Posts Tagged ‘HDTV and DTV’


Since I moved from my one-bedroom micro apartment to this 3-level townhouse, which now seems too big for me, I have somehow managed to stave off my daily dose of TV. I have been reading more than usual, and unpacking at an abnormally slow rate.

After dilly-dallying for a fortnight, I finally set up my Samsung HDTV. For whatever reason, I almost expected to get at least some DTV signals without any antennas. I was wrong. The TV could not pick up the slightest signal. While I do plan on getting a satellite dish, I just didnt want to do it right away.
Amazed, I embarked on a little web research.

First stop: http://www.dtv.gov/
While this is a decent resource, to me, it was a bit unclear what was applicable to the new HDTVs. There are two links on the home page that could possibly provide some direction:
1. The FIX Reception Problem; and, the pdf file at the bottom of the page:
2. Can I Use My UHF/VHF Antenna to Receive DTV?

However, the first useful step was to visit the http://www.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps/ . Entering the zip code at the top left corner returns a list of channels, color coded according to reception strength. However, the list is quite different from what one gets from http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx. Clicking on the “antenna type” column, takes one to the page identifying typical antenna requirements for that channel. The types are very generic. If one clicks on the “Antenna info” link at the top, it opens a page with elaborate info on outdoor antennas, but little useful info on indoor ones. Roadblock. Since I am leasing, (and experimenting), I dont want the hassles of putting up an outdoor antenna.

Next step, the Radio Shack website. A search for indoor antennas, returns a list o many. I wanted an antenna with both UHF (ultra high frequency) and VHF (very high frequency) reception. On my way home from work, I stopped by at the corner Radio Shack store, and picked up this Radio Shack Budget TV Antenna with a fair degree of skepticism.

It took less than 30 seconds to hook up to the TV. After doing a quick scan, I found I have at least 6-7 channels with decent reception. The local PBS broadcast and 2 ION channels were HD quality. And then there were a few news channels from Europe and also an English Al Jazeera channel (go figure!). There was also a channel which seemed to be Chinese. If you are wondering where I am located, the zip code is 22315 (Alexandria, VA).

So, the experiment was successful. $12 dollars for international news is a small price to pay, at least to me.