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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-08-10, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 101
Question OTA Receiver


I've cut the chord in southeast Calgary (Mahogany) and I want to get setup with OTA. My tv doesn't have a tuner though so I will need some sort of receiver to plug an antenna into. What do you all recommend?

I also have a home theater PC with free PCI & PCIe slots if a tv tuner is recommended. As well I just got an nVidia Shield. I also have some old shaw HDTV PVRs, their Gateway system, and their previous PVR. But I'm told those boxes wont work with OTA signals. I also have a PIA VPN subscription if that is applicable.

What do you recommend? I mainly want it to watch Hockey Night in Canada in the fall.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-08-10, 02:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: King and Bathurst, Toronto
Posts: 31
We have a Zinwell that has been doing it's job since the Canadian switch over to digital. Seems to work very well and has not failed. Look around and see what is available. I would tend to spend more than less, meaning do not go for the least expensive tuner available. Ours was bought at The Source and the manager was very candid about reliability, ie what gets returned, and that really helped make the decision.

As regards a PC setup, I will leave that to those with the experience.

Welcome to the club.
coolcanuc is online now  
post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-08-10, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 101
I forgot to mention, this is for an HDTV. I think Zinwell is for SD.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-08-10, 08:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,314
I would recommend one of these.
They are cheap but they do the job pretty well for Under $30 (US) from Amazon, shipped to my door.
Homeworx hw180 STB.
Plug in a USB Hard Drive and you have a DVR, or can be used standalone without a hard drive.
Has HDMI output and provides a nice picture with a simple easy to follow menu structure.

from Walmart lookin like ~ $32 (US)

I originally bought the hw150 PVR for testing purposes...
Eventually gave that one to my brother who still uses it, after I grabbed the newer hw180 STB.
Which is basically the same but without the component outputs if I remember right.
So in theory, an hw150 pvr might be better in terms of flexibility than the newer hw180 IMO, since it has hdmi
and component output, if you can still find them. SW and I presume processor is a little
different on the newer hw180.

We were discussing both of these in the following thread some time ago.
ATSC DVR & PVR Recorders (other than CM)

DB4E/VHF Yagi rotor FM Bandstop ap-8700 preamp 4way split LG lcd.
majortom is offline  
post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-08-10, 10:43 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Ajax
Posts: 983

Don't make things difficult for yourself.
TV's are cheap.
Buy yourself a nice flat-screen with a built-in ATSC tuner.
The "boxes" you are talking about are called digital-analog converter boxes.
They take the digital HD signals received from your antenna, and change them to analog so older TV's can be used.
Buy yourself a new TV!!!
46FD04 is offline  
post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-08-11, 08:54 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Regional Municipality of Durham
Posts: 3,988
walmart also sells digital antenna tuners for hd tv's, dont know how good they are but take a look

Bell Satellite TV, 9400 HD PVR, 65 Inch LED TV, Smart Blue Ray Player, No sound system.
Paolo is offline  
post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-08-11, 09:03 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,843
TiVo and Channel master make good receivers with PVR functionality.
bev fan is online now  
post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-08-11, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Kitchener, ON
Posts: 4,985
I personally believe a DVR tuner solution is the best way to go. Pausing and rewinding live TV, especially sports, is great. Refer to the thread referenced by MajorTom above. Also check out the Channel Master DVR thread if this interests you. Other DVR threads include Tivo, Tablo networked DVR and the "God" box thread which compares DVR options.

Make sure that whatever tuner you go with, the necessary output is provided. For example, if your tv lacks HDMI, you will need a tuner with an alternative output.

DMX 68' tower, HyGain HAM 5 rotator, Antennas Direct DB8e & C5, Channel Master 7777 preamp, Siemens surge protection. TiVo Roamio DVR

Last edited by Jase88; 2017-08-11 at 10:03 AM.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-08-11, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Toronto 401 & Neilson
Posts: 266
As far as cost being an issue...consider what you were paying for a year of TV before you cut the cord. Probably close to $1000? Now look at what you could purchase for the equivalent of one year of cable. An appropriate outdoor antenna setup, a new flat screen TV plus a TiVo with lifetime guide with money left over.

And speaking of the guide...in my opinion that is the most important component when you are cutting the cord because no matter how you get your content, even if you only get one channel, you still want to know what is available on each of the channels you get. I'm a big fan of TiVo because I can see what is on every channel for the next 2 weeks and I can set it to record any of them with only 2 clicks.

CM4228HD, HDP269, TiVo Premiere, TiVo Roamio, TiVo Mini
MapMaker is offline  
post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-08-11, 02:49 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: 43░ N, 81.2░ W
Posts: 6,429
I would add a tuner to the HTPC. Free software such as NextPVR can turn it into a DVR/PVR. The recordings can be streamed to the nVidia Shield and just about any media player, phone, tablet, smart TV or PC. For versatility and low entry cost, it can't be beat.

There are several ways to add a tuner to the HTPC. I use a HDHomerun tuner. Its advantage is that it can be placed anywhere since it uses TCP/IP (including wifi) to stream signals to devices. It is supported by NextPVR.

PCIe cards can be a good choice as long as the extra coax cabling is not an issue. USB tuners are also available. Hauppauge tuners are a good bet. See TV Tuner Cards For HTPC Discussion. The thread is a bit dated but not a lot has changed with PC TV tuners the last few years. The main thing being improved tuner chips and the disappearance of some products.
ExDilbert is online now  
post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-08-11, 03:26 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Fort Erie, ON
Posts: 870
I have the Channel Master DVR+. It advertises a lot of features, but basically the only good points that work good are:

-OTA Tuner is decent - picks up the channels in my area
-Guide layout (uses PSIP, or if you connect to the internet gives you 2+ weeks of "Rovi" guide data)
-DVR functions OK - if you buy an external drive as your storage, the choices are limited
-no fees

All the other features are flaky in Canada, or non-existent (such as Sling/Vudu). The only other non-OTA feature that works consistently for me is YouTube. The "CMTV" OTT channels are all garbage now - unless you like Religion, Home Shopping, or numerous RT channels.
Inglewood is offline  
post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-08-11, 03:39 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: 43░ N, 81.2░ W
Posts: 6,429
I pay US$25/yr for guide data for NextPVR. There is a way to get free guide data but it's a lot more work and less reliable. Silicon Dust, the company that makes HDHomeRun, has a DVR application that includes guide data but it's more expensive. It may be necessary to set up a media server on the HTPC to stream recorded programs to small devices.
ExDilbert is online now  
post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-09-04, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Mississauga, ON & Dartmouth, NS
Posts: 838
Hope I'm not off topic...for guide data, I download zap2it to my smartphone. I can customize it for only the channels I receive, I always have my smartphone by my side, I can use it while watching another show on screen, and I can quickly scroll through channels and see what's on like when using a paper guide. And it's free.

OTA: Sony digital TV, Clearstream 2V@7' high, 10dB line amp; FTA: New 1.2-metre Ku-band dish.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-09-06, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: 43░ N, 81.2░ W
Posts: 6,429
Zap2It has been around for as long as I can remember using PCs to receive TV (about 15 years.) There was some software available that scrapes Zap2It web pages and turns it into an XML file. That can then be loaded into HTPC software or maybe an OTA receiver. Be warned that online guide providers do not like this practice and it probably contravenes Zap2It terms of use.
ExDilbert is online now  
post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 2017-09-06, 06:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,314
I have been using the zap2it scraper for years, to populate my mythtv backend.
I don't really do any recording though, so now that all of the OTA TV stations I watch broadcast their own guide info it's no longer a factor for me.

DB4E/VHF Yagi rotor FM Bandstop ap-8700 preamp 4way split LG lcd.
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