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Old 05-26-2009, 12:25 PM   #1
Fel
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How to get free HDTV



Saw this in the paper today, never realized you could do this. Go buy an antenna, and you can pick up on roughly 18 HD channels. The quality is sometimes even better than the compressed crap fed through Rogers' pipe.

Not a bad deal for a $55 antenna. Screw cable companies.

http://www.thestar.com/article/640344

Quote:
Karim Sunderani flicks through channels on a 40-inch high-definition flat panel television at his Mississauga electronics store, Save and Replay. The picture is crystal clear, the sound powerful.

But the stunning HD images don't come via cable or satellite. They come over the air. For free.

"All you need is an antenna, just like in the old days, and an HD television with a digital tuner," says Sunderani, adding that he has sold more than 1,000 antennas a month since March.

While there aren't any official government or industry figures, electronics stores across the GTA are reporting surges in demand for antennas, metal grids about one metre by half a metre with several protruding spokes. No technical savvy needed just plug into the back of your HD TV and enjoy as many as 18 high-def channels.

And not a cent goes to the cable companies.

"In the poor economy, people are looking for ways to cut back. When they see the clarity you get from HD channels using an antenna, it blows them away," said Paul Schukow, a salesperson at Radioworld on Steeles Ave. W. in Toronto.

He said the store has been selling hundreds of antennas every month since last fall.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) requires networks to broadcast locally over the air in either analogue or standard definition in order for networks to enjoy low channel placement and must-carry status on cable and satellite providers. That means you can pick up the channels for free if you have an antenna.

Here's why you can pick them up in HD: as of August 2011, all Canadian stations must convert to digital, and high definition is becoming the digital standard. The United States is expected to complete its transition to digital next month.

Sunderani says most people with an antenna in the GTA can pick up about 18 HD channels broadcast from towers in Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo. These include CBC, CTV, Global, CityTV, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and PBS.

Customers can expect to spend a mere $55 on an antenna and another $8 for a good co-axial cable to run into the back of a television, he says. Some older HD TVs don't have digital ATSC tuners, but a good digital converter box can fix this and will set you back about $85. Cheaper "rabbit ears" antennas will also pick up a few HD channels.

Viewers might have to walk around their homes carrying the antenna to figure out where to get the best signal, he says.

Jon LeBlanc is the moderator of digitalhome.ca, a popular discussion board about the airwaves. He says that, in the five years the forum has been open, he has seen a "huge increase" in interest from people asking questions about how to take advantage of the free HD signals. The Delta, B.C., resident gets 14 HD channels using an antenna and contends the over-the-air signals he gets are superior in sound and picture to compressed HD signals from cable and satellite providers.

"There has been an unfortunate misconception that one must pay a monthly fee to get television," says LeBlanc, who has a background in high-tech. "What we're seeing is the curtain being drawn back. It's a renaissance."

Thousands of Canadians are starting to reject the 500-channel universe in favour of a more "manageable" number of channels with a local flavour, he says. He acknowledges that free signals don't provide the choice of programming that many viewers want, but says over-the-air broadcasts are a threat to cable and satellite providers.

Not so, says Julie Smithers, a spokesperson for Bell TV.

"For a very long time, Canadians have been able to pull in conventional TV reception using antennas and aerials. We've seen very little impact on our business," she said.

David Purdy, vice-president of video product management for Rogers Communications, says only 6 per cent of TV viewers get their signals over the air, a number he predicts will decline as Canada switches from analogue to digital.

"The long-term phenomenon that's been created by both digital cable and the Internet is that people are demanding more choice, not less," he said.

"I believe that a linear television offering, whether that be through an antenna or even satellite, is not going to meet customer expectations in the short, medium and long term," he said, adding that "on demand" capability is the future of digital television.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:31 PM   #2
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^yup, we've had this at home for about 1-2 months now, its really good quality!
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:40 PM   #3
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The only problem with it all for is is that most of the channels are really touchy. If someone walks around in specific places in the house I lose reception. Still cool to get free HD though.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysantic View Post
The only problem with it all for is is that most of the channels are really touchy. If someone walks around in specific places in the house I lose reception. Still cool to get free HD though.
get the outdoor antenna .. the indoor ones are only good if you live in a high condo plus you need to face it towards the CN Tower for best results.
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Old 05-26-2009, 01:00 PM   #5
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I used to get free bell via satellites but then they changed their codes and now we're screwed.
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Old 05-26-2009, 01:56 PM   #6
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Yeah the only thing I'm worried about is reception.... I wouldn't mind trying this seeing as my HDTV, oddly enough, doesn't have any tv signal attached to it (only games and movies). So I'm thinking this might be a cheap and easy way to get a few channels without the headache of Rogers.

Only thing I'm worried about is the fact that I live a bit north, so there might not be the same selection.... I can point it at the CN tower all I want, but it's a good 75km away, it might not help.. haha. Might just buy one to try and hope for the best!
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blades View Post
get the outdoor antenna .. the indoor ones are only good if you live in a high condo plus you need to face it towards the CN Tower for best results.
So long as you have visual with the CN tower then it will work?
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:40 AM   #8
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you dont need visual but it be better signal if you do....the cable and sat companies are scrambling signals every fricking hour these days.Codes we are getting off the internet is obsolete in 24 hours or less.We got a "antie" and it is barely at roof level blocked by a large apartment and we still get at least 15 HDTV channels or more,mostly american channels.Hell what you want for a $65 antenna.I know those huge ones like the people used in the sixities,seventies can pick up 3X as more HDTV.There was a write up on another forum I try and locate it.
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Old 05-27-2009, 01:21 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by daytona View Post
you dont need visual but it be better signal if you do....the cable and sat companies are scrambling signals every fricking hour these days.Codes we are getting off the internet is obsolete in 24 hours or less.We got a "antie" and it is barely at roof level blocked by a large apartment and we still get at least 15 HDTV channels or more,mostly american channels.Hell what you want for a $65 antenna.I know those huge ones like the people used in the sixities,seventies can pick up 3X as more HDTV.There was a write up on another forum I try and locate it.
^ what he said

I bought one for my gf its an indoor type and she has it in the basement hanging out the basement window .. its not the best but it does get her a few channels free (the none HD ones work better since the signal is poor).
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:59 AM   #10
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18 channels???? more like 4
if youre lucky.
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by sirex View Post
18 channels???? more like 4
if youre lucky.
??

my gf gets 4 HD channels in her BASEMENT indoor antenna. She gets 8 regular channels on top of that.
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:10 PM   #12
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18 channels???? more like 4
if youre lucky.
Have you tried it and gotten these results?
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:18 PM   #13
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I have it at my rental property,definitely picks up at least 12 HDTV channels.Not the best placement but hell the tenant getting free TV.One of my customers is a tech at Rogers and he even mentioned Rogers is getting "worried" about these items and the Sat dishes and there is nothing they can do about it.Rogers even had the balls to raise the prices on the asian speciality channels getting more asians pissed at them,you shouldnt do that to people who made bootlegging,hacking and being good bargain hunters a national sport.
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:37 PM   #14
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I'm intrigued with OTA as well. I hardly watch any TV. Whatever I do watch is network stuff which is free over the air. The only thing I would really miss is TSN and Sportsnet.

For anyone interested in learning more about OTA, take a look at the Digital Home OTA sub forum.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=81
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Old 05-27-2009, 01:45 PM   #15
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i want this.....
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