Digital TV Blues - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-16-2009, 01:56 PM   #1
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I bought a nice flat-panel LCD TV/DVD Sylvania television in December '06. While I was vaguely aware at the time about the impending switch to digital, I didn't think that this TV would be analog only. I was under the impression at the time that the issue only applied to old TV's that actually looked outdated. Wrong. As soon as the analog signals were shut down last week, I lost all over-the-air reception. I had already gotten an updated antenna, so that wasn't the problem. Sylvania customer service has been unresponsive lately, so I finally was able to research this myself. In the fine print on page 35 of the owner's manual, the specifications state that this is an NTSC system. Further checking on the internet tells me that NTSC means analog and ATSC means digital. I wish I would have known that three years ago! I just can't believe that Sylvania was still making and selling a product they had to know would be obsolete so soon. The good news is that Nancy bought us a VuQube for Christmas and this TV works fine on that with DirecTV. But we still like to tune in local channels at times for weather info, etc. We also used the little TV and antenna in the house for weather updates whenever storms shut down our satellite signal.

So I was just down at BestBuy looking at converter boxes and new digital televisions. My Bigfoot has a pretty confined TV cabinet, so another box is not going to fit in there. I may have to buy a new television and use that Sylvania for target practice.
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:21 PM   #2
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The digital converter boxes work very well. The main problem I have with digital is that you can't get a fuzzy picture- you either get it or you don't (it might break up but it isn't watchable like a fuzzy analog picture.) I am always having to go up on the deck and spin the antenna. On the other hand, the digital pictures are great even without HD.
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:07 PM   #3
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the archiving is unique to digital.

Yes, you will need a converter box, thats the only way to use the tv you have.

FWIW, many folks misuse the term "Digital Antenna".. there is no such thing as a digital antenna. any UHF antenna will pick up and receive digital signals, but the magic that gets em to your screen is the tuner or converter box.

Read HERE if you are thinking of spending lotsa bucks on one.

Nit picky, I know..
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:15 AM   #4
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Not all digital signals are UHF. At least 3 broadcasters moved their digital signals to VHF after the analog shut down in the Phoenix area. This undoubtedly is true in other areas.
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:01 AM   #5
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Gina and Herb: thanks for the further education on antennas. I needed to get a new antenna mainly because the built-in antenna on the Bigfoot has always been very marginal. I just bought a UHF antenna from Wally based on a recommendation from someone on the forum. So now it sounds like I should take it back and get one that receives both UHF and VHF signals? Are the VHF digital broadcasts a temporary thing?
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:36 AM   #6
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I just found some good answers on AntennaWeb to my previous questions. I still don't know what antenna I should get, but I am taking the UHF antenna back. Since I have satellite at home and on the road, I should just stick with that and not spend too much on trying to get a couple of over-the-air stations. As I stated earlier, my biggest concern was the ability to receive timely local severe weather reports. It's ironic that one of the reasons for freeing up the analog frequencies was to increase public safety. But my satellite signals usually cut out in heavy rain, so the antenna was a very good back-up for tornado reports.
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:42 AM   #7
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there is some excellent info in this article

what you may need
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:01 PM   #8
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A response I received from my local Fox station to my email:

<span style="font-size:10pt;line-height:100%">KCPQ and several other stations changed from their transitional DTV channels that were in the UHF band to channels in the VHF band. You don't say what kind of antenna you are using, but in order to receive all of the channels, this means that you now need a combined VHF-UHF antenna...Not just the UHF that worked before (if that is what you have). Additionally, because of the channel changes and power level changes that occurred, you will need to re-scan the channels on your receiver (after you have sorted out any antenna issues you may have) so that the changes are recognized and locked in to your receiver.</span>[/color]

<span style="font-family:Times New Roman"><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%">JAY R. ZACHARIAS</span>

<span style="font-size:10pt;line-height:100%">Assistant Chief Engineer
</span><span style="font-size:10pt;line-height:100%">Q13 FOX (KCPQ-TV) ch13.1 & Q13 Fox First Forecast ch13.2 Seattle ● MyQ2 (KMYQ-TV) ch22-1 Seattle ● KRCW-Portland ch32-1
</span><span style="font-size:10pt;line-height:100%">(Ph) 206-674-1364 ● (Fx) 206-674-1588 ● jzacharias[at]tribune.com</span>[color="black"]</span>

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Old 06-17-2009, 12:19 PM   #9
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I just found some good answers on AntennaWeb to my previous questions. I still don't know what antenna I should get, but I am taking the UHF antenna back. Since I have satellite at home and on the road, I should just stick with that and not spend too much on trying to get a couple of over-the-air stations. As I stated earlier, my biggest concern was the ability to receive timely local severe weather reports. It's ironic that one of the reasons for freeing up the analog frequencies was to increase public safety. But my satellite signals usually cut out in heavy rain, so the antenna was a very good back-up for tornado reports.



If your main concern is weather reports, invest in a weather radio that receives NOAA weather stations. There are seven main frequencies, and most places are within reach of a signal. Be sure to get one of the radios that turns on for a severe weather warning. Most of them are fairly inexpensive, too.
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Old 06-17-2009, 05:27 PM   #10
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You tube has several digital antenna you can make.
They really are no mystery, I made the small coffee can with a nail stuck in about 3/4 down and get a better picture than the rabbit ears did in the house. about 35 channels 30 miles west of Chicago, very clear with the can laying on the floor. So probably anything would work.
Of course when you get to the woods , that's a whole nother story. I used the coffee can in the south of Bloomington,Il area and got a few pretty good channels across a lake. But leaves will kill digital TV.

It's funny but leaves and pine needles seem to be the same wavelength as the stations frequencies so they absorb the signal.
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:39 PM   #11
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I've been busy helping all my techno-phobe friends get their converters working - then over the weekend I finally turned to my extra set in the basement.

I brought it upstairs to work on and got the converter working very quickly - but it only works in my dining room!!!! I used to be able to take this little portable TV & antenna to the basement while I worked out or up to the upstairs bedroom and get great reception - but with the converter box, I've only found one (really inconvenient) location in the house that works.
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:25 PM   #12
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I just fixed my outside antenna so it is all round Coax (it used to be half flat and not-very-well wired together at the junction.) Now I get most of the local stations, but PBS switched from UHF to VHF and as they are too far away from us to get on VHF, apparently, we no longer get the PBS stations (Seattle Channel 9.)

In Fresno I don't get much of anything on digital as I used rabbit ears with analog. I do have an antenna which just needs a new cable run to the TV and then hopefully it will work again, too. That antenna is a bit harder to get to, though, mounted up on a chimney on the opposite corner of the house from where the wire needs to go. It's a bit annoying because rabbit ears worked fine and were so easy to adjust. I haven't checked the Fresno reception since the switch but I doubt it improved any.

I haven't yet camped anywhere that I can use my laptop TV.

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Old 06-17-2009, 07:46 PM   #13
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Just to drive this point home,

If you change anything related to the setup of your antenna you MUST let the converter or TV scan for the stations again or you will NOT receive them.

Unlike the Analog TV the Digital sets must let the computer inside tune and learn the channel assignments before you will see them.
Then once it knows them you can turn and tweak the antenna to optimize performance but unlike the old way antenna tweaking will not get you the channel until the digital tuner sees it first.

Now you can also manually tune a channel if you are sure it should be there. This will then let you tweak the antenna to optimize performance.

This is a common issue even if you know to do it people seem to forget this step.
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:21 PM   #14
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Yeah, we rescanned each time. Channel 9 is gone. I emailed the station and they explained the switch to VHF.

It was interesting, though, as I hooked up the antenna and then checked manually and could not get 13, but the tuner found it anyway.
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