A question about digital TV antennas in SE Portland.
November 17, 2008 11:30 AM   Subscribe

A question about digital TV antennas in SE Portland.

When I shipped out to the Navy, I left my parents set up with two digital TVs: one HDTV and a conventional set with a set-top box. The old ¨rabbit-ear¨ antennas work well enough, but they require readjustment every few hours or so. What would be a superior replacement? They live in Southeast Portland, near Mall 205.

Priorities:
-Do not require frequent readjustment
-Do not require external installation or wiring through walls
-Difficulty in establishing initial setup is not a huge problem as long as it stays set up for extended periods
-Gets every channel available

Let me know if any other information would help.
posted by concrete to Technology (8 answers total)
 
are you looking for cable or for regular TV?

Do you want to consolidate to one TV?

Does your current HDTV have a built-in-tuner?

If you have the built-in tuner for the HDTV, I would just go ahead and get an HD Antenna. Those don't require any adjustment- it's a digital signal, so you either get it, or you don't.

If you don't have a built in HD Tuner, you may have to purchase one (they're expensive though- might be better to get a brand new tv), or go ahead and get cable.

Come February, your rabbit ear antennas won't work- everything is going digital.
posted by unexpected at 11:58 AM on November 17, 2008


unexpected:

-Regular TV
-Not looking to consolidate
-Both TVs use digital tuners

I´m looking for specific model recommendations of antennas, particularly of ones that people have used successfully in the SE Portland area.
posted by concrete at 12:24 PM on November 17, 2008


Concrete's using rabbit ears to pick up the digital signal. I have the same set up, but I don't need to adjust my antenna. I have a coworker that has a "digital" antenna and she complains about the above issue. She has to adjust her antenna depending on the channel she's watching. Mine is one that I've had for years with no useful id. So who's found a good antenna that works where others fail?
posted by fhqwhgads at 12:26 PM on November 17, 2008


This might be useful. http://www.hdtvantennalabs.com/index.php
posted by fhqwhgads at 12:29 PM on November 17, 2008


I bought this antenna last year, and it's worked perfectly.

I live nowhere near SE Portland though. sorry.
posted by unexpected at 1:03 PM on November 17, 2008


I've had good luck with this antenna as an inexpensive indoor antenna, both in close in NE and further out toward the airport. You may get good info at AVS Forum's Portland OTA page as well.
posted by togdon at 1:25 PM on November 17, 2008


TV Fool is a good resource for checking the power of TV signals in your area, and hence how much antenna you need.

Strictly speaking, there's no such thing as a "digital TV antenna."
posted by swift at 1:38 PM on November 17, 2008


Come February, your rabbit ear antennas won't work- everything is going digital.

This is so totally wrong. I think those TV commercials about the digital switch are doing more harm than good. What won't work, come February, is the analog tuner, unless you've got a digital-to-analog converter box.

As swift mentions, there's no such thing as an analog or digital antenna. They're all antennas and will all pick up any signal available.

Your main problem is wanting an indoor antenna that will require no adjustment. That is pretty tough to achieve. Indoor antennas are smaller, and therefore weaker, than outdoor ones. You can get powered ones, but that doesn't always help. Omnidirectional antennas don't require adjustment, but they can't pick up some distant signals(it all depends on signal distance/strength, as well as topography and other obstacles between the antenna and signal). Directional antennas will receive from much further, but can require frequent adjustment, depending on the direction of your signal sources.

You've been provided some good info and resources above, but I'll throw one more out there. AntennaWeb is another place to find the signal locations relative to your parents' street address and what antennas will work best. Note: the reception I get, compared to what AntennaWeb says I should, is ... different. Some stations are better, others are worse. I get a few stations I "shouldn't" and don't get others that I "should". Still, it's a decent baseline to work from, and I doubt that any website will have perfect accuracy.
posted by owtytrof at 7:02 AM on November 18, 2008


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