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Author Topic: Hdtv on old style antenna?  (Read 1988 times)
CraigC
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« on: October 14, 2008, 11:02:10 AM »

 I am only interested in getting local news as I travel. Will my old winnegard  omidriectional amplified round disc type antenna still work with the new HDTV?
I am using satellite for the rest.
Thanks for any input.
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Craig C
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2008, 11:33:39 AM »

I'd think so. Even rabbit ears will work, if the signals are strong in the area.
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JackConrad
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2008, 12:03:06 PM »

Yes.  I watched the local news this morning in HDTV from Channel 12.1 in Greensboro/Wiston-Salem, Nc using our Winegard batwing antenna.  Jack
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Eagle
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2008, 12:17:51 PM »

The way I understand it the antenna will not be the problem when the TV stations changes to digital it is that the TVs must have a HDTV receiver built in or you must have a cable or satalite box.
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WEC4104
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2008, 12:19:58 PM »

Without knowing all the details of your specific model, I'd say you should be fine.  There is no difference between an "HDTV" antenna and a standard definition one.  Marketing folks love to put "High Definition" in big letters on the antenna packages these days, but it is really meaningless.

Having said that, there are a few details you do need to pay attention to.  Chances are, your old Winegard was installed back in the days of analog broadcasts. Most certainly it was designed to pick up VHF signals, and probably UHF as well.  Analog broadcasting will be discontinued in Feb '09 when the FCC mandates that all broadcasters must complete the switchover to digital broadcasts. Even so, the Winegard is still receiving frequencies in the same band and it does not care if they are analog or digital.

What confuses many people is that the change is from analog to digital. It is not that the FCC is requiring HD.   Yes, for the signal to be HD it does have to be broadcast digitally, but there will still be plenty of standard definition broadcasting after Feb.

It is that difference between analog and digital that could impact you. First, with an analog broadcast, the quality of the picture on your set will vary acording to the signal strength. You could see a crystal clear picture, or a whole bunch of "snow", and every degree of picture quality in between. You can have "ghosts", the color can be vivid or washed out, and other picture quality issues.  But basically, the stronger the signal the better the picture.

With digital broadcasts (SD and HD), you pretty much get a crystal clear picture, or nothing at all. If you are right on the edge of receiving the signal your set can flip-flop between receiving the picture and the next minute go completely black. Sometimes you can see the picture start to break up (into little rectangular blocks) before it goes out, like you probably see sometimes on your satellite system.

With analog, getting a bigger/stronger antenna can mean the difference between an acceptable picture and a great one.  With digital reception, if your small antenna is able to reliably pull in the local channels you want, there is no real reason to go get a bigger/stronger one.

Another difference with the digital broadcasting is that the UHF band is used more extensively. With your Winegard, make sure it receives and amplifies the UHF frequencies as well as the VHF band.  In my home area NBC, CBS, and ABC have been broadcasting analog VHF for decades.  With their change over to digital, NBC and CBS have moved to the UHF band, and ABC will remain on VHF. With the change over to digital I would place more emphasis on an antenna's ability to receive UHF.

« Last Edit: October 14, 2008, 12:23:21 PM by WEC4104 » Logged

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JohnEd
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2008, 12:40:20 PM »

No matter how old your "Rabbit ears" may be.....they will still work also. Roll Eyes

John
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WEC4104
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2008, 01:15:22 PM »

No matter how old your "Rabbit ears" may be.....they will still work also. Roll Eyes

John

Yes, but if they are the simple rabbit ears with two rods arranged in a "V" like bunny ears, they are probably tuned to the VHF frequency and only minimal use for the UHF band.  If would be well worth it to invest the $4 in the Radio Shack "bow tie" shaped add-on to pick up the UHF signals.
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FloridaCliff
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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2008, 04:59:07 PM »

Any antenna that picks up UHF will work!

But not all UHF antennas are created equal.

Shop around and look for the highest gain in the UHF band.

A preamp is a nice addition to help pull in distant signals, the closer to to the antenna the better.

You will need a digital tuner, weather in the TV or as a seperate receiver, as already stated.

Cliff
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CraigC
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« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2008, 07:00:52 PM »

Thank you for all of the great replies.
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Craig C
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