Question: Everything works great, channel selection doesnt make sense! (newbee)

#1
Hi folks, I recently purchased the AmazonBasics Ultra-Thin Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna (50 Mile Range). I had no trouble finding the right location for my flat antenna. I tried several locations with dozens of channels scans and all is well, great signal, all the big networks, all appears fine untill: I go to use the TV remote to run through the channels to view somthing....

My RCA HD TV has the option to view the antenna signal strength wich was a huge plus when finding the best location for the antenna. While in the "signal strength" mode, It easily goes thru the major channels, showing PBS, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc showing basic channles like 3, 8 10, 12, etc. Then when NOT in "signal strength" mode and just trying to surf through the channels on the TV remote it brings up channles that did not show up in the "signal strength" mode. For example, instead of just channel 10 or channel 12, the channels appear as 10-1, next channel, 10-2, next channel 12-3, then 13-1, next 13-3.....etc. more channels that I have no idea what they are just appear, and channles that I thought I knew were a specific channel are not exactly that channel numer!?.

Heres an example: In the channel strength/signal mode on my tv, all the channels were just 8 or 10 or 13, etc...but when hitting the chennel + or channel - button on the remote, out of all menus or options, just in regular TV mode, surfing, it brought up chanels that had a "-" after it, as though there are sub channels. For example (like above) 7-3, 10-1, 12-3.....I can only assume these are added channels within that network?.

So to try to finalize my confusion, while seeing just single whole numbers as the correct channels while in the "signal strength" mode, the real channels outside of that mode or in regular TV mode (no menus on the screen) are actually a double or triple digit number with a "-" , so research needs done to figure out what exactly that channel is.

Last example to help my confusion. While "FOX" for me is channel "12" (shows this channel number as a whole number 12 ONCE AGAIN while doing the signal strenght option), when using the remote, in regular TV mode (regualr surfing no menus), the "FOX" channel is actually "12-3", and instead of "NBC" being channel "8", it is actuall "7-3". I had to learn this through research and could not find an explanation for this anywhere.

In the end, Im extremely confused and cant figure out if this is the best option for me. Yes, I can get all the big networks with great signal strength, But cannot just go to them while hitting the channel +/- button on my remote, some of them I have to go into the TV menu, pull up the "signal strength" screen, pick that channel, then close the menu on the TV to get to the correct channel.....wierd? Yeah I thought so....

Any input would be greatly appreciated and Im terribly sorry for the book here. A sincere Thank You to all!!!!!
 
#2
Welcome to the strange world of real and virtual TV channels. While I am not familiar with the RCA operating system you are using. It sounds like it uses real channel numbers in the signal strength mode, and virtual channel numbers for viewing. Once you get familiar with it you will use virtual channel numbers in your daily viewing. Real channel numbers are the channels that the signals are being transmitted on. Virtual channel number displayed on the TV are more of a stations brand name normally left over from pre-digital transition. You might look at a tv fool report for your area, and see if that helps you understand.
https://www.tvfool.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29
I'm only guessing that this is the cause of your confusion. I know from experience different brands of TVs handle our confusing channel system differently.
Steve
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#3
:welcome: myGT

To begin, the range of an antennas' reception in an ad is determined in a boardroom and has nothing to do with real life.

Secondly, unlike your experiences with paid-for cable, FREE over-the-air TV reception will provide a better picture but it has some bizarre 'rules' you need to learn. Trust me.

Number one: the "signal strength" report your TV shows you is not a signal strength report. It is a signal quality report and it could be showing you a strong or a weak 'strength' ---- and that makes NO difference when you are receiving digital data. If you receive it, you receive it and if the signal quality is 'compromised' (low numbers) you don't.

Regarding 'dot' channels: assuming they have the required equipment at their transmitter site, free OTA stations can EACH offer several video feeds (secondary channels) at the same time. As an example, one of my local PBS channels offers 4 right now ... so I can choose to watch The Antique Roadshow on 'dot-1, or Knitting with some gal on 'dot-2' or Japanese News on NHK/Tokyo on 'dot-3' or Doctor Who on 'dot-4'. The more 'dot' channels a station chooses to have reduces every channels' video clarity, but who really cares about knitting?

Jim
 
#4
Thank you for the warm welcome! Your information has helped me get a better understanding of what is actually going on. Because this is so new to me and my family, I was just not sure if I was doing somthing wrong or if I had to play around with additional settings. It appears everything is working exactly as it should and that I just need to become more familiar with this over-the-air television. I feel more confident now and am looking forward to keep watching my favorite shows while eliminating my cable bill! Thank you again fellas and have a great weekend!
-Justin
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#5
I was amazed to discover how many people "care about knitting" when one PBS station in Utah dropped PBS Create. Create is a good channel, better than any of the "lifestyle" channels out there like LiveWell. Most people like it for the cooking and DIY.

I digress... back on topic...

Yes, the video quality is degraded when a subchannel is added, but most of the subchannel content is SD quality anyway, consisting of old (analog SD quality) shows from the 1950's through the 90's. Given the choice of ONE full HD channel or ONE HD channel of slightly reduced quality and a few SD subchannels, I would choose the latter. Without subs, I would have about 10 channels, but including subchannels I got over 40.
 
#6
Thanks again guys for your input.....

I do have another question, and I realize this is more "Television Brand/option" specific and not so much pertaining to "over-the-air" information, but Im wondering is it possible to delete certain/unwanted channels? I have scanned so many times and have several channels that dont come in at all. I am fine with this and am not interested in the channels that are too low of strength to be viewed. Most are "repeats" as Im located between two locations of towers, North and South of me. So when scanning on my East window I picked up channels from the Southern/further towers along with the closer Northern channels. My antenna resides in my Northern window currently where I no longer reach some of the Southern towers (I hope towers is the correct terminology here, lol). Im finding that the more I scanned channles the more were found and do not disappear when doing a new scan, leaving you with everything that has ever been found, regardless of current strength.

My main problem is this, when just "surfing" (hitting the channel + button) to scroll through all of the channels I hit these low frequency/signal channels and it locks up for several seconds trying to get that channel, regardless of hitting the channel +/- buttons on the remote during this time, then it will go to next channels chronologically. In some cases I have a few channels that I dont get that are back to back(sub channels {ie 20-1, 20-3, 20-4, 20-5}) so this pausing/locking happens for a longer period of time when in this particular area. I do realize that I can input a particular channel to get to where I need to faster, but somtimes I just get into curious mode (surf mode). If I could delete these channels it would certainly make life a bit easier.

I appreciate any onfo offered on this!
-Justin
 
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#7
Study the owners manual for the television. If you don't have it RCA owners manuals are available on line. Most televisions do have the ability to delete unused channels providing you can figure out how it's done. The other method I use to clear the memory is to run a scan with no antenna. Then hook the antenna back up and scan again. Every brand and model is different you will have to learn about the one you own.
Steve
 
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#8
What Steve said above, but I have read many times that some Converter boxes and (possibly some TV Tuners) require a double-rescan with no antennas attached to completely wipe their memories. True or not, it wouldn't hurt to do it twice.

Jim
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#9
Another option if it is available on your TV/ converter box is a "Favorite channel" list. Add the channels you watch to your favorites and channel surf from that list.
 
#10
Thank you guys! First off, using the "favorites channel" listings did exactly what was claimed and kept the channels I wanted where I needed them, I never thought to use this feature this way. Then, just to get everything where my entire family could get the best of this antenna, regardless of what they were doing with it, I did the channel scan without the antenna hooked up and cleared the ones I didnt need. Now we are good to go and are really enoying this "over-the-air" experience. Thank you greatly. I honestly appreciate how many folks are out there helping us newbs get into a comfortable state! If any of you are ever in the Bradenton/Sarasota, Fl. area hit me up here on the boards to let me know your here and I will treat you out to some colds drinks of choice! Mad props guys!!!
-Justin
 
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