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Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/11/2014 11:34 AM

Our TV station antennas are 18 miles from here (western suburb of Minneapolis, outside Excelsior). TV comes via cable, at exorbitant cost. Tried satellite for a while, seemed unreliable,lost signal during rain/snowstorms, very user-unfriendly service. At son's urging, tried antenna from Amazon, in attic of 2-story house, smallish antenna, ~ 20"x30" , highly rated by users. Total flop, no signal at all, on any channel, just snow. Rotated every which way, tried different cables (including those used successfully before). New LG 50" TV (3 weeks). TV has no adjustments or programming for different signal inputs that I can find. Have since then woken to fact that no neighboring houses (about 50 of them) have rooftop antennas - tells me something? Fortunately, was able to return ant. for full credit, thank you Amazon. Any expert (or useful) opinions?

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#1

Re: Replace cable TV with rooftop antenna for local stations?

12/11/2014 12:08 PM

It seems you might need a converter from analog signal to digital....all stations are converting to digital I think....

http://www.northpine.com/broadcast/mn/tv.html

http://www.amazon.com/b?node=979935011

maybe you didn't have it hooked up right....

http://disablemycable.com/

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#5
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Re: Replace cable TV with rooftop antenna for local stations?

12/11/2014 1:31 PM
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#30
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Re: Replace cable TV with rooftop antenna for local stations?

12/19/2014 11:57 PM

If the TV is only three weeks old it will have the converter built in.

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#2

Re: Replace cable TV with rooftop antenna for local stations?

12/11/2014 12:28 PM

Without knowing the terrain and power levels of the broadcast TV stations I cannot say anything with a certainty. At the same time 18 miles is not that far for a TV broadcast. A quick search engine result led me here.

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#3

Re: Replace cable TV with rooftop antenna for local stations?

12/11/2014 12:36 PM

Back to good old-fashioned "...over-the-air (OTA)..." reception!

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#4

Re: Replace cable TV with rooftop antenna for local stations?

12/11/2014 1:08 PM

You want to cut the cable! How can you live without The Home Shopping channel, The golf channel, or all the reruns of the worst movies and TV series ever made with all of the enriching advertisements included. Think of what this will do to your family. Without The Cartoon Network your children might have to read a book, or just as bad, go outside and play

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#11
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Re: Replace cable TV with rooftop antenna for local stations?

12/11/2014 9:52 PM

Wow! Where have you been? I have to give you a GA because you are so right! I am about to the same due to cost. Vendors have become parasitic!

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#17
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Re: Replace cable TV with rooftop antenna for local stations?

12/12/2014 10:44 AM

I wholeheartedly concur. There is so little on TV that can add value to our thinking that it's not worth whatever effort it takes. Use a DVD player and play the things you want rather than what is being "fed" by people who want to make us dumber than what we already are as a society.

We haven't had a TV for years and it was great for the kids because they read, they played outside, they did productive things. The TV is just a "mind musher".

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#6

Re: Replace cable TV with rooftop antenna for local stations?

12/11/2014 1:50 PM

An antenna inside a structure is at the mercy of whatever else is inside that structure. Some structures have a foil vapour barrier that also blocks signals from getting through. Even without a foil barrier you still have the problem of a wet roofstop during inclement weather. That water, mixed with the dust and what-have-you that settles on the roof in dry weather, is mildly conductive and so acts to shield an antenna from the signals it is supposed to be receiving. The roof structure itself is also absorbing signal. Did you try that antenna outside? I'm betting it would have gotten a better signal.

Try getting a good TV antenna designed for so-called 'fringe' reception. 18 miles shouldn't be any problem for such an antenna so long as it has a clear shot of the transmitter, but also keep in mind that the higher the antenna gain, the more directional the antenna, and so you may need an antenna rotator as well, to get the various channels in your area.

I had 'rabbit ears' on my TV years ago and was able to pick up stations in three states. Just with rabbit ears, so I know it's possible to receive signals from hundreds of miles away with the simplest setup.

I would also suggest trying an amplified antenna.

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#7

Re: Replace cable TV with rooftop antenna for local stations?

12/11/2014 2:46 PM

I live in a very rural area and I cut the cable about a year ago.

I am now using a Mohu Leaf 50 indoor antenna and, despite my distance from any of the broadcast stations (antennas), I get about 20 channels. I'm thinking about moving up to the Mohu Sky 60, which would probably double the number of stations I get. (My TV is an 'antenna ready' Sony LCD set.)

I heartily recommend getting a Mohu. http://store.gomohu.com/antennas.html (You can buy them via Amazon.)

Most of the stations I get are HD and the quality is excellent. Some of the stations also broadcast a secondary 'standard definition' channel carrying old TV shows and old movies.

With the combination of the Mohu and Amazon Prime, which allows me to stream many next-day programs to my TV via wifi, I get most of the programming I want. About the only channel I miss is ESPN for the occasional football game, but I can always go to a sports bar or friend's house if it's a game I really want to see.

You need to be aware that heavy rain will affect reception, but rain had an even worse effect on the satellite dish I once had.

Oh - almost forgot. You can check here to find the stations in your area and the signal strength you'd get at your location: http://www.antennaweb.org/

Oh, I should also add - I had to let my TV do a 'search' for the available signals after I connected the antenna. It took about 15 minutes for it to scan all of the analog (none) and digital channels and then save them.

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#8

Re: Replace cable TV with rooftop antenna for local stations?

12/11/2014 5:20 PM

any TV is only as good as the signal you feed it.pay someone to measure your strength. the attic is killing you, get that "Aeriel" out where it can do its jobhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjBs5TXhZFs

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#9
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Re: Replace cable TV with rooftop antenna for local stations?

12/11/2014 5:59 PM

I've got my Mohu antenna mounted in my attic and I'm picking up all the signals the antennaweb.org site says I should get.

Unless the OP has a metal roof, the TV signals should be picked up about as well in the attic as outside. If his house has aluminum siding, that could be a problem since there would be some shielding at the gable ends.

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#10
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Re: Replace cable TV with rooftop antenna for local stations?

12/11/2014 6:15 PM

This Mohu antenna will NOT work from inside a house with metal roof?

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#12

Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 1:13 AM

The TV signal travels on the water table, go stick the antenna in the creek.

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#13

Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 4:54 AM

I live in Wales. 5% of the UK population, 30% of the UK Television transmitters. We have something of a challenging geography and what seems like an unreasonably large part of my life has been spent on the roofs of houses (own, family, friends) with a pair of pliers, a compass, and a table of the local repeating stations.

The good news 18 miles? Easy. If you can't pick it up at 18 miles there's only three options: something really big is in the way, like a mountain; something is interfering with the signal; or you've set it up incorrectly. You'll know if you've anything big in the way; interference is fantastically unlikely; so in all probability the fault is at your end.

The practical way of resolving. Work out which transmitter you're aiming for and what direction it's in. Find the transmitter's technical data and which channels it's transmitting on in your area. Check it's not a really low power transmitter. Check with the manufacturer / distributor that the aerial you're buying is OK for that output at that distance. Which it will be since 18 miles is nothing. The attic should be fine but whatever your roof is made of will attenuate the signal and you may find that the direction is blocked by your chimney or some other significant piece of architecture. This wouldn't be a complete block but again, will attenuate. If you can use the roof, I'd recommend that you did.

In the old days, at this point I'd be up on the roof with a short length of coax cable checking I had a signal with a portable TV. I don't now know anyone who has one of those. You can get a suitable meter to do the job but I always liked to see the end product working. Reduced the number of potential things wrong. You may have to skip this bit and hope it's all OK, it almost always is.

Now you've got your antenna pointed the right way, and you're sure you've connected the coaxial cable correctly, plug the other end into your TV and use manual tuning to go to one of the known channel numbers. Make sure you're looking at it as analogue or digital as correct for the transmitter. Signal there? Great. Set it to autotune and go off for a cup of tea (I recommend Glengettie). Not there? Well start by checking you've a signal at the antenna and if not work out why. Most likely reason is the antenna isn't pointed at the transmitter; second most likely is you've connected the cable incorrectly (done both of those). When it does work up there (and this is very simple tech), check you haven't damaged the coax on the way down.

However.... aerial installation is cheap, and the results are guaranteed. It may be a product of age but these days I ring up a chap and say "aerial for Wenvoe transmitter please" and if I were you that's what I'd do. There's a number of installers listed in your area, give one a ring, it'll be rather cheaper than the satellite and shouldn't take an hour.

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#14

Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 6:27 AM

I put a 50 mile antenna from Walmart, ($30), in my attic, hooked it up to my existing home cable, and it works great. I had to get a converter for each room, and get 27 channels.

Make sure to get a Roku type device so you can fill in with Netflix and Youtube channels. $8 a month.

This site may help in antenna selection and positioning.

http://www.antennaweb.org/

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#16
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Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 9:39 AM

I am very old school and about to enter the septaugenerian club (no choice or rather did not like the alternative). I installed a 40 foot tower and a channel master and get about 30 channels under normal conditions. The antenna is installed with a rotor and sometimes I get more channels depending on where I point. I find most just show the same stuff anyway so I leave it fixed due south, I live on the border with USA and near the mouth of the St Lawrence with L. Ontario. I have no cable available and satellite was poor if I wanted to stream. My internet is weak and over the air via a tower.

The reason for the tower was to get better internet reception but it did not pan out so I use the tower for TV and it is great. I do not miss cable and weaned myself from most sports addictions. I am left with one addiction for soccer and once was able to stream when I had cable and watched lots of English Premier. The internet on the island is too slow for anything but mottled streaming and so I quit.

Can the Roku device be something that may help me get better streaming from my internet. My internet is supposed to be 10 Mb/s but I do not think I get 1Mb/sec. very slow. We had a lot of trouble getting internet and even approached US suppliers but they seemed reluctant or stopped returning calls. I share with a neighbour who has zero reception for internet but using satellite for TV. Our internet provider allowed us to share with a good wireless booster. It would be great if I could once again watch soccer. Yeah I know an I grew up with baseball, football, and hockey. I started streamng a lot of college soccer when my girls played varsity. I am interested in Roku but never knew of them. Can they boost a weak internet signal for streaming.

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#19
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Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 4:51 PM

I got a less expensive version of Roku from Walmart, called Movienite. I don't have the fastest internet, but if I order something from Netflix it temporarily boosts the speed.

I don't really use the antenna for anything but local news and weather. Prime time TV is out, since everything is too sexed up for my 7 year old daughter. I don't know why they feel like we have to be bombarded with that stuff in every show.

Both Netflix and Youtube have good documentaries, etc to watch, and no commercials.

I finally got around to watching Lost.

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#15

Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 8:27 AM

Be sure to use the TV's auto-learn mode rather than manual tuning to try to find active chasnnels. I made that mistake with a Samsung, then was later surprised to find about 20 channels when the auto mode was used. Those digital channels were all very high quality too.

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#18

Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 11:57 AM

1) Which antenna did you try? Was it a UHF only? Most OTA signals are now VHF.

2) Which LG model do you have? Are you positive you have the TV configured to antenna input, and it did the scan for signals? That stuff is hidden in menus, but the instructions should guide you.

3) As noted by others, no antenna can see thru metallic insulation or metal roof. Is that your situation?

I'm in Woodbury and can pick up all local stations with just a length of wire in the living room.

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#23
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Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 6:20 PM

SSCpal:

Well, matter of fact, it WAS a UHF (Eagle Aspen 2-bay UHF ant.)

I just spent 1/2 hr on Google trying to dig up info on channels (incl. wiki), not very successfully. AntennaWeb tells me we have up to 30 channels at my location, from RF channel 9 to 45, but nowhere is a UHF or VHF label. I feel bad for having returned antenna for full credit. So, where should I have gone for the info?

The TV is a brand-new plasma LG 55". Great product, lovely picture, miserable skimpy lousy inadequate directions. They saved money on paper anyway. Has just one cable input, labeled antenna. Did look for input configuration directions, found nothing, I'll try their chat website tonight. It did seem suspicious not getting ANY signal at all, but....

Thanks for your input.

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#25
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Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 6:48 PM

You may have to go to the menu on your remote and simply have the TV do its own scan to put the available channels into the system. My neighbour was having issues and called a service guy who in a minute gave him 30 or so channels. New plasma TV should have this function. UHF VHF is not an issue with digital broadcast. I have a Samsung but if I point the aerial in a new direction and want a different set of channels, I must take the two or three minutes to program the TV. I use a channel master brand and have had good luck getting stations up to 230 km away. Most are about 30 to 130 km. I never saw any designation of UHF or VHF. Just digital.

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#26
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Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 6:58 PM

Please ignore my previous comments. The digital channels are indeed broadcast in the UHF range; your TV will display a "virtual" channel instead.

Antennaweb is misleading; the "RF channel" given isn't the one you will see on your TV. It's been a while since I researched this; maybe someone else can explain this better.

If you can give us the model number of your TV, we might find the instructions online to configure it for OTA.

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#27
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Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 7:21 PM

Here's an example: what used to be channel 5 moved to a UHF channel when the digital conversion took place. But your TV will display 5-1 or something like it. This was done apparently to make the transition easier for the user. The "-1" indicates that there may be subchannels, like 5-2 or 5-3. Digital channels can carry several subchannels in the same bandwidth as the old single analog channel.

So your UHF antenna was OK. The problem seems to be in the configuration of the TV. With the model number we may be able to fix this.

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#20

Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 5:55 PM

...and you don't need a converter. All TV's made in the last 5 years have digital capability.

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#21
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Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 5:59 PM

"...and you don't need a converter. All TV's made in the last 5 years have digital capability."

Not all of us are watching televisions made within the last 5 years.

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#22
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Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 6:14 PM

No, but the OP is.

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#28
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Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 11:16 PM

*forehead slap*

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#24

Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/12/2014 6:27 PM

Although TV stations are only 18 miles away, the non-reception problem encountered maybe more related to elevation locations? If your are seeing mountain ridges instead of the TV transmitter towers, it will be hard to get any receptions, even when using high gain antenna.

Additionally, line of sight between receiver and transmitter antennas is preferred for good signal receptions. Any obstructions in-between will attenuate or even cancel any signals that may bounce ... thus further reducing signal strength..

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#29

Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/13/2014 10:46 AM

60 years ago I was way ahead of my time!

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#31

Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/20/2014 12:01 AM

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

this link will give you digital signal strengths.

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#32
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Re: Replace Cable TV with Rooftop Antenna for Local Stations?

12/20/2014 1:36 PM

The maps are extremely conservative. I am only supposed to get about 5 channels but i get at least 30 and more if I move my rotor equipped areal in a different direction. I have a 40 foot tower and am mere feet above Lake Ontario/St.Lawrence River. Ignore the map for most parts.

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