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View Full Version : OK, I would love to get free TV but...


Poohbug
06-24-2009, 12:11 PM
I would love to drop the DirecTv but even with a new TV I only get two channels since everything went digital.

Has anyone else had a problem receiving digital signals since the change? I like my TV and don't think I can handle getting one-two channels.

Do roof-top antennas make a big difference. I live between two decent sized cities that broadcast and I can't get anything in.

I am thinking of just switching between the satellite companies regularly to get the good deals.

Disney*Dreamer
06-24-2009, 12:23 PM
We just switched from Direct to DishNetwork, and are saving $75 dollars a month total, because we got a package deal through our phone company, Embarq. It incluedes our phone, internet, and Dish classic Silver, our total savings (we had the internet before too) was $75 dollars.

But onto your real question, my sister only gets 3 channels since the switch to digital.

D&DDisney
06-24-2009, 12:37 PM
We just get free over-the-air digital tv. We have an indoor antena w/ electric boost (ie - you have to plug it in) and can pull in over 40 channels and we live in the middle of nowhere.
We do not miss the tons of cable channels and can get some shows on the internet if we really want to see them.
I figure we are saving between $50-100 per month this way. :thumbsup2

raraloveseeyore
06-24-2009, 12:41 PM
I live in a large city with several local channels. Since the switch, I can only get two local channels. I have an antenna and I am still having problems. Sometimes I get a channel but it does the tiling and you can't watch it.

soccerchick
06-24-2009, 01:05 PM
I'm VERY tempted to drop all the cable stuff we have and just start watching shows via the internet on the tv. Between hulu.com and joost (sp?) and the regular channels on the internet, I will get shows I watch anyway and many from the cable channels I don't. Many are in hi def now too.

D&DDisney
06-24-2009, 01:11 PM
I live in a large city with several local channels. Since the switch, I can only get two local channels. I have an antenna and I am still having problems. Sometimes I get a channel but it does the tiling and you can't watch it.

Check your antena. Regular rabbit ears don't cut it any more. You need one with an electric boost/plug in. We got ours at Radio Shack. Looks like something out of Star Trek sitting on our table. It is adjustable by remote and also programable so you can program in the exact # for the station you want w/o getting up. We are actually picking up stations from 2 major cities (Milwaukee and Madison) now.

raraloveseeyore
06-24-2009, 01:23 PM
Thanks for the info. I'll have my husband check it out.

kimsuenew
06-24-2009, 01:57 PM
I would love to drop the DirecTv but even with a new TV I only get two channels since everything went digital.

Has anyone else had a problem receiving digital signals since the change? I like my TV and don't think I can handle getting one-two channels.

Do roof-top antennas make a big difference. I live between two decent sized cities that broadcast and I can't get anything in.

I am thinking of just switching between the satellite companies regularly to get the good deals.

Hi! :goodvibes We just house-sat for my in-laws. They have a digital box, their large roof-top antenna with box and they now only get 4 public television channels, 2 CHristian television channels, one NBC station, and one ABC station.

Before the digital transition (off the old "stand alone antenna" they got at least one each of NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, Christian, and Public Television, so their viewing opportunity went down considerably!

We definately will not be switching! We have TWC and bundle our internet, digital phone, and digital cable for $99.00 a month, does TWC serve the area you are in?

peggster
06-24-2009, 02:12 PM
I'm having similar problems. I was using my converter box before the transition, receiving over a dozen channels (including all the networks), and once they flipped the switch, almost all of them disappeared. I've heard that some stations switched from UHF to VHF, and that's causing some reception issues. Also, some stations went to lower power transmission (something about what frequencies the FCC had assigned them or some such thing), and that's also causing many of us not to get reception. Supposedly they're working on the lower power issues and hope things will improve by the end of summer. You may have something similar happening in your area.

Meanwhile, I'm going to try upgrading to a new indoor antenna and see if that's an improvement over my trusty old rabbit ears. I'm hoping not to have to install a rooftop antenna, but that may be what I have to do. The good news is that I'm finding I have lots more free time to do other things now that I'm not watching much TV. :)

brettb
06-24-2009, 05:39 PM
Y'all did re-scan your channels after the cut-off date, right?

Check out http://antennaweb.org for the skinny on where you need to point your antenna and what kind of antenna you may need.

squirrlygirl
06-24-2009, 06:42 PM
Y'all did re-scan your channels after the cut-off date, right?

Check out http://antennaweb.org for the skinny on where you need to point your antenna and what kind of antenna you may need.

DS's TV went down to only a handful of stations until we rescanned. Now he gets about 40 :thumbsup2

Disneyliscious
06-24-2009, 07:27 PM
I have scanned......and re-scanned....and scanned again. I live less than 30 miles outside of Nashville and get ONE channel. Sometimes another channel comes in....but it pixelates so bad you cant watch it.

I will NOT cave in and buy cable/satellite. Thats exactly what they want you to do...lol

I'll live with my one channel and use my extra free time to visit the DIS boards!!

Im not a tv person and my kids mostly watch DVD's.....so there is just no way Im gonna pay for tv.

minnie1928
06-24-2009, 08:25 PM
DS's TV went down to only a handful of stations until we rescanned. Now he gets about 40 :thumbsup2

Do you mind posting your son's zip code? I'm curious to see how many stations are listed on the website compared to the actual number your son receives. I'm thinking of converting my mom over and simply signing her up for netflix to get movies. That way she'd only be paying about $9/month instead of $55/month for cable only.

dementia412
06-25-2009, 12:25 AM
I was so ticked after I got the converter. I love how they left out how you would also need to buy an expensive antenna to get anything in. We were getting a handful of stations but they wouldn't stay on and the voice kept getting real deep, then the channels would just vanish. So when are the coupons for the antennas coming out? Oh, yeah all those people who were told they wouldn't be hurt by the switch can just suck it I guess. This just gave my DH an excuse to get cable. :scared1:

johnnymo99
06-25-2009, 12:44 AM
I went from 12 channels to 1. I live in NE Ohio about half way between Cleveland and Youngstown. Now I get only 1 youngstown channel and thats it. This is with an amplified antenna(plug in). I have rescanned but still only get 1 channel. This digital conversion SUCKS big time. Now I am going to have to buy an outdoor antenna and install it. Who is going to pay for this? The government or maybe I should take up a collection from some on here who thought digital was the best thing since sliced bread. I have already complained to my congressman and senator about this garbage. And as a side note it is not just me in my area who have lost most of their channels- many, many, many, many others are in the same boat as me.:mad:

peggster
06-25-2009, 09:04 AM
Y'all did re-scan your channels after the cut-off date, right?

Yes, multiple times. Re-scanning won't solve the problems I've been having. When a station switches from UHF to VHF, or starts transmitting at lower power, that's not something I can do anything about, really, aside from spending more money on a more powerful antenna (and hoping that will do the trick). This whole digital conversion has been a big rip-off, as far as I'm concerned. Since those of us without cable or satellite make up such a small portion of the viewing public, I feel like the powers that be figured we wouldn't complain much, or would just switch to cable. And that's something I refuse to do. I am watching a lot less TV than I did before the switch, and it's amazing how much free time I have to do other things.

squirrlygirl
06-25-2009, 10:03 AM
Do you mind posting your son's zip code? I'm curious to see how many stations are listed on the website compared to the actual number your son receives. I'm thinking of converting my mom over and simply signing her up for netflix to get movies. That way she'd only be paying about $9/month instead of $55/month for cable only.

Antennaweb says we should get 11 channels, mostly from Lansing. We actually receive stations from Lansing, Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Toledo, and Windsor (Canada) off the top of my head. We have the recommended roof-top antenna as well as an in-line booster, so I don't know what we'd get without them. :confused3

kileybeth
06-25-2009, 10:08 AM
We have never had cable, always just an antenna. We used to get tons of stations with it. Since the switch, we can not get ABC without it coming in and out and pixilating. Good thing it's not a channel I enjoy much! We also lost our 2 PBS stations my little ones enjoyed each morning.

We have the booster plug in box thingy (so technical I am!) and an absolute huge antenna in our highly vaulted attic. Now we do still get lots of channels so it is what it is but certainly aside from better reception on the ones we now get, not much of an improvement.

oh yeah, we live within an hour of two huge broadcasting cities (Philadelphia and Baltimore). We used to pick up most programming in both directions. crazy.

My parents are closer to Salisbury/Baltimore and are getting nearly nothing with their plug in antenna on their new digital tv. They are older, do not have money for cable and this was their entertainment for most of the day. They do not have a computer. Seems like not such a good thing for lots of older folks.

brettb
06-25-2009, 10:26 AM
My random thoughts:

1) An outdoor antenna in an attic can have signal loss from 30-100% compared to the same antenna mounted on the roof.
2) Signal amplifiers *may* help, but sometimes all they do is amplify noise. They probably make the most sense when installed near an outdoor antenna that has a long cable run to the TV.
3) Indoor amplified antennas can stink big time - even expensive ones. If the antenna can't pick up a decent signal, the amplifier isn't going to help.
4) You may need to point your antenna in a different direction
5) Some cable companies offer a very limited package for < $20 month. Not free, but a lot less than the $100+ some people spend on cable. (Our's is about $15/month.) In the all-analog cable days, this was supposed to offer the basic broadcast stations and some public interest channels. If you have a digital TV with a QAM tuner (the ATSC converter boxes won't work), you can probably tune all the basic broadcast channels in HD and perhaps even a significant number of unencrypted basic cable channels.
6) If you have a cable modem, but not cable TV, try connecting your QAM-capable TV to the cable and see if you get the HDTV and unencrypted digital TV stations. Some people do (even without something like the $15/month TV package), depending on the cable company!

Ava
06-25-2009, 10:43 AM
Anyone here live in an apartment building and get decent reception with just an indoor antenna? I would love to get rid of my cable, but I live in an apartment in Brooklyn and am worried that I won't get any channels because of all the interference. Obviously I can't install a roof antenna, so I'd only be able to use an indoor one. Any apartment dwellers have experiences to share?

I guess I could always buy the antenna, unhook the cable box and try it out. Then if I don't get any channels just return the antenna and keep my cable. I don't even know if my TV is digital though - I got it new in 2003.

peggster
06-25-2009, 11:01 AM
I don't even know if my TV is digital though - I got it new in 2003.

Unfortunately, I can't be any help about reception in an apartment, but I can offer some input about the TV. I bought mine in late 2006, and it's not digital. It seems like I read somewhere that they started requiring manufacturers to produce only digital in maybe early 2007? My guess is that yours is probably not digital. Do you happen to still have the owner's manual? That should tell you what kind you have.

Good luck!

dijid
06-25-2009, 11:47 AM
Do roof-top antennas make a big difference. I live between two decent sized cities that broadcast and I can't get anything in.
IME - Yes! The rooftop antenna made a huge difference for us. We haven't had cable for years. Had been relying on an amplified indoor antenna (the Terk that Radio Shack sells) and when we tried to watch digital TV, if someone moved across the room, or a plane flew over, or the wind blew - well, we would lose the picture and switch to the analog station.

So when the transition was going to happen, I did some research (www.antennaweb.org as someone mentioned) and we purchased an antenna to attach to the chimney. DH wanted to make sure it was properly grounded as well. Total cost was probably close to $150 once you added the grounding rod, cables, attachments and stuff that DH messed up and had to buy again LOL! We played around with the orientation and now we don't lose reception! Plus, we added two more PBS stations from far away.

If you've already got coax running to your house, you can tie into it. We disocvered that the coax we had from the previous owner's satellite wasn't that good and the signal quality diminished. Replacing it helped (but was another $25).

You can also hire someone to do the antenna install. In the end we saved some money, but found out that it didn't save us as much as we had thought. Then again, we do'nt know if the quote we had including grounding the antenna properly.

jessica52877
06-25-2009, 11:48 AM
We went with basic cable and I got it installed last November so I didn't have to worry about the rush that would happen with it changing in February. Of course, I got screwed paying the few extra months once they changed it. Sorry, I don't think that was right!

Before cable and digital I got PBS, NBC and CBS and couple other channels. I didn't want to have to deal with the boxes and lose reception on most of the tv's in our house (non are digital) so went with the basic cable at $17/month. The day they switched it we lost more channels. We only got about 12 to begin with. The cable company said it had something to do with how they are broadcasting but I don't really get it.

HLDisney
06-25-2009, 01:14 PM
Anyone here live in an apartment building and get decent reception with just an indoor antenna? I would love to get rid of my cable, but I live in an apartment in Brooklyn and am worried that I won't get any channels because of all the interference. Obviously I can't install a roof antenna, so I'd only be able to use an indoor one. Any apartment dwellers have experiences to share?

I guess I could always buy the antenna, unhook the cable box and try it out. Then if I don't get any channels just return the antenna and keep my cable. I don't even know if my TV is digital though - I got it new in 2003.

I live in an apartment in Queens and we have the converter box and rabbit ears antenna from the dollar store. So far, we can get the same channels we had before (2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13) plus some extras like KidsThirteen. However, there is some pixelation but we're living with it at this point since I don't really watch TV much and my DD is only interested in PBS and KidsThirteen.

Helen

kileybeth
06-25-2009, 04:29 PM
While I am certain my husband could give you all of the technical answers to every question you asked and yes, we know all about all of the things you mentioned, the low down is this.

I do not want cable. Not even the $10 package I could get from my local company. We do have Verizon FIOS for high speed internet. Had a package with them for phone as well but they discontniued that service so back to just internet package. Also have Comcast options. Simply not interested in paying for it.

My antenna is staying in the huge attic as it recieved more then adequate reception before this digital change over. We have had our convertor boxes since they first came out (what was that? a year or so ago?) and all was working perfectly. What can I say? It is ugly and as not one of the other houses in my 199 house neighborhood has an outdoor antenna I will not be the first to violate our deed restrictions (which, yes, I know are not legal) that say no antennas or dishes on the exterior of our homes. I am happy that the rules are there! Now if we could just make those security cameras a bit less visable, ugh!


The decrease in service just came after the switch over date as they have lowered the output of the signal on many channels. I will hold out and hope they increase the signals again.

Good luck to all of you. My DH will continue to tweek not only our "free system", (yup, brought the antenna from our old house 8plus years ago!) but my parents as well. His parents where paying $58 a month for some cable package and because of the switch over have just been told they now need a box and will lose several channels they had included before, new monthly cost for them? $88!!! No thank you!!!

Ava
06-25-2009, 04:43 PM
I live in an apartment in Queens and we have the converter box and rabbit ears antenna from the dollar store. So far, we can get the same channels we had before (2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13) plus some extras like KidsThirteen. However, there is some pixelation but we're living with it at this point since I don't really watch TV much and my DD is only interested in PBS and KidsThirteen.

Helen
Thank you for the info! Those are the only channels I watch anyway. The main reason I keep my cable is because I love the DVR, but I was doing some math and I'd actually save money in the long run if I buy a Tivo and cancel the cable. Now I just have to save up $300 for a Tivo! :happytv:

brettb
06-26-2009, 12:53 AM
<snip>Before cable and digital I got PBS, NBC and CBS and couple other channels. I didn't want to have to deal with the boxes and lose reception on most of the tv's in our house (non are digital) so went with the basic cable at $17/month. The day they switched it we lost more channels. We only got about 12 to begin with. The cable company said it had something to do with how they are broadcasting but I don't really get it.

<snip>His parents where paying $58 a month for some cable package and because of the switch over have just been told they now need a box and will lose several channels they had included before, new monthly cost for them? $88!!! No thank you!!!

If the cable company tells you that you're losing channels and need a converter box because of the analog to digital switch, they're lying. Pants-on-fire lying. They're making a business decision to move channels from their analog line-up to their digital line-up that has nothing to do with the *broadcast* analog-to-digital transition. They want to free up bandwidth (analog channels use more than digital cable channels) and they want you all to have converter boxes. This generates lease fees, and probably leads to more premium subscriptions, pay-per-view purchases, etc. I suspect many providers timed this with the "switchover" so they could blame it on that instead of telling customers with analog TV's without converter boxes the truth - that it was the cable company's own business decisions that are hosing their customers.

<snip>We do have Verizon FIOS for high speed internet. Had a package with them for phone as well but they discontniued that service so back to just internet package.<snip>


This is an side question: Verizon had your phone over FIOS, then discontinued the FIOS phone service? You mean they put your phone back on the copper (POTS)?!? That's bizarre! I thought Verizon was doing everything they possibly could to get people off of copper - in many cases removing the copper to the house once they connect the FIOS service so you *can't* go back to POTS if you decide to drop all FIOS service altogether.

kileybeth
06-26-2009, 01:11 AM
brettb,

I should have clarified but I am the least techie person on earth I do believe sometimes :rotfl:

We had a Voice over IP phone plan that was really really a huge pain and I hated it so was not in the least upset for them to eventually cancel it.

We went with it so our bill would be lower. It was somehow hooked in with our internet service.

anywho, they apparently did not get the client base they wanted (no wonder, we lost our phone/internet service at least 3x for as much as 3 days long 2 of those times!) so they told us we would have to find another phone service provider.

We went with the program just as they were laying the FIOS lines in our neighborhood and we switched our internet to that as well.

HTH?

We actually went straight to giving up our land line when their (verizon phone) service ended and switched our 8 year old land line number to a $9.99 a month cell phone on our family plan with AT&T, a company I actually like despite having to argue my case with them and straighten our an overbilling. . . And boy has that been great! The sales people apparently can tell when their calls hit a cell phone and since it cost them more for that, they just hang up! I am down from 10-30 calls a day to 2-4!

so I guess I don't know if we could go back to some other kind of land line? :confused3

but back ON TOPIC: just today every channel on our tv's went out (no signal) for 3 hours except CBS?! bother.

ETA: yeah, we know they are ripping off his parents, it's comcast and I do not recommend them to anyone ever as my son has had numerous problems over the years until he ditched them. My FIL just needs his ball games and it is gonna cost them. They are renting them the converter boxes "free" for a few months or something but still charging for channels they used to get with a lower plan. . .