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How much would/did you pay for OTA?

  • Less than $100

    Votes: 270 29.1%
  • $100 to $500

    Votes: 480 51.8%
  • $500 to $1,000

    Votes: 118 12.7%
  • The sky's the limit. I need the best!

    Votes: 21 2.3%
  • I'm broke, you insensitive clod!

    Votes: 38 4.1%

  • Total voters
    927
221 - 240 of 276 Posts

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I'd hazard to guess that everyone will end up paying more than they will ever admit to.
Maybe you're right to a point, but $5000?? My "good" antenna was about $100, I already had the cable, I used an old satellite mount, and made a mast. I bought a "good" preamp for about $100 (which I did to get one channel, PBS in Ottawa). I really don't plan on spending much more.
 

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Cost so far:

$140.00 for two digital converters (older televisions)
$40.00 Terk HDTVi
$30.00 Nexxtech distro amp (long cable run to second tv).

Have been using set up for over two years, and get 24 channels. Savings approximately $2000.00 and counting.

Short term expansion plans - $130.00 for an Antennas Direct C2V. Hoping to pick up 2.1, 2.2 and 49.1 with this, as well as firming up reception on 29.1 and 29.2, which right now can be a bit flaky. Also hoping to improve on my summer DX record of 316 miles (which I always thought was pretty dang good for a little unamplified indoor antenna).

Long term expansion plans - 42" flat screen television. Will be looking for condo a few years down the road, and LOS to Tower will be mandatory. Would also prefer a balcony where I can place a reasonably unobtrusive antenna. Right now I can't because the balcony screen slider won't close even with a ribbon cable, and the screen slider is a necessity due to the cats.
 

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I spent $68.48 for a Terk indoor antenna from Amazon.ca. I get about 8 or 9 channels from an east facing window in an apartment building. The stations I get are crystal clear but I don't know if it's enough for me to drop my Rogers basic cable.
 

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I spent $68.48 for a Terk indoor antenna from Amazon.ca. I get about 8 or 9 channels from an east facing window in an apartment building. The stations I get are crystal clear but I don't know if it's enough for me to drop my Rogers basic cable.
Hi spec seven,

There are 14 digital channels available in Ottawa. If you had a decent antenna, and a balcony mount, you should be able to get most of them (depending on degree of obstruction). My friend lives in near the Jasmine area, with apartments on all sides, and he gets all 14 (has a VHF setup for global).
 

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Replacing Rogers with OTA + TiVo

So far (prices w/o tax):

- $100 for a DB8 antenna
- $10 for rabbit ears (for Global)
- $20 for mounting hardware
- $80 for CM7778 preamp
- $40 for CM3414 distribution amplifier
- $60 for HD converter box for guest bedroom
- $600 for TiVo Premiere with lifetime subscription

Picking up all 14 stations in Ottawa and feeding 5 TVs, antennas mounted in the attic. Scheduled for a Rogers disconnect before the end of the month -- hoping to recoup some of the costs by selling the Rogers STBs I've acquired over the years (2x HD PVRs, 1x SD PVR, 1x HD STB, 1x SD STB). Will be saving $80/month on cable.
 

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Been OTA for about 8 years, never looked back. I try not to watch too much TV, so I keep it simple.

Zinwell converter - $100.00
DIY antenna - about $10.00
already had the cable.

With this I get just about everything that is available in my area, very happy.
 

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Here's my El-Cheapo attic installation:

$40 - Qterra SYN-008 8 bay antenna
$50 - PA18 preamp
$7 - 2 pieces coax
$5 - CM 3078 universal attic mount
$6 - a 5' piece of ABS pipe for a mast

total $108 + HST
 

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My setup and costs

I never had cable; over the years, I'd grown to three VCRs and a Samsung TX-P2734X/XAC.

The Sharp and Emerson VCRs fed into the Sony, which had two composite inputs; this let me switch to whatever I wanted with remotes. I routed the RF inputs to a 3-way 75-ohm cable switch, which allowed me to route any of the VCRs to my TV's RF input while any others were recording. I had separate UHF or VHF antennas for each VCR positioned to optimize specific local NTSC signals, and would program certain channels on certain VCRs; the 3-way allowed me to get the best signal to the TV for live viewing. Using three also gave me 20 event/4-week programming and a maximum 24-hour capacity without even changing tapes.

I'm not counting any of that in the digital upgrade last September.
At that time, I purchased (TAXES AND ECO-FEES INCLUDED):

$_55.99 - an HD Access DTA1030D digital tuner box
$_71.11 - an iView 2000STB digital tuner box
$_78.39 - a TERK CFDTV1a indoor amplified antenna
$__2.31 - no-name cheapie splitter from a twoonie store
======
$207.80

Prices are on the high side, as I was buying at the peak cut-over time.

I was able to get decent but not fully stable reception on SIX channels with my old rabbit-ears and bow-tie antennae, but the amplified TERK was very compact and unobtrusive, feeding both tuners stably through the splitter. Signal strength was lowered from 100% when I added the splitter, but all SEVEN channels remained stable. Bye-bye window wall of antennas and wires!

This allows two stations to be received at once (two tapings or one taping/one live view) for now; I needed two different brands of tuner to avoid remote conflict. The iView is significantly inferior save that the HD Access has noisy video AND audio RF output (as did all those in stock at the shop) but both have comparable reception.

It is to be hoped that a digital-tuner TV willl eventually give me two taping/one live view ability if I can't get a DPVR soon.

ED BEAR<<(+*+)>>
(SASK//proved)

PS - Wow, it's almost impossible to type a post here before the session log-in times out! At least the form saves my text while I log in and navigate back to post.
 

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I dumped Cogeco cable here in Kingston, Ontario almost a years ago and said goodbye to $160/mth for VOIP/CableTV/internet. With teenagers in the house we where constantly going over Cogeco's piddly bandwidth limits and paying the premium. We went with Teksavvy dsl internet for $39/mth (plus a few bucks for dry loop) and that includes 300G of up/down bandwidth, plenty for us. We all had cell phones anyway so why bother with a land line? It had only become a conduit for telemarketers anyway… that annoyance is gone for good.

Early in the summer I bought a cheap 4 bay HD antenna for $19.99 and clamped it to our electrical stack on the roof of our bungalow, just to see what it would do for our 32in 720p LCD tv. I aimed the antenna south toward Wolfe Island and of course picked up the local CKWS, but I was shocked to pick up Watertown stations with great signals, including CBS and PBS in high def. Without a rotor CTV from CJOH's Odessa signal was marginal and so was TVO.

Later in the fall I had a bit of back pay come to me unexpectedly on a retroactive salary agreement so I thought I'd treat myself to a proper tower antenna setup. I talked to a local installer and we settled on a 30ft tower, Channel Master 3020 antenna with amp and rotor, installed and set up for $1100. It sounded like a lot at first until I started doing the math on what I had been paying to Cogeco Cable. I am more than happy with this set up and we haven't looked back.

The tower and proper antenna brings in Syracuse NBC in high def (looking forward to Olympic coverage), PBS from Watertown and Syracuse with HD, Fox HD, CTV, CBC, TVO both local analogue plus digital TVO from Bellville in SD. As well, Global from Bancroft, not without some snow but quite watchable. Some nights Rochester comes in with the major US networks but no big deal as they are copies of Syracuse. ION from Rochester comes in some nights as well but we're pretty much glued to the PBS HD stations and I love the CBS, FOX and NBC sports on the weekend. The World Series, Super Bowl, golf all in free high def… mind blowing! At this point the $1100 expenditure for the antenna, etc. seems incidental.

Add a bit more to the cost, I was so taken with the OTA high def from the US that I also upgraded our set to a 42 inch 1080i LED... :)
 

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Here's my El-Cheapo attic installation:

$40 - Qterra SYN-008 8 bay antenna
$50 - PA18 preamp
$7 - 2 pieces coax
$5 - CM 3078 universal attic mount
$6 - a 5' piece of ABS pipe for a mast

total $108 + HST
Too much.

HDTV antenna from www.************** costs $20. Extra coaxial cables and connectors if needed will cost extra $5. Shipping to Canada is $10.
 

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Too much.

HDTV antenna from www.************** costs $20. Extra coaxial cables and connectors if needed will cost extra $5. Shipping to Canada is $10.
Too much??? How do you figure??? The fact that your $20 antenna is from a link that is BLOCKED, indicates that your choice of antenna could be very well worse than the Qterra. Odourboy indicates that the antenna is mounted in the attic (by his choice of equipment)...how do you know your cheap $20 antenna will perform better in that sort of environment. You can't.

$108 for a system that may be working great, without endless tweaking. That's well spent. In three month, the system has paid itself, if he was able to cut the cord. Gees...if you think $40 for an antenna is too much...I can't even begin to imagine what you think about gzone dropping $100 on a DB8...which I can tell you, will outperform your $20 knockoff into next week.
 

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Hi:

I live way up in Barrie, Ontario, about 100 km out of Toronto. TV signals are pretty weak out here; so for OTA I got the best commercial products I could find (a 91XG, an HD8200U, a Titan 2 Channel Master preamp, a heavy duty Yaesu Ham Radio rotor, a Tivax STB-8 and Zinwell, both with analog pass through for the local realy channels still in analog). I put the whole damed thing on a DMX-68 tower about 75 feet up (as high as I could reasonably manage in a subdivision). I ended up getting about 40 TV channels, FM Radio that I can just die for, and all the Ham Radio/Shortwave I could ever want (right now I'm listening to CKZN, a peanut-powered CBC relay out of Newfoundland, on 6.160 Mhz). I'm pretty happy with what I got, though it cost several thousand dollars. (Well, I did it mainly for the Ham Radio...the TV was a nice little "extra").

VA3SAJ
 

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wanted a high quality HD antenna for installation in attic.

Antenna: Channel Master 4228HD
pre-amplifier: Channel Master Spartan CM-0068DSB
mast mount
30' cable

paid $251 after tax. from saveandreplay
systems works very well, am extremely satisfied.

oh! almost forgot to mention that i dumped rogers cable, basic package $40/month so new OTA system will pay for itself in 8 months

Knucklez
 

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Was paying Rogers 86 bucks a month, with two HD tv's I'd have to buy or rent another HD box for HD with the other tv and still unable to record unless I purchased a PVR. Hated being captive to Rogers. So set up OTA in July and cancelled Rogers. Very pleased with the results. I figure the payback period will be six months from Aug. I'm going to miss those letters from Rogers explaining why my rate is going up again to serve me better.

DB4 $90
Cable, wires, etc $45
3ft tripod $10
cp19 pre amp $75
HyGain rotor ar-500 $160
HD Homerun tuner $100
8ft mast $11

Now I can record HD, and the picture quality is stunning. Stream from the internet what I use to pay for. Wish I did this earlier!
 

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I'm Still Scrounging

Since my last visit, I've managed to track down two VHS machines, neither with ATSC tuners.

One's a ToshibaW625CG, about five years old, which someone had bought ans seemingly never used; I gave the poor lady $50. It's much more solid than their newer P.O.S. models; it has jog/shuttle and very good performance, as well as their super-fast wind/rewind. On the down side, it has only six event slots rather than the usual 8, and no every day or 6-day settings, so recording a daily program like the news requires three of the six slots. It also takes about two seconds for the tracking to settle down when starting playback even on its own freshly-recorded tapes, but that's a quibble.

The other is an RCA/Thompson DRC6000, a DVD-VHS combo sold in 2000 to a hippie family with dogs, cats and kids. They used it a lot and it still works perfectly. I will change the DVD door belt soon, as it's slipping a bit. Having two direct video inputs as well as RF, I have used it to replace my old Sony VCR in the role of switcher.

The iView ATSC external tuner box has failed twice, with London Drugs cheerfully replacing it both times despite being after warranty. I would avoid it. The remote is flaky, too, though the second and third were better than the first. The HD Access tuner hasn't missed a beat, though all the ones I tried in the store had a buzz in the RF output sound - which is only a problem because I can't feed both tuners to two VCRs. They sell RCA tuner boxes in town, too - has anyone tried them?

Still none I can find that have a channel display. It's a pain to power up the whole video chain just to see which channel it's set to! Why not a simple little 3-digit 7-segment LED or LCD at least?

Bad news - my Lite-On DVD player, with all its special capabilites (multi-region, switchable MacroVision), has died. It's about eight years old, four years with me. The DVD drive stopped spinning last fall, but I was able to replace it with a computer DVD-ROM drive after taking off the metal covers that fit a computer drive bay. It bears standard computer Molex 4-pin power and 40-pin IDE connectors.

Looks like it's not the drive this time. Plugging it in just leaves the display saying POWER On and nothing responds to touch or the remote. Aww. Good deal that was, being free with a broken drive door belt I was able to replace from the computer heap. My other two DVD players have no ability to play memory cards or cartridges, and can't handle .AVI, .MP4, .M4P or .MKV formats.

A major chain advertised a VHS/DVD combo deck with digital tuner, but on calling the store found that the advertising guys hadn't understood it has NO tuner, and can't record to VHS either. It's just a player.
ED BEAR
 

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Ed Bear, AFAIK, the only standalone VCR with an ATSC tuner is JVC's digital VHS recorder. It was able to record in HD using a proprietary digital format on sVHS tapes, or in analog on either VHS or sVHS tapes.

A few manufacturers (Panasonic and Samsung to name two, and I think LG did as well) made combo DVD recorder/VCRs with ATSC tuners the year ATSC tuners became mandatory, but they went out of production pretty quickly (I suspect they didn't sell well, partly because they down-converted everything to SD).
 

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Keeping the Cheeping

Well, the JVC isn't as cheap as freebies, and not easy to find, not to mention using special formats. HD is not an issue for me for the foreseeable future. I'm preparing to pop for the ePVision PHD-VRX if I don't uncover any reason why not to. It will probably cost me over $350 delivered here in Canada, from S&R, but that's well worth it for me. It's a twin-tuner model, so I can sell one of my tuners and save my VCRs for future viewing of my commercial tapes.

The ability to do unlimited aspect ration adjustments is worth it alone!
ED BEAR <<(+*+)>>
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Interesting box the PHD-VRX. One thing you might want to note though is:

The analog composite video output is for monitoring purpose, there are video and audio from composite but no on-screen graphic and menu.
so you will need an HDTV with HDMI inputs to use this box. Alternately, if you don't have one, you could buy an HDMI to analog (component, s-video or composite) converter.
 

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Surprise...

Well, I saw Roger1818's post on Tuesday, but couldn't get the site to let me log in till today.

Good to know, but a bit late. I called Save & Replay on Saturday during their posted hours. No response, and they didn't call back. Same on Monday, and another call Tuesday. I finally got a reply from them by calling their long-distance number rather than their Vancouver link number, and apologies they'd been in some sort of conference. The agent called me back.

They don't take Amex or phone Interac transactions, so I had them fill out an order and put the number on a cheque, and mailed it to them. They'll probably get the cheque Monday, wait a week for it to clear and I'll see something after another week, likely in December.

So this adds $309 to my earlier total, bringing it past $500. Still, I may sell my iView ATSC tuner box. Anyone looking to try the simplest entry to digital OTA?

I'll bring the rest of the chat to the "ATSC DVR & PVR Recorders" thread.
ED BEAR<<(+*+)>>
(SASK//proved)
 
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