RE: Freezing picture
by xeroid58 - 5/10/08 8:10 AM
In Reply to: Freezing by hayley3
That is a maojr difference between analog and digital. A weak analog signal will get snowier and snowier as it gets weak. Digital signals are either there or not and when the signal gets weaker, it starts missing pieces of the picture causing those blocks you see at times and when the signal gets weak enough, it freezes while it tries to get enough info to create the next frame.
Everyone talks about "rabbit ear" antennas. With conventional the part you pull out to make it longer is used for VHF (channels 2-13). The round loop is for UHF (14-83). The new digital signals, are all in the UHF area, so you should see very little difference in how much you pull them out or mess with them. The loop can be turned to adjust for best signal. If you go with an external antenna, don't waste your money on something with VHF built in. It will only make it larger, more expensive and not help you. Get the best UHF antenna you can, if you are in a remote area. I am about 40 miles from Buffalo,NY and one of those "corner reflector" (looks like an alligator's mouth with its tongue sticking out) works great. Be aware that the way antennas get "gain" or increase the strength of the signal is by narrowing the beam. This works fine if the stations you want are all in one direction. If you live between 2 cities and want channels from both, you will have to rotate the antenna to aim at the city you want. ie. I can turn my antenna around and get signals from Rochester,NY.
As some of the other responders have said, you want any amplifier (booster) to start with the strongest possible signal. This means it should be as close to the antenna as possible and again be made for the UHF band. There are "mast mounts" that have the amplifier mount to the antenna and another box in the house that provides power and a place to hook up your tv to. This is the best for fringe areas. In addition, if you want to hook up more than 1 TV to the antenna, you may need a "distribution" amplifier that often has multiple jacks to hook up each TV. A splitter does just what the name says... divides the signal up between however many plugs it has on it, weakening the signal.
I reguards to not needing a box if you are on cable, most cable companies have agreed to continue broadcasting analog (those you can get on channels 2-13 or more if you have "Cable ready" TV's). There is no guarantee of how long they will continue to do so. At some point, they will probably need the bandwidth and discontinue this service, forcing you to rent a box from them. I plan on getting coupons for all my older tv's even though I am on cable and making sure the boxes I get have "QAM" tuners, in addition to ATSC. QAM is the standard that cable companies use to send their digital signals out. QAM doesn't decode scrambled, premium signals, but does allow you to get much of what you get without a box, now. This is not very convenient, though, as the channel numbers are really messed up. Those with new tv's on cable and no box can try a scan of the digital signals available to see what I mean. I get a bunch of blanks that may be used later and the channel number often has nothing to do with the number I am used to seeing.
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