No clue where to start!

Melissa21

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
I haven't had cable in years (the price is ridiculous). I have netflix though. I am curious about an antenna or even a digital converter box. If I were to buy one of these or something else could I get the basic channels on my tv? I have an Insigma flat screen led I think, I bought it about 3 years ago at Best Buy.

I do live in an apartment building so I wouldn't be able to attach anything outside only something to my tv.

Is there any chance I can get the basic local channels? Like NBC, ABC, Fox, etc? If so can you direct me to what I would need to buy or how I would go about figuring this out.

Thanks.
 

Antennafreak

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#2
Hello melissa21. That tv of yours I'm 90% sure will not need a digital converter box seeing as it's pretty new. First thing you will want to do is go to tvfool.com and fill out the info as best you can to find what channels are in your area. The very top topic in this fourm named how to find local channels in your town will show you how to do this. Basically since you can't mount any outdoor anntenna, all the channels in green only will more then likely be what you can get. But go ahead and post the tv fool link here and they can help you figure it out.
 
#4
:welcome: to the forum, Melissa,

I'm 99.9% sure you don't need a converter box! (Nothing is 100%.) Unfortunately, nobody can guaranty indoor reception, but once we see your TV Fool report, we'll have a better idea what might be possible. Also, please let us know how many windows you have, and what side of the building they're on -- north, south, east, west, north-east, etc. Line-of-sight is the name of the game! ;)

Rick
 

Melissa21

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
Thanks for the help! Here is the TV Fool results. TV Fool

I am way bad with directions but the sun does definitely rise directly in front of my living room windows. And according to google that would be East.. I also looked at Google Earth to make sure East is correct and it's definitely exactly east on my living room windows. Doesn't even seem to be a bit slanted. And the back bedroom is definitely North.

I have 2 bigger windows in living room (about 8 feet together, they are next to each other) and then a bedroom on the east with a window as well. And then one window on the North about 3-4 feet long.
 
#7
Melissa, your situation presents an interesting challenge. Does your east window have a clear shot to the transmitters. In other words, are there any trees or big buildings at eye level to the east? You could try one of those "flat" antennas that look nice in a window, but I doubt it's going to be strong enough to make you happy. The alternative is to get a 4 bay antenna and put it as close to a window as possible. It might need a little "dressing up" for appearances sake. I'm thinking of something like this: Stellar Labs HDTV 60 Mile Fringe Bowtie Television Antenna 30-2425

That should get you the "yellow" UHF channels at 125° in your Fool report, right down to KTCA PBS, maybe even lower. That's IF there's no unusual obstructions, and the window is big enough. That just leaves KARE NBC, which is VHF. We might be able to cover that with a dipole, if we ever get that far.

Sorry there's no easy or quick solution to your problem. You could try an HDBLADE100 Solid Signal HD-BLADE Indoor Digital Flat Indoor TV Antenna, which is supposed to get some VHF, but at 60 miles from the transmitter, I don't have a lot of confidence.

Rick
 
#8
One more question if you don't mind, Melissa. Do you have a patio, or any kind of outdoor area where you could put an antenna? The FCC has guidelines on what a landlord can and can not exclude in "exclusive use" areas like a patio.

Rick
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#9
Not the best, Melissa, but it has potential. The biggest problem is that you have some VHF channels (NBC 11 and FOX 9). Here's the antenna I would suggest -

https://www.antennasdirect.com/store/DB4-Antenna-Refurbished.html
This ORIGINAL DB4 antenna is a refurb and a bargain at $32. THEY DON'T MAKE THEM ANYMORE! No, it's not pretty, it's intended for outdoor use but many people have used them indoors with great success. Put it in an east facing window, turned slightly south, and you should get a good selection of channels, but I think FOX 9 will be difficult, if not impossible. The DB4 is capable of getting VHF-hi channels - something the new DB4e can't do.

If you find the antenna looks ugly in the window, consider hanging a curtain over it - also consider the money you're saving, and it becomes a thing of beauty!


Rick, I think the stellar Labs antenna uses a balun that will not pass VHF. I know the other Stellar Labs antennas I have used don't pass VHF. I have one here that I have yet to try that I removed the balun and replaced with a standard balun, I will let you know if that allows it to pass VHF if I can ever get a chance to try it here!
 
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#10
I think the stellar Labs antenna uses a balun that will not pass VHF.[/I]
Which is why I didn't promise VHF for that antenna. I thought about my 4221HD, but I get no VHF stations at all with it indoors. Now, my understanding is the DB4 catches a little VHF off the back. I'm not sure that will help Melissa in an east facing window. She might wind up needing a VHF add-on either way.

R.
 

Melissa21

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#11
Not quite sure how clear it would be out the window, I am thinking this might not work. There is a building and a tree.. I am on 3rd floor which is the top of my building and the building out my window is the same height it is like 30 feet away and at a different angle than my building.

I'll take a couple pictures in the morning and upload them just to be sure, because it would definitely be nice to get the yellow channels.

I do not have a patio and as great as it would be to get down through the yellow I wouldn't want the hassle of asking the management to put something outside let alone put it out there myself or anything like that.
 

Melissa21

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#12
Now that it's light it's even worse than I was expecting lol. This is the window facing east in my living room there is another window the same size right next to this on the right hand side .. and just the building and trees .. So do I just give up at this point?

10178267_824603727558869_736748804_n.jpg
 

Melissa21

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#13
What if there is already an antenna on top of each building? I just noticed it as I was looking out my North building never really sure what it was before but I think they are on top of each building.

Here it is sorry not the best picture it's rainy and gloomy out today.

Ignore the 2nd picture I can't figure out how to delete it.

10708412_824614950891080_1142754150_n.jpg
 

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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#15
That antenna is pretty beat up, Melissa. But the UHF section looks like it's in good shape, and it should get SOME VHF. If you are handy and can get permission to hook into it... It's worth a try.
 

Melissa21

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#16
That antenna is pretty beat up, Melissa. But the UHF section looks like it's in good shape, and it should get SOME VHF. If you are handy and can get permission to hook into it... It's worth a try.
That exact antenna isn't on top of my building.. there are like 6 buildings here and looking out my window I can see they all have one of these so I assume mine does, it's just been raining so haven't looked at it.

I did call the landlord and left a message, waiting for a reply yet.

To use the antenna out there would I have to actually do something to the antenna? Or would I just buy something to hook up to my TV? I am not quite sure how handy I would call myself but I'm quite capable of hooking up video games, dvd's, and things like that. I can watch a video or read directions and usually figure things out fine.
 
#17
To use the antenna out there would I have to actually do something to the antenna? Or would I just buy something to hook up to my TV? I am not quite sure how handy I would call myself but I'm quite capable
You would probably have to use an antenna on top of your building. So IF there is such an antenna, and IF landlord has it hooked up to the individual apartments, then it might be as simple as hooking your TV up to an F connector. Are there any faceplates with little unused round connectors laying about the apt? :huh:

If there's an antenna and it's not hooked up, tell your landlord to hook it up! They can only say no. They might be worried about everyone starting to want one -- can be a PITA to maintain. Since you're handy, you could offer to help!

OTOH, your view out the window isn't as nearly bleak as you seem to think. The highest east-south-east obstruction appears to be right at eye level. An outdoor antenna would be greatly preferable, but if that falls through, I'd definitely give an indoor setup a good college try!

Rick
 

Melissa21

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#18
You would probably have to use an antenna on top of your building. So IF there is such an antenna, and IF landlord has it hooked up to the individual apartments, then it might be as simple as hooking your TV up to an F connector. Are there any faceplates with little unused round connectors laying about the apt? :huh:

If there's an antenna and it's not hooked up, tell your landlord to hook it up! They can only say no. They might be worried about everyone starting to want one -- can be a PITA to maintain. Since you're handy, you could offer to help!

OTOH, your view out the window isn't as nearly bleak as you seem to think. The highest east-south-east obstruction appears to be right at eye level. An outdoor antenna would be greatly preferable, but if that falls through, I'd definitely give an indoor setup a good college try!

Rick

There are 2 of those faceplates with the round connector on them. I know one is definitely for the cable company and the other I might have to try in the morning after digging out a cord. Now that you mention it i recall when I first moved in here someone did hook my tv up to them and scan the channels, and nothing did come in. I do have a much newer TV now so not sure if that would make any difference, but either way worth a try again.
 
#19
When you do hook up to the wall plate you will need to set your television to scan for air, or antenna channels. If it has not been set up most televisions are set to scan for cable channels that will need to be changed. Yes having a newer television will make a difference.
Steve
 

Melissa21

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#20
When you do hook up to the wall plate you will need to set your television to scan for air, or antenna channels. If it has not been set up most televisions are set to scan for cable channels that will need to be changed. Yes having a newer television will make a difference.
Steve
It WORKS!!!! I scanned and it found 34 digital channels and then asked if I wanted to scan for Analog and if not to exit so I exited just because I was super excited to see if it meant the 34 worked or it just scanned 34. And I went through half of them and the CBS, ABC, PBS, Kare 11 all definitely work so didn't care about what else there was. I had to unplug the cord as it's the one I need for my internet connection and I have a work meeting online very soon here. So I will be re-arranging my living room tonight so I can hook the tv back up with a shorter cord.

Very glad it was free to do and much easier than expected.

I'd like to thank all of you who have replied and answered my questions!
 
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