Using an amplified digital TV antenna

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Our cable provider will be cutting the analog feed in August.  Not wanting to pay extra for the converter boxes I must rent from them, I'm looking at alternatives.  Back when we moved into this house (26 years ago), analog antenna didn't work well with the small mountains that pretty much surround us.  I have no direct line of site to any of the antenna towers.  Now with digital over air I was hoping to do better, but using an indoor antenna I got no channels.  Before I head up to the roof and experiment, I need to know the best way to use the amp that came with the antenna.  The antenna has a 20ft. coax cable attached to it, then you're suppose to connect the amp downstream of that 20ft.  Then you have an 8" cable that connects to the TV.  The roof is 30ft. or so a the peak, so I will need to add more cable to reach a TV.  Should I place the amp between the 20ft. cable and the new cable?  Or it doesn't really matter so connect to 2 cables together and add the amp and the TV end?

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When you figure it out, let me know.  I've got an external antenna for which I purchased an amplifier.  It is meant to attach directly to the antenna.  There is a power supply, and a power injector.  It goes:

                   outside   ||   inside

Antenna => preamp => cable ==||=> injector/psu => cable => tuner

 

Without the amplifier, I get 14 channels.  With the amplifier (powered or unpowered), I get zero channels.

 

It was a pretty cheap unit, but negative 14 channels is disappointing.

 

I haven't bothered to try any 'better' units.

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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Well as far as I am concerned there is no such thing as a digital antenna. An antenna is an antenna irrespective of the rf content... but leaving that aside... I would put the amplifier as close to the antenna as practical. There is little point in further amplifying any noise picked up by your long feedin cables between the antenna and the amp. But of course, don't blame me if you fall off your roof. devil

 

Best of luck.

Ross McKenzie, Melbourne Australia

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As Ross suggests, there is no such thing as a digital antennal They maybe be marketed with that name, but they are no different.

 

Digital TV signals are quite different from analog. In each video channel, there are literally hundreds of digital channels, It is much like the difference between single-bit serial (SPI) vs 128bit parallel. By and large, you will not be able to get a digital signal from a station that was noisy when it was analog. The one gotcha, here, is that many stations outright replaced their transmitters during the change-over and some of the signals got better. Digital TV sets seem to be a bit more sensitive, also.

 

Part of the challenge is that cable video is also digital but it a very different format than over-the air. You require a converter box to change cable video into digital video that a set will accept. 

 

You CAN build your own TV antenna. The Hoverman antenna (see Google) is among the best for weak signal reception. Other than that, your existing attic or rooftop antenna should be good for digital. That is what we use.

 

Jim

 

Until Black Lives Matter, we do not have "All Lives Matter"!

 

 

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I don't want to go dig out my old ARRL handbook...

 

BUT, the point is this, EVERY connection between the antenna and the connector on the TV costs you significant signal energy, i.e. it attenuates the signal.

 

So, just splicing in an additional length of lead in cable is very costly, signal energy wise, especially if it is really a female to female dongle, which is essentially two connectors in one.

 

As a general rule you would like the amp right at the antenna, but then it has to be weather proof or it won't last long.  Humidity will rapidly destroy it.

The sooner in the system you have the amp, before the connectors, the better the signal you have to amplify.

If you have several connectors in front of the amp you end up with a classic garbage in - garbage out (only amplified!) situation.

 

I would look closely at the connectors on the various cables and purchase a new lead in wire that is long enough to go from the antenna to the TV, and then put the amp with the TV, assuming it isn't designed for outdoor use.  I would use an antenna entry, (pipe), through the house wall, or just feed it though the window for testing purposes.

 

You will probably need to break the lead in wire for the addition of a lightning arrestor on the outside of your house, with a short, straight, large gauge wire to a grounding rod.  This also, unfortunately, may attenuate your lead in signal energy, depending upon the model.

 

How many TV's do you have?

Don't use your old "analog" cable splitter, if you are feeding the signal to two TV's.

The old "analog" models had an upper bandwidth of about 650 MHz or so, IIRC.

You need to go to Lowe's, etc., and purchase a new splitter with a 1.x GHz bandwidth.

 

The splitter needs to go after the amp, BTW.  They introduce their own signal attenuation, and as mentioned above you want as strong a signal as possible feeding into the amp.

 

Lastly, there use to be a basic cable option for most / many / all (?) cable serviced areas.

It usually isn't advertised, as it is a money loser, so to speak.

It provides just the basic channels.

You may have to call the agency in your State that regulates the cable carriers to find out about this option.

Back in the day I believe its availability was tied into the cable companies monopoly rights for a given jurisdiction.

 

Somewhat related, how do you get your internet service?

 

JC

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dksmall wrote:
I have no direct line of site to any of the antenna towers.  Now with digital over air I was hoping to do better, but using an indoor antenna I got no channels.
The SNR is better though will still need some LoS and maybe some gain (primary from the antenna, secondary from a LNA).

dksmall wrote:
The roof is 30ft. or so a the peak, ...
The FCC antenna data states 30 feet AGL.

http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/dtvmaps/

from

https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/antennas-and-digital-television

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Surely it is easier to mount a satellite dish at a comfortable access height rather than climb onto the roof for a terrestial antenna.
When I moved to Suffolk the terrestial digital signal was cr@p. Satellite always works unless there is snow cover or physical obstruction in the path.
.
Ok, you either pay for an initial subscription or you have to buy the receiver and dish.
.
There are many free to air channels. I pay a modest subscription. I presume that anyone who has cable gets nothing for free.
.
AFIK dishes have amplifier/receiver on each transponder at the actual dish. Use a fresh coax per transponder and TV. Joints or splitters are bad news.
.
David.

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Silly question but what ADSL bit rate do you get? I've reached the stage where perhaps 40% of the "TV" I now watch comes down my telephone cable. It won't be long before the exceeds 50%

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Cliff,

 

Do you have cable in Finchingfield?   Or just regular ADSL via your copper phone line?

In theory,  Wormshill gets "fast ADSL" later this year.

 

I have never even thought of watching TV via ADSL.   I would just assume it requires fibre to my door.

Whatever you do,  you have to pay for it one way or another.

 

David.

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I object to paying for dross.

 

Ross McKenzie, Melbourne Australia

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David, 

 

Our village is about 2.5 miles from the local exchange in Bardfield and I believe some of the intervening cable is the dreaded aluminium but over several upgrades we've now reached the point where it delivers over 6Mbps which is more than enough to stream an HD TV broadcast. 

 

At first the only streamed TV we watched was just Netflix (entire series of Breaking Bad, House of Cards, etc). Then more recently we also get Amazon Prime for lots of recent movies. But the main change is two part: (a) almost every UK broadcaster now offers an "Internet catch up" service and (b)  we recently got a Sony Android TV that includes "Youview" which amalgamtes access to all those catch up services so you can basically pick any programme on any channel that was broadcast in the last 7 days and just stream it immediately. 

 

As far as I can see this is where TV is headed (years ago it's why Microsoft bought MSNBC) but it does rely on you having something like 2Mbps for SD and about 4-5Mbps to get HD TV. 

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I object to paying for dross.

 

That is no problem.   Choose what you want to pay for.

 

I do not object to paying for my BBC licence.    I do not object to paying for a phone line.   Electricity, Water, ...

 

I pay for some "basic" satellite channels.    If I did not want to,  I would cancel the subscription.

There are still several free to air channels.

 

When the internet first started,   you paid large bills for dial-up or massive bills for a dedicated line.

Nothing is free.   It has just changed in speed, service, value.

 

Personally,   I value the Radio and TV programs made by the BBC.    Someone has to pay for them whether it is advertising, licence or subscription.

 

David.

Last Edited: Sat. Apr 16, 2016 - 10:26 AM
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Cliff,

 

They replaced my Sky box with the HD box last year.    I don't have an HD TV so I can't see much advantage.

 

I think you can "stream" things but I have never tried it.    I don't think I have ever done a film or series.

Does it really matter what is "on" the TV when you fall asleep on the sofa?

 

I just did a Broadband Speed Test.  4.79Mb/s.    The next village has 20Mb/s.    I will not hold my breath for any "fast" service.  Just wait and see what happens.

 

David.

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Your rate should be fine. Can't believe there are still people without HD! I also get Sky (used to work for them like Mike Grange ;-) and their "streaming" works by first downloading to the HDD in the Sky box then,  when it's buffered enough it plays from there - so it should actually cope with any ADSL rate. It also allows access to all the broadcaster's catch up services so it's not just about streaming movies. 

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Well,  my 15 year old TV still works fine.   So I can't see much point in replacing it.

 

The previous one lasted about 20 years.

 

I listen to Radio programs on a Tablet via the Player sometimes.

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Back on the subject of the thread. In the past I've used DVB-T transmissions here. The aerial on the roof points to the Crystal Palace transmitter that is 80 miles (in a straight line) from where I live. While Palace is one of the most powerful transmitters in the UK the signal is not strong here so just as the signal comes into the loft I have a 4 way distribution amplifier. This works for the aerial points in a couple of the rooms but I wanted a TV in the bathroom and there was no easy way to run a cable so I ended up using an aerial point in the far corner of a bedroom that was itself some way from the distribution amplifier and then I ran another 25ft of attenuating cable back from there to the bathroom. The DVB-T receiver could "see" the six muxes used in the UK but the BER was so bad the picture just froze or was full of MPEG artefacts. So I simply got one of these:

 

http://www.superlecdirect.com/p-...

 

and it was enough to pull in just enough of an additional signal to make it work. 

 

On the whole I don't bother with DVB-T any more as I either use DVB-S2 or TCP/IP.

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I have no idea what ADSL bitrate I would get. 

No point in switching over to a dish system, rates are similar.

Technically our HOA prevents to use of roof mounted aerials, but half the house have dishes, so what's the difference?  But these newer antennas don't look like the old UHF/VHF multipole antennas, so if I go roof mount I'll just stick to one of the AC units and only a few would know what it is.

 

Looks like my assumptions about amp placement are correct, close to the antenna the better.  Interesting comment about no amp working better.  I might try that was well just for giggles.

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Interesting comment about no amp working better.

I'm hoping it's just a duff amplifier.  Cost me only $12 at a shop.  This:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=digiwave+ant-1005&tbm=isch

 

There are other, 'respected' units.  I was thinking of something from Winegard:

http://www.winegard.com/amplifiers/amplifiers-tech-specs

Probably the Boost XT.

 

I would like to know if anyone has experience with Winegard or other makes before I shell out $100 or more (after exchange/customs/shipping)...

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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clawson wrote:
The aerial on the roof points to the Crystal Palace transmitter that is 80 miles (in a straight line) from where I live.

Being surprised you get any signal at 80 miles distance, I used your "freaks location" and estimated your postcode as CM7 4NN and typed that into the UK digital TV reception predictor at http://www.wolfbane.net/cgi-bin/tvd.exe

Here is the pertinent info: (The table wouldn't paste into the topic correctly so a screenshot will have to do)

 

 

I see it's not 80 miles but 44. The antenna notes say: 'Where an "amplified extra hi-gain" system is suggested, the minimum would probably be a good multi-director Yagi array with a low-noise masthead amplifier.'

The field strength is marked with an asterisk which indicates strong multi-path reception effects.

All this points to your location being a particularly difficult reception area.

The topographical chart shows no direct line-of-sight - probably why your signal is so weak:

 

 

Although the channel frequencies are much higher and may not suit your antenna, perhaps swinging it round to the Sudbury transmitter could provide a stronger signal.

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david.prentice wrote:
I presume that anyone who has cable gets nothing for free.
In the US depends on the community and/or the ISP.

Some cities have zero price / low cost Wi-Fi; iow the city is like a campus.

Google Fiber has a zero monthly plan (but pay for the install).

david.prentice wrote:
AFIK dishes have amplifier/receiver on each transponder at the actual dish. Use a fresh coax per transponder and TV.
From some 10 y/o knowledge on US DBS, it's one cable from the LNAs to the first receiver; subsequent receivers are fed from the first receiver.

US DBS installers are low margin operators therefore pulling one cable has great appeal.

US DBS is heavily compressed so it's mux and demux channels.

US Ka band is coming though there's a stink about it.

UK Virgin has Ka on some Virgin Atlantic planes for CONUS; don't know if Virgin will sell Ka to US on-Earth customers.


https://fiber.google.com/cities/austin/plans/

SpaceNews.com

FCC Chairman issues sharp warning to satellite industry

March 10, 2016

by Peter B. de Selding

http://spacenews.com/fcc-chairman-issues-sharp-warning-to-the-satellite-industry/

... bare-knuckled attack on satellite operators’ refusal to share Ka-band spectrum with future 5G terrestrial mobile providers ...

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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david.prentice wrote:
I have never even thought of watching TV via ADSL.   I would just assume it requires fibre to my door.
In the US ADSL has much greater build-out than fiber.

ADSL physical is re-purposed POTS (one twisted pair).

10 years ago a former coworker raved on the speed and quality of Verizon FIOS (fiber to house, copper in house).

Roughly 5 years ago I was streaming TV via ADSL into a Sony Playstation 3 from Netflix.

Roku players were popular then and appear to be very popular now (better and more numerous models).


Netflix ISP Speed Index for March 2016

11 April 2016

by Anne Marie Squeo

https://media.netflix.com/en/company-blog/netflix-isp-speed-index-for-march-2016

...

... a years-long effort called complexity-based encoding that allowed us to boost streaming performance of TV shows and movies while using less bandwidth.

...

With about 80% of our catalog now re-encoded ...

...

In the US, ...

...

In Germany, ...

...

In Ireland, ...

...

 https://www.roku.com/how-it-works

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Yo Morin.... isn't it a well known fact that there are no over the air signals near locationlocationlocation?

 

Imagecraft compiler user

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I found a website where they were fanatics about the antennas.  I made one of these:

 

 

And mounted it in the attic:

 

 

It works surprisingly well.  I am using an amp right where it comes in and distribute it around the house.

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Malwarebytes alerted on your pictures from http://home.earthlink.net/~alank... saying it's a malicious web site.

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

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It is maliciously geeky all right.  I've got all kinds of stuff on there.  Scope traces.  Pictures of Casio calculator watches.  My SMD dispenser.  Some cool HPDL2416 displays.  Maybe it is the 10mm ammunition I made that they don't like.  Could be that I post some EXE's there sometimes like the programmer application for my autoprogrammer.  It isn't a website at all, just a collection of junk!
 

 

 

http://home.earthlink.net/~alank...