DTV - OTA Questions

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DTV - OTA Questions

Postby Tape Splicer » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:36 pm

I am considering dumping the 1000 channel universe and moving to local only There isn't much on the cable that interests us other than hockey - and with the Rogers/NHL deal I'm guessing the Canucks will be on CityTV most of the time any way.
I'm told by the local electronics shops that I could set up an antenna and tuning box for about $200+/-........
We live on the lower mainland a stones throw from NW's old home. We are facing South-West and are in the "inside elbow" of our apartment building. What I would like to know is would I still be able to receive the local DTV channels without direct line of site to the local mountains?
Comments and opinions would be appreciated.
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Re: DTV - OTA Questions

Postby PMC » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:41 pm

Don't know about the DTV in the lower mainland... Cleaver could give you some idea, as he chatted about it awhile back. There could be ghosting from signal bounce if your apartment has exterior materials to assist the process... that can vary on distance to the tx site.

I question why you want to dump basic cable and internet, or are you planning to keep the internet. DTV can be seen within a browser if the site has it.... Google and the NASA being the best for digital image feeds in my opinion. DTV from the net eats up alot of the monthly allocated download quota etc.

Have you considered getting a digital tv card for inside your computer, and use it to watch tv channels... called a PC TV in some ads. Most computers today will connect to the VGA input and/or the HDMI input, on a big flat screen. Keyboard and mouse can run as infrared for use across the room.
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Re: DTV - OTA Questions

Postby Mike Cleaver » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:11 pm

DTV and FM work best if there is unobstructed line of sight between the transmitting and receiving antennas.
Anything that interrupts that line of site (it can be trees, buildings, whatever) will interfere with the signal, causing loss of signal, pixilization, etc.
However, I have helped in some installations where the signals from the majors on the mountain can successfully be received as reflected signals from a building across the street.
If you can get onto the roof of your building and can see the two main transmitter sites and the landlord allows a small antenna that won't even be seen from the street with a drop to your unit, that should work fine.
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Re: DTV - OTA Questions

Postby Tape Splicer » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:37 pm

PMC, Mike; Thanks for the input... You both have given me something to think about.
The dump from CATV was an idea to shave a few bucks from the entertainment budget. I'd move the phone and internet to telus which we have had once before. (telus tv is not available in our building... something about ports not available... what ever that means). We're presently with Shaw, their phone quality does not stand up to telus. I've not seen any appreciable difference between the broadband service as a user - As for TV we watch very little of what is offered so it would not be a hardship to have only local stations.
PMC, I like the PC TV idea as an option Would this work with a laptop which I'm using now?
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Re: DTV - OTA Questions

Postby PMC » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:03 pm

They have USB models that plug into a lap or desktop...

Have a look http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/ ... ernal.html

The two on the bottom of the list being the better etc.
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Re: DTV - OTA Questions

Postby Tape Splicer » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:12 pm

After re-reading the above comments, I realized that I omitted responding to the exterior access question.
The management of the building would not allow anything set up on the building exterior...even if it is not seen by others .
So if we actually do anything, the indoor variety of antenna is the only way we would go.
We'll continue to give this a big think before we do anything rash.
PMC, those items are worth considering, thanks for the link.
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Re: DTV - OTA Questions

Postby xwdcatvb » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:57 pm

Tape Splicer wrote:After re-reading the above comments, I realized that I omitted responding to the exterior access question.
The management of the building would not allow anything set up on the building exterior...even if it is not seen by others .
So if we actually do anything, the indoor variety of antenna is the only way we would go.
We'll continue to give this a big think before we do anything rash.
PMC, those items are worth considering, thanks for the link.


DTV OTA is not very forgiving if the signal is not solid. It's either "in" or "out". As you talk of someone saying a system could cost ~$200, I take it you don't have an HDTV flatscreen already, otherwise you could test the receiver.

A buddy lives at Fraser and 33rd, second floor facing SE, and has no problem with all the Mt Seymour tx's using an indoor antenna on his balcony in a wood-frame building even with some obstruction. Also gets KVOS/Me-TV and their Shopping Channel from Mt Constitution/Orcas Is.

I find it intriguing that Telus has no capability to feed an apartment building that would seem to be on either (what we knew as) the 43- or 52- exchange offices, though distance from the central office does AFAIK present problems for DSL internet speed.
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Re: DTV - OTA Questions

Postby PMC » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:54 pm

Wanted to add some info on the PC-TV... you have to use the cable system set top box to get the channels. It loses alot of functionality because of how the tuner is void due to the set top box. The provided software only works in Windows. There are some hacks of it working in Linux based machines. If you own an iPad, there is `tv client' software available that will connect to a PC machine that runs the tv card as a server. The iPad software pulls the image over a local network. I haven't tried this software etc. I have used an internal model on a Windows 7 machine. The machine has VGA, HDMI output. Plugged into a flat screen that accepts VGA and HDMI. I connected both, and then used the tv remote to switch between standard tv signal, and the Hauppage device running through VGA and HDMI. Given the choice of one, VGA comes first over HDMI for my viewing. The only real difference is HDMI having the audio lines within the cable.
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Re: DTV - OTA Questions

Postby Tape Splicer » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:35 pm

xwdcatvb wrote:I find it intriguing that Telus has no capability to feed an apartment building that would seem to be on either (what we knew as) the 43- or 52- exchange offices, though distance from the central office does AFAIK present problems for DSL internet speed.


We had telus when we moved into this building on the 3rd floor.... This was the original telus system with the ugly black box tuner, with the digital signal that contently froze.... When telus upgraded to "Optic" we were able to continue with the old system... We moved to another apartment in the same building and were not able to transfer the telusTV to our new suite.... like I noted above, they said there were no ports available to make the move... so we went to (cough) shaw... Our son has telus where he lives and the quality out strips shaw hands down..... imho.
Thanks for the additional info PMC, as I said all those PC devices look interesting... I think number three catches my attention as it has built-in tuners and an antenna the video record option is also an interesting ad on to consider. I received a video capture system for Christmas that I am using to transfer material from VHS to put on DVD.
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Re: DTV - OTA Questions

Postby Mike Cleaver » Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:57 pm

Ports refers to those grey boxes you see in your community. That's where the internet splits off to each residence reside. You'll notice the boxes keep getting bigger with side add ons, new locations, etc.
That's to deal with growing requests for service but they want to be able to fill up an entire box before they'll even consider adding a new one, meaning in a neighbourhood that's already maxed out, you could be waiting awhile.
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Re: DTV - OTA Questions

Postby Tape Splicer » Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:00 pm

Thanks for the info Mike; I've seen a couple of those ground level boxes (that stand about five feet high) in this area. I figured they were for some kind of utility service, but I didn't know which one.
As far as no ports available...when we called telus, the rep gave us a guesstimate of five years before there would be any new ports in this area, that was more than two years ago.... so we wait and consider our options. I am learning things by raising this subject that I didn't know ... thanks.
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Re: DTV - OTA Questions

Postby Tape Splicer » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:40 am

I stopped into the local LD store and checked out what they had for TV on my laptop... the fellow showed me the Hauppauge Win TV -hvr 950Q the price is in the $90 range which is worth considering. This is one of the items in PMC's link as shown here....
http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hvr950q.ht
we'll have to consider what the savings might be as both telus and shaw bundle these things together in such a way that single items cost quite a bit more... the investigation continues... another option would be just stream content from network web sites.
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Re: DTV - OTA Questions

Postby jon » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:53 am

If I understand you correctly, you only want to view local TV stations. Sorry to be the skeptic of the crowd, but if price is your #1 priority, you'll probably find that the cheapest Shaw offering for each of phone, cable TV and Internet, when the discount is added for having all three services, will win. Not sure if that means settling for SD rather than HD, so you can avoid the Shaw digital box, and just run coax to your TV.

As I say, just speaking about Cost. I know that you are in former Rogers territory and some of that infrastructure was not the greatest.
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Re: DTV - OTA Questions

Postby Tape Splicer » Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:40 pm

Jon; I would call you a realist .... The reason for this discussion is figuring a way to NOT give over $130 a month to the big fat cat corps. We only watch two dramas on TV each week plus news and hockey. Hockey we can get on the radio... although "Shortie" has the call we prefer. (CKST and Sportnet). The news and dramas are streamed by the networks or we can pick them up OTA as discussed above... We may after all is said and done stick with what we have... The shaw box/PVR we have is not costing us anything as it came as an ongoing promo. as did the box in the betroom. The channel package we have is basic plus movies (movies are$10 per month)...We'll be talking to shaw and telus to see what they can offer us to have happy campers with their bundled services... who know where this will end up. Jon, I appreciate the "reality checks "
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