View Full Version : OTA Reception Problem, Columbus OH


toxcrusadr
05-09-2017, 03:38 PM
I hate to post this here because it's not the digital/HD part of the forum, but seems to be busiest.

Helping out a friend in Grandview OH (Columbus suburb) who has cut the cable cord and gone OTA. Modern flatscreen. She lives on the 12th floor of a high rise with windows facing NNW. There are some towers out there and she gets some odd/small stations with flat antenna stuck to the window. She doesn't get NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox.

I went to TV Fool and input her address, found that the big networks are actually to her SE (110 to 150 degrees from N)! Thinking her antenna was not sensitive enough, or not directional enough, I sent her an antenna that should be good for 40 miles because she is shooting through concrete walls in that direction. It's a ClearStream Eclipse 1V, UHF/VHF antenna. CHannels she wants are broadcasting mostly in UHF.

No dice. She gets SNOW on those channels. On other channels where there is no signal, the Sony puts up a purple screen that says NO SIGNAL. This seems like they are broadcasting snow though.

Turns out on second inspection the towers are 1 to 3 miles away. Here's a link to the TV Fool report.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3de6a472b68a9c9b

I tried having her tune to the actual broadcast channel just to make sure - ch. 4 (virtual) broadcasts on 14 (actual). Still snow.

I thought I had heard of major networks scrambling their signals but it seems that they are doing this to the HD signal only for cable customers. i.e. if you have basic cable, they don't feed you an HD signal for locals any more than they would for any other channel. But OTA, I thought, was still free and clear.

What are we missing here?

Zenith26kc20
05-09-2017, 03:41 PM
Sounds like the TV is set to analog channel input. Digital OTA does not produce snow. It is only a blank screen with some message like "no program" or "Weak signal".
I would check that the TV is set to digital and rescan all channels.

toxcrusadr
05-09-2017, 03:51 PM
A flatscreen HD TV has a setting for analog input? I did not know that was possible.

OK we'll look into that. But she is getting a bunch of other channels, and those are all digital obviously. It's just the Big 4.

Electronic M
05-09-2017, 04:02 PM
2 Christmases ago my folks got their first flatscreen new and it will tune analog TV...Cable here was analog until recently...Between that and people wanting to connect legacy game consoles and VCR through RF to flat-screens I suspect they will be analog capable for some time yet.

toxcrusadr
05-09-2017, 04:28 PM
I thought all the OTA broadcasts were digital though, so it's odd the set would pick up some stations and give snow for others. I did find the manual online and there IS a setting, 'Signal Type - cable or Antenna'. I will walk them through the menus to find that and see what happens.

Zenith26kc20
05-09-2017, 04:36 PM
As far as I know, digital cable capability on flatscreens was very limited. In New Orleans there is no digital cable that the sets can decode. The cable company now rents "mini-boxes". Most sets will scan thru all channels, digital and analog, but may need to have digital mode selected for OTA in some cases (Sharp TV's are one of them).
And, get ready for more problems! ATSC 3.0 is coming!

Jeffhs
05-09-2017, 05:41 PM
I have the same problem. I live 35-40 miles from all seven Cleveland TV stations and can receive most of them using just an amplified indoor antenna. The two I don't get, however, are channels 8 and 19, FOX and CBS from Cleveland. I have been told this is due to my location, near Lake Erie; because of it, I would need a VHF-high band/UHF outdoor antenna to receive all seven local stations. Using my Roku player, however, I can get all seven channels just fine; the only thing is I must have a cable account with Time Warner/Spectrum (which I do), otherwise my player's Spectrum TV application will not receive the local channels.

Is cable TV available where your friend lives? It seems that would be the best bet, if she is not able to receive network stations on her TV with an antenna. If her apartment building has steel beams or other large amounts of metal (walls, etc.), this could be shielding her TV antenna from receiving any of the local stations. If she can get some random DTV stations, however, the indoor DTV antenna is working, just not well enough. Her apartment may just be facing the wrong direction from the Columbus stations' towers. Remember, DTV signals are weaker than analog ones were, and digital signals are very directional; further, there will be spots digital TV signals will be stronger than in others, and there will be "dead spots" where there is no signal at all.

The new ATSC 3.0 DTV standard, when (not if) it is enacted, will cause more problems, as noted in Zenith26kc20's post; however, this will affect only OTA reception. Cable should not be affected in any way, as cable operators will upgrade their equipment as necessary for the new standard. Streaming video should not be affected either, the reason being that all streaming video players (Roku, Google TV, et al.) receive video streams over the Internet, not OTA. I have had a Roku player for over a year, and have had no problems receiving any of my area's local TV stations; moreover, I don't anticipate any such problems, now or in the foreseeable future. As a nice bonus, my TV picture on every channel looks much better coming from the Internet (online) to my television, through an HDMI cable, than it ever looked on cable; the reason for this is because the Roku player picks up the unmodified video stream directly from the Internet, whereas cable signals are unmercifully compressed and otherwise butchered on their way from the headend to the viewer's TV, probably to enable the cable companies to put more and more channels on their systems.

Jeffhs
05-09-2017, 06:08 PM
As far as I know, digital cable capability on flatscreens was very limited. In New Orleans there is no digital cable that the sets can decode. The cable company now rents "mini-boxes". Most sets will scan thru all channels, digital and analog, but may need to have digital mode selected for OTA in some cases (Sharp TV's are one of them).
And, get ready for more problems! ATSC 3.0 is coming!

My Insignia (house brand of Best Buy) 19" flat screen has, on its input menu, a "TV" selection, which when selected and enabled will allow standard OTA reception from an antenna (other makes have this option as well). In fact, I can't imagine DTV sets without such an option, as there are many people who cannot afford or simply do not want cable.

It seems unusual that your area's cable operator does not offer digital cable, preferring instead to rent digital transfer adapters (DTAs) to viewers. What would a New Orleans TV viewer get if he or she hooked up a digital cable line directly to a modern flat panel television? These sets, after all, are designed to receive DTV signals; I hardly think the result would be no reception at all, unless the cable signals are scrambled and actually require either a cable box or a DTA in order to be viewed. Many cable operators, including Spectrum/Time Warner in my area near Cleveland, are encrypting all channels in an effort to force subscribers to rent a cable box or a DTA to get anything at all over the cable, which of course means more revenue for the cable operator from the rental fees for the boxes.

Chip Chester
05-09-2017, 07:52 PM
I live in 50 actual feet away from Grandview. If the WBNS tower fell over, it would hit her. You can get 4 and 10 with a paperclip stuck in the F-connector. Ch. 6/28 can need a real antenna, as does 34. It's the set's set-up that's setting her back. Older flatscreens had NTSC tuners also, sometimes with their own separate inputs. Could be the cable/antenna menu selection, too. Or she needs to 'scan' for stations again.

Chip

sampson159
05-09-2017, 10:50 PM
in live in columbus on the far side side.channel 6/28 towers are about 100 feet away and yet there signal will come and go on our samsung 4k.on my avante with a zenith converter box,i can get every channel available.they come in crisp and clear.my samsung 42 flatscreen that is about 5 years old,also receives these channels.have a friend who lives in the grandview area with the identical same issue as posted.

toxcrusadr
05-10-2017, 08:38 AM
Thanks for all the posts guys.

Yes there is cable available as I said in the original post but it is specific to her building I believe and she has shut it off to cut expenses.

Off on a tangent, but where I live there is NO analog signal left on the cable at all. You have to get some kind of converter box even for basic cable.

It is an older set, probably 2009 or something, but a good quality Sony Bravia.

I know she is very close to the antennas, looks like 1-3 miles for these stations. It may be the building or maybe they are firing over her head. But she is up on the 12th floor so I would think a 1 megawatt flamethrower (which a couple of these are) ought to have some signal strength.

The new antenna is supposed to be 40 miles range and it is pointed roughly in the right direction.

The fact that some OTA stations are received and others are SNOW (not 'no signal' as is normal with weak digital signals) is very odd. But we still need to try switching the signal type in the setup menu. I will report back on that.

I also have her asking around in the building to see if anyone else is using an antenna.

Ed in Tx
05-10-2017, 08:46 AM
It is an older set, probably 2009 or something, but a good quality Sony Bravia.


The fact that some OTA stations are received and others are SNOW (not 'no signal' as is normal with weak digital signals) is very odd. But we still need to try switching the signal type in the setup menu..

I have a similar age Sony Bravia, and it does not require any menu setup (other than to scan for channels) to switch between analog and digital. It finds the analogs and the digitals and should say how many it found when the scan mode ends. Pretty simple. If the tuned channel has a number displayed like "5" that's analog. A "5.1" would be the digital version. I never see snow on a digital channel. "No Signal" message will appear on a dead digital channel. Tune to a dead analog channel, gray snow just like in the olden days.

zeno
05-10-2017, 10:22 AM
I have a Sony Bravia abt 6 yrs old. When you scan for channels
the set tries both NTSC & digital on each channel then notes them
for scanning. There are 2 MAJOR flaws in the software that other sets
had. I dont know how anyone could be so stupid to make it this way.
1) the only way to add a channel after moving the antenna was to
run another scan. Trouble is it overwrote the old scan.
2) you could not enter a "real" channel # then add it to the
channel scan list like old sets. You also couldnt move the antenna
around to find the sweet spot that worked.
One thing you WILL need is the real owners manual, often the size of the Bible.

The CATV switch may be just for CATV "types" Normal- HRC-IRC & shouldnt
have effect.
The sky scraper its in is also acting like a huge Faraday cage with all
its rebar. Especially UHF that loves to bounce around & give multy paths.
Even on NTSC UHF could be problems especially in town. Look at the
brighter side. In an EMP attack a lot of stuff will probably survive.........
IMHO CATV may be the only option unless there is a balcony for
a SAT dish.

73 Zeno:smoke:
LFOD !

Ed in Tx
05-10-2017, 10:43 AM
Just looked at my Sony, in the menu-"Channel" then "Signal Type Cable/Antenna" selector as the first step. You can either "auto-program" or "add digital channels". Not much to it.

I had pretty much forgotten the TV settings since I use a DTVPal DVR for my OTA tuning, time shifting and commercial fast-forwarding, plugged in to the TV's HDMI. Rarely use the TV's tuner.

Zenith26kc20
05-10-2017, 05:05 PM
In New Orleans we have Cox cable. About a year ago they stopped all digital and analog cable that flat screen TV's could receive/decode.
They issued the dreaded "mini-box" that has an analog RF out (channel 3 or 4) to feed older TV's and HDMI for newer ones. No composite or left/right audio. I have installed many of these and out of the box failure is high (and frustrating)!
From what I have learned they have two of the boxes, made by different manufacturers.
So far, I have a Funai (Emerson) 32 inch LCD that has the most useful tuner yet! It allows direct access and when a working channel is entered, it shows it, gives a picture then remaps the number.
When there were both analog and digital OTA TV's with digital (ATSC) tuners would get both. OTA boxes only get digital.