Ugly But Effective

In the past couple of months I have been researching and learning more about digital television and how it works. All of this is in the light of my purchase of a Vizio HDTV in December and the announcement that all networks will broadcast in digital starting February 2009. Now I consider myself to be “up” on all the new technology. I am a geek. I have no problem with that. But right before I bought my TV I learned (from my friend David Plunk) about off-the-air digital television. You can purchase special “bunny ears” antennae that are able to receive not only traditional analog signals but also digital signals. So if you are in range of a network that broadcasts their digital signal over the air, then you can capture it with your HDTV antenna and the difference in quality and sound is amazing. It literally looks like you are watching cable or satellite.

I purchased one such antenna from my local Wal-Mart and I was met with okay results. I knew that the great distance between my home in Perry and the majority of our local stations in Macon would be a problem. So I dealt with it because it was better than nothing. I was only able to get Fox in digital over the air.

Well my father-in-law introduced me recently to a whole new technology. You can also purchase larger exterior digital antennae which greatly increase your chances of picking up some HD over the air. My pa-in-law recently purchase one for around $100 but did not have a good spot on his house to mount it and he subsequently decided to go with digital cable. Well instead of sending it back he offered to sell it to me but would let me try it out first.

The results were spectacular. I was able to pick up my analog CBS and PBS station (since they are not yet broadcasting digital over the air) with greater clarity but I also was able to pick up ABC, Fox, and NBC in HD. I am absolutely thrilled. I am especially excited since NBC is beginning to air one of my favorite shows, Monk. Also when all stations go digital in 2009 I will be able to watch the “Andy Griffith Show” on my local CBS affiliate in brilliant digital quality. Hey, I like the show, okaaay!

I have the Solid Signal DB8 and with shipping it goes for about $100. Of course more powerful/expensive ones are available if you need it. Anyway if you are like me and you like to watch some TV but not enough to justify paying for cable or satellite service, then you should invest in an exterior digital antenna. They are indeed ugly but very effective. You can learn more about choosing one by going to Antenna Web.

Josh H.

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