By James K. Willcox and Claudio Ciacci |April 06, 2018
TV antennas might seem like a relic of a bygone era, when the number of channels you received could be counted on one hand. But as consumers try to trim their ever-escalating cable and satellite TV bills, antennas are making a comeback.
Installing an outdoor antenna is an easy way to stretch your entertainment dollars. Most homeowners can legally install an outdoor antenna, as long as it does not reach more than 12 feet above the roof line, does not create any safety risks and does not impede upon existing neighborhood covenants.
Step 1: Use an internet search to locate TV broadcast towers near the home. The Over the Air Digital TV website otadtv.com has a wealth of information as well as detailed maps and coordinates for tower locations. For those who want to dabble in geometry, mathematics and geography, technical data for optimal antenna location is available. Otherwise, pointing an antenna in the direction of the closest TV tower will usually suffice.
Step 2: Antennas can be mounted on the side of a home, on the roof or on a free-standing antenna tower. Antennas can also be installed in a home’s attic. Attic installations will reduce the signal strength and possibly limit the number of channels that can be received, but the ease of installation and the aesthetics of not having an antenna mounted on the outside of a home may outweigh the negative signal impact.
Step 3: Choose an antenna and mounting hardware that best suits the needs and budget of the homeowner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and assemble the antenna and accessories.
Step 4: Use the existing television cable connections or run new RG-6 four-wire coaxial cable to the rooms where televisions will be used.
Step 5: Install a coax ground block where the cable enters the home. Run a 10 gauge or heavier grounding wire from the coax ground block to a grounding rod or earth grounded pipe.
Step 6: Determine the ideal location for the antenna based on the proximity of broadcast towers. Antennas work best when mounted thirty feet above the ground in an unobstructed space away from metal, wire and other signal blocking materials.
Step 7: Before mounting the antenna, attach the antenna cable to a working television and with the help of a friend, use the picture quality and channel reception to determine the optimal antenna mounting position.
Step 8: Mount the antenna in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Coat any screw holes with an elastomeric sealant.
Step 9: Run a grounding wire from the antenna to an earth grounded rod.
Step 10: Attach the antenna wire to the television cable and enjoy.
— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at email@example.com.
By: Jeff Baumgartner
In findings that highlight the growing cord-cutting trend, Parks Associates said that about 20% of U.S. broadband homes used digital, over-the-air antennas to access live TV near the end of 2017
That’s up from about 16% in early 2015, Parks Associates said, noting that the growth rate coincides with a steady decline of pay TV subscriptions against the backdrop of an increase in OTT video subscriptions.
In November, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued new rules that will let TV broadcasters adopt the next-generation wireless TV standard designated ATSC 3.0. This new standard defines the specifications for ultra-high-definition (UHD) or 4K over-the-air (OTA) digital TV.
In case you haven’t noticed, TV has progressed to the 4K ultra-high-definition stage with its 3,840 × 2,160 pixel resolution. (3,840 pixels is almost 4,000, thus the 4K designation.) Big-screen LCD and OLED sets are now reasonably priced, and some UHD content at the new resolution is becoming available. If you have not experienced UHD on a big screen, give it a try. You will want to upgrade immediately. In the near future, broadcasters will be able to offer this improved technology based on the ATSC 3.0 standard.
Roughly 75% of households pay for their TV reception for cable or satellite distribution. But you can still get free over-the-air TV from your local broadcasters. It is estimated that about 17 to 21% of households get TV this way. Just put up an antenna and receive your local broadcasters— like ABC, CBS, NBC, CW, PBS, Univision, and a few others—at no charge. More than a few households have “cut the cable,” so to speak, and moved to OTA TV to cut costs in the past few years.
Free TV currently uses the original high-definition (HD) digital format designated by the ATSC 1.0. The Advanced Television Systems Committee is that group of TV and electronic companies that put together the U.S. TV standards that are blessed by the FCC and then adopted by the broadcasters. TV sets are made to those standards. If you recall, the switchover from analog TV to digital TV (ATSC 1.0) occurred beginning in late 2008 and concluded in June of 2009.
Called HD TV, this digital standard offers 1080i and 720p resolution. It greatly improves picture and audio quality while using the same 6-MHz-wide TV channels. Now 4K sets can get content via BluRay DVD, cable, and satellite.
The original digital TV standard used today, ATSC 1.0 employs 8VSB (vestigial sideband) modulation, a form of AM using an 8-level coding with a partially suppressed lower sideband to keep the signal inside the 6 MHz channel. MPEG-2 video compression is used. The error correction code is Reed-Solomon. Resolution is either 720 scan lines with 1,280 pixels or 1,080 lines with 1,920 pixels. Frame rates run at 30, 60, 120, or 240 frames per second. Bit rate in a channel is 19.3 Mb/s.
If you haven’t experienced OTA recently, go get an antenna and connect it up. There are lots available, and usually a simple indoor antenna is all you need. Take a look: It’s probably better than you’re thinking.
The new standard was supposed to be ASTC 2.0, which was an upgrade to 1.0 to improve resolution and add new features, while maintaining backward compatibility with the original standard. But in the end, the standards group decided to toss the old standard and forget the backward compatibility issue. That led to the adoption of orthogonal frequency division multiplex (OFDM) modulation.
OFDM is far more spectrally efficient than 8VSB and offers better performance in multipath and non-line-of-sight environments. This permits the new standard to provide acceptable performance in mobile devices and indoor sets. The U.S. finally joins all the other digital TV standards in the world—like DVB in Europe, ISDB in Japan, and DTMB in China—that use OFDM.
ATSC 3.0 defines six levels of modulation, from QPSK to 4096QAM. Data rate in the channel can be as low as 1 Mb/s or up to 57 Mb/s. Data transmission will be an IP-based format like the common internet transmission. The Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) is the forward error correcting code. This new standard also has provisions for 2 × 2 MIMO at the transmitter and in the receivers to further improve the link reliability.
Other features include a more efficient H.265 video compression method. An improved audio compression is MPEG-H or Dolby AC-4. A curious uplink feature is also defined, which will permit viewer interaction services to be implemented. It uses single carrier frequency division multiple access (SC-FDMA) and HARQ format.
The adoption of 3.0 is voluntary by the stations and, if implemented, it would run in parallel with the existing 1.0 HDTV digital standard broadcasts in use today. It will take a year or so before TV stations install the ATSC 3.0 transmitters and TV sets become available. Definitely something to look forward to.
The big question is, can OTA broadcast TV survive the rapid trend in over the top (OTT) streaming? In the meantime, 4K UHD is terrific regardless of the source if you have not yet upgraded.
Source – http://www.electronicdesign.com/community-home/free-tv-keeps-getting-better-welcome-atsc-30
Winter is here for cable and satellite TV operators.
American consumers are cancelling traditional pay-TV service at a much faster rate than previously expected, according to research firm eMarketer.
In 2017, a total of 22.2 million U.S. adults will have cut the cord on cable, satellite or telco TV service to date — up 33% from 16.7 million in 2016 — the researcher now predicts. That’s significantly higher than eMarketer’s prior estimate of 15.4 million cord-cutters as of the end of this year. Meanwhile, the number of “cord-nevers” (consumers who have never subscribed to pay TV) will rise 5.8% this year, to 34.4 million.
“Younger audiences continue to switch to either exclusively watching [over-the-top] video or watching them in combination with free-TV options,” said Chris Bendtsen, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. “Last year, even the Olympics and [the U.S.] presidential election could not prevent younger audiences from abandoning pay TV.”
Overall, 196.3 million U.S. adults will have traditional pay TV (cable, satellite or telco) this year, down 2.4% compared with 2016, eMarketer predicts. By 2021, that will drop to 181.7 million, a decline of nearly 10% from 2016. The number of pay-TV viewers 55 and older will continue to rise over the next four years, while for every other age cohort the subscriber tallies will decline.
By 2021, the number of cord-cutters will nearly equal the number of people who have never had pay TV — a total of 81 million U.S. adults. That means around 30% of American adults won’t have traditional pay TV at that point, per eMarketer’s revised forecast.
There’s a caveat on these numbers: eMarketer’s estimates for pay-TV viewers do not include “virtual” internet TV services, such as Dish Network’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Hulu’s live TV service, or YouTube TV. But industry analysts say over-the-top TV subscription services so far have not offset declines in traditional pay television. Moreover, the cheaper OTT packages typically include fewer channels, so the growth of “skinny” TV bundles implies net household losses for many cable networks.
Seeing the writing on this wall, several TV programmers have launched or are prepping direct-to-consumer streaming services themselves. CBS in 2014 launched All Access, while Disney has set early 2018 for the debut of a no-cable-needed ESPN OTT package (although that will exclude NFL and NBA games). In addition, five media companies — A+E Networks, Viacom, Discovery, Scripps Networks Interactive and AMC Networks — reportedly have joined forces to create a non-sports streaming bundle of cable programming to be priced at under $20 per month.
For the TV biz, there’s another worrisome trend: People are watching less traditional television. For the first time, in 2017 average TV viewing in the U.S. is expected to drop below 4 hours per day, eMarketer predicts.
Average time spent watching TV (excluding digital) among American adults will drop 3.1%, to 3 hours 58 minutes this year. Digital-video consumption, meanwhile, continues to climb. U.S. adults will consume 1 hour 17 minutes of digital video per day on average in 2017 (excluding time spent viewing video on social networks), up 9.3% year over year, according to eMarketer.
With the U.S. pay-TV base eroding faster than anticipated and average TV viewing time dropping, eMarketer cut its TV ad-spending forecast for 2017 by a little over $1 billion.
This year, TV advertising will increase just 0.5%, to $71.65 billion (versus the firm’s previous $72.72 billion forecast). As a result, the TV sector’s share of total U.S. media ad spending will drop to 34.9% (vs. 36.6% in 2016) and is expected to fall below 30% by 2021.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that 22.2 million U.S. adults were expected to cancel pay-TV service in 2017; in fact, eMarketer’s estimate represents the cumulative number of cord-cutters projected by the end of the year.
By Kevin Downey, Komando.com
Have you cut the cord yet? Are you familiar with that expression?
You’ve probably been hearing that term a lot lately, including on Komando.com. It refers to people cutting the cord on cable TV or satellite TV.
An antenna is a television’s best friend.
Even if you have cable or satellite service, it’s smart to add an antenna to the mix. Let me sing a song of praise to antennas that will tell you why.
11:08 AM 08/03/2017
I haven’t had cable TV for years, and I don’t miss it. Sorry, cable news, but if something interesting happens on your air, it’ll be on the Internet within minutes. Between Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and all the other streaming services out there, I’ve always got something to watch. And for live TV, I’ve got a TiVo attached to a digital antenna. Because I’m old enough to know what broadcast television is, and that it still exists.
Were you aware that you can get some local major network channels for free, without having to pay for a cable or streaming service subscription? If you were, you’re ahead of 30% of adults, most of them young enough that they wouldn’t remember the fuzzy, rabbit-eared past.
By James K. Willcox | June 27, 2017
TV antennas aren’t as outdated as you might think. If you live near a city, there’s a good chance you can get networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, and Telemundo over the air.
Category : Cord-Cutting
Posted on June 30th, 2017 by Nick Perow
What do The Voice, NCIS, Wheel of Fortune, and The Big Bang Theory all have in common?
All of them can be watched for free using a simple HDTV antenna. Sometimes we forget that many of the shows we like are on CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX, which don’t require a cable or satellite subscription at all. Now you’re probably saying, “Yeah, but I DVR all that stuff”. Well, we have a solution for that in a few paragraphs below.
Comprehensive Results of the Study will be Presented on September 29 at Forward 2016 – Broadcast Television’s Annual Leadership Conference
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–GfK, a trusted leader in market research, in collaboration with TVB, the not-for-profit trade association for local broadcast television, today announced preliminary results from the “Media Comparisons 2016” research study with findings that American consumers spend more time with television than all other ad-supported media platforms combined. The study also revealed that consumers overwhelmingly trust local broadcast TV news over any other source.
Free over-the-air TV forms a huge part of what we cover here on Cordcutting.com, and for good reason. Surveys show that cord cutters are increasingly awakening to the potential of OTA TV, which offers many cord cutters the chance to watch local news and major network broadcasts for free.