What good is DTV if you can't get a decent reception?

Jeannie

DTVUSA Rookie
#1
My opinion from a large metro area - I lose the signal every other minute and cannot figure out how to hook up my old vcr/dvd player to program multiple programs as it used to do with the converter box and my old tv's. my new $400 DTV with tuner loses the signal all the time and has a bad buzz.
 
#2
$400?! You got a bargain on your TV. I paid $700 or mine, and I had to get cable to get a good picture.

TV stations need to provide better signals not just DTV signals.
 

mjr643

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#3
depends upon what kind of antenna you have. I have a rabbit ear tv antenna and receive about the same number of stations analog as I do digital (however I catch some analog only, others digital only)

I have friends with outside antennas that say it equals to past analog performance but most complain because they can't get their TVs to record the channels as we get tv channels in 3 seperate directions (I am 30 miles out of the city where they are broadcast)
 

FOX TV

Contributor
#4
Smart Antenna ?

depends upon what kind of antenna you have. I have a rabbit ear tv antenna and receive about the same number of stations analog as I do digital (however I catch some analog only, others digital only)

I have friends with outside antennas that say it equals to past analog performance but most complain because they can't get their TVs to record the channels as we get tv channels in 3 seperate directions (I am 30 miles out of the city where they are broadcast)
A smart antenna can address this problem if your receiver is compatible with the smart antenna concept. It is an omni directional antenna that is controlled by the receiver itself. It can null out any undesired signals based on SNR (Signal to noise ratio). Since it is an omni antenna, it should be able to pull in signals from any direction. I have no direct experience with them, and not many receivers support this concept, but it does exist, and the concept seems valid. Anyone else on here using a smart antenna that can address this issue?
 

pmr

DTVUSA Member
#5
Fox, do you know where a person can buy a smart antenna these days?

Before I learned I'm in a difficult reception area, I made sure each of the 4 dtv converter boxes I bought would accept a smart antenna. It's a beautiful concept. However, I didn't buy one back then because I subsequently "learned" I need a multiple antenna / pre-amp / rotator system. Meanwhile, I discovered I can get most / some channels upstairs on the second floor with rabbit ears. Now I'm just dumb enough to want to try a smart antenna on that upstairs tv so I don't have to keep up the trial and error aiming of rabbit ears required to get different channels, at least until I: a) find a one-aim rooftop antenna or combination of antennas; or b) knuckle under and accept the necessity of a rotator as fact.

So, do you know of any sources for smart antennas? Thanks.
 
#6
I had something similar (RCA 'Flat' digital antenna, $29 at wal-mart, and similar premise but without needing smart antenna port) but i immediately took it back on the grounds that it could only pull in 2 of the stations i have available. horrible.

DTVs are even cheaper here, $199 will get you a digital 13" CRT DTV. and $299 will get you a digital 19" LCD HDTV
 

JER

DTVUSA Member
#7
I've been working smart antennas since 1998. Last year, I lead the development of a reference design for an indoor smart antenna for NAB. Here's the story:

There are various types of smart antenna technology and which one gets used depends on the application. There are also different levels of "smart", kind of like going from grade school to college.

The smart antenna port on the converter boxes is based on CEA-909 Smart Antenna standards. The standard defines two modes of operation. in Mode A, the receiver sends up data for channel number, amplifier gain / attenuation, coarse direction, fine direction, and polarization in a specific format to the antenna. Mode B allows more flexibility but is not so well defined. Any Mode B implementation at this time would be manufacturer specific and would face compatibility issues. Thus, from a practical standpoint Mode A is the only mode worth talking about. It is the mode used on the existing coupon converter boxes.

The CEA-909 smart antenna interface allows one to do simple things like turn a rotator or adjust gain of an amp. It also allows much more sophisticated stuff like re-configurable antennas, and switched or phased arrays, etc. The things that can be done are only limited by cost, imagination and technical skill. Eventually this flexibility will allow antenna designers to make more compact, better looking, and better performing antennas. I say eventually, because even though engineers know how to do the stuff now, the market is generally not ready.

Despite the existence of several converter box models with the 909 interface the total number of devices out there that support the standard is still quite low. To make matters worse, we discovered that many of the converter boxes on the market were not compliant with the standard, or had operational or firmware flaws that would make them unusable in one or more ways with a compliant smart antenna. The market size and compliance issues will need to be overcome before you will see an abundance of smart antenna solutions.

Hope this helps!
 
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