Saturday, 14 May 2005

I've been looking for HDTV antennas that might be able to pull in the Portland HD over-the-air (OTA) broadcast signals all the way out here in Podunk, Oregon (no, that's not the real name, it's a joke...). I recently bought a HD receiver for my Satellite service, and need to see if I can get the local channels this far out.

After poking around on KOIN's web site to find out their HD broadcast coverage, tonight I found three great online resources: Antenna Web, CheckHD.com and TitanTV.com. Note that all three appear to share a common source information, so try all three and see what you come up with.

HDTV_PDX_map2Antenna Web is the Consumer Electronics Association's online resource for buying an antenna to meet your needs based on your address. Answer a few questions and you'll have an idea of what antenna hardware you'll require. Your Antenna Web results will include a list of the local broadcast stations in your market, the broadcast types and channels (and compass heading for pointing), as well as the type and size of antenna required to receive the signals. And you'll be able to view a map of your location with the available channels and bearing shown. No registration required, which is nice. For a sample map of results (my home), click the map image at right.

CheckHDCheckHD.com is another good site that doesn't require you to subscribe, and it provides you with quick information about what's available and what color code to be looking for when you pick an antenna. They also have lots of other great information, like the current state of DTV coverage in the United States.

TitanTV.com is an online service that also provides a set of electronic programming listings that tie into a variety of PVR systems, and you can sign up (it's free) to see listings for your location and to run some tools and find out what kind of HDTV coverage you have where you live.

The tools on the TitanTV web site help you determine what kind of equipment you might need to successfully receive HD signals, and even makes specific antenna recommendations. Note that with OTA broadcast HD, it's often an all-or-none thing (not like regular, analog TV, where you can get a fuzzy signal and just deal with it). There's also online TV listings (for whatever services you use - you specify them when you sign up).

The verdict? Well, I found out pretty much what I expected - It should work, but I am in a fringe reception area and will likely need to use a roof-mounted, high-gain antenna. If I do that, I should be okay.

I also found a link to the FCC's DTV web site, replete with annoying gratuitous flash animations. There's no escaping gratuitous flash. We paid someone to create that?? Ugh.



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Saturday, 14 May 2005 21:16:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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