rabbit ears and HDTV

Cheap bastard that I am, I’ll be getting the converter box for my rabbit ears antenna. Can I expect any difference in reception? Is the HD broadcast spectrum any easier to catch than the current VHF/UHF frequencies?

The digital signals are broadcast on VHF/UHF already. Reception can be hit or miss depending on where you are, however if you do get a signal then the picture will be perfect, or not at all.

Get a $50 outdoor antenna and put it in your attic if rabbit ears don’t work well. That’s what I had to do.

This is not exactly true. While many, if not most users experience a “Why didn’t I do this months ago?” reaction upon seeing how well digital TV comes in, broadcast digital signals are subject to the same types of interference and problems that analog signals are. Reception can be intermittent, just as with analog TV. It is true that the picture tends to be very good or not there at all, but it is also possible to experience brief pixelation, intermittent reception, audio dropouts, etc. especially due to wind.

There is no such thing as an HDTV antenna or signal. The TV stations will be changing the WAY the broadcast.

That said Rabbit Ears are not so good as most, but not all, TV stations have moved to UHF. THey will still map to their analog channels.

Rabbit ears are for VHF signals and they sometimes have a loop or a bow that attaches to them for the UHF signals. A Silver Sensor antenna is made especially for UHF signals. So you may get that for you TV it is small like rabbit ears.

I found where I am, I get 16 analog channels with rabbit ears and a loop extension. With my digital TV I get ZERO channels. With a converter box on my analog set I get 1 station and 2 others pixilated.

So digital signals are not necessarily as strong. The big myth is if you get analog well you’ll get digital well, which is obviously not correct. Digital signals are more easily blocked by big buildings and sensitive to multipath. I mean I only live 3 miles NW of Sears Tower where the transmitters are, so I should easily pick up digital.

Everyone’s experience will be different. So just buy a silver sensor and see if it works. If not return it.

And remember all TV has to digital NOT High Def. So some stations may choose not to broadcast in high def.

you will either get a usable picture or pixel crap. You can look at the signal strength and tell (needs to be at least 50%). I found a cheap FM dipole antenna worked better than the rabbit ears (you tack it to the wall). I’ve thought about putting an outdoor antenna inside the attic myself. I would warn that this would still need to be grounded as it can pick up the static from lightning and transmitted it to the TV.

Check the channels in your area to see what the actual digital channels are. For instance, here in Chicago, all the digital channels are UHF except for WBBM which is, for some reason, on channel 3. If you have no VHF channels, get a UHF-only antenna like the excellent Silver Sensor Markxxx mentioned. If you have some VHF channels, use a “rabbit ears”. But don’t position them like you’ve always seen. VHS TV signals are horizontally oriented. The best reception is obtained by adjusting the rods so they are parallel to the floor. Also, the lower the channel, the longer the rods need to be extended - channel 2 will require the full length of the rods, channel 7 only needs half the length.

Just try out what you have first. I have the uhf/vhf combo, tabletop antenna I got at Best Buy for about $20 7 years ago. The 2 rods are stretched across my living room windows, 8 feet total, sitting on the sill. There’s a VHF portion, too, that’s rectangle-shaped in the middle, that’s also positioned with the rectangle longways-parallel to the floor.

I get, without actually counting, around 25 digital channels, including all the high definition, with my HD tuner and rabbit-ears. I live about 4 miles from the Sears Tower, so I get strong signals mostly, but I also get stuff from Indiana.

It takes some patience. I did have to move the antenna from the vicinity of the TV, put it on a 12-foot coaxial cable, and move it to the windows. A lot of trial-and-error, and finding the “sweet spot” on the dial of the “fine tuner” on the rabbit-ears. My signal changes depending on whether it’s cloudy or sunny out, and when my radiators come on and change the heat in the room, I can get some pixelation until the temperature evens out again! So sometimes I have to get up and move the dial up or down a notch on the antenna. I guess it might be considered a fancier type, but it’s just uhf/vhf rabbit-ears with a dial, really.

If you live near a city, your rabbit ears will probably do fine. If you’re 40 or 50 miles out, I’d suggest an amplified indoor antenna.

You’ll probably find the digital picture is much clearer even on a regular TV, and you won’t see snow or waviness. However, if the signal drops below 40% of so very much, you’ll get a lot of blockiness or a black screen. It’s sort of all or nothing with digital. The full beauty of HD of course is with a HDTV, if you like pretty pictures it’s really impressive sometimes.