View Full Version : roof antenna for HDTV?
10-04-2009, 02:31 PM
My husband and I don't watch a ton of tv. We would love to get rid of cable and just switch to "regular" tv. We have a nice new tv that receives the digital signal but it's really patchy. We live back sort of in the woods and the nearest PBS station that we like is about a 45 minute drive away. We put a regular rabbit ear antenna in the attic but it's not making much of a difference. Have any of you gone to the next step of putting one of those old fashioned antennas on your roof? How much was it? Where did you get it? How does it work?
I'm trying to watch the National Parks documentary and it's like watching Max Headroom!
Jan in CA
10-04-2009, 02:39 PM
Well, I could be wrong, but I don't think you can get HD from an antenna or get channels other than local ones. :?? I believe that weather, trees and clouds can affect reception, too. I'm no expert though.
10-04-2009, 03:00 PM
No, local stations broadcast in HD now, that's what the switch was, with the converter boxes and all. When we get a signal, the broadcast picture on our tv is AMAZING! It makes the cable picture that we pay for look horrible. It's just that I think we need a little more "oomph" for our reception. If it's stormy or windy, it's impossible to watch. Today is a lovely, clear day and it's squirrely today too. Then, other days it's great, no problems. I think a rooftop antenna would help us greatly but I don't know the where, how, and how much's about it.
AND, I can't nag my husband to do it unless I'm armed with more information!!
10-04-2009, 04:55 PM
Here's a link I just found that sort of covers this very situation.
Apparently you don't need anything special, as in an "HDTV antenna" because this states that any antenna will work with HDTV. You just want to get the best one that you can afford. I'd think that you can probably find tv antennas at your local WalMart, or any decent home supplies place like Lowes, Home Depot, etc.
Debra in NC
10-04-2009, 05:04 PM
If your TV has an HD receiver in it, a regular antenna would work, especially with an amplifier. We live in the same town as the local stations, so rabbit ears work fine, but any distance out and probably a rooftop would be better. You can also get antennas at Target, Kmart, sears and Radio Shack. A lot of places are sellin 'HD antennas' but they're an overpriced hype; a regular one does fine.
It's funny, but I found with the old analog signals, the picture was worse on a sunny day, but better when it was cloudy. The clouds gave the radio waves something to bounce off of and on a sunny day, they went off into the atmosphere a ways before they'd bounce back. Not sure yet about the HD signals.
10-04-2009, 05:42 PM
Thanks for all the input. I found another website too, so between the two I should have some info for DH. The one thing we DO really use the tv for is for PBS kids. Like today, Iowa Public Television has a broadcast station called "IPTV learns" that plays kids programs all day. My son is sick so he has some familiar stuff to watch while he lays on the couch being puny. Some days it's fine and other days, like today, it's really pixilated.
DH put the rabbit ears in the attic and that helped a bit but I want one of those big suckers on the roof. It probably doesn't help that our tv is in the basement. I need to do some more research...
10-04-2009, 06:22 PM
It doesn't matter where your tv is, as long as the antenna is somewhere it can pick up signals. Though it's kind of difficult to run up and down the stairs to check the signal....
10-04-2009, 07:49 PM
I guess you're right, it would only matter where the antenna is...
My DH and I used our cell phones to talk back and forth while he was in the attic. He will be much more agreeable about going up there now that it has cooled down a bit!
10-05-2009, 08:54 AM
We don't have a TV, but we do have a HDTV card installed in our computer which is in the bedroom. If we had satelilite or cable we could attach that to the back, but we don't wish to purchase their services. An antenna came with the card. With have it attached above the bedroom window.
Make sure the antenna you have is placed near a window if there is one in your basement and this might improve reception. I also called one of our local stations. Every channel that we get will come in clear, but one. We have to turn the antenna in order to pick up that channel. That is irratating. He told me most antennas are turned southward for best reception, but I'm not sure about that. We haven't had the extra cash to buy an outdoor antenna, but we have been watching for sales. Radio Shack will allow you to return them in a certain amount of time if you are not satisfied, but ask because each store could have different policies about returning items.
A large antenna on the rooftop, with a rotor that you can turn with a remote would be your best option. It should give you the best reception, but do your homework. The prices can be very inflated.
I didn't go the next step, I was already there. You don't need anything special or new for HDTV.
I use the rooftop aimed at the majority of stations with a boosted set top in the house to fine tune the others.
My stations aren't 45 miles away. For that I think you'll definitely need a signal booster on the rooftop.
http://antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx tells you what you need for the distances to your stations.
Yes, over the air broadcast TV is in HD.
The TV also makes a difference. My new TV locks in on the stations a lot better than my old one (it's terrible that 2 years old is "old" now).
10-05-2009, 01:53 PM
This is a great site for antenna reviews.
You can find out what zone you are in from Antennaweb and can get reviews at this site. Its important to get the correct type of antenna for your area in order to get a signal. You need to know whether to get an omni, multi or directional antenna. (We have a camper in the middle of the boonies and need a new antenna, so have looked into this alot!!)
Jan in CA
10-05-2009, 02:04 PM
Well see, you learn something everyday! :thumbsup:
10-05-2009, 05:06 PM
Thanks! We have been on that site and looked at the information several times. I was just wondering if anyone had one and if it helped them get better reception or if we should save our money.
My husband is a plumber by trade but does construction jobs on the weekends and has classes in the evenings. I hate to put him on a project here unless it's going to be really useful.
Right now we have cable tv as a back up. I HATE Mediacom and want to cancel but sometimes the broadcast signal is so bad that we have to resort to cable. I'm thinking that maybe we just dump cable and if the signal is bad, we just turn the dumb thing off an play a board game!!
10-06-2009, 09:31 AM
Everyone at the campground who has one gets great reception, and quite a few stations. If the weather is really bad, they sometimes have issues, but not very often.
Our antenna is old and broken (which is why I did the research!) But we haven't been camping this year, so I didn't bother to get one myself. Many of my neighbors replaced theirs last year with very good results.
10-10-2009, 11:06 AM
As the stations are so far away, thus the signal is weak, you'll want to get the largest high gain antenna you can afford, as well use a high quality amplifier.
The amplifier should be of the type that mounts on the antenna mast just below the antenna, with the power box inside.
If you're stations all come from the same direction you won't need a rotor, but if they come from different directions a rotor will be of great help unless you want to use a phased array (multiple antennas pointing in different directions).
10-10-2009, 01:08 PM
Thanks Mason! I think one antenna will be fine, I think all the stations we are having trouble with come from the same direction. I was hoping my husband wouldn't have to run power to the attic for an amplifier but it looks like that is unavoidable. We don't have a chase and he will make a giant mess making/patching holes.
It's been pretty good lately and it's getting pretty cold here so I'm guessing DH won't want to be up on the roof for too long....may have to wait for spring.
10-10-2009, 09:36 PM
I was hoping my husband wouldn't have to run power to the attic for an amplifier but it looks like that is unavoidable.
He shouldn't have to do that for the amp. The amp mounts on the pole and the power supply feeds through the antenna wire. No need to do anything else. The power supply can be at the television location and plugged in there.
10-11-2009, 11:00 PM
Oh, thanks! I always hate it when he has to run any kind of cord in the wall. I love him and he's an excellent craftsman at other people's houses but ours never seems to get totally done. I guess it's partially my fault too, it's not like I don't know how to use a screwdriver. I just hate patching drywall!!