: Zenith Silver Sensor (& Clones) OTA Antennas
2008-04-03, 10:01 AM
Thanks for the additional info. Argh, I had a choice between the Zenith and a Philips clone (UHF and VHF) but didn't know enough about this at the time to choose the correct one.
Given the fact that I already have the Zenith (can't be returned), is it possible to use both the antenna for HDTV and my analog SD cable at the same time on one TV?
2008-04-03, 01:13 PM
Yes, but Cable TV uses OTA frequencies so you cannot combine them with a splitter. You would need to use an A-B switch to keep them completely separate. Another solution is to buy the Philips VHF/UHF ZSS clone and put your UHF ZSS up for sale at this site.
2008-04-03, 06:57 PM
Ok, I was fortunately able to exchange my Zenith for the Philips Silver Sensor PHDTV3 with VHF and UHF. I connected it to my TV (to the same input as my cable) but could not get a signal (kept on displaying "No Signal"). I tried moving it around and adjusting the antennas but still nothing. Is there a proper way to set up an antenna or is it all just trial and error? How can I confirm if I got a lemon, or if I just can't get any signals? The TV is near a window that faces east. I know the antenna should be facing south, but shouldn't I still get something? Thanks.
2008-04-03, 08:58 PM
Are OTA channels numbered differently than cable channels? For example, on Rogers cable, channel 2 is TV Ontario. Would channel 2 using an antenna be the same?
I guess you don't have much OTA experience, do you ;)
For sure the channel number will be much different! And it also varies depending on whether you tune to a digital or Analog channel.
For instance, TVO is cable 02, but on Analog, its 19 (There's no Digital channel for it yet).
Global is cable 3, but analog 41, CFMT is cable 4 but analog 47, etc...
With a UHF antenna, you can say goodbye (most likely) to Analog broadcasts of:
WGRZ (Channel 2)
A Channel Barrie (3)
CBC CBLT (5)
Rochester channel on 8 (if you manage to get it)
CFTO CTV (9)
Another Rochester channel on 10 (if you get it)
CHCH (E!) on 11
CHEX on 12
CKCO on 13
Most of these channels operate in Digital in UHF, so such an antenna would work.
2008-04-03, 11:16 PM
if your TV has 1 RF input, hook up your antenna to it but you will have to go into the TV's menus to set the reception to Antenna and not Cable, then start a scan.
if your TV has 2 RF inputs, one will have a label like Cable while the other will have a label like Antenna. You will still have to go into the TVs menus to set the reception to Antenna and not Cable, then start a scan.
2008-04-04, 08:08 PM
Thanks, guys. There's no hiding my noobness, that's for sure! :rolleyes:
Well, after unbending the pin that comes out of the cable of the antenna, I managed to get 3.5 channels (CBC, CTV, TVO kids and half a Buffalo station). I didn't do a scan though, so should I still?
As an aside, I apologize for needing all this spoonfeeding. My intention is not to drive everyone crazy ;), but rather to see if I can justify upgrading to HDTV considering the fact that I don't watch much TV as it is and do not want to have to pay too much more than what I'm paying (for analog SD) right now. If I could get a decent number of stations using OTA, I'd be at the store right now! :D
2008-04-04, 08:48 PM
Spech, do you live in a house or apartment?
If you live in a house, you might want to invest in a decent outdoor antenna. You will get much better results that way. The 4224 series (forgot who makes it, but it is widely discussed in these forums) is recommended by many people, especially for HD.
But to answer your question, you sure want to do a scan. It never hurts.
2008-04-04, 08:55 PM
wysiwyg, I live in a house, and not far from you, actually. To be honest, I'm trying to avoid anything that takes too much installation; I'm a female and not very handy with big things. I am only good at fiddling with smaller things, like computers and gadgets, which is why I'm happy to give indoor antennas a shot. If I knew for sure an outdoor antenna would be effective where I'm located, I'd consider hiring someone to get it installed though.
2008-04-04, 09:09 PM
If I were you, I would go with HDTV. You might think you don't need it, but next year, the Buffalo stations will be gone (Feb 17. 2009) and the Canadian ones will go a few years later. Your only choice then will be to use a converter box. Why mess with that, just get a cheaper TV with a ATSC tuner built in and you won't regret it. Most are much better at picking up signal than Analog TVs. For instance, I can't get anything in Analog, but I get most Buffalo channels crystal clear in HD using a cheap antenna. With Digital, there's no gosting. You either get a signal or you don't. If it's weak, you get pixelization.
As for setting up an outdoor antenna, I'm sure you can get someone to do it.
2008-04-04, 09:13 PM
Oh, one more thing I don't think has been mentioned. When you scan for channels in Analog OTA, make sure you select "AIR" and not "CABLE". The frequencies are not the same past channel 13, so you would not get anything except for the VHF channels.
2008-04-04, 09:17 PM
Thanks, wysiwyg. So just to clarify, you're saying that with an HDTV, I'd get better reception (using an antenna) than an SDTV, and since analog OTA stations are being phased out soon anyway, there's no point in waiting? And thanks for the scanning tip; I'll do that.
2008-04-05, 02:48 PM
It all depends on the Tuner, your antenna and the distance to the tower, however, generally, Digital TV is easier to get than analog. With Analog, the signal will often have ghosting or interference, which is not the case with digital transmissions.
2008-04-08, 01:05 PM
Just wanted to share with you guys the results of my newly bought Philips pHDTV3 Antenna (ZSS clone).
Previously I had regular rabbit ears which got me 3 HD channels with about a signal varying between 10%-30%. After plugging in my new pHDTV3 (without the amplications, I only got 2 HD channels (10% signal strength). However, after turning on the built-in amplification to the max, I was able to pick up 9 HD channels. 5 of them get between 40% to 80% signal strength, while the other 4 are 10% which makes them unwatchable.
My next step is to try and place my antenna in different locations within my condo. The antenna seems very sensitive to where and how I place it.
I live on the 3rd floor of a 5 floor building in between two other condo buildings of 5 floors located to the south and north of me. The building is made out of concrete and steel beams. All the walls are made with steel studs and every wall even the interior walls are insulated for accoustic reason. So I don't exactly live in a favourable condo for OTA TV. Nonetheless I believe with a bit more research and experimenting, I should improve my results.
What kind of TV tuner do you have now? I don't need a model number, rather a tuner type. The options are
- NTSC is analog OTA
- ATSC is digital OTA (SD, ED and HD, depending on your TV)
- QAM is used by some cable cos.
An ATSC tuner is needed to get DTV OTA. If you don't have one, it's worthwhile buying an HDTV that includes one. You'll see a great improvement in normal stations, and you'll display any HD signals in HD. The alternative is a stand-alone ATSC tuner to feed your current TV. Lots of these coming to market in the states right now ...
The type of antenna will be the same, but the analog snow and ghosting will be replaced by something call "threshhold reception." DTV needs a lock on the carrier frequency to give you a perfect picture. If the signal is weak and it loses lock periodically, the picture freezes, the sound drops out, and eventually the screen goes blank - and then it's back. Absolutely maddening!
Thus there is a trend to bigger antennas with DTV if any signals are marginal. If a ZSS is close to working indoors, you may find that an "outdoor" antenna placed inconspicuously (in a closet?) gives you acceptable performance indoors. This is especially true if your DTV channels are in the UHF band as UHF antennas are more compact.
But that's a discussion for a different thread ...
2008-04-08, 07:46 PM
fbov, I just have a regular analog CRT TV right now, so I would presume my TV tuner is NTSC. (I do see snow on the weaker stations.) I realize I need ATSC for HD, but I just wanted to see what kind of reception I have. If the reception is decent, then it would be worthwhile for me to upgrade to HDTV since I wouldn't necessarily have to subscribe to a more expensive cable package. I just don't want to be paying more than I do for cable since I don't watch TV that much.
I know this is getting off topic, but how is it possible to have an "outdoor" antenna placed indoors? Of course I know that physically, it's possible, but how would this be effective?
2008-04-09, 04:08 AM
spech, if you are getting even snowy analogue stations it is possible that you could get the digital versions perfectly, so what you're trying to achieve isn't really the best way of assessing your reception possibilities. Please keep that in mind because its very possible that you could indeed be getting viable digital signals even with crappy analogues.
2008-04-09, 09:20 AM
That's good to know, stampeder. I wish there were a way to test my HD reception without having to go out and buy an HDTV! :rolleyes:
2008-04-09, 10:22 AM
I'm also curious about this outdoor antenna used indoors. I understand that it's possible to receive an HD signal without getting any analog signal. I'm able to receive NBC in HD but I absolutely get nothing in analog. But for some reason, I'm not able to receive ABC in HD even though I get a good signal in analog.
I just received my pHDTV3 and it has improved my reception, but I've been wondering if having an outdoor antenna placed indoors would give better result then my ZSS clone.
I want to be clear on one key point: you need ATSC for HDTV, but you DO NOT need HDTV to see the benefits of DTV.
You can buy stand-alone ATSC tuners that will allow you to use your current TV. You will only see standard definition (SD) image quality (480 lines, 4:3 screen shape), but it will be cleaner with better color than any analog station. Some stand-alones can output an HD signal, so you can upgrade the display later.
To see an HD image, you need both an ATSC tuner (or other HD source like cable, BlueRay, etc.) and an HD display - 720p or 1080i and 16:9 screen shape. An HD display will be far more expensive than the stand-alone tuner, but you don't need both. If you planned to upgrade the display eventually, this is a good way to get everything at once.
I see this confusion in your replies to stampeder and wysiwyg.
"Thanks, wysiwyg. So just to clarify, you're saying that with an HDTV, I'd get better reception (using an antenna) than an SDTV ..."
"I wish there were a way to test my HD reception without having to go out and buy an HDTV"
The accurate versions would be:
...An ATSC tuner will get better reception (using an antenna) than an NTSC tuner ...
... I wish there were a way to test my DTV reception without having to go out and buy an ATSC tuner or an HDTV containing one.
With an ATSC tuner, you have a choice: you can watch SD (on any TV) at far higher quality levels than NTSC can deliver, or with an HD display, see yet another leap in image quality from SD to HD for the limited subset of programs broadcast in HD.
Two jumps in quality, one from analog to digital, the other from standard def to high def. It's important to understand the difference before spending your money.
Antennas are antennas. Indoor ones are smaller, more aesthetically pleasing and not weatherproof. Outdoor ones work better because they're bigger and designed for function first, looks second. The choice of location is up to you, and what you want out of the antenna. Antennas also don't care if it's analog or digital, SD or HD.
But the tuner does care, and thankfully most newer HDTV's have both analog (NTSC) and digital (ATSC) tuners. I will assume that you have both types of tuners, since you report NBC on digital and ABC on analog.
The other thing the tuner cares about is frequency, and analog and digital broadcasts will never be on the same channel. Therefore NBC and ABC are each broadcasting on two channels during the transition, one NTSC, one ATSC.
Make sure you're searching for the right channels! I have no resources for Canadian stations, so I can't tell you where to look. Perhaps someone more local call tell you where to tune?