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#210856 - 06/06/08 09:59 AM Just joined the HDTV club.
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
I just had to share.

I finally joined the HDTV club. After literally years of comparison shopping and browsing, I finally bought one. A Samsung LED DLP 61" (HL61A750) from Amazon. Price, performance, and features finally got to a point where I was content to do the deed. I've liked the price/performance of DLP's, but had been leery of having to change the bulb every couple of years. This one uses an LED light source that supposedly lasts 20,000 hours. By my calculations, that should last 20+ years for us. \:o

Free shipping and no sales tax, and the delivery guys did all of the work of hauling it in the house and putting it on its stand. Can't complain with that. \:\)

I've never purchased something as expensive and large from Amazon before, but I can say that the experience was great. The delivery company & guys were top notch. They called to confirm the delivery, and arrived when they said they would. Quick delivery too, as it only took 4 business days to arrive from the time I placed the order, and I live in the middle of nowhere.

Quite an upgrade from our 36" flat-panel SD CRT! Even SD programming (via Dish Network) looks pretty good - better than expected. And HD content, holy s***! We can pull in the local ABC & Fox HD channels via OTA. We've spent hours looking at HD content at the big-box stores, but wow, does it look good when it's in your own living room. We're not big basketball fans, but we watched part of the NBA Finals last night just 'cuz it was in HD. Incredible stuff. The detail is stunning. My DVD player can do 480p, and even that looks pretty fantastic. Can't wait for the budget to recover so I can get an upscaling DVD player. I'm sure a blue-ray player is in the cards too. Ahh, another round of upgradeitis.

The Dish Network guy (or gal) is coming out today to upgrade our dish & DVR, so we'll be all set except for the elusive NBC & CBS HD signals. Gotta work on my antenna. I grew up with cable, and so it seems very bizzare to me to have to go back to the anteanna-aiming days for HD. \:\/

Speaking of antennas. Is there anyone here that lives 40+ miles away from a tower that has any good antenna/amplifier advice? The NBC feed is about 50 miles away, and the CBS feed is about 70 miles away. I know, that's a long way away. NBC is questionable, CBS might be impossible. Signal calculations by TVFool.com put NBC at -106db and CBS at -112db. Ouch. \:\(

I picked up a Terk HDTVa antenna. It's pulling in the 30-mile-away ABC & FOX HD feeds really well. At night, when the planets are aligned, it once picked up the NBC HD feed, but it only lasted for a few seconds. I've got an AntennasDirect DB4 on it's way that should be delivered today. I'm going to tinker with it this weekend in hopes that I can maybe snag the NBC signal with some reliability. I don't hold much hope for the CBS station.
It's going to be a short weekend. ;\)
_________________________
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

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#210858 - 06/06/08 10:18 AM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: PeterChenoweth]
Hutzal Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 2102
Loc: Hollywood. (Canadian @ <3)
Is Amazon generally recommended for TV's and stuff? We will be moving to the states in 2-3 months, and are going to buy a flat screen, I have no clue where to start looking as I am from Canada.
_________________________
Producer | Composer
www.robbhutzal.com

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#210859 - 06/06/08 10:27 AM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: Hutzal]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
 Originally Posted By: Hutzal
Is Amazon generally recommended for TV's and stuff? We will be moving to the states in 2-3 months, and are going to buy a flat screen, I have no clue where to start looking as I am from Canada.


For general 'stuff', yes, I use Amazon a lot. Books, CD's, general electronic doo-dads, yeah, I like Amazon. Very often I'll browse what I want at Best Buy or Circuit City, but then go buy it online from Amazon. The HDTVa antenna I bought was $70 at Best Buy. Amazon had it for $30 with $8 shipping. For computer-specific things, I'm a big fan of NewEgg.com.

The only thing to watch for with Amazon is that for some products, Amazon acts as a portal for other companies. So sometimes you can find what you want on Amazon.com, but it will be sold and shipped by some other company. It says it near the 'Add to Cart' button. I have *never* had a problem with stuff sold and shipped directly from Amazon. I have a few problems with stuff from other companies. Lost orders, incorrect products, slow shipping, etc.

The return & low-price guarantee policies are different (or non-existent) when dealing with one of these other companies. So my advice is to always buy stuff that's sold & shipped by Amazon directly.

Like I said though, this was my first experience buying something big & heavy from them. It worked out well. Of course, delivery was smooth and the TV wasn't damaged in any way. I don't know what I would have had to go through with Amazon had the TV not worked. I'm sure they would have taken care of it, but it probably would have involved more effort than if I had bought it at a local electronics store.
_________________________
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
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Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

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#210861 - 06/06/08 11:35 AM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: PeterChenoweth]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8268
Loc: Tacoma
That's excellent, Peter! Congratulations. Enjoy yourself (I know you will).

Please keep me updated on the DB4. I'm ~35 miles from everything, so I get them from D*TV right now. But I can't get PBS HD.

Did you read Nick's thread about Dish? Good luck with that...

I've had good luck with "sold by Amazon", too.

Robb, make sure you check Costco, also.
_________________________
bibere usque ad hilaritatem

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#210862 - 06/06/08 11:40 AM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: PeterChenoweth]
HomeDad Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 3301
Loc: Central,California
Usually when I buy through Amazon, like Peter I go through directly through Amazon and have never had a problem.
They will come up with specials on electronics every so often that can rarely be beat by anyone else.
_________________________
A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.

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#210865 - 06/06/08 11:59 AM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: tomtuttle]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
Thanks!

Yes, I'll let you know about the DB4. I've read many good things about it. I hope it works.

I've read through (and commented in) Nick's thread. I've got my fingers crossed that my experience will be better. The previous Dish Network installer, 2-ish years ago, was really great. Nice, punctual, and professional. I'm hoping that it's the same guy or at least someone of the same nature.

 Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
That's excellent, Peter! Congratulations. Enjoy yourself (I know you will).

Please keep me updated on the DB4. I'm ~35 miles from everything, so I get them from D*TV right now. But I can't get PBS HD.

Did you read Nick's thread about Dish? Good luck with that...

I've had good luck with "sold by Amazon", too.

Robb, make sure you check Costco, also.

_________________________
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

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#210866 - 06/06/08 12:20 PM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: PeterChenoweth]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7031
Loc: Canada
Congrats Peter. I did a lot of reading a year ago about OTA HD. There is actually a resurgance in OTA because lots of people can pull in HD signals.

I believe there are antennas that can pull in signals from as far as 70 miles. Things that will affect your range are trees and depressions. I live in an OTA HD black hole. I am in a low spot about 80 miles from the closest antenna. If I were to move 20 miles east, south or southwest, I could pick up 3 or 4 HD stations.

Good luck.
_________________________
Fred

-------
Blujays1: Spending Fred's money one bottle at a time, no two... Oh crap!

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#210868 - 06/06/08 12:34 PM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: fredk]
nickbuol Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 4415
Loc: Marion, IA
Just keep the Dish installers on their toes, and if you know better, tell them and get it right the first time. Don't let them ignore what you want and you should be fine.
_________________________
http://ht.buol.us
M60s, VP180, VP150, QS8s, SVS 20-39PCi, HTPC, JVC RS45, Onkyo TX-NR709, Shakers

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#210869 - 06/06/08 12:37 PM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: tomtuttle]
Hutzal Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 2102
Loc: Hollywood. (Canadian @ <3)
 Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
That's excellent, Peter! Congratulations. Enjoy yourself (I know you will).

Please keep me updated on the DB4. I'm ~35 miles from everything, so I get them from D*TV right now. But I can't get PBS HD.

Did you read Nick's thread about Dish? Good luck with that...

I've had good luck with "sold by Amazon", too.

Robb, make sure you check Costco, also.


I'll be sure to check out Costco as well. I will probably be looking at Samsung exclusively.
_________________________
Producer | Composer
www.robbhutzal.com

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#210874 - 06/06/08 01:42 PM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: Hutzal]
oldskoolboarder Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 2181
Loc: Menlo Park, CA
Channel Master 4228 is a great OTA (outdoor) antenna. I have it on my chimney and I can pick up most OTA channels on my HD Tivo.

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#210892 - 06/06/08 06:42 PM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: oldskoolboarder]
RickF Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 5210
Loc: Vero Beach, Florida
This thread is worthless without pictures.


\:\)

Congrats Peter ... 'bout time, huh?
_________________________
Rick
Our Room

smile

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#210895 - 06/06/08 09:09 PM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: RickF]
gmeyer Offline
buff

Registered: 02/28/07
Posts: 43
Loc: Quincy, IL
I live within Quincy city limits and I have had dropout problems with every antenna that I have tried so I purchased the DB4 from amazon a few months ago and it works better than the others.

I have not tried the terk antenna with ATSC signals I did try one with analog NTSC signals and promptly returned it because it did not improve my signal.

Im guessing the DB4 will be an improvement. although it is supposed to be pretty directional are all the Springfield towers in the same area?
_________________________
M80,VP150,QS8,ERD-1,XPA-2,XPA-5,UMC-10,PS3,XBOX360,Dish VIP622,PB13 Ultra,Panasonic PT-AE3000U

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#210951 - 06/08/08 01:52 AM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: gmeyer]
wilwom Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 174
Loc: Denton, TX
Peter, oldschool is correct on the CM 4228. I've got one inside my attic and am pulling in signal 45-50 miles. On the roof it should have more range. Congrats on the HD purchase. I've been enjoying OTA HD for years and now have cable HD too. My first was a 46" mits platinum rear projection in 2000.
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#210977 - 06/08/08 03:11 PM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: PeterChenoweth]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
Hey gang!

Thanks for all the congrats and kind words. I've wanted to respond, but my weekend has been a bit busy. \:\)

In a word, wow. Absolutely incredible TV.

As I hoped, my Dish Network install/upgrade went a whole lot more smoothly than Nick's experience. The scheduled time was noon-5 on friday. Their dispatch office called me at 4 to say they were running late but should be here by 5:30 or 6. At 5:30 the installer himself called to appologize and say that he had some trouble with earlier installs and would be here around 7, but promised that he would be here. At about 6:45 he and another guy showed up. Extremely appologetic for being so late. A really good couple of guys. We were up and running with full HD by about 7:30. Kudos to them for working until 7:30 on a Friday night, and he really took the time to peak the dish and to make sure that everything was working correctly.

I spent several hours yesterday tinkering with the DB4 & a Radio Shack UHF signal amplifier. I'm pretty impressed. The best place I found was from an attic window. I'm sure the roof would be better but I'm not really in the mood to deal with the hassle & expense of doing that just yet. Pointed east, towards all of the possible stations I could get, 100% signal on the 760kW ABC and 335kW Fox stations located 30 miles away (Springfield). Those are expected. The Terk HDTVa sitting in my den could pull those in. But with ths DB4 & amp, I'm also pulling in 65-80% signal on the 350kW NBC HD tower that's 76 miles away ( Decatur,IL). But since it's HD, it's a perfect signal. Freaking awesome. Olympics 2008, here we come!

Still no dice on CBS-HD. The nearest tower is 72 miles away (same direction as the others) and 100kW more powerful than the NBC tower, but I've learned that it's not as tall. Bummer. I'll just deal with the SD feed from the Dish for now. All of the SD programming is up-converted to 1080i by my Dish 722 receiver, which is nice. Certainly still SD, but it's not too bad.

Dropped & ran the antenna coax down to the basement and back up to the den, so it's all neat and tidy. Much better than coax cable running all over the house.

The picture. Oh my goodness. Incredible. We've spent a large part of the weekend just watching HD stuff. I'm sure everyone who has gone through this transition has done exactly the same thing. The locals in HD are stunning when they're broadcasting true HD feeds. All of the Dish HD channels are gorgeous as well, and I can't really tell a difference between the compressed satellite HD feed vs. OTA. Of course, we're quickly learning that the programming makes a huge difference. Battlestar Galactica on Friday was stunning. Extremely impressed with the black levels too, as that had been a minor concern with DLP sets.

And since we're all here for Axiom, the sound is also incredible. The real Dolby Digital feeds on the HD channels are fantastic. No surprise that the audio realism seems cranked up a notch as well.

Did someone say pix? \:\/ I do not have the luxury of a dedicated home theater room, so this is just our den, which is well lit. I'm happy to report zero glare or brightness isues.




And a still from a Blue Man Group concert on one of the HD channels. Pictures just don't do it justice!



_________________________
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

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#210984 - 06/08/08 04:53 PM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: PeterChenoweth]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16259
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Those guys are failed plumbers, I think. ;\)

Your entire setup looks amazing. Let's home they don't release a new standard for TV anytime soon so you can be set for a few years. \:\)
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#211047 - 06/09/08 08:03 AM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: pmbuko]
DaveG Offline
aficionado

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 868
Loc: WI
Congrats on the new display, enjoy.
_________________________
Dave

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#211155 - 06/10/08 11:09 AM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: pmbuko]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
 Originally Posted By: pmbuko
Let's home they don't release a new standard for TV anytime soon so you can be set for a few years. \:\)


That's the plan, anyway. ;\)

I wanted to post a brief update for others in my situation....

I've removed the Radio Shack preamp/amp. I was having some signal problems last night. The 76-mile away NBC feed was jumping around a lot. Nothing, then 80%, then 60%, then 70%, then nothing, etc. Not watchable, as it would lose the picture & sound every 30-60 seconds for 2-3 seconds. I removed the amp/preamp and just hooked up the DB4 directly to the Dish 722. So now the signal was just traveling over about 50' of RG6 cable. The signal peak levels dropped by about 5%, but it's much more stable. NBC immediately became completely watchable, with only extremely brief pixelations (maybe once every 5 minutes) with no loss in sound. I have read over on AVS that the R/S thing is pretty crummy, and this seems to be proof. It's being returned today. I have a ChannelMaster 7777 on order that should be a much higher quality preamp/amp. I'm hoping anyway...

I also managed to capture the nearest CBS-HD feed this morning! I flipped on the NBC morning news and noticed the signal was a good 10% higher than I have ever seen it. I'm guessing because it is a very calm, clear, cool, and beautiful morning. So for fun I re-ran the auto-scan on the 722. Lo-and-behold, it found the CBS station. Holy cow. According to TVFool.com, the tower I'm picking up is **96** miles away. 96 miles! Granted, it's flat central Illinois but I thought that was pretty freaking amazing. I was only getting it at about 60%, and the HDTV signals start to break up at about 58% and is gone by 56%, so it's right on the edge of reception. I fully expect that the heat and disturbances of the day will kill the signal. But still, there is hope that I can find a way to pull that signal.

In a nutshell, this DB4 antenna does seem to be pretty amazing. And it's not even roof mounted, just in an tower-facing attic window. It even has a big tulip tree (huge leaves) 30 feet in front of it. I wish I had the space for the DB8. Anyone looking for a decent UHF antenna, definitely check out the AntennasDirect DB4.

_________________________
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

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#211275 - 06/11/08 12:53 PM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: oldskoolboarder]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6740
Loc: PEI, Canada
61" Samsung ?

SWEEEET !
_________________________
With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

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#211453 - 06/13/08 08:57 AM Re: Just joined the HDTV club. [Re: Murph]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
A final update to my saga of getting OTA HD. Maybe someone in my shoes will stumble across this in the future...

I've returned the Radio Shack preamp and have received the ChannelMaster 7777. It's better, but not really making as much fo a difference as I had hoped. It certainly feels quite a bit more well-made than the Radio Shack one. The mast-mounted preamp part is a nice and solid chunk of metal instead of the super-cheap plastic that the RS one was, and the connections just feel and look nice.

But anyway, it's up and running. I'm getting about a 5% boost in signal across the board with it. Not helping the close stations (they were perfect already), but it is helping with a distant one. The signal is much more stable than with the RS one.

So the setup now: AntennasDirect DB4 in an attic window + ChannelMaster 7777 + 50' of RG6 + DishNetwork 722 = solid locals from as far as 75 miles away. I'm probably not going to go to the trouble/hassle/expense of putting the antenna on my roof, so this is how it will stay until Dish can get me my locals in HD.

For anyone getting into OTA HD, the UHF band is so fickle. It takes a lot of patience to get it dialed in just right. Weather and the time of day affect it greatly. Do try to see what you can get in the early morning hours. The reception in the morning seems to always be astounding. I wish the signal strengths would stay like that all the time! I guess the heat and solar interference during the day just kill it. This morning, for instance, I could again pick up all 4 majors in HD, including the 96-mile away CBS tower. Not only that, but I was also actually able to pick up WQAD, which is ABC out of the Quad Cities, IA. Their tower is 140 miles away from my house. 140 miles. That's absurd. It wasn't really watchable, as it would break up every few seconds, but it was there. Too bad those distant ones will dissapear during the day.

So there it is. I can say that I definitely recommend the DB4 antenna. It's proven quite effective even when just in my attic. The CM 7777 seems like a good product too, though I can't say that it's absolutely a 'required' purchase.
_________________________
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

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