Pros and Cons of Going OTA - Page 5 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #61 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-09, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjreid
This assumes that the difference between OTA and Cable/Sat is comparable to the difference between LP's and CD's. I highly doubt that; I have Rogers cable, and the HD picture I get is just fantastic. On this size of TV, I just don't really see that much room for improvement in terms of picture quality. Perhaps OTA _might_ be somewhat better, but I don't really see that it could compare to the difference between LP and CD.
We discussed the Rogers HD coverage earlier in this thread and the OTA Forum and it is the exception in Canada, NOT the norm. I'm glad for those of you who get that proper treatment as consumers, but you are not in a big group. Go through my posts (especially the comparison in the LG Tuner thread between the LST-4200A and the BEV 6100) and you will see that the difference is very noticeable.
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post #62 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-09, 01:43 PM
 
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I actually tried this about 5 months ago. I purchase the FTA receiver, built the HTPC installed the antenna and satelite dish and hooked it all up to the TV in the living room. I left rogers connected but turned off and told my family this is the new way we are going to watch tv... Well it was fun for a few days. Unfortunatly I have to go away for work and while I am away the obvious happened that us techno geeks don't even think about. The PC locked up, the wife couldn't work the remote/s or work out what feed was on, could not use the PVR software to schedule programs, When it rained the signal sucked, the satelite died, the.........


About 3 weeks ago when I was painting the living room I disconected the Antenna unplugged satelite, HTPC and FTA receiver, We never did disconect rogers during the whole process (and it was used more than the others). My goal was to get a setup and connect the neighbors for free (like I do off my wireless router) but now I have gone back to just watching rogers with On Demand, PPV, PVR, Timeshifting and hundreds and hundreds of channels all from the comfort of one remote and one menu

OTA is good for some but as they always say you get what you pay for...
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post #63 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-09, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TVJunkie
and while I am away the obvious happened that us techno geeks don't even think about. The PC locked up, the wife couldn't work the remote/s or work out what feed was on, could not use the PVR software to schedule programs, When it rained the signal sucked, the satelite died, the.........
OTA is good for some but as they always say you get what you pay for...
I understand completely, as I had to write a manual for Mrs. Stampeder to operate the Home Theater system. She still hates trying to use all that stuff on her own, even with that book. The addition of the OTA component only represented additional stuff to read. If the OTA equipment in your situation was the weak link, I'm sorry to hear that but I don't see it as a knock against OTA. I'm not sure if you intended that.
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post #64 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-09, 05:38 PM
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I have deleted numerous posts on this thread after several complaints from members about the thread being hijacked.

And 57 deleted about 6 more...
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post #65 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-09, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hugh
I have deleted numerous posts on this thread after several complaints from members about the thread being hijacked.

And 57 deleted about 6 more...
Thanks guys, I had to step out of the box for a few hours.
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post #66 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-10, 01:05 AM
 
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Just say "OTA" - Cut your cable now!

The only 'con' I can see in the OTA vs. cable debate is the 'con' of continuing to pay cable companies your hard earned cash to watch useless TV channel packages. How many times have you endlessly surfed your 100 channel universe and commented on the fact that nothing is on. Also have you ever wondered why you should pay to watch "commercial television". I thought that the "commercials" were paying for the TV programming and that they should be happy to have me watch the paid advertising. Don't get me wrong I agree in paying for something of value, such as having the option of buying on PPV or specific channels / content. The cable cos and the CRTC however see it only their way in that they force you to pay for channel packages you don't want or need and indeed to pay to watch commercials. Whatever we on this board or like minded people say about the current state of affairs of consumer TV in Canada nothing is going to change. Too many entrenched self intested parties will see to that.

Digital OTA is my one man protest against Canadian content (another 'con') sim subbing and the fact that in Canada I really don't have freedom of choice when it comes to TV. I've been OTA for the past 2.5 years, and digital OTA since last fall. Nothing could be finer than a zero monthly cable bill and watching the Rogers rep come begging once a quarter for me to sign up for cable. Its quite a kick to tell them that I'm on the free HD 5.1 package and watch the puzzeled look on their faces when they say that's not possible. I soon have them running back to their red van. I get the added bonus of spending more time doing things other than watching TV. Blockbuster takes care of my real home entertainment needs, but again only on my terms.

PS. - The FCC / US senate (its late I can't remember which one) yesterday were reported (Yahoo news) as considering accelerating the requirement that 100% of mid-size televisions sold in the U.S. have digital tuners built in to sometime next year. This will spill into TV supply in Canada and will help eliminate the issue of cost re:digital tuners leaving only the residual issue of the mounting of an antenna and related cabling.
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post #67 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-10, 10:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stampeder
This thread has started to enter that gray area that separates the OTA Forum from the good threads in DHC that deal with PCs and Linux boxes as multimedia and Home Theater devices.
cheers,
stampeder
You're right, there was a risk that the thread would get morphed into a HTPC, HDTVW thread. Actually, the root idea I wanted to get across was that for some people, an expensive tower and antenna isn't necessary to receive OTA HDTV, which had been mentioned as an argument against OTA. Jeneral didn't use an HDTV Wonder but paired an HDTV receiver box with just a $60 Radio Shack antenna.

But when thinking about issues like this, I often find it useful to make up a matrix of the most important factors. In this case, high vs low cost, light vs heavy TV viewing. When you list out the combinations, some of the issues that come to light can be interesting.

Low cost/low TV viewing.

This is where I am. Either an HDTV Wonder using the included antenna or an inexpensive HDTV receiver box plus a low cost antenna. If you only watch a few hours of TV a week and want to drop satellite or cable fees this may be the best way to go. IIRC, digital reception requires many db less transmission power than VHF, so you can get all the major networks with just a tiny UHF antenna (no tower+large VHF antenna needed) and it's mostly in HDTV as a bonus.
.................

Low cost/high TV viewing.

In this case, I don't think you can beat cable for simplicity and ease of use, although satellite comes close (no chance of rain fade with cable). There just isn't enough content (and probably never will be) on HDTV OTA stations to satisfy a heavy TV viewer. No 24 hour news channels, no specialty channels, no movie channels, no PPV. Most of the extra channels aren't in HDTV yet, so you're probably going to be watching SDTV most of the time anyway. So OTA may not be the best value in this situation. It's too much trouble and not enough return for the precious money spent.
..................

High cost/low TV viewing.

Here you may have a large flat screen advanced HDTV monitor. Interestingly, OTA may be the best bet, since it probably has the highest resolution, best picture quality. Having spent a lot of money on the monitor, spending less than $100 on a small UHF antenna or $1000+ on a tower won't make that much difference. You might not watch much TV, but when you do watch, it might as well be the best experience possible since so much money was spent on the viewing system.
..................

High cost/high TV viewing.

Again, you probably have an expensive home theater system. In this case, adding OTA as an additional content source on top of cable or satellite may make sense, since it's likely it will have the best picture quality. Since you watch a lot of TV, spending a few hundred dollars extra for cable or satellite service will likely be a good purchase. Adding OTA HDTV to get the best possible picture quality for occasional network broadcasts makes sense to get full value out of the expensive home theater system.
...........

Another factor that some people have mentioned is the WAF - Wife Acceptance Factor. That is of course, always the decisive factor and doesn't need a decision matrix. ;->

Last edited by weblurker; 2005-06-10 at 10:50 AM.
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post #68 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-10, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weblurker
when thinking about issues like this, I often find it useful to make up a matrix of the most important factors.
That's an interesting schema and I think many people would find it helpful in that each person would need to customize to suit their situation, but I think possible OTA reception should be tacked on to each item you've raised, such as this:

Low cost/low TV viewing/Good-to-Excellent OTA reception

This is where I am. Either an HDTV Wonder using the included antenna or an inexpensive HDTV receiver box plus a low cost antenna. If you only watch a few hours of TV a week and want to drop satellite or cable fees this may be the best way to go. IIRC, digital reception requires many db less transmission power than VHF, so you can get all the major networks with just a tiny UHF antenna (no tower+large VHF antenna needed) and it's mostly in HDTV as a bonus.
.................

Low cost/low TV viewing/Fringe or Deep Fringe OTA reception

As above, but this would require an outdoor antenna on a mast, possibly a preamp, and likely a rotator. The equipment would "pay for itself" over a period of months to years in saved CATV or DBS fees.
.................

And so on...

I have to say that I'm leaning towards a hybrid system of combined OTA and CATV or DBS as the best solution for my TV watching, but I understand why DHCers would want to chuck all that stuff and go 100% OTA.
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post #69 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-10, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cable Free
The only 'con' I can see in the OTA vs. cable debate is the 'con' of continuing to pay cable companies your hard earned cash to watch useless TV channel packages. How many times have you endlessly surfed your 100 channel universe and commented on the fact that nothing is on.
I hear ya, and I'm remembering the Pink Floyd song from The Wall that goes "... I got 13 channels of $#|+ on the TV to choose from..." except that I was up to about 300 channels there at one time on BEV and would think that! We decided to cancel almost everything except the HD package and we haven't looked back.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cable Free
The cable cos and the CRTC however see it only their way in that they force you to pay for channel packages you don't want or need....
No need for anyone to tell me why "packages" exist, I don't argue that. I do hate them and feel like I'm being roped into purchasing things I do not want or need, especially when they're not "theme based" but "profit for my company" based. Good riddance to that nonsense!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cable Free
I get the added bonus of spending more time doing things other than watching TV. Blockbuster takes care of my real home entertainment needs, but again only on my terms.
We started going back to Blockbuster a few weeks ago because we got tired of the PPV stress of having to run like heck from the HT room up to the kitchen for beverages and snacks, only to miss key parts of the movie. Need a bathroom break? Too bad, you just missed a great sequence. Yes a PVR will take care of that (and so would a wet bar in the HT room ) but I already have a DVR and I don't feel like doing all that stuff just to watch a movie.

I've replied to the FCC portion of your post in the CRTC/FCC News thread.
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post #70 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-10, 12:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stampeder
That's an interesting schema and I think many people would find it helpful in that each person would need to customize to suit their situation, but I think possible OTA reception should be tacked on to each item you've raised, such as this:

Low cost/low TV viewing/Good-to-Excellent OTA reception

And so on...

I have to say that I'm leaning towards a hybrid system of combined OTA and CATV or DBS as the best solution for my TV watching, but I understand why DHCers would want to chuck all that stuff and go 100% OTA.
I absolutely agree with you about signal reception being an important factor. Another factor that has to be considered is convenience, since using a rotator might be necessary for OTA. For long time cable viewers, adding a channel switching delay might be a problem. Booting up a PC to watch TV might be another problem.

A friend tried to convince his mother to switch to HDTV OTA (she detests Rogers Cable) but the thought of booting up a HTPC to watch TV was way out of the acceptable zone for her. In her case, she was a low cost, low viewing person but convenience was a decisive factor. Actually, she lives in Oshawa, so signal reception probably would have been a problem for her as well.

A 2x2 decision matrix can be useful but you're right, it's often not sufficient. But a 3x3 or 4x4 matix can be confusing.
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post #71 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-10, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weblurker
I absolutely agree with you about signal reception being an important factor. Another factor that has to be considered is convenience, since using a rotator might be necessary for OTA. For long time cable viewers, adding a channel switching delay might be a problem. Booting up a PC to watch TV might be another problem.
I would not even consider anything but an STB for most of the people I know. Consumers know all about STBs, so the fact that a new one on top of the TV is for OTA doesn't really matter to them; they just want to know how to use it and how to watch their favourite shows. If you need to add another box as a rotator controller you might lose some people until you take them outside and show them why rotating the antenna is a good thing while someone inside is activating it. They'll get it, just like they got how to use the DBS or CATV STBs before that. Of course some still have VCRs flashing "12:00"...
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post #72 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-20, 04:42 PM
 
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My preference is for OTA to get the networks without compression, no simsubbing, true HD, and 5.1 Dolby.

I'm keeping my basic cable for the specialty channels. This way I get to watch the networks and the other stuff that isn't available in HD.

Keep my cost down and still enjoy HD.
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post #73 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-21, 02:06 PM
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Unhappy Are we back in the early days of TV?

I didn't expect to have to play engineer to run my new tv set.
Stations disapearing, remapping themselves and the low power stations disapearing with a little rain?
Are we back in the early days of TV?
I thought the A in ATSC stood for Advanced? Maybe it should have been a B for Behind.
Would i have better luck with Expressvu than OTA? I read here and other places that picture quality was better OTA?
My wife and kids are definately not impressed. They get a real kick out of watching me scramble to get this thing working.
My oldest daughter asked, "Why don't they just shutdown the whole thing till they learn how to make it work?" Shes got a point.
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post #74 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-21, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom.F.1
Are we back in the early days of TV?
Umm, yeah.

How many DTV stations were there in Canada two years ago?

How many places in Canada can you buy an OTA STB?

These should have been some clues.


Want to switch to Cable (Rogers???) and get an HD DVR?

57's Home Theatre (Latest equipment & photos)
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post #75 of 705 (permalink) Old 2005-06-21, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom.F.1
I didn't expect to have to play engineer to run my new tv set.
Stations disapearing, remapping themselves and the low power stations disapearing with a little rain?
Are we back in the early days of TV?
Yes, we are certainly in the early days of digital TV. I wouldn't say we're at the bleeding edge, but certainly at the leading edge. Are there bugs to be worked out? Yes. I think if someone wishes to avoid hassles and go to an OTA system that works the way they like, consulting with a professional installer and paying for the best equipment is the plan of action to take. On the other hand, many of us enjoy the experimentation and early-adopter buzz, so OTA presents lots of great and not-so-great experiences. At that point I think it becomes an issue of how someone wants to proceed, and I do not blame you for feeling so frustrated. You want it to "just work" and that's a realistic expectation. A professional installation would "just work".
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom.F.1
I thought the A in ATSC stood for Advanced? Maybe it should have been a B for Behind.
The ATSC standard is a good one, so if you buy a lemon automobile its no use complaining about the state of highways in your province, its a matter of getting a better car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom.F.1
Would i have better luck with Expressvu than OTA? I read here and other places that picture quality was better OTA? My wife and kids are definately not impressed. They get a real kick out of watching me scramble to get this thing working. My oldest daughter asked, "Why don't they just shutdown the whole thing till they learn how to make it work?" Shes got a point.
For family convenience I'm sure BEV would be a good solution. The picture quality of HD is not great, but then again your OTA experiments were not yielding proper results either.
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