Antenna and DVR help in North Texas

TimandPatti

TimandPatti

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 16, 2009
55
0
Texas
1st question:
We currently have Dish Network. We are going to have to cancel it due to the economy. :(
We had planned to put up an antenna. We would like a DVR so we can still record our shows, my husband is gone so much that he would miss his shows, he is a trucker.

This is where we need help. Is there an affordable DVR or TiVo with no monthly fee and no phone line required? We can't hook it to the computer either. I know there is one by Dish but I heard it not a good system with lots of trouble.
We have checked with Radio Shack and Best Buy. They either have monthly fees or require phone line. Sears has one stand alone DVR but it's over 1000.00. No way we can afford that.
It needs to have a hard drive already but we don't need 200 hours of recording time.

2nd question:
We have been told we can pick up Dallas if we buy the best wineguard antenna. Our zip code is 75020. I think they said the tower is 80 miles from Sherman.
One guy said he can get Dallas, he's out by the lake. We spoke to him at BestBuy.
I was told on the phone (antenna company) that was doubtful, that Dallas would be nearly impossible to get even with amplifier and rotator.

Now we are confused and don't know if we should pay for the higher gain if it's impossible. We can pick up KXII and Kten plus sub stations of those with rabbit ears. If that's all we can get, we see no reason to spend the money on an antenna.
I'm hoping someone is around my area that might know for sure.

Thank you so much for any help!
 
boba

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,350
1,033
Dorchester, TX.
Well 75020 is Denison so you are north of Sherman. My experience only goes to Sherman but Dallas is available in Sherman but it will cost you in equipment. I would guess that with a good VHF/UHF antenna and a preamp and probably a tower Dallas would be available starting at about a $500 investment. KXII has CBS and FOX with MYTV and KTEN has NBC and CW so ABC and PBS will be the missing major networks. Outside of the DISH DTV PAL DVR I don't know of any no fee OTA DVR .

I would suggest you shop eBay for a DISH 501/508 DVR which has no DVR fee and Subscribe to DISH's Welcome Pack with locals for $14.99/Mo. You will get about 20 good channels such as Food & HGTV plus about a total of 60 PI,Religioues & shopping channels with the Grayson County locals leaving you missing only ABC.
 
T

Tower Guy

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 1, 2005
726
97
We have been told we can pick up Dallas if we buy the best wineguard antenna. Our zip code is 75020.

It depends on your exact location. Go to TV Fool, enter your address, and post the results.

The generic zip code location is not optimistic.
 
Jim5506

Jim5506

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 19, 2004
7,602
2,430
Lubbock, Texas
You are 80+ miles from the DFW towers, you'll need a t least a 150 ft tower and the very best antennas and pre-amps to have much of a chance of stable reception.
 
Don_M

Don_M

SatelliteGuys Guru
Apr 30, 2008
128
0
Aurora, CO
There are no DVR devices without subscription cost. While there are DVD recorders with built-in hard drives, none has the built-in digital tuner you need to record shows like VCRs always did with analog programming. They've all got analog tuners, which are fine for those who are connecting these devices to cable or satellite services, but they aren't any good at all for OTA recording.

There is, however, a DVD recorder/VCR combo, the Panasonic DMR-EZ48, that has a tuner that can handle analog, digital and QAM (cable) signals and a wide range of output formats: RF-modulated cable (the way most VCRs used to work), composite video, S-video, component video and HDMI. It will give you the ability to "time slip," that is, begin watching from the start of a show that is currently being recorded, or watch a previously-recorded show while another is being recorded. It's also possible to record one show while watching a second show live on the TV. Unlike a DVR-based device, though, you can't freeze live TV with a DVDR.
 
Jim5506

Jim5506

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Oct 19, 2004
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Dish makes an OTA DVR with no subscription.

DTV PAL DVR.

It came out in December.
 
C

CowboyDren

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 18, 2005
990
1
64133
1st question:
I know there is one by Dish but I heard it not a good system with lots of trouble.

Dish makes an OTA DVR with no subscription.

As...Patti?...noted, the overall rating on these are not great. There's a lot of chatter about hardware freezes and scheduling problems, but I don't know how bad the problem actually is. If you're not a poweruser like some of us TV junkies, you may not even trigger a problem.

Is your DISH Network DTVPal DVR having issues?

If only it did name-based recordings...and had a QAM tuner...and did ViP...and I could order pizza with it...then I'd ditch my Dish subscription.

It's all a moot point if she can't get an antenna.
 
TimandPatti

TimandPatti

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 16, 2009
55
0
Texas
Well after reading online, here, elsewhere and talking to people, we ordered an antenna.
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Terk-HDTVO-HDtv-Antenna-Amplified/dp/B0009W9WHQ/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1238790820&sr=8-1"]Amazon.com: Terk HDtv Antenna Amplified: Electronics[/ame]

We can get Kten and Kxii with rabbit ears but having an antenna will work better. We have a neighbor that has this one and it works well for local. My husband will mount it on our dish mast.
We just couldn't see spending more on a big antenna when we still couldn't get Dallas.

Boba, we have a Denison mailing address but we are located in the middle of Sherman and Denison, in the country.

We had decided we would just use an old VCR to record the shows my husband would miss but I wonder if that will work since the stations are now 10.1, 10.2 ect... instead of like they used to be? :confused:
 
Jim5506

Jim5506

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 19, 2004
7,602
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Lubbock, Texas
If you are recording OTA, the VCR will not see 10.1 or 10.2, those are ATSC channels.

Some ATSC tuners have the capability to change channels at pre-programmed times to co-ordinate with VCR's and the like, but you'll need a digital tuner to convert the ATSC signal to an input the VCR can use.

Get and use your $40 coupon from uncle Barak Hussein Obama for a digital to analog converter box.
 
boba

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,350
1,033
Dorchester, TX.
You will need a DTV converter connected to the VCR Ch 12 has already dropped it's analog signal so the VCR wouldn't even see it.

I still suggest the DISH 501/508 with the welcome pack $14.99/mo. is cheap. i-888-387-6371 will get you to an account specialist
 
T

TalkingRat

SatelliteGuys Family
May 24, 2008
83
0
The AVS forum thread on the DVPal DVR had a status update recently, that firmware would be out mid April to resolve the recording sequencing issues and the freezes and a few unnamed other things, and that Dish would resume selling the DVR in May. Since you have an HD capable TV, that would seem to be the best approach, if it's really fixed. Of course the DVR is not coupon eligible, since it is HD, as well as being a recording device.

Scott Greczkowski also has a thread on the firmware update, although I don't know that the update is truly is online just yet.

http://www.satelliteguys.us/dish-network-forum/170881-dtvpal-dvr-software-update.html#post1776171

The cheap solution to use with VCR is CECBs, one or two, depending on whether you want the ability to record one program and watch another. Recording is a bit of a hassle with CECBs. If you have an event timer so you can record unattended, you have to set both VCR and the CECB event timer, and in the past, clock issues have meant the CECB doesn't always do its job of being on and tuned to the right channel so the VCR can record. There are only two brands with timers (DTVPal and Zat) and while you can set the Zat clock manually in case stations are putting out bad PSIP time, neither is 100% satisfactory, and of course, not the HD quality you could have with the DVR. But hey, it's close to free with a coupon, and since the NTIA is sending them out first class mail, people are getting them pretty fast.

Looking at your zipcode tvfool data, it looks like reception could be hard for all but a few channels, so if you can borrow a CECB from a friend or neighbor just so you can see what stations you can get where you are, that might be a good idea before you spend $250 on a DVR. The best CECB predictor of what you'd get with the DVR is a Pal Plus, since it has the same Microtune tuner as the DVR.

ETA: am I making wrong assumptions about your tv, that it is HD capable? Been reading too much today. If it is not, someone did check that the DVR worked with analog TVs, using the composite connections. Of course it would not be HD quality with an analog tv, but the recording would be a lot better than what you'd get with VHS.
 
TimandPatti

TimandPatti

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 16, 2009
55
0
Texas
Yes it is HD capable.

Our newest problem. My husband took down the dish network dish and attached the antenna so we could get the Kten and Kxii channels. We could get them with rabbit ears but the signal broke up some. With the antenna on the roof attached to the dish mast we can't get the local channels. How odd is that! Not sure what to do now. :(
 
boba

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,350
1,033
Dorchester, TX.
Well if you got the terk it is amplified so you need to plug in a poewer supply usually behind TV. There can't be any breaks splitters etc. in the coax cable between antenna and TV.

Another problem may be that is a UHF only antenna so it is good for CH10 but as of 2/17/09 KXII went back to VHF CH12 for broadcast.

Third possibility Antenna web.org shows KTEN as 358 degrees and KXII as 323 degrees and calls the antenna highly directional.

You could try the rabbit ears on the roof and see what you get for signals I don't know what you will need to connect the rabbit ears but they aren't powered or very directional.
 
TimandPatti

TimandPatti

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 16, 2009
55
0
Texas
I guess we will return the antenna and just use rabbit ears.
 
TimandPatti

TimandPatti

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 16, 2009
55
0
Texas
We are sending it back, UPS is supposed to pick it tomorrow morning. We couldn't get Kten with it. We ordered a Winegard HD 8200U and that should give us the locals with no problems.
 

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