The Bitstream Blog :: Posts

TV Is Dead, Long Live TV

Hello, happy reader…I have seen the future of TV and it is small, black and easy to use. I’m talking about DTV, an STB, and over–the–air reception. About a year from now, that free, standard def, over–the–air NTSC TV signal many of us watch, will go away, never to return. :: I feel that cable has many negatives and very few positives. Yes, in remote areas, cable or satellite service means the difference between TV and no TV. I, however, am lucky enough to live in an urban environment where there are several choices of over–the–air content. We don’t purchase cable or satellite TV, relying on over–the–air for local content and DVDs for entertainment. Seeing that analog service shutoff coming over the horizon, I decided to order my coupons and get me a converter box. :: A few weeks ago, my two coupons arrived. They look more like a library card than a trad coupon but, hey, whatever works.

TV Converter Box coupon

Anyway, did my research and found that the Zenith DTT900/Insignia NS-DXA1 box is built by LG and has their current gen chip set that does a brilliant job correcting for multipath, the bane of the ATSC standard. Great. Since I had a credit at Best Buy, I marched over and picked up an Insignia, which is a re–badged Zenith, and took it home. :: The hardest part of configuring the box was finding just the right orientation of my bottom of the line, active rabbit ears/loop antenna, which has served us in good stead. Fortunately, the box has an on–screen signal strength meter with audible feedback, which helped immeasurably in finding that special combo of “ears” and loop that yielded acceptable signal strength. :: Acceptable is the case since we live on the other side a small hill, out of direct line of sight from Sutro Tower, the main point source for most of the TV signals in our Mission By The Bay. Before my STB or set–top box arrived, we received 3 TV stations well enough to watch without throwing something at the set. Sure, they had ghosts up the wazoo and the video noise was ridiculous but, it worked well enough for our needs. After having the STB do its thing, scanning for stations and adding a few manually (nice feature), I had some two dozen channels in my channel list. Granted, of those, I was only interested in 12 or so but still, it was pretty darn kewel to have ghost and noise–free reception! Sure, during the daytime, the signal strength is on the ragged edge of The Cliff but, in the evening, the picture or sound rarely freezes or (macro)blocks, so I can enjoy six different PBS streams, a local indy station, an ABC and CBS stream, an ION Life stream, two Fox streams, three non–commercial streams, and a New Tang Dynasty stream. If I throw down for a better antenna, I could probably add another CBS affiliate and Qubo to that list while bringing the signal strength up to the level where I’d have glitch–free reception even when our local Coast Guard chopper flies by. :: So, if you enjoy the concept of decent looking TV that free, log on or call 888-388-2009 and order your coupons…TTFN.

Share

Comments are closed.