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OT: HDTV antenna/DVR device advice?

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I would like to get an HDTV antenna/DVR device to use with my already existing Roku device, which also has Sling. What are your opinions?


Here's what I came across in the interwebz so far.



$80 AirTV (+$40 dongle; will still require an antenna):



$170 for Tablo Dual, four stars, best seller on Amazon:



-Whole-home networked DVR: Browse, record, and stream free live over-the-air (OTA) HDTV to any device, any time, anywhere - without the expense or commitment of cable or satellite contracts.

-Connect tablo to your Home Network - via WiFi or Ethernet.Cancel cable, keep the DVR: Watch, pause, and record live antenna TV. Browse upcoming shows, schedule and manage recordings by episode or Series. Skip commercials, fast-forward and rewind recordings.

-Dual-band Wi-Fi included: The only OTA DVR with Wi-Fi, -Tablo lets you position the DVR and antenna for the best signal reception. (HDTV antenna required, sold separately)

64GB internal + expandable USB storage: Record up to 40 hours of HDTV, right out of the box. Upgrade recording capacity by adding an external USB hard drive. (USB hard drive sold separately)

-Tablo: the live TV app: Enjoy Tablo apps on iOS & android mobile devices, computers, Smart TVs, streaming media & gaming devices, including Roku, Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, NVIDIA SHIELD, and XBOX





$24 A-Shine antenna (4 1/2 stars on Amazon):



$30 Mohu ReLeaf HDTV Antenna:



-World's first recycled HDTV antenna: Made using plastic from 100% recycled cable set-top boxes to minimize our environmental impact wasting less energy resources and money.

-Free TV For Life: Now tested to reach up to 40 miles ReLeaf can access HD Over-the-Air TV channels without a cable or satellite subscription including ABC CBS NBC PBS Fox Univision and more.

-Multi-directional and Reversible HDTV Antenna: ReLeaf was designed to blend with popular home paint colors. -Place it anywhere no pointing" needed. 10 ft. high performance cable included."

-Enables Access to Free Channels: does not enable access to paid channels such as ESPN/Fox News.

-ReLeaf Designed and Manufactured in the USA with a 1-year warranty.

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I use a Channel Master DVR+. The antenna goes in and the output goes to the HDTV or receiver via HDMI. I bought it a few years ago, so don't know if the terms are the same, but it had a one-time upfront cost, no monthly fees. It accesses TV schedules via WiFi. You can set up recording for, say, all new episodes of a show, etc.
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Wow, they do streaming media now! Mine is just broadcast TV. Works well. Note that mine (and probably this one) has limited recording capability as it (IIRC, this was true for the others I looked at too); it helps to get an added storage device.
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I have a couple of Windows 8.1 Media Center Edition computers used for TV recording. Handles the DVR part nicely (but no longer available, although Windows 7 Pro does have the Media Center part so that should be usable.


However, for the purpose of this thread, just how far are you from the HDTV signals to be picked up? And are they all coming from more or less the same direction? Probably in LA you can get by with indoor antenna. My TV stations are about 30 air miles to 50 air miles away, and from two basic directions about 70 degrees apart. I found the little antennas that are popularly sold for outdoor use to be completely useless. Wound up installing a 10' long Channel Master on the roof with direction half way between the two groups of stations. The antenna was new, but had been stored in warehouse, probably made in the 1970's. For my daughter, we put up a somewhat smaller antenna from Amazon made by Winegard (a long time company in the antenna business).


We also have an older Roku for streaming Netflix, but generally use the Windows 8.1 app for Netflix.



One big difference with digital TV - the signal has a threshold - clean and clear above it, no "snow" on weak signals, just no picture and sound at all.

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I am in the northern part of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley. I don't know the answer to how far we are from the HDTV signals, but I would think we are relatively close.


Someone else (not on this thread) suggested that I look into DirecTV Now or YouTube TV, so I may do that as well.


Thanks. I will be on a trip for the next couple of days, and will have difficulty checking into this thread, but please don't take my slow responses as lack of interest or gratitude.

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I've been using a Channelmaster device for over 8 years. It provides a Tivo-like experience without monthly cost. Also much cheaper than Tivo.


Can record two shows at once and still watch a previously recorded show at the same time. Has commercial skip functionality. Strong tuner section.


Highly recommended.

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Over-the-air reception has become really hit-and-miss since they turned off the analog signals. With analog, at least, even f you didn't get a perfect picture, you could still often get something watchable With digital, either you're somewhere where you can get a great signal, or you don't get it at all. And it's not just a matter of distance.


My girlfriend lived in brooklyn, very close to the transmission sources, got plenty of analog TV with an indoor antenna, but with digital, there were too many reflections/barriers from nearby buildings, and she got almost nothing. I'm probably approaching 50 miles from transmission source, got a good amount of analog TV, can't get digital. Maybe if I try a bigger rooftop antenna, I don't know, but I haven't felt motivated to try. There's little worth watching anyway. ;-)

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Yes, the digital signal is unforgiving. I was able to place an antenna in the attic and get the major networks. Nevertheless, when the wind blows, about half of the channels break up. Signal is still strong, but they're unwatchable. The best I can come up with is that the wind is moving trees or something, creating some kind of multipath interference.
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and sometimes if you are too close and the antenna has too much gain than that can also be a problem, also if the local multiplex frequencies are close to that used by cellular communications then a filter may be necessary.


As for an antenna, any antenna with enough gain for the local signal strength AND designed for the frequencies that are to be received will work.

Directional is best if only receiving one transmitter or if used in multiple in low signal strength areas, plus a directional aerial can help to filter out some of the multipath interference.

Also antenna grouping (for Yagi-Uda antennas) can make a difference esp. if the digital signals are transmitted on a different frequency to the ones that analogue used and the same antenna is being used, Log-Periodic antennas on the other hand are wideband (within their designed frequency range/band) and so paying attention to grouping (apart from making sure they are the correct band (BIII,IV/V)) is not required.


Oner extra thing to be noted about Log-Periodic antennas is that whilst they generally have less gain that an equivalent wideband Yagi-Uda antenna the directional capabilities and off axis rejection is generally superior and so mast head amplification can generally be used to maker up the short fall.

As for digital aerials, there is and never has been such a thing.


In my gran's loft there is an antenna that I would guess is from the 70's, picks up signal from approx. 26mi away (Crewkerne In the UK to Mendip Transmitting Station), she gets 100% signal and quality, the cable is quite old as well.


As for a DVR, HUMAX is genrally the gold standard for FTA in Britain both Satellite (DVB-S) and Terrestrial (DVB-T) so that would be my recommendation assuming they supply an ATSC DVR. Our HUMAX HDR-1000S freesat+ box has been great.

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I had a media computer running in 2006 that had sat, cable and an antenna for digital "air" TV. I never used the latter, so I don't know practically if that's a good option.


I like watching high def sat, which is S2 in Europe, mostly, bearable HD coding mostly, lots of British materials.


Then there's analog cable (and digital, which I seldom use), usable with a digitizer card, ok. Mostly nowadays, stuff went to web browser based cable programs: digitally encoded streams for the analog cable programs.


The disadvantage is there's messing with the encoding/transcoding and stream packaging. The sat is the most pro source, and gets from source to consumer bit-for-bit, probably. A lot of "tools" in between like putting streams on local network (or web) might mess the signal up, though there are programs that simply copy.




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We're considering getting something like YouTube TV, which apparently does have local channels. This might cut down on the hassle factor of setting up a proper antenna, winds interfering with signals, and so forth. Not sure yet, though. Thanks again for the responses.
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Hm, that's an American options, I don't think that works in Europe, but a browser based solution is similar. I'm not a fan of the idea of not being able to control the video post processing, contrast settings, etc., and not even the bandwidth. Also, those cable replacement digitals mess up all the time, just about every possible thing that could go wrong has gone wrong. More or less in order. It's like the control over who pays for video recording services is a major subject for these guys. Image quality is reasonable , HD-ish mostly by now, and there's not active messing with the the frames or the audio outside of generalities, because that's what has happened in the past. So there is that.


A commercial broadcast on the internet paid for by adds shouldn't be an all alien subject, I think. Technically, broadcasting a TV signal over the air without all those individual connections of thousands of mobile devices is referable.



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