: Pros and Cons of Going OTA
2012-01-07, 03:00 PM
What - you can't trust what you read on the internet!
first, it was the only settlement of any significant size located right on the border of Canada East and Canada West (Quebec/Ontario border today), making it a compromise between the two colonies and their French and English populations; second, the War of 1812 had shown how vulnerable major Canadian cities were to American attack, since they were all located very close to the border while Ottawa was (then) surrounded by a dense forest far from the border;
2012-01-07, 03:06 PM
Okay...let's get back on topic and move away from this historical debate.
2012-01-08, 01:51 AM
You can receive at least one American station in Ottawa. I'd say that gives it a consideration as a somewhat-border region.
Most people in Ottawa don't have a hope of receiving any American broadcasts because central Ottawa is in a depression and a hill south of the city blocks LOS. My comments were base on the assumption it isn't receivable.
Calgary at least has more local stations as most broadcasts here are repeaters from Toronto or Montreal.
2012-01-09, 03:29 PM
I watched probably about 75% american networks when I lived in Grimsby. PBS for Nova and Nature, the major networks for football, simpsons, family guy, etc.
Girlfriend watched a lot of shows on the CW... Pretty much only watched CBC for Jeopardy, and Hockey night in Canada. It's so bad in Calgary we actually subscribe to cable/optical TV here! :eek:
2012-01-10, 03:07 PM
i want to go ota. i am new to this and dont know what to get. i looked at the pdf chart and i guess i should get the Zenith silver sensor with vhf elements. i want something indoors and something that gets a lot of channels.
2012-01-10, 03:15 PM
@adriangabe: Welcome to the forum.
Please take a moment to review our welcome post.
Once you've gone through it, please consult one of our geographical reception threads so you can discuss with those near to you about what you'd like to do, or ask questions of them.
2012-01-22, 05:08 AM
I was recently in touch with a friend in Olds, AB. He has recently asked for help in switching to OTA (reception from Calgary) having heard from his brother about the improved quality of signal over satelite and cable in Edmonton. He complains about poor value for money of the paid services.
2012-01-24, 02:00 AM
Olds is a bit far for reliable OTA reception of Calgary or Edmonton except in the summer without mega-gear, so I hope he's being realistic about the OTA probabilities. :)
OT but welcome back Stampeder! I hope you are truly feeling better and not just going behind Mrs. Stampeders back like you did during the holidays.:D
2012-01-28, 10:09 PM
Yes - Stampeder - my friend will try firstly using a 40 foot mast and antenna with a 15-6 db gain directional UHF antenna with CM7777 Mast head preamp. We will see what this will do. The CTV Technical Director in Calgary says this as necessary equipment. I do hear that some folks have tried it (from as far as Red Deer) and achieved a picture. Do you think that a Gray Hoverman antenna may help?
Congrats on your recovery by the way!
2012-01-30, 07:40 PM
I'm pleased with my OTA setups. I'm reliably recording all 6 digital channels off a HD Home Run in Calgary, and I'm getting 5 digital channels at a 2 edge location outside Edmonton. I've had to give up my weakest UHF outside Edmonton so I can turn my antenna to get the two VHF channels.
Punching in a generic postal code for olds into tv fool, I think your friend has a pretty good shot at getting Calgary, with all the channels broadcasting from one location. Olds looks to have a very similar tv fool report as my Edmonton install.
2012-02-19, 09:11 AM
Answering the original question from nearly 7 years ago:
Are you ready to go 100% OTA? What are your reasons, for and against?
I have gone 100% OTA. I did so in July 2010 after DirecTV gave me yet another $3/mo fee increase. This put my fees for a single TV with a single DVR to over $65/mo. The *ONLY* way to reduce this price was to cut out DirecTV entirely.
I bought a $600 TiVo (hardware + lifetime subscription) and an $80 antenna, which paid for themselves in about 10 months. I live near Charlotte, NC and get roughly 40 channels OTA, including CBS and FOX from the next market over. This latter is an advantage as an NFL fan, because when the Panthers play home games, the Charlotte market is only allowed to broadcast the Panthers game. But Greensboro does not have this restriction. So when that happens, I get additional games that I wouldn't get via dish or cable.
I supplement my OTA with a cable modem from Time Warner, which enables me to get netflix. I also purchased two 1TB disks to install into my linux home server, on which I run pyTivo and streambaby. This allows me to rip all of my DVDs and store them on my server. I can then play them back on my TiVo, using the TiVo interface.
I miss ESPN, NFL network and Fox sports. But those are the only real advantage that I get from subscribing to a pay tv service, and they're not worth $65+/mo. I'd happily pay $10/mo for an NFL network subscription. But that's not an option that the payTV subscribers would allow, I think.
If I were to do it again, I'd ditch the $80 antenna and build a gray hoverman. The TiVo would now cost about $500, meaning I could have cut my upfront costs by about $160. But in the intervening time, I've more than made up for it. Long and short: I'm very happy with my decision and would have an even greater incentive to do it today. In fact, I've helped a few friends cut their cords as well, with two other friends considering it.
2012-03-06, 12:41 AM
My reasons for going OTA are so simple it's crazy. No...that IS the reason -it's crazy not to!
Extended Basic for 1 TV has risen over the years where it now costs me $73.09 every month including taxes. That's $877.08 every year.
That's ridiculous but now Rogers is raising it to $76.52 including taxes. That's $918.24 per year!
My $100 CM4228 will be installed as soon as I can safely (and warmly) find time to get up on the roof. My preliminary test, facing it out a ground floor window got me over 20 channels, most in spectacular HD.
With my first year's $900 savings I will probably purchase another TV...hello economy?
Saving at least 1 hour per TV watching session staring at the EPG.
No 400 year old EPG that takes 2 minutes and 24 seconds to go through all the channels one time.
Like I said, it's crazy not to.
I might miss the clock box.
What could I ever spend $900 on every year after the first year?
What could I possibly do with an extra hour?
2012-05-29, 09:04 AM
I went OTA 5 years ago. For the first 3 years I was quite satisfied with it. So much so that if it wasn't for my wife enjoying the specialty channels not available, I would have cancelled my Bell TV. In fact 4 people on my street went OTA right after I did, on my reccomendation. A further 2 years on I would not consider cancelling Bell and might well take down my OTA setup. My channel reception is far less reliable than it use to be. My whole system has been checked and everything is fine. No I don't have any new trees or buildings blocking things. The final straw is the change CBC made about 6 weeks ago that causes stuttering on non live events. This has been documented in the Toronto OTA status thread. I find it hard to believe that CBC doesn't know what changes were made. Maybe they don't know why it affects certain tuners but something went on and it would be nice if they at least acknowledged that. To me that indicates they really don't care about the small group that uses the OTA signal. To be honest from a business point why should they. I will give it a while yet but if things don't change bye bye OTA. As a hobby maybe it is ok. If you want to count on being able to watch,forget it. I don't even notice that big a difference in picture quality and sometimes I can't see it at all. It was fun while it lasted.
You're probably using the wrong pre-amp. I have the same one. Since I have a rotator, when I get overload, I can steer away from the problems. You're stuck with a fixed aim single antenna and overload especially during the summers.
From reading your post, it highlights to me that one of the cons of OTA is that you have to spend the time and money needed to do the setup right or OTA will be frustrating. Once everything works though, it becomes free and enjoyable.
Given that OTA is a free give-away from the TV stations, the only ones that you reward by getting angry at OTA and giving it up are the BDUs and the TV stations themselves.
2012-05-29, 10:19 AM
I have spent the time and money on my system.My system was completely checked over by my installer when these problems surfaced. All connections, the aim of the antenna and the pre amp. Everything checked out fine. The pre amp is a Cm7778. For 3 years things were fine. I knew a certain station was iffy at best and I could live with that. Now things aren't so reliable. It works but as I said, the night you really want to watch something is the night it will give me trouble. I have watched 3 of the 4 neighbours I alluded to all be up on their roofs at various times in the last 6 months fiddling with their antennas. I know you will now say it is a reception issue in my area. Funny, as I said, it was fine. All the changes surfaced somewhere around the digital transition I would guess. Don't know that this has anything to do with it or not. The CBC issue is extremely annoying and no amount of playing with my system will fix that. All I am saying is OTA is fine for some. For my family, especially in the winter TV is a prime source of entertainment. If we want to watch something we want to be able to. Not say, oh well it is one of those nights that there is fog on the lake or tropo is interfering or whatever reason there might be to interfere with the signal. For me it is not a substitute for my BDU subscription. Don't get me wrong when it works it is fine and I love not watching with simsubs. However more recently it is becoming more of an issue to receive reliably. And no I don't like the BDU fees anymore than anyone else.
2012-05-29, 11:14 AM
I see you're in markham using a chimney mounted 4-bay? With the transition some channels went to VHF, some changed frequencies in the UHF band, etc.
It's possible you'd have better luck with a different antenna, or a higher mount location. I was much farther from the CN tower than you but had very reliable reception from Toronto.
Since I've moved to Calgary I really miss the OTA in the Toronto area. I had no cable/sat for over two years, used an HTPC as my main tuner, recorded tons of stuff... The occasional dropouts on a couple channels was no big deal to me.
Primary source of entertainment in the winter for me? Snowboarding. :D
2012-05-30, 02:38 AM
Bman72s, you've mentioned several things that have dissatisfied you about OTA in the long term, but for the purposes of this thread could you summarize the biggest "con" you are feeling about OTA?
Given that you have taken the time and effort to outfit yourself properly with OTA gear and have taken part in our forum for quite awhile, please accept that some may feel that you could use a revision of your gear.
2012-05-30, 08:54 AM
First of all let me say that I am glad to see you back posting. I trust this means your health issues are better. It was this forum and in particular your FAQ that lead me to try OTA in the first place. As I said for 3 years or so I was quite satisfied. Now, not so much. You asked for my biggest con and it would be unreliability of US signals. My Toronto signals are fine. Except for the issue with CBC, that it would appear has nothing to do with reception of the signal., but are in itself frustrating. I thought of switching to a DB4E antenna but to be honest I am not convinced it would solve this issue. I know if I switch to a rotor that I should switch to a more directional antenna but I have read of problems with them freezing in the winter. Not certain about adding more complexity to things anyway. I talked to my neighbour that has a CM4228 and he confirmed he has similar issues. He said the same thing I did. It is a good complement to cable or satellite but not really an alternative. This is how I feel. I realize this is a pro OTA forum in general but I wanted to point out that for me, and for others perhaps it is not the be all and end all that some users feel it is.
2012-05-30, 10:23 AM
Bman72s, I agree that receiving the American broadcasts reliably isn't always possible (it all depends on your location), so if it is a priority for you, OTA may not be a replacement for cable. Just like for some, OTA isn't viable since they want certain specialty channels.
I don't receive any American broadcasts and yet I am quite happy without cable. Yes there are shows that I can't get, but my HTPC records more hours of TV than I have time to watch. It all depends on your viewing habits and expectations.
There is no wrong decision as long as it is a well informed one. The problem is there is a lot of misinformation out there and this forum does a good job of correcting that.