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mariah08

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I am a retired person on a fixed income and totally confused about all the changes taking place in HDTV. My house has a satellite dish which has been on the roof since I moved in 5 years ago. I have been receiving local TV via rabbit ears, and I am not interested in premium services. I now see that there is something called Free to Air which allows individuals to buy a receiver and get over the air local programs without signing up for a service which I simply can't afford. I don't want to break laws or do something I shouldn't. Can someone help me through this maze of information, and If I am able to do this, what economical receiver / supplier would you recommend?
 
Neutron

Neutron

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Welcome to Satelliteguys!! :welcome

Have you had a chance to check out our Free to Air forum?

There you will find lots of good information on getting Free to Air and also what equipment to get that is perfectly legit.
 
rockymtnhigh

rockymtnhigh

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Yes, :welcome to SatelliteGuys


There is a good chance that the dish you have on your roof is for a pay-service like Dish Network or Directv, in which case its not likely to work with FTA. But check out the FTA forums and ask there.... :)
 
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mariah08

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Thanks for your advice. I will browse the FTA forum.
Mariah08
 
jayn_j

jayn_j

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If I am reading this correctly, Mariah just wants to be able to continue to receive TV signals via rabbit ears when analog TV cuts off next January.

If that is the case, you can get what you need for no cost whatsoever, and no big hassle.

Wal-Mart and other major retailers have started selling something called a Digital TV converter (ATSC). They retail for just under $50 and are made by several manufacturers. You can just buy it if you wish.

However, the federal government has decided to issue coupons to pay for these adapters. If you go to this website -> https://www.dtv2009.gov/, you can apply for one of these coupons. The website also explains how to connect and use the converter.

Go ahead and apply now. You should get the coupon in about two months. By then, the converters should be everywhere. I did see a stack of 50 of them at my local Wal-Mart last weekend, so they should be ready when yoiu are.

Don't worry about it taking two months to get the box, as they won't be shutting off the old channels until next February.

Good luck and I hope this answered your question.
 
rockymtnhigh

rockymtnhigh

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Jay,

You are right. I completely misinterpreted the post. Doh! A digital converter is all that is needed. :)
 
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mariah08

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Apr 14, 2008
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From Mariah;

Actually you are all right. I have already applied for a coupon for an analog to Digital converter, and intend to get one when I can. BUT, I am also interested in what "FTA" is all about. I Live in Spokane, Wa. and there are probably 8 or 9 over the air channels, however some of them are notoriously bad reception including the CBS affiliate. Perhaps just going to a digital signal will solve that. If so I will be satisfied, but if I can get better reception and possibly more channels of programing by acquiring (one time) a receiver and or dish to pick up these extras, I am interested. As I said, I don't have the resources to pay a monthly fee for cable or satellite services, and frankly don't care about most premium fare, however if I loose NASCAR or WWE Smackdown, or other sophisticated programing, I will be sad.
I must say that I am not terribly proficient in understanding the technology. I went to the free to Air Forum, and quickly found myself trying to read Greek! In the spirit of the "XXX for dummies" I need to have someone tell me..."go to this store and buy this thing and take it home and plug it in to ... ? and if nothing happens do a, b, c, ...and then write me back at ..."
I am thrilled to have found this resource, and truely appreciate your attempts to hael a poor electronically illiterate dummy.

Thanks

Mariah
 
jayn_j

jayn_j

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And that will continue to be the problem. FTA is a hobby thing for geeks like me. The idea is to experiment and search out random signals that were never intended to be seen by the public.The little bit of 'normal' programming available tends to move around. Things are scattered on many satellites, so you need to be able to not only scan through many frequencies on a satellite (oversimplifed) but yu also need to be able to move your dish to point at different satellites as well. It is not for the faint of heart, and not the best way to watch WWE.

You are going to find that it is more difficult to receive the new digital stations OTA, but when you do they will either be crystal clear or not there at all. No ghosts, no snow. But you need to point antennas carefully. It may make sense to put one in your attic or on your roof.

Now back to the DBS group. They are intended to act just like cable. One dish, no moving it around, and channels are just like flipping the channel knob on your TV. They do tend to be pricier. However both DTV and DISH have recently introduced essential packages, kind of like lifeline cable. They include local channels and a half dozen basic cable channels for about $20/month. Neither service advertises these packages, but a customer rep should know about them if you ask. That might be your best bet, if you can handle the $20/mo.
 
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mariah08

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Apr 14, 2008
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Thanks Jayn_J
I appreciate your candid response although I don't know what DBS means.
I think I had better wait until I have a converter and see what I am dealing with, then look at solutions if it isn't satisfactory.
If worse comes to worse, I am willing to give up television altogether as I prefer to read anyway.
Last night on our local news it was reported that our local cable source, Comcast is planning now to convert digital back to analog, and then sell it to us stallwarts for some nominal cost. There are a few programs I will miss, but there are thousands of good books I can read for free from our local library. I also still have radio until they figure out how to change for it.

Thanks again to all who responded to my question

Mariah
 
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