Outdoor Antenna Recommendation

    I got a call from a viewer living in the Dayton area asking what type of TV antenna he could get to receive CET DTV.  It seems that he was switching to one of the satellite carriers from his cable company and he knew that the only way he could get CET would be via over-the-air reception. 

    Well there is no easy answer.  The caller noted that he was about 40 miles north of Cincinnati.  That distance places him within our potential coverage area but there are many other factors that can impact on his ability to receive our DTV.  One way to know for sure is to actually install an antenna and see if it works.  Another is to hire a technician with a signal strength meter.  He or she can measure the quality of the signal and recommend an antenna.  There are several models available that can work. (cf. below) There is absolutely no way to know for sure without actually installing the antenna.

    A byproduct of Digital TV transmission is the “cliff effect.”  Simply put, the digital picture on your TV is either perfect or non existent.  With older analog broadcasting, the farther you traveled from the transmitter the more the picture would get snowy.  Eventually it would just vanish.  With digital signals the new DTV tuner locks on to the signal and keeps the picture perfect until it no longer has enough bits and bytes of information.  When that happens the picture vanishes.  From perfect to non-existent in an instant.

    Since I don’t know if there are hills or buildings that might block or reflect the signal, there is no way of telling what, if any antenna, will work for our caller.  I know from experience, the orientation of the antenna is critical.  The CET studios are located less than 2 miles from the major commercial and non commercial transmitters.   When we try to receive these channels we have found that even over this very short distance, the antenna needed to be precisely oriented.  If it was not, there was no signal at all.

    We have two staff members who live in Butler County.  While they live only a few blocks apart, one gets perfect reception from all Cincinnati DTV stations and the other gets none, no matter the antenna he tries.

    We have reports from other viewers of two antennas that have been successful in receiving signals from as far away as Dayton are the Antennacraft HBU22 and the Radioshack V-190.    An antenna installation company here is Cincinnati that has gotten good reviews is TNT Pictures.  Here is a good place to buy antennas in Dayton http://www.daytonwintronic.com/.

     If you do go with a company to install your antenna you might negotiate with them that you will pay for it only if it works.

    I know it might seem strange that as high tech DTV seems to be, the over-the-air reception problems seem to be reminiscent of the aluminum foil on the rabbit ears days.


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