Thursday, November 27, 2008

Best Bang for your buck - the Hughes HTL-HD

Best bang for the buck - HTL-HD OTA Receiver

If you've got a HDTV Monitor right now and are running on an antenna, this thing is the perfect solution for you to get free local OTA HD programming. Unlike the government subsdized boxes, this box can actually output HD. I used this baby back in the day on my cruddy 26" Polaroid HDTV Monitor before it pooped out on me.

Compared with the Samsung DTB-H260F ($150), the differences between them are:
The HTL-HD can simultaneously be connected to your basic cable line, the Samsung only has one input which only works with an antenna.
The Samsung has a nice on-screen TV Guide, the HTL-HD doesn't.

Here are some photos of my old rig on the HTL-HD, it can be had for less than $50 on eBay. It's an old DirecTV box but you DON'T need a service card to use it, it works just fine on its own. It's got DVI and Component video outputs so if your TV doesn't have DVI I would opt to use the component video connection.




Monday, November 24, 2008

An antenna that doesn't look like one =)

As a new resident of San Diego, getting reception for OTA stations is more difficult compared with getting reception in LA. Because I had to leave my faithful Terk HDTVa at home for my family's TV, I was in the market for an antenna that was slick looking, had a small form factor, and could pull in stations reliably.

For everyone who is in the market for a better looking antenna, I think the HDA-3700 is a good solution. With its short dimensions of about 5"x8", it is definitely one of the more low key antennas I've come across. Heck, it doesn't even look like one and can blend in very well with your home theatre shadig, or at the very least not look as obvious as a pair of rabbit ears.

Here are some snapshots of it, I'll report back on how well this thing pulls in the stations.

This low reception is typical of stations in my area.

The verdict? Performance was only average, this antenna did not do any better than an old pair of rabbit ears I had lying around. I later got the above image's reception up into the 60's by moving it around but granted it was nothing spectacular. The aesthetic benefits of this antenna do go out the door if you have to orient backwards to get reception. If you live in an area where reception is known to be consistently good, I would give this thing a try just because of its looks. But if you live in an area where reception has been known to be inconsistent, my opinion is that this antenna would perform just the same as all other indoor antennas that are available on the market.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What do I need for the Digital Transition in 2009?

As you all may know analog transmissions for terrestrial television are set to go off on 17 Feb 2009. What does that mean for you? Well first things first, YOU WILL ONLY BE AFFECTED IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY USING AN ANTENNA TO WATCH TV. If you use any form of paid TV service, whether it be basic or HD cable, satelite, FiOS, etc, YOU WILL NOT BE AFFECTED.

Here's flow chart, click below to enlarge in seperate window - enjoy!