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Old 15-12-2008, 11:03   #1
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HD TV and Mast Antennas

I suppose this is the right spot to post this. I was just asked a question by another person on the dock and was stumped. (I know, hard to believe but it does happen)

It turns out that we both have relatively new flat screen HDTV's on our boats. The question is: will our current amplifying antennas on the mast still work after the official switch to HD broadcast and if not, what to replace them with??

It's not too important to me since I usually use my set to watch DVD's and not broadcast. However, I'm surprised I haven't seen more on how the switch to High Def will affect boaters.

I presume if one is outside of the US the question is moot. Or will one need two antenna systems, one for high def and another for the older analog??
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Old 15-12-2008, 14:12   #2
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The old antenna / amplifier will work!!

There is no difference between an antenna that can receive a digital or analog signals apart from what the marketing prople put on the box to get people to buy a new antenna. Now having said that, there are some new digital 'Active' antennas coming onto the market that require a special feedback circuit from the set top box or TV's internal tuner to select the strongest 'multi-path' signal, but I am guessing there are not many of these around yet!
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Old 15-12-2008, 14:30   #3
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As long as the current antenna can receive both VHF and UHF signals it works fine. Does it work with the TVs and receive local digital and HD signals now? That answers your question.
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Old 15-12-2008, 14:30   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabo_sailor View Post
I
It turns out that we both have relatively new flat screen HDTV's on our boats. The question is: will our current amplifying antennas on the mast still work after the official switch to HD broadcast and if not, what to replace them with?

Checked the Shakespeare catalog? See page 22 and 23. On the other hand, I might be the worst person to ask since I don't really watch TV. But since I was looking at the catalog online tonight ....
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Old 15-12-2008, 14:34   #5
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Don't believe they were looking for a new antenna but wanted to know if the one they had works.
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Old 15-12-2008, 14:47   #6
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would you not need a digital converter???
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Old 15-12-2008, 15:30   #7
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OK a little more clarification,

1) I have a new flat screen HDTV
2) I have an amplifying TV antenna on the mast

Q1: When they switch broadcast over to HD will I still receive a signal or do I need .............what?

Q2: If I am in the Bahamas will I still need the analog antenna or will the HD antenna still work.????

Lets try this one and thanks for even responding. I've learned one must phrase questions carefully here. LOL
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Old 15-12-2008, 15:50   #8
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OK, Let me say again. If your TV now picks up digital TV and HDTV and if your TV now picks up analog signals it will not change in February and you will pick up whatever signals you are picking up now no matter where you are. If the TV is digital and if it works now with the current antenna it will work after February. Hope that clarifies it.
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Old 15-12-2008, 15:51   #9
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BTW, They are not switching over to HD they are switching over to digital. All broadcast will not be in HD.
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Old 15-12-2008, 16:02   #10
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Thanks Chuck,

That is what I was looking for. This evening is a bit more difficult in that the server seems to be having issues. I hope this gets back to the board.

Rich
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Old 16-12-2008, 08:01   #11
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OK, we've JUST gone thru this.

Yes, your current antenna will pick up SOME digital/hd signals. So will sticking the end of a cable out a port. Those antennas were NOT designed for digital/hd reception, so they will likely work poorly.

We are in downtown Corpus Christi. With the boat antenna (at 65'), we got a few channels, some good, some poorly, some not at all. We have an older powered digital antenna we took to the boat (this is about 6 years old, purchased before our local cable had Fox in HD, and we HAD to have HD for Super Bowl Party). It works OK, but it's an indoor antenna, not up to being outside. It does not work well inside, but better than the mast antenna. We get a LOT more channels with it up on the boom.

I went to these folks: www.solidsignal.com and asked them about our situation. They recommended an UNPOWERED C2 Clearstream antenna. They SAID it should be up to the environment, but we'll see. Allegedly, this thing will work well up to 50 miles - and it's supposed to work WAY better than what we have. It should arrive this week, and I might have a chance to try it out at the boat. The plan is to mount it on a pulpet at the base of the mast. I'll let folks know...
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Old 16-12-2008, 08:10   #12
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There are no specific antennas needed to pick up digital. That is propaganda put out by the folks that plan to make money off the digital change. There are good and bad antennas. You had a bad one and it has nothing to do with digital reception. Any good antenna that picks up UHF signals will pick up your local digitals. You still need VHF on your antenna also because some stations will be broadcasting on the VHF bands also and if you go to the Bahamas or anywhere else on the planet you will want to be able to receive the old broadcasts. The notion that you need a special antenna for digital is nonsense.
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Old 16-12-2008, 13:34   #13
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Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
There are no specific antennas needed to pick up digital. That is propaganda put out by the folks that plan to make money off the digital change...

...The notion that you need a special antenna for digital is nonsense.
Amen to that. Seems it is hard to get the facts of radio physics to sink in with some .

I would go so far as saying that if a vendor claims that the antenna has some special ability for digital transmission reception then I would shop elsewhere because they either have no idea what they are talking about or they are trying to take advantage of ones lack of knowledge.

Of course, one really did need to buy a new antenna back in the days when color TV broadcasts started (for those of us old enough to remember). Those dang black & white antennas were just not up to it .
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Old 16-12-2008, 13:58   #14
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I do remember those good old days. A friend got one of the first color TVs and my mom ask if they wanted to adopt me since I never left their house.
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Old 16-12-2008, 18:28   #15
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I was in the TV business for 20 years, about 20 years ago. My answer to the original question is yes, however it should be added that in designing an antenna the frequency you want to receive is a primary consideration which effects the configeration and size. Your analog antenna is designed to receive a much larger frequency spectrum than the new digital system. I have an old fashoned antenna in my attic that was designed for 3 bands; low VHF(ch 2-6),High VHF(ch 7-13) and UHF(ch 14-83). The ch 2-6 elements stick out from the boom about 3', 7-13 18" and the UHF a few inches. The question is what frequencies will be used after 2/08. I understand that low VHF will only be used by low power transmitters, major staitions will go to UHF, and the reception is probably going to be poor for those remaining. I think it will be a waste if your considering a new antenna to buy one designed for low VHF. I think most of the digital reception will be in the UHF band. I just bought a UHF antenna for the boat, it's a double bow tie with a reflector, found it on e-bay, works great(on UHF but very poor on VHF, just as it was designed). This is in the Balt./Wash area maybe about 25 miles from the transmiter, I mount it on a stantion about 6' above the deck.Also what's this about TV transmission in the Bahamas?Regardsbob
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