I used to sell TV roof-top antennas and it would annoy me that they listed a spec for miles on them. Antennas will pick up a signal further away if that station is transmitting with more power. An antenna cannot go out and grab a signal that does not reach it.
I sold extremely large antennas about 10 feet long rated at 100 miles but they couldn’t pickup a station 25 miles away. With this, I call BS on the 100 mile spec for today’s product.
@hchavers Amplified actually does help if your antenna is far away from the TV and it can compensate for cable loss. Also can help if you have a crappy TV with a receiver that isnt very sensitive. But an amplifier does not cause the metal parts to receive more waves. Its mainly marketing mumbo jumbo for this type of antenna.
@cengland0 We put an antenna in the attic. Probably at least 10 feet. Two powered, inline amplifiers. Took forever to set up, buy and add amplifiers, run cable, etc. etc. Finally got a good signal and sat down to watch.
We watched about half an hour of a wildlife show on the sex lives of Koalas - which was the best thing we could find on the half-dozen or so available channels - before deciding that we had better things to do. We probably watched about another half hour, of something, some other time and now the system has fallen into disrepair (broken cable somewhere), probably forever.
They say education is never wasted, but I have yet to leverage my Koala expertise.
@cengland0@hchavers Also, if you are close to a high power broadcast antenna ( <30 miles ), using an amplified antenna might make your signal worse because it will be over-attenuated and overpower the receiver. We found some channels got better with the signal booster and others worse. Which sucked to turn the amp on and off deornding on thr station we were watching. Went with a better antenna (BestBuy stock closeout for the new model) in the end.
@ergomeh Thank you. You put this in perspective. I can see me buying these & installing ONE of them… then scanning all the channels, exclaiming “wow, look at all the free TV!”. Then going back to stream something & never watching the free TV again. It’s not free if you have to watch 30 mins of commercials to get through a 60 min show.
So will a Silicon Dust HD HomeRun tuner (with or without built-in DVR) and Plex (Plus or Lifetime Pass has HDHR DVR support) or the HDHR DVR and MCE Buddy to transcode and ad removal.
I think PlayOn can also record anything you can stream with PlayLater add-on (it doesn’t do ad removal, I think). Think binge watch/record your watch list for later, before you cancel a streaming service.
@cengland0 Is there anything that is indoor (can’t put one on the apt roof) that picks up signals better when the entire building, including walls, ceilings and floors are cement?
The antennas I used where I used to live (in this same town but in a house) that picked up all the stations, including one about 75 miles away. In this apartment building stations are are mildly SW/due south to SE of here some 15-20 miles away and then a bunch 42-74 miles away. I live on the due north side of the building. Antennas I already own work OK on the south side of the building but not in my apartment.
@Kidsandliz In my experience selling antennas and getting feedback from my customers, concrete walls didn’t have much effect on the reception. But in commercial buildings were they use metal studs versus wooden 2x4s in residential homes, that did seem to make a difference. Stores in the middle of a mall with a metal roof couldn’t get anything regardless of what internal antenna they used.
Of course it’s best to locate your antenna outside for best reception but many people enjoy over-the-air TV with an inside antenna too. It all depends on where you live.
Not only are antennas directional meaning it makes a difference on their rotation, they also make a difference on the length of the rods. For a given frequency, there is a specific resonant length the antenna should be for best reception and each “channel” is on a different frequency. I put “channel” in quotes because with digital TV today, they actually do have multiple channels on one frequency. You can get channels like 17.1, 17.2, and 17.3 meaning all three channels are on the same frequency but each using a portion of the bandwidth.
With the new digital technology, you either get the channel or you don’t. Previously with analog, you could get a weak channel showing behind lots of snow. Not sure you would pick up that same weak channel today unless they broadcast with more power.
These indoor antennas are acceptable for people that live near a city but the further you go out into the rural area, the weaker the signals get and the larger the antenna will need to be to capture what little is left.
If you look at an antenna like this one:
You’ll notice several rods protruding at different lengths. That’s for the different resonant frequencies. Not sure how these small indoor ones account for that issue – they probably don’t.
Note: The last time I sold antennas was around 1992 but I doubt technology has changed much.
@cengland0 Thanks for that detailed response. I’d guess that this is metal and cement building since it is a 1970’s apartment building. I am thinking the outside might be cinderblock since the part not covered by brick look cement block.
I did ask the new management (building was sold the end of last month) if we could put antennas on the roof and their response was, shall we say, one in line with the 2.5/5 stars they seem to have for most of the building they own.
@ergomeh@Joedetroit back before netflix (and amazon prime, and …) when a wide demographic sample watched broadcast, the ads were annoying but sometimes relevant.
now, if you’re in a city and have some $ you’re not (statistically speaking) watching broadcast. all the ads in my area are for: 1) very old people who don’t know how to use a roku, 2) younger people who need loans from
predatory payday loan type places.
not that there’s anything wrong with being old or wanting a loan, but the ad budgets moved to other media, so if you’re not (1) or (2) the ads are extra extra useless now.
@mike808 I’ve had mixed results with PlayOn, especially with season recording. It seems to randomly fail to record some episodes - sometimes they work if you restart, sometimes they don’t. A few times, it has just dropped the last 5-10 minutes of a program. It does have a feature that marks the ads in the recording so if you watch them with a PlayOn app (including on Roku), you can have it automatically skip the ads. That part works well. But the Kodi PlayOn add-in doesn’t support the ad skip, nor does watching from a web browser.
Also, the supported channel list keeps shrinking - I guess many of the providers don’t like the PlayOn model, even though I have legitimate credentials for watching their streaming sites.
@Ignorant An amplifier can help with an outdoor antenna and a large cable run. Those amplifiers have a power injector in the house and the amplifier close to the antenna. This way, you are amplifying it before it goes through the cable and before it picks up any additional noise. Amplifiers are not going to be too much help on this class of antenna.
@jandrese I don’t know about these antennas in particular, but I have a couple of different ones I bought for about 15 bucks each, mounted in first floor windows. I definitely get more viewable channels with the amplifiers, than without. <shrug>
I am within the confines of NYC, so my experience may be different than many other’s.
@jandrese actually, we’ve used amplified sheet antennae like these on TVs that don’t have access to our rooftop antenna. We’ve tried them with and without the amplification and did find additional channels when they were amplified.
@thismyusername Yes I have one of those too. Unfortunately they don’t work where I live right now. Here all stations but one are S, the other is SE. I face north and live in a cement building. Can’t get anything on my side of the building. Testing that antenna across the hall and she gets all the stations. Sigh. Where I used to live which was around 30 miles from the stations, on the “wrong side” of a small hill with a ton of really tall pine trees it worked fine. I used it indoors on the first floor.
@Kidsandliz I was just impressed in how many situations they work as good as or better than the old style giant arrow shaped multi element antennas… the clearstream design is pretty great and takes up a fraction of the space.
@boygenius1991 Some people ask the dumbest questions. Have you ever thought your crabs might want to enjoy a little TV as they go to their demise? It seems you are not only a crab murderer but are also a crab hater. Crabs are people too.
@pat4ever the same way you pick up any other broadcast? It’s just an antenna. Not that I would get this type. When they start 4K broadcasts this year it will work fine for that if you have a tuner for it.
@pat4ever@unksol There might be some variations in size/orientation, as the 4K broadcast frequencies may be in a different range than current HDTV broadcasts which are in the old UHF band mostly. The VHF bands were vacated in the move to HDTV so that the FCC could resell them for 5G.
I think ATSC3 is the 4K protocol. Current HDTV is ATSC and goes up to 1080p, but nobody broadcasts at that because it uses all the bandwidth, so no side channels. Most stations have a primary 720p HD and 2 640i SD channels.
Any piece of wire can be “tuned” for any frequency. That doesn’t mean it will be particularly effective as an antenna in that range. VHF would have antennas in the 2-3 foot range (thats almost a meter if you’re not a savage). aka “Rabbit Ears” with telescoping rods to adjust and maximize attenuation at various wavelengths (i.e. the channel’s frequency). UHF, having a much shorter wavelength, was the “loop” part, with shorter wavelengths, roughly 10 inches or so (for the ladies). These HDTV antennas are designed to primarily attentuate the UHF HDTV spectrum, and the VHF portions not so much.
There are some DIY “bowtie” designs on the interwebs, and you can even build an antenna optimized for your specific broadcast frequencies. And the do work amazingly well, from first-hand experience.
@craigthom@mike808 Yeah, I’ve designed quite a few antennas in my time. I was just pointing out that it states that it covers the VHF through 800 MHz bands with <2 VSWR (non-continuous), which isn’t horrible for a patch-style antenna.
What do you mean that these HDTV antennas are designed to attenuate the UHF spectrum? Do you mean that they “balance” the sensitivity between the UHF and VHF bands, by being crappier than they should be?
I’m not familiar with the construction/performance of this type of antenna. I usually stick with log-periodic with a splash of Yagi-Uda tossed in, if I’m not going dipole or patch.
@G1 I meant the internal wiring is tuned more towards better reception of the UHF band than the VHF band, since thats where most channel frequencies are now and continuing to concentrate. Internally, they’re just long loops of foil tape in a coiled pattern. Some are grids to create smaller loops at various harmonics they’re guessing have a broadcast channel on the where you will put the antenna.
@craigthom@G1 “tune”, “attenuate” - they’re just words that sound similar, right?
I didn’t want to overload “tune” the antenna design (to a frequency) and “tune” the receiver (to a station). Glad the world of radio signal reception as easy to discuss as slapping a $5 flat panel antenna on the back of the TV.
@Pufferfishy That photo looks like someone had an (expensive) blast playing a joke on someone. In college we used to do crap like that to rooms - fill with wadded up paper, tape a zillion strips of paper to the ceiling having them dangle down to nearly the floor, fill up the hall restrooms with snow (Rochester NY so frequently tons of snow, we made an 80 foot long, story high dragon with snow one night too - took all the snow on both the residential and frat quad to do it)…
@richferg Not really line-of-sight. TV Channels are low enough frequencies that they do penetrate buildings. Also the signals can bounce off tall buildings and mountains, which during the analog TV days, would cause ghosting issues. That’s technically a multi-path issue.
Do yourself a solid and jump right to the outdoor antenna. I’ve done the indoor antenna thing. Just North of Boston…for antenna TV to be practical, get yourself a rooftop setup. Many more channels and far greater reliability. Grab that and an OTA DVR (love my Tablo), and you’re cord cutting.
I’m here in Dallas and get about 68 or so channels OTA. (plus Roku, Sling, etc.) I have a flat antenna, like this but without the amp., and have it taped to my window.
Hmmmm… to buy or not to buy… that is the question!
while things like this are neat, in as much as they go in a window/ are flat, etc. i’ve found that i get better results from the old uhf antennas that people throw away, both that round ones and the bow tie design.
Most of these are junk. Don’t believe the 100 miles quoted. Reception of receive antennas for TV signals will not detect beyond the horizon (plus the height of the antenna) where your antenna is, so assuming you put an antenna at about 5ft7in (Average human height) from any point, at sea level, an antenna will be able to receive about 3 miles in any direction. Of course, the height of the tower on which the transmitting television station’s antenna is located will determine the coverage area that the transmitter signal can reach. In other words, for this thing to receive a TV signal 100 miles away, it would need to be more than 300 feet up in the air.
I did get the package. When I opened it, one of the antenna boxes was damaged. I did not open further to check on the actual contents because I thought I should let you know first. Should I check to determine if there was any damage done to the contents?
Well that was disappointing. I’m 19 miles from the main channels and 7 miles from the closest antenna in the Boston market. I tried both of these on 2 different TVs. The results? The signal comes and goes in rapid succession causing a choppy picture/sound. When the signal picks up it’s strong, then it drops out to nothing. I tried with and without the pre-amp. The pre-amp definitely helps. I tried them in many different locations in the room and up against the window. The same results everywhere. My only conclusion? I was sold garbage. Live and learn.
@ebooth12 Did you try different orientations of the antenna?
The picture coming and going is exactly what happens on digital channels if you have a marginal signal. You either get the channel or you don’t- there is no real degradation like you saw on analog channels.
Also, do you have line-of-sight to the transmitters?
Considering that you can get a marginal signal, you might try seeing if you can place the antenna higher in your home if possible.
@ebooth12@Limewater I went to Best Buy to pic up an antenna for the Super Bowl one year. The store is close to my house. I asked is this a good one? They said it works pretty well except for NBC. The NBC tower is crap and needs to be replaced. I brought it home and returned it. I would never buy an antenna online because there are a lot of things that determine if you can get stations other than the antenna.
@ebooth12@sammydog01 You can get a pretty good idea what will wok for you using free online tools. I forget which ones I used initially-- tvfools? antennaweb?
I bought a directional antenna online with the suggested gain and figured out my probable optimal orientation based on the signal maps and got lots of channels without issue. It worked exactly as predicted.
These same tools also accurately predicted that I wouldn’t be able to get much of anything at my new house, since I’m in the shadow of a very small mountain.