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-   -   Are you watching free OTA digital TV (http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f27/are-you-watching-free-ota-digital-tv-82243.html)

UnrealizedPotential 06-08-2016 09:19 AM

Are you watching free OTA digital TV
 
I was just curious how many actually take advantage of free OTA tv. I get the Salt Lake City TV signals and I am very happy with it. Now I do live in Utah but I live in the middle of the state and rely on translator signals. The signals are wonderful. It just so happens I have a lot of experience so was easily able to take advantage of the free signals. I realize that not everyone is as lucky. I just have rabbit ears that cost $10 . Is there anyone else out in the boonies that gets OTA TV signals via translators?

mpeirce 06-08-2016 09:38 AM

Last weekend I set up my Dad in Lake County Florida with OTA TV so he could drop cable.

Sadly, no translators there. He's far enough from Orlando (the transmitters are on the OTHER side of Orlando from him) that he can only get one regular english language network affiliate.

He's pretty motivated to save some money so the one channel is enough for him - "I really just want to be able to watch the election returns this year." We'll see how long he lasts. He really doesn't watch much TV at home.

RE2Boys 06-08-2016 09:38 AM

Of course! My LBYM habit has meant that we have never had cable TV, a cable has never been run to our current house.

UnrealizedPotential 06-08-2016 09:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mpeirce (Post 1741951)
Last weekend I set up my Dad in Lake County Florida with OTA TV so he could drop cable.

Sadly, no translators there. He's far enough from Orlando (the transmitters are on the OTHER side of Orlando from him) that he can only get one regular english language network affiliate.

He's pretty motivated to save some money so the one channel is enough for him - "I really just want to be able to watch the election returns this year." We'll see how long he lasts. He really doesn't watch much TV at home.

Translators are needed in a lot of places throughout the country but they cost money and who is going to pay for it?

easysurfer 06-08-2016 09:44 AM

Been watching free OTA digital TV for several years. Went through some trial and error finding the right antenna (from rabbit ear, to home built coat changer, to kickstarter antenna) and OTA DVR combination. Though there is some slight interference time to time (signals bouncing off nearby trains), overall, quite pleased and I get all the major networks.

UnrealizedPotential 06-08-2016 09:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by easysurfer (Post 1741961)
Been watching free OTA digital TV for several years. Went through some trial and error finding the right antenna (from rabbit ear, to home built coat changer, to kickstarter antenna) and OTA DVR combination. Though there is some slight interference time to time (signals bouncing off nearby trains), overall, quite pleased and I get all the major networks.

The big cities have so many stations nowadays with digital it is amazing. Best of all it is free.

rgarling 06-08-2016 10:05 AM

How does one find and use these translators?

Sunset 06-08-2016 10:17 AM

We use OTA, get about 25 channels, we use roof top antenna and it works marvellously.

We have been using it for the past 12 years, since we gave up cable, have not missed cable at all and enjoy the monthly savings not having cable.
Probably saved enough to pay for a trip to Europe. :D

tulak 06-08-2016 10:20 AM

Yes, for over a decade. We don't watch OTA real time, unless it's a live event, but instead use a TabloTV for watching later.

UnrealizedPotential 06-08-2016 10:45 AM

Go to rabbitears.com and put in where you live. There will be whatever stations that are available come up including translators. Look at where the signal is originating from by using the fcc query link at the bottom.

Ian S 06-08-2016 10:55 AM

We're looking in to cutting cable. The latest indignity from Cox is the requirement to add a digital box for every TV. Crappy little boxes with remotes you're forced to rent for $3/month each. More profit for Cox, more cost and clutter for us.

H2ODude 06-08-2016 10:55 AM

Hmmm. Currently staying in friends house in Atlantic Beach FL; only has internet so we've been living on netflix etc. Tried rabbitears.com but it seems to be about storytelling! Anyway, found AntennaPoint.com and it says there are not digital transmitters within 60 miles of here. Huh? Downtown Jacksonville FL can't be more than 15-20 miles from here. Must be some kind of digital desert here.

Just went back to site and it shows transmitters within 6 miles of Jax, so it must just not recognize A Beach.

W2R 06-08-2016 10:55 AM

I'm in New Orleans, so not out in the boonies. But I listen to free OTA television with a homemade antenna that is inside, out of sight just behind the TV. I get a bazillion channels (almost 4 dozen IIRC?), including all local network TV, PBS, and a few others that I like such as the Justice channel.

I don't pay a cent for television.

Although Frank installed his Netflix on my TV, I almost never listen to anything on Netflix. Same with Amazon Prime; I got that solely for the shipping, and they even sent me an inquiry about why I don't use it for TV. I just don't see anything I want to watch on Prime or Netflix. I like local news and programming, and singing competition shows like The Voice and I get those OTA.

When I cancelled my cable TV a few years ago, I cut my cable bill back by $110. However, cable internet has gone up since then and I still pay for that.

UnrealizedPotential 06-08-2016 10:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H2ODude (Post 1742014)
Hmmm. Currently staying in friends house in Atlantic Beach FL; only has internet so we've been living on netflix etc. Tried rabbitears.com but it seems to be about storytelling! Anyway, found AntennaPoint.com and it says there are not digital transmitters within 60 miles of here. Huh? Downtown Jacksonville FL can't be more than 15-20 miles from here. Must be some kind of digital desert here.

My bad. Try rabbitears.info.

H2ODude 06-08-2016 11:07 AM

Just went to rabbitears.info and it confirms what I thought, I know the antenna farm is just southeast of downtown Jax and the site says it's ~10 miles from here in Atlantic Beach. Last week I bought a cheapo antenna from Walmart but couldn't get diddly on it so returned it. It SAID it was good for 30 miles, but nothing. Admittedly where the TV is leaves the majority of the house between the TV and the antennas, and I have no experience with OTA digital (or for that matter analog for the last 30 years!).

What are these translators people speak of? Are the cheap things like I bought for $30 likely to work in a relatively close situation (10 miles) from within a house?

FIYes 06-08-2016 11:19 AM

We have never had cable tv. We are quite happy with OTA. Since the switch to digital we now receive about 20 stations. We do have an outside tv antenna It was here when we bought the house about 30 years ago...at our old house we just used rabbit ears.

Windstorms and critters had done some damage over the years so I hired a repairman to update the antenna. I figure that based on what friends and neighbors are paying the cable company I can afford 300 dollars every 30 years! We probably have saved a few thousand by not having cable. Actually, I told DH that I wanted the repair done while there were folks who knew how to do this work.

BTW, our tv is not digital so we still use a converter box. I keep waiting for our tv to die so that I can't replace it, but it is like the energizer bunny. I just can't bring myself to replace a tv that is working well


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Sunset 06-08-2016 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H2ODude (Post 1742025)
Just went to rabbitears.info and it confirms what I thought, I know the antenna farm is just southeast of downtown Jax and the site says it's ~10 miles from here in Atlantic Beach. Last week I bought a cheapo antenna from Walmart but couldn't get diddly on it so returned it. It SAID it was good for 30 miles, but nothing. Admittedly where the TV is leaves the majority of the house between the TV and the antennas, and I have no experience with OTA digital (or for that matter analog for the last 30 years!).

What are these translators people speak of? Are the cheap things like I bought for $30 likely to work in a relatively close situation (10 miles) from within a house?

the translators are as I understand it, repeater stations, not something you would buy.

What you need is either roof top antenna (or put it in the attic so nobody sees it if you have homeowners assoc rules.

Next best thing would be to build an antenna with some wire coat hangers and a board - literally will cost you about $1.00
Instructions are on the internet.
You could start here: Home : DIY TV Antennas

travelover 06-08-2016 11:42 AM

Fired Comcast 15 years ago when they hit my tipping point - $100 a month. Installed an antenna on the chimney and never looked back. I only watch public TV occasionally and of course, Judge Judy to expand my intellect . :laugh:

UnrealizedPotential 06-08-2016 12:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H2ODude (Post 1742025)
Just went to rabbitears.info and it confirms what I thought, I know the antenna farm is just southeast of downtown Jax and the site says it's ~10 miles from here in Atlantic Beach. Last week I bought a cheapo antenna from Walmart but couldn't get diddly on it so returned it. It SAID it was good for 30 miles, but nothing. Admittedly where the TV is leaves the majority of the house between the TV and the antennas, and I have no experience with OTA digital (or for that matter analog for the last 30 years!).

What are these translators people speak of? Are the cheap things like I bought for $30 likely to work in a relatively close situation (10 miles) from within a house?

A translator can take several different forms. One is the transmitting station is received from 60-80 miles out from usually atop a large mountaintop or hill from a city broadcasting signals. From there the signal is cleaned up and amplified and re-transmitted out to the desired target area. I would imagine microwave relay is a method that can be used. Of course it depends how far away you live from the translator signals that determines whether you will get a good signal or not. Generally you would need to be 20-30 miles from a translator if it is high powered. If not then you might be SOL.

ziggy29 06-08-2016 02:27 PM

We dumped our dish a little more than a year ago, and go strictly with an OTA DVR and a Roku box with Netflix and Amazon Prime. Saves us nearly $100 a month.

I've found TVFool to be the most accurate and comprehensive signal analysis by far, at least among free browser-based sites. Both at our last house and this one, it seems like the predicted signal strengths are almost spot-on:

TV Fool

(No connection other than as a satisfied user.)


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