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How to set up an HD OTA antenna to get free HD TV in Toronto

Discussion in 'Technology' started by beaker, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. beaker

    beaker TRIBE Member

    i am looking to buy an antenna to receive hdtv over the air. i want to get all the buffalo stations. my understanding is that you need a pretty good one with gain to get those. can any recommend some specific models or places to go shopping for them in toronto?

    also, does anyone know - if you have an atsc tuner in your tv, do you need still need to get those digital set top boxes to receive digital cable from rogers?

    thanks in advance,
  2. catilyst

    catilyst TRIBE Member

    I have an ota antenna for sale

    First off I'd suggest you check out the forum at digitalhome.ca - it's a great resource for both your questions.

    As far as an antenna goes a channel master 4228 seems to be a standard (assuming you're in the GTA). I couldnt find one so I bought a clone from tigerdirect and got a bunch of Buffalo and Toronto stations. (I'm in Brampton)

    That was in the winter. I have large trees directly in my line of site to Buffalo so now that they have leaves my set up doesn't work properly. I'm selling the antenna if you're interested. I have a tripod mount too. If you want I'll give them both to you for $100. The antenna was about 120 and the tripod was 80 (I got jipped on the tripod, I now know they go for closer to 30) and I'll throw in about 50 feet of rg6 cable and a grounding block.

    As far as you second question goes I beleive you need the rogers box even if you have the tuner, but you can find out for sure at digitalhome.
  3. romstah

    romstah TRIBE Member

    CM4228 is pretty good, but its kinda big, i had to disassemble it to make it fit my attic. The CM4221 is its smaller brother.

    You dont need a decoder if your tv has an atsc tuner.
  4. catilyst

    catilyst TRIBE Member

    There's a reason it's big!
  5. videotronic

    videotronic TRIBE Member

    where do you live, what direction do you face and how high up are you?

    im at yonge and wellesley and im getting abchd, ctvhd, suntv, cityhd, nbc hd, cbchd, pbshd and a few others with a $120 RCA indoor antenna from radio shack...

    my apt. faces north with a south-west facing window in my bedroom...for the first week i had the antenna setup facing appx. towards the cn tower out the bedroom window...i was pulling in all the canadian stations, but no buffalo ones. since moving the antenna into the living room and facing it towards the bay and cibc buildings at yonge/bloor, im now getting most of the buffalo stations as well as all the canadian ones i had before, with the exception of french cbc, which i couldnt give a shit about anyhow..haha

    the only one i cant seem to lock down is fox, which is odd because from everything ive read its one of the stronger signals, and nbc is one of the weaker ones.

    honestly though, youll be blown away once you see OTA hd. the signal is absolutely pristine...no blocking and compression artifacts like you sometimes see with bell or rogers, who compress their signals to shit...this is easily the best $129 ive spent
  6. greginhali

    greginhali TRIBE Member

    i havent stop reading that forum since you pointed it out....do you know where to pick up a silver sensor.....or clone....they seem to be the best indoor antenna's.....i checked out active surplus....and no luck ....any ideas?
  7. catilyst

    catilyst TRIBE Member

    Agreed. Watching hockey on CBC OTA is breathtaking, even on my 5 year old HDTV.

    greginhali - sorry I've got no idea about the indoor antenna's or where to get them other than maybe ebay?
  8. greginhali

    greginhali TRIBE Member

    need to get organized on the hd....sounds wicket...and free
  9. beaker

    beaker TRIBE Member

    hey thanks for the responses everyone.

    it's actually for two places. i'm moving into a house in the annex and i don't think i'll be able to get very good reception there. we are on the main floor and the house is a standard 2-story with lots of trees.

    my dad is also interested in getting one. he is up at st clair and bathurst and has a townhouse with a fairly clear view from the roof so i will perhaps try and indoor antenna up there to start. those big outdoor ones are a little intimidating, aesthetically speaking.

    videotronic, how high up are you? and am i understanding correctly that when you pointed the thing north, you got more channels? what model/brand do you have?

    we did a test for superbowl with bell expressvu vs an hdtv antenna on a 30' movie screen and the difference was stunning. it's hard to believe it is free.

    thanks again,
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2007
  10. videotronic

    videotronic TRIBE Member

    yeah dude

    im on floor 24 and am getting 5 or 6 more channels since i pointed it north. my theory is that im getting reflections from buffalo off of the cibc/bay office buildings 2 blocks north of me. like...my south facing window faces south west towards the cn tower, so i was getting the canadian stations (all of whom broadcast off of there) just fine, but none of the buffalo ones. since moving it to my living room, which faces north, im getting all the same CAN stations (minus cbc francais) but i guess im getting stuff coming up from the south east (buffalo) as well...


    this is what im rocking right now. if it doesnt work for you you can always take it back....they have a 30 day return policy on stuff in its packaging...
  11. greginhali

    greginhali TRIBE Member

    where to get the silver sensor?
  12. veteze

    veteze TRIBE Promoter

    wow i didn't realize you could get anything over the air in toronto. this would be the perfect compliment to the xbox methinks. rather than cable. which, frankly, blows... i don't think i have a clear line of site to anything though. i'm in a house with quite a few trees around in parkdale.
  13. greginhali

    greginhali TRIBE Member

    I think you would be able to get the Canadian HD channels just living close to the CN tower.....anything downtown...
  14. alcid

    alcid TRIBE Member

    just picked this up today, thanks for the recommendation. i'm getting about 5 HD stations (CBC, CBC french, CTV, City, SunTV) with it set up inside. Not getting anything from the US though... Are there any other Canadian channels I should be getting?

    Can't wait until hockey season starts!
  15. lobo

    lobo TRIBE Member

    I know that Bell/*Choice compress their signals and stuff but from what I've read, Rogers allows the full 19Mbps throughput for each channel.

    So is it THAT much better than say Rogers stuff? I'm curious too.

  16. videotronic

    videotronic TRIBE Member

    if you believe rogers allows the full *anything* through then here.... buy my bridge in brooklyn...

    ill say it again...OTA HD is the best HD picture ive ever seen, be it rogers, bell, shaw...you name it...ive been at some friends houses who have rogers hd and like..when youre watching something thats upscaled SD ive had to ask "can you put it to an hd channel?"

    even the upscaled SD content OTA looks pretty badass. like...some upscaled SD OTA could almost much pass for true HD to the average peoples eyes...i cant wait for NFL on NBC..its going to be ridiculous
  17. lobo

    lobo TRIBE Member

    Ah well, let's not talk about upscaled SD stuff cause that always is a crapshoot. I'm just going by what's been reported on digitalhomecanada.com in that they claim that Rogers doesn't compress any true HD shows. But I am intrigued to see an OTA true HD show now. :)

  18. beaker

    beaker TRIBE Member

    hey lobo, let me know if you find out anything further about that.
  19. ian

    ian TRIBE Member

    I am so doing this in September. I have no cable or anything right now (why bother), but I could really use watching the Leafs in HD again in the fall.
  20. videotronic

    videotronic TRIBE Member

    just make sure you buy your antenna somewhere like radio shack where you can return it no questions asked if it doesnt work. getting the right combination of gear seems to be a total crapshoot...

    i went last week and bought a 25db RCA signal booster(the same brand as my antenna) figuring that id remove the 10db one that came with the antenna and plug this one in instead..well, i dont know if its the extra bit of cable, or the extra connection, but not only did i not get any more channels, i actually lost 3
  21. catilyst

    catilyst TRIBE Member

    Not sure how good RCA antennas are but one piece of advice I took was to invest in a really good antenna, raher than signal boosters and preamps. With my my 'big' antenna, with over 50' of cable going to my receiver, I never had a need for boosters or amps.
  22. videotronic

    videotronic TRIBE Member

    i live in 600 sq. ft apartment that faces north..small antenna is the only way to go for me...its a fucking miracle my girlfriend is even letting me get away with the small one i have now!! hahaha

    im 90% happy with what im getting now..i was just hoping that the signal booster would let me pick up fox...

  23. greginhali

    greginhali TRIBE Member


    good luck...keep us posted on the details....im going for this set up in august as well.....free hd.....awesome....
  24. videotronic

    videotronic TRIBE Member

    honestly i have a fundamental problem with paying for cable TV when im being advertised to. i think our grandparents, who decided (with their dollars) that that was ok did us a huge disservice..

    radio is free, you listen to ads. hotmail is free, you have to see ads, you want me to PAY for 8 minutes of ads per 22 minutes of programming? youre on fucking glue, jack.

    ps-oh and i forgot to mention, since returning my pioneer 5070 and getting the new 5080 im getting 3 more channels and the signal on NBC and CBS and PBS is now almost perfect...before theyd show up once in a while, now theyre dialed in almost always...go pioneer and your new tuners!!
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2007
  25. veteze

    veteze TRIBE Promoter

    Does anyone know if you can plug one of these into a Media Center PC? i.e. is there a card you can get for this? Any experiences? Recommendations?

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