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Old 12-27-2013, 01:26 PM   #1
imacericg
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OTA 101 - Can I use rabbit ears for the Roamio? Or do I need an HD antenna?

Hooking up my Roamio shortly, and plan on using just the OTA (no cable). Can I just hook up a spare set of rabbit ears to it? Or do I need a HD antenna?
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Old 12-27-2013, 01:35 PM   #2
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That all depends on how close you are to the transmitters and what sort of multipath issues you may have. Go to www.antennaweb.org and input your address to evaluate your OTA situation.
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Old 12-27-2013, 02:33 PM   #3
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Only a small fraction of (digital) OTA stations are VHF (the lower frequencies for which the relatively large rabbit ears are good). Most are UHF (the higher frequencies) for which a smaller antenna is better. Some of the later rabbit ear antennas had a smaller UHF loop too. If your antenna towers are less than 15 miles away, whatever you have is worth a try.

AntennaWeb.org will tell you three things:
1. Whether any of the stations you want to receive are VHF.
2. How far away the towers are.
3. Whether they are all in the same direction. If they are a directional antenna is best -- otherwise an omnidirectional one.

All my towers are about 10 miles away, all are UHF, and all are in the same direction. Thus a $25 directional UHF antenna sitting behind the TV on the first floor works fine.
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Old 12-27-2013, 04:41 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
Only a small fraction of (digital) OTA stations are VHF (the lower frequencies for which the relatively large rabbit ears are good). Most are UHF (the higher frequencies) for which a smaller antenna is better. Some of the later rabbit ear antennas had a smaller UHF loop too. If your antenna towers are less than 15 miles away, whatever you have is worth a try.

AntennaWeb.org will tell you three things:
1. Whether any of the stations you want to receive are VHF.
2. How far away the towers are.
3. Whether they are all in the same direction. If they are a directional antenna is best -- otherwise an omnidirectional one.

All my towers are about 10 miles away, all are UHF, and all are in the same direction. Thus a $25 directional UHF antenna sitting behind the TV on the first floor works fine.
Yeah, by "rabbit ears" I just assumed he meant it also had the bowtie/loop for UHF as well. That's why I mentioned antennaweb. It will tell him exactly what he needs.
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Old 12-27-2013, 06:38 PM   #5
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I made one from PVC and copper wire from a design found on the web and have it stuck in the back of a closet near my TV. It works remarkably well (certainly fantastically better than the little powered ones they try to sell you when you buy a new TV).

It does seem a lot like black magic that arranging copper wires in a special pattern can make images appear :-).
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Old 12-27-2013, 07:43 PM   #6
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). It does seem a lot like black magic that arranging copper wires in a special pattern can make images appear :-).
Like they taught me in electronics and broadcasting school, it's FM (F**king Magic)!
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Old 12-27-2013, 07:53 PM   #7
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THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN HD ANTENNA!!!! STOP FALLING FOR THIS MARKETING CRAP!!! /rant

an antenna is an antenna. an antenna from the 1950 is good condition will work the same as a new "HD Antenna". The physics and broadcasting frequencies are the same as they have always been, the only difference is that the signal inside the frequency is now digital instead of analog.

rabbit ears will work fine if thats what is needed in your location. tvfool.com or antennaweb like above will give you that information.
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Old 12-27-2013, 08:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imacericg View Post
Hooking up my Roamio shortly, and plan on using just the OTA (no cable). Can I just hook up a spare set of rabbit ears to it? Or do I need a HD antenna?
I'm surprised no one has said this yet: it has to be a Roamio Basic, not Plus or Pro. The plus/pro do not have an ATSC tuner and therefore cannot receive OTA.
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Old 12-28-2013, 08:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomhorsley View Post
I made one from PVC and copper wire from a design found on the web and have it stuck in the back of a closet near my TV. It works remarkably well (certainly fantastically better than the little powered ones they try to sell you when you buy a new TV).

It does seem a lot like black magic that arranging copper wires in a special pattern can make images appear :-).
Yep, I made one with a scrap piece of 2X4, some 10ga steel wire and a few wood screws and washers. It's fugly as heck but it gets the job done, all at no cost to me, except for my time, which took less than 30 minutes.
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:32 PM   #10
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I'm surprised no one has said this yet: it has to be a Roamio Basic, not Plus or Pro. The plus/pro do not have an ATSC tuner and therefore cannot receive OTA.
But technically the basic Roamio is just called "Roamio", then the higher end models are called "Plus" and "Pro". All he said was he was getting a Roamio, so that in itself should mean "basic".
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:36 PM   #11
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THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN HD ANTENNA!!!! STOP FALLING FOR THIS MARKETING CRAP!!! /rant

an antenna is an antenna. an antenna from the 1950 is good condition will work the same as a new "HD Antenna". The physics and broadcasting frequencies are the same as they have always been, the only difference is that the signal inside the frequency is now digital instead of analog.

rabbit ears will work fine if thats what is needed in your location. tvfool.com or antennaweb like above will give you that information.
While that is 99% true, the electronics attached to the actual antenna (inductance, capacitance, etc.) has evolved with technology to give greater performance in areas like multipath, signal overload, attenuation, S/N Ratio, etc.
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Old 12-28-2013, 04:12 PM   #12
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Some of the antennas have 'active electronics' that tune the signal. They just don't amplify the signal, but electronically tune the antenna for whatever signal that is being tuned at that time. It sounds like a great idea, but the one I bought worked worse than a regular antenna.

All OTA signals are broadcast on a analog wave, just like the old signals, but they are digitally modulated. The big difference is the low power that they broadcast over.

What gets me is that you can have a great signal for weeks or a month or more, then some of the channels pixalate. No difference in weather or having a large truck parked between you and the antenna on the mountain 15 miles away. It just doesn't seem to make any sense.
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Old 12-28-2013, 08:15 PM   #13
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an antenna is an antenna.
That is not true. Most UHF antennas will pick up high VHF. But unless it is listed as VHF compatible, you probably will not be able to pick up all of the VHF spectrum. Whether you need such an antenna depends on where you live.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:40 AM   #14
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Antenna websites

Antennaweb.com is good for antenna info.
Also tvfool.com is also a good site for figuring out what sort of antenna you need. Channels 2 through 13 are VHF, 14 through 69 are UHF.
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:32 AM   #15
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......... Channels 2 through 13 are VHF, 14 through 69 are UHF.
That can't be right. For example in my area channels 2.1 and 7.1 are UHF. I think what you're saying is from the old analog OTA days.
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:39 AM   #16
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That can't be right. For example in my area channels 2.1 and 7.1 are UHF. I think what you're saying is from the old analog OTA days.
No, he's saying the actual broadcast frequencies. Your 2.1 and 7.1 are not actually using channels 2 or 7, they just kept their old number for identification purposes.
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Old 12-29-2013, 05:45 PM   #17
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No, he's saying the actual broadcast frequencies. Your 2.1 and 7.1 are not actually using channels 2 or 7, they just kept their old number for identification purposes.
But the ones I'm talking about are what the user sees. Saying 2-13 are VHF is misleading because of this.
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Old 12-29-2013, 05:57 PM   #18
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But the ones I'm talking about are what the user sees. Saying 2-13 are VHF is misleading because of this.
Actually it's the new digital "labels" which are misleading.
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