction my antenna aimed with a compass and went from no signal to a peak of 40 so I am close to getting CBS. My next step is to buy an amplifier and as a last resort is to mount it on the roof with a rotor.
I think the OTA HD is very much decided on where you are located, I am in a smallish city (120,000 or so) and the nearest transmitter is about 25 or so miles away and is reported to be pointing due north (away from me) at the nearest 'big' city, also Kalamazoo is located in a valley in SW Michigan, this all makes a big difference.
Elizabeth, I agree that any antenna will do to get some channels and do not know your situation but, you do need VHF and UHF to get all of the channels in my area and I am sure throughout the USA this applies as well.
the bottom line is you have to do a little research, antennaweb.com is a good start, and have a little luck with your location to get OTA HD channels.
thanks again everyone
I live in Monroe area, 35 miles south of Detroit and 35 miles North of Toledo.I bought a indoor Amplified Samsung antenna . It is better than the outdoor Rat Shack!. Picks up more stations!
With a switcher, I can get all the Detroit stations from the indoor antenna and all the Toledo stations with the outdoor.
Remember that most HD comes in UHF.
So outdoors get a a quality UHF Antenna.
FWIW - In Kalamazoo CBS and NBC are both VHF and I can not get CBS yet but the UHF are coming in fine