Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How come my brand new antena doesnt work well? Could it be my TV is too old?

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I have the digital converter and bought a good HDTV antenna for about $60 and I still don't get more than a couple of channels. Could it be the TV itself?

> Could it be my TV is too old?

No. Only your converter box and antenna matter.

Your old TV only displays what your converter sends it. If it displays one channel OK, then it's not the problem.

>good HDTV antenna for about $60

How much you payed for the antenna has nothing to do with how good it is.

Things that do matter:

Model of converter box. Some have better tuners than others. It's hard to beat the Zenith model for receiving poor quality signals.

As part of the transition, quite a few digital stations are changing their transmitter frequencies. Most converter boxes (and new HDTVs for that matter) have to be "rescanned" to find these frequencies. Some converters even need a "double rescan".

Some "so called" HDTV antennas can't even receive some of the frequencies used for DTV. You need to select an antenna based on your local conditions.

Are all your stations UHF or are there some VHF? Unlike analog broadcasts, you can't tell this by the channel number used for digital broadcasts; you have to look at a web site like tvfool.com and find the "analog equivalent" or "real" channel number.

Indoor antennas are always a hit or miss sort of thing. Location can make a big difference. Probably the best place to start is with a 10' - 20' length of coax cable and see if you can find a "sweet spot" for TV reception. Look at the direction to your local TV transmitters and think about what the TV signals have to go through to reach your antenna.

What brand should I buy or what elements should I look for in a HD 40 - 50 inch television?


Wanting to purchase new television but there are many confusing elements to consider -- Is there a better brand? Is there a big difference in warranty? What size gives the best picture? What other elements do I need to look for to get the best picture and best deal?

You should work through a logical approach based on your needs and budget.

The first consideration is what viewing distance you plan to use. This helps define the screen size. The graph at the 1st link (also read the original article) helps define what size screen you should consider based on resolution of the display and the viewing distance. It's not exact since picture quality and eyesight varies, but it gives a good idea of approximate sizes.

For example, if you are considering a 720p HDTV (Green line), a 50" screen is best watched at 10' or a bit more. A 1080p HDTV (Red Line) the same size would be best watched at about 6.5'.

It may help to consider that at 8-10 ft, you won't see any difference between a 720p and 1080p HDTV smaller than about 50", so don't waste money on higher resolution if you can't benefit.

It's also worth considering that HDTV is a mix of 1080i and 720p ... there is no 1080p broadcast TV. The only consumer source for a 1080p picture (other than games) is Blu-ray or HD DVD ... and then you need a minimum 40" 1080p HDTV to benefit (and you need to sit at the right distance).

So, decide on the screen size and resolution first.

Now consider that picture quality is determined by four primary factors (in decreasing order of importance): contrast, colour saturation, colour accuracy and resolution. When considering specifc HDTVs keep these things in mind.

Assuming you are still considering a 40"-50" model, you can choose plasma or LCD or rear projection. Prices decrease in the same order.

Plasma is arguably the best picture, but in addition to being the most expensive, also needs the highest electrical power and turns out the most heat. They are not available under about 40".

LCD is available down to about 20" and up to over 60" but doesn't give quite as good a picture. It can suffer from blurring of fast movement ... so in addition to the 4 factors identified above, you also need to consider screen response time (aim for 8 ms).

Rear projection are less expensive but is falling out of favour because flatpanel LCDs are almost as cheap and don't have the size and limited viewing angle considerations of rear projectors.

Some people (including me) use a front projection and a screen for HDTV/movies as part of a home theater ... the best way to get a big picture ... but a specialized approach.

Consider connectivity .. you want as wide a range of inputs and outputs as you can ... although 2 or more HDMI inputs and optical audio output are the most important.

Style is personal, so I won't comment.

I'm not going to suggest a brand or model (others will do that), but I suggest you do some reading -- particularly reviews -- before going out to look at actual TVs. That way you will have decided on the size, resolution, type, etc and will be an informed consumer ready to focus on what is available and not as prone to "salesperson speak".

For a start see the links.

I hope this helps.

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