Author Topic: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?  (Read 8022 times)

1tolivesimply

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For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« on: September 21, 2014, 06:08:08 PM »
I do not watch TV and cancelled cable long ago, however, I do have a TV and I think it would be nice to get some channels to watch sports, etc once in a while; a friend of mine suggested buying an outdoor antenna to get local channels, he supposedly knows someone who has one and it works great for him.

Is anyone here using one? According to this website (http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/dtvmaps/) I can get about 20 channels.

Does it work for you? Should I go ahead and get one? Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance.

wtjbatman

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2014, 06:15:56 PM »
In comparison, that website says I could get up to 5 channels, and in reality I only got 3. Needless to say, we renewed our cable tv subscription for the time being.

Go ahead and try the antenna, just keep the receipt :)

Spork

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2014, 06:17:07 PM »
I actually get more channels than the fcc site claims...   I used tvfool.com -- and my results were pretty spot on.  YMMV.

I had an exterior omnidirectional antenna...  once I built my house, I moved it into the attic, so it is no longer outdoors.  It works fine.

Some cities are better planned and the antennas are all sort of "in the same place".  If this describes you, you can get a directional antenna.  They are cheaper and you'll get better reception.

Zamboni

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2014, 06:20:17 PM »
I have an outdoor antenna.  The one I have now is try #2.  The first one I bought was less than $20 at walmart.  It was basically an indoor set of rabbit ears that I got so my son could watch the football games; worked fine all winter, but then ceased to receive any channels when the leaves came out on the trees in the spring.  So then I bought a larger outdoor one for $80 at BJ's club and mounted it on my deck (not on the roof).  Works great all of the time.  I get dozens of stations, including those from over 50 miles away, so I have three version of local stations for ABC, for example.

Good luck!

Paul der Krake

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2014, 06:34:46 PM »
I wish. Living in an apartment complex on the lowest floor limits me to rabbit ears.

orbix

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2014, 09:10:49 PM »
I'm using an outdoor antenna now, but it all depends on where your tv is in your house. At our previous townhouse where the TV was on the ground floor, an amplified indoor antenna was plenty to get all the major networks and several additional options. Now that we've moved, our TV is in the basement, so the same set of rabbit ears didn't pull in more than a couple of channels. We've got a small roof-mounted antenna now (plus an in-line amplifier, but that's mostly because we have about a 75' run of cable from the antenna to our tv right now, not because the antenna isn't up to the task), and it's been great.

1tolivesimply

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2014, 11:09:58 PM »
Thanks for all the replies so far; based on what you've said, I think I should be able to make it work.

As far as the outdoor antennas, are you satisfied? do you recommend the ones you have? If yes, can you point me in the right direction as far as which one to get, etc? There are way too many options available, I want to get one that's been proven :)

Spork

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2014, 07:20:44 AM »

More than anything: It is going to depend on your location relative to the TV stations around you.  You'll need to know if they're all one direction or if they're in every direction.  You'll need to know what signal strength you expect to get.  The antenna someone here has may work for them and not for you... Go to tvfool.com and figure out what you need first.

stash4cash

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2014, 07:22:19 AM »
Are you certain you need an outdoor antenna? Where are you in CO?
I used a Mohu Leaf indoor while I lived south of Denver. Worked great.

hybrid

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2014, 07:32:49 AM »
Are you certain you need an outdoor antenna? Where are you in CO?
I used a Mohu Leaf indoor while I lived south of Denver. Worked great.

We have two TVs with two Mohu Leafs. I had a buddy (who has cable) over yesterday to watch the end of the Seattle-Denver game and our HD picture over the air was just perfect, not one crackle at all and the picture was beautiful on a very large TV (no facepunches please, TV purchased before finding this site, now just a sunk cost). He was impressed with the quality of the picture. We get CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, UPN, and two different PBS stations, along with the sub-channels these stations offer. The two PBS stations actually have four channels in total, for example.

If you have the TV Guide app on your phone or iPad you can set it up for OTA channels only in your area, which is really handy.

GardenFun

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2014, 07:37:14 AM »
Are you certain you need an outdoor antenna? Where are you in CO?
I used a Mohu Leaf indoor while I lived south of Denver. Worked great.

We have two TVs with two Mohu Leafs. I had a buddy (who has cable) over yesterday to watch the end of the Seattle-Denver game and our HD picture over the air was just perfect, not one crackle at all and the picture was beautiful on a very large TV (no facepunches please, TV purchased before finding this site, now just a sunk cost). He was impressed with the quality of the picture. We get CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, UPN, and two different PBS stations, along with the sub-channels these stations offer. The two PBS stations actually have four channels in total, for example.

If you have the TV Guide app on your phone or iPad you can set it up for OTA channels only in your area, which is really handy.

+1.  Leaf HD Antenna - purchased on Amazon but can probably find on Craigslist or Ebay.  Can attach to the wall or basically place on a table.   Currently have ours sitting above the TV on a shelf in the armoire.  Get 12 channels, including all major networks and 3 PBS channels.  And each channel is very clear. 

orbix

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2014, 07:43:45 AM »
I've got an RCA ANT751 and would absolutely recommend it to anyone that really needed to use an outdoor antenna. If you can get away with an indoor (like, for example, the Leaf that's well-loved pretty much everywhere), they're *much* simpler to set up and to adjust, but sometimes they just don't do the trick.

sleepyguy

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2014, 07:52:27 AM »
Netflix/XBMC + OTA (HD over Air antenna, I use DB4 antenna), is all I'll ever need.  I do miss live tennis matches (only thing I looked forward to watch on cable TV, but coverage sucked anyway unless you got the tennis channel).  I just live steam now for those odd events I want to watch.

Personally I would test an basic indoor antenna first (cheapest) and compare it to if you had it on your roof.  If you can get 80% of the OTA channels, that's generally good enought.  I didn't as I have trees all around, so I roof mounted.

Sylly

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2014, 11:16:51 AM »
For those who have an outdoor or attic mount, how did you run the cable?

I was hoping a basic indoor antenna would work for me, but it didn't. I tested a bunch of indoor antennas (all amplified, most omni, 1 directional) and could only pick up a couple of digital channels at best. Moved the directional to a TV tray outside, pointing to one of two broadcast sources, and suddenly got a bunch of channels. Unfortunately the other source is blocked by hills so that directional can't pick up anything even when I point it directly toward the source, so I strongly suspect I need to move my antenna higher and outside of the confines of my stuccoed walls.

Problem is, I don't know the first thing about running a cable in... either from outside or the attic, to the desired jack. There's existing coax in the walls, that the cable company somehow uses. I have no idea where their signal comes in. But I would think I should be able to somehow use the same lines with a home antenna, no?

seattlecyclone

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2014, 12:18:39 PM »
Problem is, I don't know the first thing about running a cable in... either from outside or the attic, to the desired jack. There's existing coax in the walls, that the cable company somehow uses. I have no idea where their signal comes in. But I would think I should be able to somehow use the same lines with a home antenna, no?

I don't think it will work to run your antenna signal through the cable lines if you are currently connected to cable. If you are not currently subscribing to any services (including internet access) through the cable company, you should be able to plug the antenna into these lines without any problem.

You'll have to figure out for yourself where to plug the antenna in. Can you see the cable coming from a pole in the street entering your house, or is everything buried? If it's not buried, just follow the cable. Shortly after it enters your house, it will probably be connected to a splitter to supply a signal to all of the cable jacks in your home. This is where you would want to plug in the antenna.

Timmmy

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2014, 01:14:33 PM »

Problem is, I don't know the first thing about running a cable in... either from outside or the attic, to the desired jack. There's existing coax in the walls, that the cable company somehow uses. I have no idea where their signal comes in. But I would think I should be able to somehow use the same lines with a home antenna, no?

At one point in time I had a satellite dish so I mounted my outdoor antenna on the mast for the dish(removed the actual dish) that was still roof mounted and I used existing cable to run to the TV.  Works great.  Running cable doesn't have to be hard.  It's basic DIY or you can contact any independent cable/sat installer and have them run the cable for you for a flat fee.  A low voltage electrician should be able to do it too. 

Gone Fishing

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2014, 01:21:47 PM »
We live in a valley in a rural area.  We used to get a couple of stations on the indoor antenna before digital, but after the switch to digital, we could only get one in (sometimes) and it was covered up in commercials, so we packed up the antenna and went to 100% online.  We are currently taking a break from paid services and just watching things out of our library and Youtube.  We'll probably turn on Netflix DVD (better selection than streaming) once daylight savings reverts. 

Sylly

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2014, 02:52:44 PM »
I don't think it will work to run your antenna signal through the cable lines if you are currently connected to cable. If you are not currently subscribing to any services (including internet access) through the cable company, you should be able to plug the antenna into these lines without any problem.

You'll have to figure out for yourself where to plug the antenna in. Can you see the cable coming from a pole in the street entering your house, or is everything buried? If it's not buried, just follow the cable. Shortly after it enters your house, it will probably be connected to a splitter to supply a signal to all of the cable jacks in your home. This is where you would want to plug in the antenna.

Hmm, that's a good point. We'll probably always have incoming internet service, so hopefully we can locate that splitter and just pick one off to carry the antenna signal. Everything's buried, so there's no cable to follow. The previous owner put up a dish with a cable that ran into an outside wall and probably up to the attic (since it doesn't come out the other side), and based on the fact the AT&T guy had to dig around one of our jacks and 'reconnect' something when we moved in, I assume that the dish signal was somehow connecting to the internal lines. So it must be doable. Unfortunately the dish is on the wrong side of the house, so I can't just put an antenna in its place.

Just need to hunt around the attic in search of those cables, I suppose. Been avoiding that due to the heat, but should be more tolerable soon.

Rube

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2014, 08:44:23 PM »
I've had a couple of RCA indoor set top antennas for a little over a year and they work pretty well. The upstairs one seems to work a little better because of the height. One channel generally requires that we tip it backwards. We are about 35 miles from the sticks but all the main channels originate from them and they are right next to each other so not a lot of adjustment is needed other than that one channel. I need to figure out something for the basement because the signals die down there.



About a month ago I got the second biggest  outdoor antenna RCA makes with the idea that I would mount it in the unfinished garage attic. That spot is also the closest to the splitter in the basement. But when I tested it there was no discernible difference from the indoor antennas. And this would have required a mounting pole, grounding and you're limited to coax outlet proximity for TV placement. I returned it.

BTW, if your apartment or condo unit has some sort of access to outside, they generally can't deny you the use of any sort of over the air antenna unless use requires screwing it into the side of the building. But if you have something like a balcony railing, you're golden.

devan 11

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2014, 10:19:21 PM »
  I am doing my own consumer research and testing reception at my location now. I tried an inexpensive Terk directional antenna, with mixed results.  It looked like something from the Jetsons cartoon, which didn't help. I picked up a bidirectional Terk mat antenna this weekend with better results.  This picks up the 10 easiest stations. Next step is to run cable from the attic.
 I have an old large directional that I will try out as either an auxiliary antenna or as the solo if I can find a dependable and simple-to-operate rotor to a roof mast. If I can pull in a few stations that are out of easy reach, I see if those station's programming are even worth the effort to chase after. We have cable now, but I will really miss the real news stations.  Somehow, I don't get why wardrobe malfunctions or cute animals scoop Russian invasions and trade wars.

  If I can run cable through inside walls in a clean run, I will go that route, otherwise I will run cable through the outside wall, down to ground level, then back in. I made the mistake of letting a cable installer do some work and he thoroughly screwed up the job, damaged my house, and ran cable to the places that were easiest to get at but were not anywhere close where the either TV or router were located.  He gave an explanation that the frequency filter was clogged with electrons as the reason that he could only run the cable to where he ran it, instead of where it was needed.  If it was put in where we wanted it, the electron filter would only plug up again.  I invited him to leave after that stunt.  I had to redo the inside run. I won't hire this out again.
  My dumb noob question is whether I can get away with a hybrid antenna. Hooking a directional antanna to the weak signal direction, and an omni directional antenna to capture the rest of the signals, then use a splitter to combine, then amplify it for a stronger signal downstream to two TVs.


darelldd

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2014, 12:29:46 AM »
six years ago, I installed a $25 RadioShack antenna on my chimney, and spent another $50 on mast and cable. I've never looked back. I get all broadcast stations, and tons of other stations as well. Yes, we miss a few of the cable channels, but for "free" we get about 90% of the channels we would watch. My nieghbors spend minimum $50 for TV. Some as high as $250 per month. And they even pay that when they're on vacation! Nuts. We have a DVR, and the antenna. Both paid for long, long ago with no monthly fees.

It is all going to depend on where you live, but I'm here to tell you that fewer channels is not a bad thing. Then you just have less incentive to watch the thing, right? And who every got to retire early by watching more TV?


MustacheCash

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2014, 10:52:44 AM »
We have a DVR, and the antenna. Both paid for long, long ago with no monthly fees.

We are thinking about doing the Mohu Leaf and a DVR.  Just curious, what kind of over-the-air DVR do you have?  I have heard the Channel Master DVR+ is the best non-subscription DVR.  Does anyone else have any recommendations for a DVR?

coffeelover

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2014, 11:55:50 AM »
We cancelled cable when we bought/moved into our current house.

We are on try #4 with Antenna's. I tried 3 different indoor antenna's but they don't really work for us. Even though we are only about 20 miles away from the broadcasting stations. So we bought a 20.00 outdoor antenna off of amazon and now we get all regular stations except for Fox. No idea why Fox doesn't come in. Even putting the antenna higher did not make a difference.
We get all the PBS stations, which is awesome for the kids and I can still watch Survivor. So i'm happy.

MustacheCash

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2014, 08:02:14 AM »
I tried 3 different indoor antenna's but they don't really work for us.

What brand or type of indoor antennas did you use that did not work?

coffeelover

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Re: For those who cancelled cable, are you using an Outdoor Antenna?
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2014, 11:11:16 AM »
I tried 3 different indoor antenna's but they don't really work for us.

What brand or type of indoor antennas did you use that did not work?

Just a newer rabbit ears I bought from Kmart, then returned.
I ordered 2 different ones off of Amazon, the supposedly newer better flat versions. They didn't work for us.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DIFIM36/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1
and then similar to the above link I ordered a name brand high end one, that also did not work and then got returned as well.