OTA HDTV Reception Q&A

Updates on the DTV transition and how to receive over-the-air digital television for free.

Location: Richmond, IL, United States

Hello there! I created this blog to share the information about over-the-air HDTV reception you have been wearily searching the Web or calling technical lines for, whether you have decided for less expensive means to get your favorite TV shows, or still adjusting from the over the air broadcast DTV transition that occurred on June 12, 2009. After working for a leading antenna manufacturer for almost 5 years, during which time I've shared my expertise with those who asked on the phone and by email at work, I decided to do the same in the Blogosphere! Confused about getting your local HD channels? Just click through the archives, some of the most useful information is in the early posts from 2005-06. If you want to get in touch with me with antenna related questions, just leave a comment anywhere on this site.

Friday, August 11, 2006


I must confess that I don't read the message boards (http://www.avsforum.com/ is one of the leading ones) where members are giving advice and help on how to get the right antenna for their area. I can say they do help, if you look at them for a given market you might get some advice, but everyone has their own opinions.

There are two independent Web sites that I can recommend that can provide some great information. There is a retailer in Michigan who sells antennas in his area but also online. The site is http://www.dennysantennaservice.com/ Denny is a fantastic and knowledgeable source for an unbiased opinion because he sells off-air products from both Winegard, where I work, and our leading competitor, ChannelMaster. His "HDTV Antennas: Fact or Fiction" link is a definite read, and he posted similar truths about HDTV reception to my own. I must confess, however, that he has posted some great comments from himself and his customers on the SharpShooter antenna, which I helped design. And I do feel that this indoor antenna has an edge because unlike most indoor antennas, this one is directional on both VHF high band (frequency assignments 7-13) as well as UHF, where most HDTV is broadcast, and will be in most markets when the analog broadcasts end in 2009. Denny is also aware of the analog shutdown date, and he notes it on his site. It is so refreshing to see an antenna installer and seller who actually knows how antennas work!!! Definitely visit this site, and reward him by buying an antenna from him!!

Another good site to visit not just for antenna information but also information on HDTV home theater equipment is http://www.hdtvexpert.com/, a site managed by Peter Putman, a consultant based in the Philadelphia area. Peter has reviews of HDTV antennas and equipment, and he goes to the trade shows religiously to find out the latest. Peter wrote a review on our SquareShooter antenna, which is primarily a UHF antenna that is a very well matched broadband antenna compared to traditional UHF antennas. Unfortunately Peter ended up giving a mixed review of this antenna because DTV tuners have become more advanced with bit-error correction circuitry to improve picture streams when the simplest of antennas are used in high-ghosting areas. Early 1st and 2nd generation tuners had problems decoding signals affected by multipath, and a well-matched broadband antenna like the SquareShooter initially seemed like the best solution. But then the 4th and 5th generation DTV tuners came along to work better with traditional antennas. Still, people are enjoying the look of the SquareShooter outdoors, and that has made it a seller. There have been other antennas I have found that are now packaged in attractive plastic packages.

So again after exploring the archives in this blog, go to http://www.hdtvexpert.com/ to check out the home theater equipment, and then to http://www.dennysantennaservice.com/ for an unbiased guide on getting off-air DTV, and then buy that antenna!! And if you post on the AVS forums, tell them about the sites, too -- believe me, I'm sure they get at least one or two posts a week saying "where can I get some GOOD antenna information??!!!"