Simple TV Antenna For a Large House?

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by 1victorianfarmhouse, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Dec 5, 2017 #1

    1victorianfarmhouse

    1victorianfarmhouse

    1victorianfarmhouse

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    I live in an old Victorian house with three floors and a basement. My main (and only) TV watching room is on the first floor. I would like to add a TV to one or two bedrooms as well. There is no Antenna on the roof.

    I currently have cable TV (Direct TV) in the far western Chicago suburbs. I just have the basic package, and have no interest in all the other programming options. There is a cable TV dish on a lower section of the roof.

    A friend of mine nearby has a smaller, single level house and he has a basic antenna mounted on the roof, with a simple cable running through the wall. He pulls in all the channels I would need.

    Trying to run a cable from a roof mounted antenna through walls doesn't look like a fun project, nor a simple one.

    I am wondering if anyone on this forum knows of better antenna/reception options that I should be looking at?

    Thanks!

    Vince
     
  2. Dec 5, 2017 #2

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

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    You say you have cable, but you mention a dish - which usually means satellite.
    But in either case, there is usually a coaxial cable coming into the house somewhere near the TV room. If you add a splitter to that cable, you can run a cable to the second location. Unfortunately, it isn't always that simple. The splitter can degrade your signal, and the cable company will probably detect the extra load. My cable company provided me with a small secondary box which isn't full featured cable box that allows me to use a second TV, but without the on-demand features or the guide to stations that the full box provides. Works for me.
     
  3. Dec 5, 2017 #3

    JoeD

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    You can not use a splitter on a satellite cable.
    If you only want over the air (OTA) broadcast stations then a simple antenna might be all you need. They even make one that sticks to the inside of a window. I suspect being in a big city like Chicago this would probably be all you need.

    If you want to mount something on the roof, the cable could feed through a roof vent into the attic. Then you can fish it down any second floor wall into the room you need it.
     
  4. Dec 5, 2017 #4

    bud16415

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    Go to this site and type in your zip code.
    https://www.fcc.gov/media/engineering/dtvmaps

    It will show you what stations you can get and the strength of each. If the stations you want and need show excellent signal strength for where you live all you need to do is go to any department store and buy a set top antenna. If you have a strong signal most likely that will work as well. If it shows a weak signal then you need something bigger mounted in the attic or better yet on the roof.
     
  5. Dec 6, 2017 #5

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

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    Don't forget that broadcasters now use digital - not analog. The old fashioned antennas don't really do much anymore.
     
  6. Dec 6, 2017 #6

    nealtw

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    They have antennas for that.
     
  7. Dec 6, 2017 #7

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

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    Yeah, they're called digital antennas. Just because some people have left their old antennas in place doesn't mean the are doing anything.
     
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  8. Dec 6, 2017 #8

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    Here it is straight from the horse’s mouth. Channel Master they have been in the TV signal business from the beginning.

    http://blog.channelmaster.com/theres-no-such-thing-as-an-hd-antenna/
     
  9. Dec 6, 2017 #9

    Sparky617

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    I have a small flat antenna mounted behind my TV set. I get a fair number of channels over that one. Nothing on the roof. It is back up for my cable.

    You can't share the coax with your satellite signal. If you were dropping satellite, you can use the same coax for an external antenna.
     
  10. Dec 6, 2017 #10

    hornetd

    hornetd

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    Sorry SNS but that is not true. Radio is still Radio and there is nothing magic about any particular antenna. If you get a strong enough signal to the TV set it will work just fine. The only difference between a digital signal and an analog one is that an analog signal degrades to an unusable signal strength more gradually. Many jump to the conclusion that means that analog signals carry further but that is not actually so. Because of the error correction built into digital signal processors of the receivers it provides an acceptable picture that is relatively free of artifact at a greater distance. What makes it appear to be shorter range is that the error correction software of the signal processors will provide no picture in preference to a poor one.

    The only valid measures of antenna performance are the gain in signal strength between any other design and a simple dipole which is the standard reference antenna expressed in DBd. The other gain figure that is used in design is the theoretical gain over that or a single point isotropic radiator but that is only useful in mathematical comparisons of designs. Because that figure is always larger than the comparison to a simple dipole it is nearly always used by advertising copy writers because it is a larger number. It is expressed as DBi, the I meaning Isotropic. Wherever you see an antenna's gain expressed in DB without the reference suffix it is a pretty good bet that the writer has chosen the theoretical value in a deceptive attempt to make the antenna's performance seem better than it actually is. The only comparative measurement that can actually be done is DBd. That lower case d as the suffix means that the comparison is being made to the measurable value of the gain of a simple dipole. Occasionally you will see antennas listed with their gain in DBd because of the manufacturers insistence that the real world figure be used. In order to compare DBd with gain expressed in DB or rarely in DBi just apply the formula dBi = dBd + 2.15.

    No matter how much metal a manufacturer adds to the antenna to make it look different or more modern a "Digital" Antenna with a gain of 7 DB will not produce a better signal at the receiver than a well maintained TV antenna that is decades older which has a gain of 7 DBd. The fact is that since the gain of the old antenna is expressed in DBd, in most cases, the gain of the new glitzy "Digital" antenna is less by 2.15 DBi.

    Don't be deceived by the advertising which is meant to sell you a new antenna that you may not need.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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  11. Dec 8, 2017 #11

    slownsteady

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    I guess I should crawl out of my cable cave. I haven't dealt with an antenna in decades.
    I stand corrected. :hide:
     
  12. Dec 8, 2017 #12

    JoeD

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    Simply put the broadcaster today are broadcasting on the same frequencies that were used before digital. The only change is the type of signal that is being broadcast on the frequency. The other change is that most but not all of them are broadcasting in the UHF(channel 14-63) range instead of the VHF(channel 2-13) range.
    So any good UHF antenna from the past will work for new digital signals.
     
  13. Dec 8, 2017 #13

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    If you have been living in a cable cave, at least around here your cave must be lined with $$$$$. It is not your dad OTA anymore and it is FREE. That’s my favorite 4 letter word.

    The signals are not just digital they are HD digital just like watching a BluRay disk at least for your network feeds. The older stations didn’t run out and buy all new HD cameras so when watching local news the news may well be crystal clear and then they show a highlight of a high school football game and it looks SD. They also have paired channels now here so even though we only get ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX each one has 2 or three channels. I think we get 13 here. The dot 2 and dot 3 channels have kind of a cable feel to them. METV is a big one they play all the old network shows one is mostly action movies another westerns etc.

    The thing about digital is you don’t get to watch a signal that is weak. It comes in clear as a bell or not at all. As a kid we used to watch Canada and half the time you could barely make out the picture but you could at least hear it.

    I was hooked on cable for many years and wasted way too much time watching crazy content I really enjoyed but found I can live fine without it. When we bought this house the deal was no cable until the house was totally remodeled. Now that we can get it and see the price we are happy with OTA.

    About UHF & VHF JoeD is correct most are UHF and that is the smaller bow tie or square grid part of the antenna if you have channels 1-12 you need to get that’s the big giant thing you see on the roof with the long bars sticking out. Something most people don’t know is they sell them for half the channels. So around here we have channel 12 so we only need the small end of the giant antenna. The 8’ long width becomes about 3’ if we buy a 6-12 antenna. Wal-Mart and most stores haven’t figured that out yet and sell you the monster.

    We are lucky all the stations are in Erie and a few miles apart and living 30 miles away we don’t need a rotor. We just aim at the center of them all. Our UHF is about 3’x3’ square and is in the attic I made a stand out of a car tire and a pipe for a mast. The UHF we just have a little set top from radio shack and it works pretty good except when it snows sometime we loose channel 12.

    Again Vince if you are still reading go to that sight I linked and see what you get and how good you can expect the signal to be before you start.
     
  14. Dec 11, 2017 #14

    1victorianfarmhouse

    1victorianfarmhouse

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    Wow, I get tied up with work and Christmas stuff for a few days, and this fills up with lots of GREAT info! Thanks, Guys!

    I need to read through it all and figure out my best options. I do see some pieces of old coax in the attic, but it's really difficult to figure out what goes where and if it would be useable.

    I'll post more when I have something to report...

    Vince
     

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