I am looking for help choosing an hdtv indoor antenna for San Francisco

Shelley

DTVUSA Rookie
#1
Hello - I am located near Union Street and Franklin (apt faces north). I am looking to cut the cable cord and get an antenna for my Samsung HDTV (2012, 32" model #LN32D430G3D). What would be the best (economical)choice for receiving basic network channels and PBS (KQED)? I have been considering the Mohu 30 non-amplified or the Winegard Flatwave; just looking for one that would work well with my TV. Is amplification necessary?

Thanks for any advise you can offer.
 
#2
Hello - I am located near Union Street and Franklin (apt faces north). I am looking to cut the cable cord and get an antenna for my Samsung HDTV (2012, 32" model #LN32D430G3D). What would be the best (economical)choice for receiving basic network channels and PBS (KQED)? I have been considering the Mohu 30 non-amplified or the Winegard Flatwave; just looking for one that would work well with my TV. Is amplification necessary?

Thanks for any advise you can offer.
Okay, so I did a TV Fool Report for a building adjacent to the intersection you listed and set the antenna height to 20 feet. You'll want to do a report for your actual address and post the link here (don't worry, they won't show the address). We'll get a more accurate idea of what signal you'll be receiving. You can see the report I did at the nearby intersection here.

Basically, you're right in the heart of the city. You've got extremely powerful signals all around you. You can probably get a cheap set of rabbit ears ($15 at your local Big Box retailer, electronics store, or Amazon) and get everything you want.

Unless your building is made of stone or solid concrete, or you're apartment is in the basement, I doubt you'll need anything more capable than a simple, cheap antenna. Most of the broadcast stations are less than 4 miles away from you. You certainly won't need amplification for any of the Big Four networks, the "mini" networks of CW and MyNetwork, or for PBS. In fact amplification could overload your TV's tuner so just avoid it if you can. The only "network" station you might have some difficulty pulling in is ION (KKPX virtual channel 65.1).

Being in the city, you may experience what's called "Multipath interference." Basically, that's the radio signals bounce off the buildings, water, and mountains around you, causing the broadcast signal to interfere with itself. Again, you're so close and receiving such powerful signals that I doubt it will be an issue for most stations, but just be aware.

All things being equal (price, convenience, personal preference), I'd go with a Winegard simply because I know they make quality products, but I doubt the Mohu will have issues. However, others here are more knowledgeable with these things than me, so I defer to their expertise.

I think you're fine picking up just about any omnidirectional antenna you want and getting beautiful, crystal-clear HD signals from all your nearby stations.

I'm looking at the spec sheet on your TV. The only thing I'm noticing that might trip you up, is I don't see where it has an RF-jack (the one that looks like the cable jack coming out of your wall that you screw on a coaxial "F-type" cable). It could just be that they don't list it, or it could be you'll need a separate channel tuner to get your channels. Let us know if you'll need a tuner and we can give you some recommendations.
 

Shelley

DTVUSA Rookie
#4
Hi ATL, Thank you for your incredibly thorough and helpful reply! I did the fool report, and the results are almost precisely the same - I don't know if the compass with the channel directions on it is exactly the same, but it's got to be similar (I would need an explanation of that). You're right, I don't have an RF jack on my TV. The only jack is for the antenna. That is currently hooked up to a box that goes back to Comcast (I thought it was a digital converter box, but it seems related to channels as well).

Three more questions - since my TV is undoubtedly digital, do I even need a converter box? I do believe I'll need a tuner, so information - for the most economical solution - is welcome. And really, rabbit ears are all I need? Will I be adjusting them constantly? (I'm a bit lazy in that regard). I've seen them referred to as a set-top antenna. Clearly, you cant' balance one on a flat screen tv. I assume next to the set is fine. Here's the link to the fool report. http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id=5134e13b4993dd Again, thank you for all your help - it's invaluable, as I know nothing about this stuff! And thank you too, Jim for your link to the antenna information.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#5
Shelley,

Your TV has a digital tuner so no converter box is needed. Before your set can detect free over-the-air signals, you need to go into its on-screen menu and change the tuner settings from 'cable' to 'antenna' or 'terrestrial' or 'air'. Different manufacturers use different words, but its the setting not named cable. Once done, the TV tuner is ready to find over-the-air channels.

Connect your antenna and using the on-screen menu and perform a 'scan for channel' search. If you are missing some channels you think you should receive, move the antenna and perform an 'add channels' scan (if your TV has that ability) or simply 'scan for channels' again --- which will erase any channels you detected, find the same channels again and potentially add missing channels. You may have to move your antenna and rescan dozens of times until you find the best location for your antenna. It is time consuming but well worth it.

Jim
 
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#6
The only jack is for the antenna. That is currently hooked up to a box that goes back to Comcast (I thought it was a digital converter box, but it seems related to channels as well).
That's the RF jack I was referring to. It's the screw-on type, right? As Jim mentioned, you just need to go into your TV's settings and set it to "Antenna" or "Air" or whatever. Then you can scan for all those channels you'll be getting!
 
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