over the air HDTV

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by andiwm2003, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA

    i'm planning to buy a HDTV soon (most likely a Sharp Aquos 37" from Costco).

    I'm pretty clueless about HDTV. In the end I want to watch minimal cable (non HD) and then I want to get over the air Broadcasts (Digital, HD and Non HD) via an antenna. Eventually I want to dump Comcast and only get free TV and TV shows via iTunes.

    How many channels can i expect to get here in Boston?
    There seem to be quite a few according to HDTVmagazine. There seem to be lots of PBS, ABC, FOX and independents.

    Will they be free and will they have the same programming as the corresponding cable channels?
    I ask because they call themself "ABC affiliate" and I have no idea what that means.

  2. D0ct0rteeth macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2002
    Franklin, TN
    I don't know how it will work in Boston, but I do that here in Phoenix and it will prob be very very similar. I have a Panasonic TH-42PX50U Plasma with the built in tuner, and I just bought a standard over the air antenna ($25 at any HomeDepot or Walmart) and tossed it in the attic. I watch only HD channels, and have about 20 channels to choose from.

    Just off the top of my head we have ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, 3 PBS Channels, UPN/WB/CW, TBS, and prob 10 other random channels that I ignore and never watch. You shouldn't expect to get Comedy Central, ESPN, FX, MTV, TNT, History, Discovery, HBO or any of the other premium channels unless you get your service from Comcast/DirectTV. But I am very happy to live without that and save the $100+ per month.
  3. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2004
    Huntsville, AL
    Check out http://www.avsforum.com/ ... it tends to be crammed full of folks from each major market with plenty of knowledge and experience.
  4. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    You need to seriously ask yourself what kind of programming you like before dumping cable.

    Boston is a major city in a densely populated region. You can expect it to have a lot of TV stations. They have a legal mandate to go digital. Titan TV counts 23 separate digital TV stations accessible over the air in Boston. However, most of these stations multicast. There are 39 separate streams of programming. Another place to look for available TV stations is AntennaWeb.

    Yes and no. All analog (traditional) programming is simulcast on digital TV. Owing to the fact each broadcaster may stream multiple simultaneous programs over its digital channel, digital TV has programs that do not exist on analog TV. For example, many NBC stations broadcast NBC WeatherPlus. My local CBS affiliate simulcasts the CW as a second stream. Our public TV stations simulcast regular PBS programming, kids programming, and PBS-HD. PBS-HD includes programming that does not exist on the analog PBS feed. A nearby ABC affiliate simulcasts four streams including a local weather stream and its local cable news channel. Raycom Media stations stream programming from a music video TV network on their third digital stream. One NBC affiliate in this state streams CBS programming on its second digital stream.

    FWIW, the cable providers hate OTA digital broadcasting. My cable provider (Suddenlink) slipped HD into its offerings with only a sign in front of the office to notify its subscribers. It charges extra for the HD Tier. The cable companies have a legal mandate to provide CableCards for their subscribers if we prefer those to the set top boxes. However, Suddenlink refused, forcing me to rent a DVR. Since I already own a CableCard-compatible DVR, I am not too pleased.

    An ABC affiliate is a TV station which shows ABC-TV/DT network programming.

    I almost forgot--over the air TV broadcasts, whether analog or digital, are free. After 2009, all OTA TV broadcasts will be digital. Commercial analog TV broadcasts will no longer exist in the USA.
  5. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    Every local market has what is called an affiliate, those are the local providers of the network programming.
  6. DISCOMUNICATION macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2004
    Cambridge, MA USA
    I would never pay for TV

    I live in your area. Here's what I get free over the air:
    2-1 PBS SD
    2-2 PBS HD
    4 CBS
    5-1 ABC
    5-2 Live weather dopler
    7-1 NBC
    7-2 NBC Weather Plus
    25 Fox
    26 Univision
    38 CBS sister station formerly UPN
    44-1 PBS SD
    44-2 World
    44-3 Create
    44-4 PBS Kids
    56-1 CW
    56-2 The Tube
    66 Telemundo
    68-1 Ion
    68-2 Qubo
    68-3 Ion Life
    68-4 Worship
  7. ToddW macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    just make sure that the tv has an atsc tuner so you can pick up OTA HD. other than that good luck you will love HDTV.
  8. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    agreed. I'm in the Boston area and get a ton of good over the air HD channels. More than anything, your physical location (ex. west side of building) makes a difference. A good tall antenna really helps me out.
  9. andiwm2003 thread starter macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    thanks for the replies!

    i live west of boston and can actually see four of the antennas. they are just 5 miles away. so my reception should be great.

    as for programming i'm gonna miss only CNN headlines, discovery channel and SciFi channel. the few TV shows i"m interested are available at iTunes. i'm just not willing to pay $39 a month (that's almost 500 bucks a year) for that crap that they call TV.

    if i go over the air+ itunes i might get away with ~150 bucks a year and i own my shows and they are ad free. and the internet has tons of good video podcasts. blockbuster/netflix will do the rest.
  10. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    No PBS-SD in digital here.

    I'm in Portland, Oregon, and my one gripe is that our local PBS station doesn't simulcast their analog feed! They have a dedicated (different programming) HD feed, plus 'Create' and a local equivalent of C-SPAN, but no digital repeat of the analog channel. And our signal on the digital side is perfect, but the analog signal sucks.

    Oh well.

    As for what an "affiliate" is. It's just your local station that has "affiliated" with said network. Whatever you're getting on cable, if it is a local Boston station, you'll get over the air. There are no local cable-only channels (other than the 'community access' type ones.)

    To see an overview, go to either TV Guide or TitanTV and enter your ZIP code. You can customize the listings to show what your cable company gives you, or what is over-the-air for analog and digital. Compare. You'll find that most of the channels you consider 'local' on cable are, indeed, local broadcast channels.

    And while all new TVs shipped as of now must have an ATSC (digital) tuner, there are likely still older models without tuners still sitting on store shelves. So make sure your TV has a tuner. (It probably does.)
  11. DISCOMUNICATION macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2004
    Cambridge, MA USA
    I want my HDTV

    With 6 PBS channels I feel like I have the Discovery Channel. Unfortunately 5 of those are SD. The PBS HD channel is the only channel that broadcasts HD content 24/7.
    As for Sci-Fi... well, Fox broadcasts Farscape and both Stargates twice over the weekends. The Stargates where shot in HD, but they are broadcast in SD. Most of Sci-fi's original programming is available on iTunes anyways. ABC broadcasts the remastered version of Star Trek the original series. The picture is so clean and the FX have been fixed (not enhanced like Star Wars). It has to be seen to believe.

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