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OT - How to improve TV reception without cable


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How? No cable in this house. The British Open is on and our ABC reception is almost unwatchable. We have a dogear antennae thingy. Is there anything you can do or something cheap you can buy that helps a lot?

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An outdoor or attic antenna works best in most situations. If that isn't possible, a better, newer set-top antenna. It still comes down to getting the most metal in the air. Signal amplifiers can help somewhat but if they don't have a decent signal to amplify, then they amplify noise.
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An outside antenna is about the only thing you can do. The higher up it is the better. I have one in my attic, but the reception still isn't that great. If you want to go all out, get a motorized antenna. This lets you reposition (rotate) the antenna to get the best reception for each channel.
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PBBPaul's exactly right. Metal in the air. I am repeating this not because he didn't say it right, but because people unable to get a picture cling desperately to a fond hope that by looking cross-eyed at a kid at Best Buy and saying earnestly "You are telling me that I can get a picture with this right - because I'm gonna bring this POS back if it doesn't work." (sorry, I think I'm having a flashback...)

 

I'll save you the time. They don't work.

 

How far are you from the transmitter? If you don't know you can go right here to antennaweb.org

 

Every 10 miles from the transmitter means you are less likely to receive a decent signal because of the curvature of the earth.

 

The curvature of the earth, think of it, that's bigger than both of us. You can\'t fight that.

 

If you have an outside antenna and the rods are drooping one way and another - they won't work.

 

If you want to have an antenna installed, find the oldest guy who is willing to go up on a ladder to do it. It is kind of a black art, In the next few years with the rise of local HDTV broadcast you will probably find more trained installers. The good news is that if you get at least 42% of a digital signal you can get a lovely HDTV picture. Golf looks great in HD.

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Heck, we HAVE a Radio Shack amplifier thingie. Rabbit ears and some kind of magic circle thing. I noticed a red light on front but it wasn't on. Looked in the back, there is a power jack but nothing there. I called RS and they said yep, supposed to be a power supply going there. So, no amplifying going on. I found one and plugged it in. It improved one station but the one I want (for the British Open), it sucks, totally not viewable. Man, I want my British Open in the morning. I wonder where I could go watch it on a Sunday morning.

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I'm afraid I'm pretty much in the there-ain't-much-you-can-do-about-it contingent. A proper antenna, properly trimmed (tuned) is best. Hardcore types (like my ol' man back in the day) mount their antenna on a morotrized pivot. (When we moved we put it in the attic to comply with the neighborhood charter. If you worked the directional thing you could usually get a pretty good pic, but there were a lot of hills and ghosts were unavoidable.

 

BTW... if you have a choice on any of your devices between going between two video units via RCA cable or via S-VHS -- try the S-VHS for sure.

 

After many months of having mediocre satisfaction with the cable company's conversion to digital cable, I switched out the RCA video cable for S-VHS and wow! What really surprised me was "jpeggng" which had been really distracting before (any shiny forehead developed a white "Gorbachev" mark) almost completely disappeared.

 

And, as more cable channels switch to HD, the picture on my 10 year old 27" Panasonic looks pretty darn good. Better than from my 5 year old DVD player. The remastered MASH reruns look amazing (on... er, one of them cable channels that just switched, I'm thinking FX, since Fox owns the MASH properties).

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