HDTV over the air

written by bryan on November 22nd, 2007 @ 03:27 PM

Bethany and I traveled to Toronto a couple of weeks ago. I was looking for a decent indoor TV antenna. Toronto has an excellent selection of HDTV channels available over the air, so I thought it would be easy to find a good antenna. In Toronto, all of the TV stations use the CN tower for broadcasting. Toronto also has a large number of tall buildings, which means lots of multipath interference. A unidirectional antenna pointed at the CN tower should provide excellent reception, avoiding most of the multipath that an omni directional antenna would pick up. In terms of indoor directional antennas, the model that everybody recommends is the Philips Silver Sensor, or one of the many clones.

I took a walk up Yonge street, but other than the Future Shop being moved, I didn’t find any electronics store. I got back to the Eaton Centre and checked out the Canadian Tire, The Source (nee Radio Shack) and the Best Buy. The huge Canadian Tire store had a very tiny electronics section, but both Best Buy and the Source do a good business selling HDTV’s. Neither of them had any TV antennas that work very well in Toronto, they were all omnidirectional, simple loops and rabbit ears, adding amplification, which may or may not help. Even worse, the few salespeople were clueless. I don’t blame the salespeople, their direction comes from management. At Best Buy there was a sign along the lines “HDTV’s only display in HDTV with programming from cable or satellite.” That’s almost criminal. There are 7 to 20 HDTV channels available in Toronto; people do not have to spend $50+ a month to receive HDTV. And the beauty of HDTV is, that if you receive it at all, reception is likely to be perfect.

The situation in Ottawa is much different. Only CBC is transmitting in HD, CBOT and CBOFT. Receiving HDTV programming from the United States may be possible with a large TV tower, but otherwise only the one channel is available. But that’s quite a bit. The Senators are doing well, and the Riders are about to win the Grey Cup. I ended up mail ordering the PHDTV3 from Dell.

The antenna is hooked to a Hauppage HVR-1800. It works for me, but I’d recommend the pcHDTV HD-5500. I’m running MythTV.

MythTV lets us watch TV at any computer in the house (there are quite a few of those). But Bethany likes to watch TV as background noise while she’s working, so we also have a Ziova CS-505 high-definition networked DVD player will also play content from the MythTV stream. The CS-505 is hooked up to an old LCD I had lying around through an HDMI-DVI adapter. The CS-505 is highly recommended.

Comments

  • Peter on 22 Nov 16:33

    The CS-505 looks pretty cool. I’ve got all my media on a NAS box. That looks like just the ticket to hook it into my home theater without messing around with a mythTV box…

    Is the cheaper 510 just a 505 without the DVD player?

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