Digital TV is a bust!
by DigitalTVsucks - 7/12/08 12:28 PM
90% loss of channels after installing the digital converter box:
NO SIGNAL seems to be the new fad in TV land!
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by: DigitalTVsucks July 12, 2008 12:28 PM PDT
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Total posts: 47 (Showing page 2 of 2)
I Have to agree..
I have a 120 mile radio shack special vhf/uhf/fm antenna mast mount with a 32db gain preamp signal booster,, with a coax lead from top to bottom,, and i receive all uhf channels as before,really clear, hooked up the digital streem 9900 digital converter back in March,,,, "we,, as in others in the neighborhood" got all dtv channels till the middle of june,, without a problem,,,, since june,,,,, signal fades out and complete loss of over half of the channels,, i have contacted the stations about the signal loss and the response was,,"they had equipment failure ",, Well,, ever since they so called repaired the equipment,, signal strength went from 75-85%,, down to 25-35% with no intentions of doing anything about it,,so we have switched back to uhf,,,it wasnt worth the time or money for digital set up,,the last comment i got from the station managers was that we were out of there broadcasting range,,,,, then why have we been getting signal from them for the past 20 years then...no reply from them and nothing has changed as far as signal strength. the only other choice is satellite and im not going to pay for there "outage service" "no signal" blank screen that i already get for free.....
it's funny, i had great reception without digital, and even during a storm when it would fuzz a little the programs were still watchable. but with digital there's no in between, either the signal gets there or or doesn't, and when it doesn't the program skips like a scratched dvd and becomes unwatchable. it's one of those things that makes me wish they'd stop developing new technoligies that force everyone to buy new stuff. the new is almost never better anymore, and everything is made to last less time than the previous thing. do you ever get the feeling we're being manipulated?
Throwing money down the digital drain is a waste. It is time to go to Sams or Costco and purchase a newer TV that is digital ready and HD ready. If you need a box your TV is way out when it comes to technology and it want get any better with time.
digital tuners built in there NEW tv's are having the same trouble with digital tv in our area,, so it doesn't makes sense to toss a perfectly good tv to buy a new digital ready one for the same signal loss checkered screen,, that makes a lot of sense.....Im glad i bought the box first,, rather than find out that a new tv would have been a real waste of money sitting in the corner and i would be watching uhf on my old trusty great picture tv.....
...Is gonna suck digital-wise, as there's already only two analog channels that show up. Still, I'd like to give it a shot &, yes, if the cable were to go out, I could still catch the local news if it's a storm causing the lack of cable (assuming I can figure out an antenna that'll pull in atleast one channel...).
But I'd rather go the route of the converter because I still have two very good TVs (one from the early 90s & the other from the mid 90s) that I'd hate to get rid of just because they aren't (H)DTV ready. I'd rather spend (with coupon) $20 than several hundred just for a few channels.
Thing is, everyone's experience is going to be different because some people are lucky enough to have towers that are actually nearby, while others are going to end up with antennas vaguely resembling UFOs on top of their homes.
I picked up one of those HDTV PC sticks & was able to pick up the two analog channels, but no digital (with the small telescopic antenna). I'd like to give that homemade antenna a try to see if it's worth using one of my coupons for myself -- the other I'm going to use for the TV at work. Kind, aren't I?
I have an older TV, with a Zenith-LG converter box, and it works great.
I suspect that the problem is getting a strong enough signal to the television set. In that case, I suspect that a new antenna, not a new television, is the likely solution. If not that, then (sigh) sign up for cable television.
I haven't been watching TV since the switch. I was POed when I went to reprogram my HDTV ready and can only get the old UHF stations! Cannot get the other 2 stations both of which have my favorite programs. I'm so sick of this. I think it is a way to make you pay for tv by getting cable or satelite. Remember back when cable first came out and since you were paying for programing commercials would go bye bye. Now people pay to watch more commercials than actual programs! I could rnt foever about the problems with digital tv!
It's a known problem -- do some web searching
The problem has been documented and the gov't is trying to figure out what to do about it. It doesn't help that about 1/5 of Americans plan to do nothing when the switch comes in Feb. That's right -- no converter box or anything else. Guess how many phone calls the Feds will get on Feb 17th -- tens of millions -- when all those TV's stop working. Congress doesn't want the phone calls, either, so they're trying to find a way out of this before then. Easiest fix -- keep analog around for a while longer. No guarantee of that yet, but don't be surprised when it happens, either. The Feds just have to move the high end UHF (ch. 52-69, I think) to capture the spectrum they plan on selling (it's all about the money), so as long as they can do that, they'll be happy and won't really care about how long it takes to finish the rest of the move to digital. They may even figure out a way to keep those UHF stations around at lower analog frequencies -- there aren't that many stations up in those high UHF frequencies. Easier to retrofit a few stations for another 3-5 years than to deal with 20 million ticked-off viewers with no TV and plenty of time to write, call, and complain (and vote).
Some VERY odd results with a Digital Tuner
When I first got a digital converter for my non-cable attached TVs I lived near the airport in Orlando and I got spectacular results. All of the stations I could previously receive even moderately adequately, including those that were horribly snowy, came in perfectly (along with all their sub-channels, up to eight of them for some public stations).
But I also got channels clearly that had previously been so weak that they were not watchable, including some that had so little signal beforehand that I didn't even know stations were there. These would frequently drop sound and pixellate, but at least they were there and their picture when they were there was perfect.
Then I moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, and got some very strange results. I no longer need the converters as all my TVs are now connected to DirecTV, so I loaned one to my daughter and another to my sister-in-law.
My daughter lives on very high ground in Arlington, Virginia. She can get all the D.C. channels well EXCEPT ABC's Channel 7, which provides "no signal." This is VERY weird because Channel 7 is the closest transmitter to her home and provided a more-than-adequate analog signal.
But what is strangest to me is that NONE of the Baltimore channels come through on either unit. They used to be watchable, if a little bit snowy, quite easily from her apartment. Their signals were MUCH stronger than many of the signals from stations that would come through down in Orlando.
The question arises of whether or not part of the digital signal includes location information, and if these tuners automatically lock out stations in neighboring SMSAs the way cable and satellite companies black out other cities' local stations.
That would be a real drag. Does anyone know whether or not this is the case? It will certainly make watching the NFL on Sundays less interesting, as it cuts nearly in half the games we will be able to watch without going to some bar.
If this is the case, might there be some firmware hack (and some way to load it) that would defeat this ridiculous nonsense?
Set-Top Boxes and DTV Antennae
Hi, Keith here in Amherst, NY
We went for the the top box through the local MalWart, price was acceptable and performance is mixed.
First off, I don't watch enough TV to make a free box worth it but I was out voted (outshouted?? Something like that...)
The local market has all of the major networks plus CW and a couple of religious stations. All of them have a digital equivalent on the air, even the LPTV station and they aren't required to switch . I get multiple programs on the majority of the channels and now have 3 PBS feeds, a full-time weather channel, more sports (if you call Olympic trials 'sports') and frustrating dropouts that I didn't have to put up with before.
I am in the prime 'local' signal area, 6 of the stations are less than 10 miles north of me and the other 5 are 12 miles to the south of me, the southern transmitters are 1500+ feet higher than me and the northern transmitters have towers that I can see from my roof. No signal problems there.
I do know something about UHF propagation as I have been in amateur radio for 40+ years and utilize the same frequency ranges for communications. the problem here is not signal strength but is multipath. On analog TV the multipath will give you ghosts, on digital it causes the dreaded 'No Signal' black screen.
The eye, and the average viewer can tolerate a bit of ghosting, even a lot of ghosting still leaves you with some usable signal and the audio is fine. With digital TV the bit error rate rises very quickly with multipath and the box gives up and dumps the channel on you.
So, digital is great, or it's not there. Analog is good and deteriorates with noise and ghosts, but >>IT'S STILL THERE!!!< I'll take the ghosts myself.
As for the antenna, what's out there is old tech and advertising hype. The "HD-Ready" antennas are UHF log-periodic yagis, the same as the UHF-only fringe antennas sold before, but with a snazzy box and higher price. The set-top "HD_Ready" antennas appear to be UHF loops with some gingerbread added for visual enhancement. Regardless of the model and brand, the theory behind a directional TV antenna is derived from fundamental research and discoveries from the 1920's and 1930's. Even the big parabolic UHF antennas are based on designs from the first radiotelescopes in the 1930's.
Now, one thing I can't dispute is that a new antenna is (probably) a good idea. The corrosion from air pollution quickly degrades most, if not all TV antennae and efforts to clean up paper-thin elements and screw connection exposed to the elements is iffy at best. I homebrew my ham radio antennas and if TV manufactures build their antenna like mine we would have scrappers climbing roofs to steal them. I am going to make an "HD-Ready" antenna, log-periodic cell with additional directors, solid 3/16" elements and Delrin insulators but I need time for that. That's a 'Later' project.
I also need to justify $0.85 per foot for the better coax cable and $5 each for the connectors, RG-6 & F-connectors suck, plain and simple.
The DTV changeover was a political move rather than an engineering move. It's gong to cost everybody a load of money and grief and all it will do is drive yet more people to cable and satellite. The cable guys probably bought the FCC off to force the change anyway.
W. Keith Hibbert,WB2VUO
Tech Coordinator, ARRL WNY Section
Amherst, NY: Grid FN02ox
WB2VUO is right about Multi-path
Your old antenna may be your problem. But in metro/urban areas, with multiple buildings, you have to deal with Multi-path (bounced signals). Multi-path signals reaching the antenna out of phase can confuse the ATSC (Digital) chip set in the converter box (or digital TV tuner sets).
If the signal reaching the front of the antenna is not 2 to 3 times stronger than a bounced signal from the same station reaching the back of the antenna, the ATSC chip doesnt know which signal to use, so it just keeps searching. The answer is to up-grade to a new digital indoor antenna (outdoor is much better if you can install one), tuned to receive digital signals and help reject Multi-path signals.
Signals bounce off many things, such as buildings, hills, even walls inside the reception room, in the case of an indoor antenna. But sometimes a bounced signal can be stronger than trying to receive the signal straight on. Rabbit ears are not doing to deal with Multi-path very well. If youre going with a new indoor antenna, try several different locations and directions in the room.
And buy it from a source that will refund your full purcahse price, no questions asked.
DTV Antenae: Typed Too Long, sorry
Hi again, Keith here in Amherst, NY
The last couple of paragraphs got cut off. I must have exceeded the text limit, oh well...
II am looking at building my own HDTV antler. Having built many ham radio UHF and UHF+ antennas it's within my capabilities.
Basically one needs a decent wide-band UHF directional antenna and also one that is matched to the coax line, a poor match will add additional losses. The commercial Radio Shack and BigBox HDTV antennas are flimsy and inherently mot well matched. The RG-6 coax is not the greatest choice and the F-conectors suck big time, they also leak.
NOTE: This will be a project to get the family off my butt, not something I really want to do.
There are many antenna designs out there and the best one for this endeavor would be a log-periodic or a log-yagi. A parabolic dish would be nice, but a very accurate and rugger (read 'Expensive') rotator would be required for that.
I will copy a scale the commercial UHF ham radio antennas whe I get to this. Good antennas have insulated elements on a 3/4" - 1 1/4" aluminum boom and are fed with a short section of small rigid or semi-rigid coax to an N-connector, followed with a larger diameter coax with matching connectors. All of this is waterproof and over engineered for long life and reliability. It won't be cheap, but i will be a challenge.
I'll be following this discussion as I can.
73, Keith, WB2VUO, ARRL Tech Coordinator, WNY Section
Amherst, NY: Grid FN02ox
Digital Test Works With Adjustments!
I have two locations. One in a major city & one in the country. The city digital connection produces more stations than analog and works fine with a simple rabbit ears. All the local stations are located in a ESE direction from our home and within 20 miles. As visual "line-of-sight" is just over 25 miles, I have no problems.
So if you are too far or have irregular terraine, that could be part of the problem. However, at our mid-State, in the woods location, we are over 25 miles away from stations located in two different directions. My Radio Shack digital antenna (25% discount when you order the digital box at the same time)brings the digital stations in relatively clear with only minor break-up.
Moving the antenna (it's inside for the moment) usually clears that up. It should be noted that our "cabin-in-the-woods" is located in a relatively high point within the county we're in so that is definitely a factor.
Both TVs are old but the digital pictures are sharp and clear most of the time. As we have DSL at both locations, we are going to watch the future of internet TV as our future source anyway.
Digital TV and aerials, digiboxes etc
Digital TV is great - when it all comes together. Our radio ham and antennaguy have got the solutions, but there are many variables to the successful reception of TV. There are also a number of problems.
1. While both analogue and digital signals are transmitted from the same location/area, there are problems with bandwidth and signal interference. Only one analogue TV signal can be transmitted on one frequency(channel), while up to 5 or 6 digital TV channels can be transmitted on one frequency. When the changeover occurs and analogue channels are no longer transmitted, the analogue transmitter frequencies can be used to transmit more digital TV channels and the power used can be increased giving better reception. Until that happens digital signals have to be kept lower in power to prevent interefering with analogue signals. In addition, as already mentioned, the same TV programme transmitted from two sites cannot be mixed in the way analogue ones can. So multipath reception of digital signals does not work.
2. There is a lot of hype perpetrated about 'analog' and 'digital' aerials. An aerial is an aerial and transmits and receives both analog and digital signals equally without knowing what type it is! I had new aerials installed at my home to replace very old 18 element UHF yagis which were about 30+ years old. I was told I would need 'digital aerials' but rather than argue I let the antenna installer put up the new ones. I then wanted to have TV on my PC using a USB stick receiver/decoder so I dug out one of the old aerials, mounted it on a pole about 8 feet above ground, pointed it to the local transmitter, about 5 miles away, and I get over 80 TV and radio stations.
3. I can understand the need for newer designs to our TV aerials as my local transmitter transmits a total of 4 analog channels and the 80+ digital signals, TV and radio, on 5 digital channels, covering channels 22 to 59, almost the whole UHF TV range(21-69 in the UK). So the new digital aerials need to be 'wide band' to be truly effective in my area. The transmitter on channel 59 has the strongest transmitted signal, but one of my old receivers causes the picture to constantly pixellate and the sound crackles. The other two newer receivers have signal strength indicators on the channel info dialogs, show a stronger signal and do not suffer from these problems due to newer hardware designs I am sure. They all come off the same aerial and three channel signal amplifier.
In conclusion, digital TV is good/great when it works. There is no Government plot against the general public and if your home is badly sited and you don't have the right gear, you will not have a good experience with digital TV. That is why cable and satellite transmitters make money for these companies. Internet TV is unlikely to meet the demand for every citizen to use it due to bandwidth limitations, as much as the ISPs might want to encourage it. After all they will impose download limits or charge by the Gbyte downloaded!
TO: "rickdev67" & Others Answering Digital TV
Hey many thanks for you reading the ealier posts and adding your own "expertise". That does really help us old guys try to figure all of this out. Thanks to the last comment on antennas, I will definitely await the changeover before making any more big changes or changing my antennas or even putting one outside.
Obviusly, we should await the change and see how much stronger the digital signals become once the transmitting stations have no more analog signal to worry about transmitting. I'm an old Air Force "HF" radio operator who would travel to a site and set up three masts with a "long wire" drapped between. We would calculate the length of the wire against the frequency we were using. It's no different with the new digital signals. Once you understand it, you can make necessary adjustments to fine tune the signal for maximum strength.
Thanks again for the added help in trying to figure this "stuff" out.
Digital TV is a bust! Digital TV sucks
Go here if you want to read about how I got the information:
If you have an UHF antenna for outside, that is what should connect to your converter box. (Do NOT connect VHF to converter box.)
With a boosted signal, like NBC promised their advertisers, 20 miles from the NBC broadcast tower, this is from the 2009 superbowl pre-show:
Total posts: 47 (Showing page 2 of 2)