Digital Television Reception Problems After DTV Day

As American television broadcasts switch from analog to digital, some people are reporting reception problems where they can no longer receive broadcasts from weaker television stations. At the time of this writing, about one-third of the 1,800 television broadcast stations have already made the switch to digital transmissions in advance of the new June 12, 2009 deadline.

To understand the nature of the problem, you need to understand that with analog television broadcasts, even weak signals will display a picture and sound. It may be grainy and the quality may be poor, but you will still receive a television station. With a digital signal, this is quite different. With digital television transmissions, either the signal is strong enough or it is not. If the signal strength does not reach a certain threshold, you may not be able to view the station at all. Digital is either on of off. There is nothing in between when working with digital signals. The result is that when you are in the fringe of the reception area for a station, it will not come in. The upside is that the digital transmissions that you do receive should be much clearer with no snow and much improved quality.

If the signal is varying around the threshold level, you may find that the image is freezing, “pixelating” (breaking up into squares) on the screen. If you improve the strength of the signal, this should go away.

What Can Be Done About Weak Digital Signal?
While you normally do not need to change to new antenna for digital reception, it may help to buy one designed for digital reception. Look for digital antenna with a built-in amplifier. A signal amplifier is about the only benefit with a digital antenna that will make any difference at all. Technically speaking, there is no difference between an antenna used for digital reception versus analog reception. If a sales rep tells you that a digital antenna is required to receive digital signals, he or she is either misinformed or lying.

A small digital or rabbit ears antenna may not work well if your TV and antenna are located in the middle of your home. The walls in a home weaken the signal. Move the antenna next to a window facing in the direction of the transmission tower and you should receive a much stronger signal.

If you are using a rooftop or attic antenna, it may help to buy a larger antenna. The Consumer Electronics Association has a web site that may help you to select the proper antenna for your location. It will also tell you which direction an antenna should be pointed for the best reception. Don’t get spooked by all of the information they ask for on the web site. You only need to enter your zip code to obtain the information you need.

There are also a number of digital antenna amplifier boxes available, but they tend to be a bit pricey. Check with your local television store to see what they recommend for your area.

If you are using a rabbit ears antenna, make sure that both the UHF and VHF wires are connected to your converter box. Some rabbit ears antennas are designed to hook up to separate connections for UHF and VHF on the back of older analog televisions.

If your budget can afford it and the services are available in your area, you might want to consider switching to cable or satellite service. You should not have reception problems with these television services, other than the typical problems with satellite reception during storms.

You could also consider buying a new television. All televisions sold since March 1, 2007 should have an ATSC digital tuner. You do not need a converter box to receive digital transmissions with these televisions.

Why is My TV Not Receiving Digital Television in High Definition?
The switch to digital does not mean a switch to high definition signals. Although HDTV is digital, not all digital transmissions are HDTV. The new television transmissions are not in high definition unless you subscribe to a high definition service through a cable or satellite provider. Expect to see a 480i resolution with digital transmissions, which is the equivalent to the resolution found with analog transmissions. In some cases, a high defintion resolution is down-converted by a DTV-to-analog converter box, because analog televisions only display a 480i resolution. If you want high definition, you have to pay extra for it through a cable or satellite service provider.

Comments

  1. Vanessa Schibley says

    We purchased a new HDTV and a digital antenna and then we hooked a converter box up, with a new digital antenaa, to our analog TV. Now we are missing at least two channels, FOX and CBS both of the local stations for these channels are less than 2 miles from our home.

    Any ideas on what we could do to bring these channels in without the expense of cable?

    Thank you

  2. Doogie says

    Hi Vanessa

    You might be in a blind spot (due to buildings, power lines, etc) where the signal you receive is not strong enough for those stations. If your antenna is directional, it may not be pointed in the right direction.

    With digital TV a station will either work or it won’t. Unlike older analog transmissions, if the reception is weak, you will not receive the station at all. If there is an amplifier built into your digital antenna, make sure it is turned on.

    By the way, you do not need a digital antenna for receiving digital stations. The older analog antennas will work. An antenna is neither analog nor digital. It is just a device for receiving signals. If a sales rep tells you that you must use a digital antenna to receive digital stations, he or she is not being honest, or they just do not know anything about television transmissions.

  3. Paul says

    My sister has a DIGITAL televsion and a digital antenna. Since the conversion yesterday she can no receive certain stations that she was aable to receive before. Oddly enough she has no problem receiving stations from Detroit. The Detroit stations are over 150 miles away while the local stations are about 40 miles away. Any idea as to why the digital TV cannot receive a signal 40 miles away but has no problem with stations over 150 miles away?

  4. Doogie says

    Hi Paul

    The issue is exactly the same as Vanessa’s issue. It is all related to the strength of the signal. Closer does not necessarily mean a stronger signal. In the digital world, it either works because the signal is strong enough or it does not work at all.

    Contrary to what has been reported, not all stations were required to convert to digital. There are exceptions made for small stations in local markets. In Vanessa’s case, she is talking about FOX and CBS, both of which were required to convert to digital. Nonetheless, if a small station is still transmitting in analog, you should be able to receive it.

    There is other possibility. We did see one news announcement indicating that a station had changed to a different television channel during the transition to digital. You might want to check your local broadcast listings to see if any stations changed channels.

  5. Lisa says

    Having gotten very little information of any use concerning why-we-now-have-only-two-unreliable-channels, I have been searching further.

    I am not a conspiracy-theorist, but the only answer I have gotten from the seller of the digital box, the seller of the new antenna, and the lost television stations themselves is “get cable.” Well, we do have cable on our “family room” t.v., but on our bedroom t.v. (the only one on which I’ve made the investment for the cable box and the new antenna–the SECOND new antenna– totalling $90+) gets ONE network, ONE local channel (not always the same one of either) at least fifteen formerly-UHF channels in Spanish, Vietnamese, Cambodian or Korean. Oh and numerous stations “.1, .2″ and so on stations showing 24/7 weather, infomercials or last year’s bike races. Sometimes another network and one other local channel are visible between spits, fizzes and pixels.

    I have re-scanned, I have reset to defaults, and I am ready to kick the television to the curb. I was perfectly happy receiving CBS, NBC, ABC and local stations KTTV, KHJ, KTLA, and KCOP (that was 2,4,5,7,9, 11 and 13 with rabbit ears!)

    I am not inclined to give any more money to our cable company, even if I could afford it (and I can’t) and I do not intend to let them drill further holes through my walls, given the botched job they did the with the original installation. Additional cable would cost $20-30 per month plus installation, cable box and remote rental, even without premium channels. And “the dish” seems even more expensive than cable!

    There doesn’t seem to be any solution EXCEPT more cable. Thanks to whoever made this change– what a brilliant move!

    Thanks for giving me a place to post this rant. I could just spit.

    BTW, I do live a few feet “downslope” from the transmitter towers. And I live in the rural area known as Los Angeles. I sadly admit that I would be a sucker for any plausible “upgraded antenna,” if you can suggest one.

  6. Doogie says

    Hi Lisa

    It sounds like you should not be having reception problems unless you are in a weak spot for reception due to an obstruction of the signal. When you say “downslope from the transmitter towers”, it is possible that you are too close to the towers and the transmissions are passing overhead.

    One thing that I question is the surcharge for cable access for additional televisions. Most cable companies in the USA dropped that ridiculous surcharge over 20 years ago. You do need a special cable box if you want high definition reception or the special digital channels (channels numbers greater than 99), but with most cable companies you can hook up as many televisions as you want without incurring additional fees. That may be your best solution and you will receive a wider range of stations.

    As far as dealing with sloppy installations, there are local television and cabling/wiring installation companies that will probably do a better job.

    BTW, the change to digital transmissions has been in the works for over 20 years. When it works, it does work better.

  7. Heidi McMunn says

    When digital broadcasting first started I could get between 40 and 50 channels crisp and clear. As time goes by I am gradually loosing reception and for the last two days have 0 channels that I can view. What is going on. I spent money on a converter box and UHFVHF antenna and now I can’t get any reception.

  8. Doogie says

    Hi Heidi

    It is not possible that all of the TV stations in your area are failing, so it is obvious that something is going wrong with the reception on your end.

    1. Check all of the connections starting at your TV and working toward the antenna. Connections frequently come loose over time or get pulled loose.

    2. Check your antenna. If you have an outside antenna, see if it has moved or blown over. If you bought an amplified internal antenna, it may have failed.

    3. Your digital converter box could be failing.

    If you cannot find the problem, call a TV repair service that also installs antennas. A TV tech should be able to diagnose the problem in a few minutes.

  9. Louise Vrande says

    We thought we were all set for the conversion because we bought a digital tv in fall 2008, but then it turned out we needed to buy a new antenna (rabbit ears), and still we are not happy with digital. Specific problems: Even the slightest movement in the room can cause pixelization or complete loss of the signal. And the picture and sound are not synchronized. Sometimes the sync is so far off, it is painful to watch the picture, so we end up listening to television. Might as well have radio! Any suggestions?

  10. Doogie says

    Hi Louise

    It sounds like you do have a weak reception problem. The sound and video are synchronized in the digital television signal, so the synchronization problem is due to something on your end.

    Follow the instructions in the article. You may need a better antenna or an amplifier. Moving the antenna to a window on the side of your home facing the transmission tower will likely help.

    You did not say if you are using a digital TV or are using a digital converter box with an older TV. A defective or poor quality digital converter box could be causing the sound delay.

    Many people are finding out that antennas no longer work well in the middle of homes after the switch to digital transmissions. Digital does not work well with weak signals.

  11. Ed says

    Hi. Our TV constantly goes into pixalization or loss of sound and channel, even with the new converter boxes. The boxes, after doing a scan say we have a strong signal. What can I do?

  12. says

    Doogie,

    The DTV system problems that are being reported to you are from more then the “cliff effect” of signal strength. I am and electronics engineer with expertise in signal propagation. I live in the San Francisco Bay area which has a widely varying topology.

    I am 11.3 miles from Sutro Tower and 6.3 miles from San Bruno mountain. When analog TV was being transmitted I would get channels 2,4,5,7,9,20,32,38,40,44,and 60 (Sutro tower), 11, 14, 26, 28, (San Bruno Mt.) and 36 and 54 (Monument peak). I have a large outside antenna array with a 17 element log periodic VHF antenna, a 35 element UHF Yagi with corner reflector. Most of the local TV stations were transmitting Analog and DTV at the same time. My DTV reception ended up with 11,14,26,28, 36,48, and 65. Two months after the transition date channel 1,7,42, and 54 have been received with 1,7, and 42 being unusable because of extreme pixelation and drop out.

    Eight if my engineering friends and myself did a one year propagation study which resulted in a 160 page report on the problems with the DTV transmission system. The study revealed that “cliff effect” signal strength was one problem, while amplitude variance greater that plus or minus 3 dB across the 6 MHz channel width will also impair reception. The system is vary sensitive to multipath which shows up as intermittent severe pixalation and dropout.

    Better Picture Better Sound, I don’t think so. Quality off the air TV reception will never be the same!

    If you would like a copy of the report please email me,

    Lou Dorren

  13. Doogie says

    Lou

    This a very good description of the problem. All I can offer are recommendations to help achieve the best reception. Unfortunately, I cannot fix a dysfunctional government mandated system. :(

  14. Lynn says

    DTV transmission/reception…what a mystery!!

    I live in Missouri about 60 miles from St. Louis. I have older TV’s, Convertor boxes and an exterior antenna.
    Most nights I can receive 14 stations. That is all that are available in my area without cable or satelite hookups. Without moving my home, any buildings being built or any unnatural growth of trees, during the daylight hours I receive only 2 stations and occasionally a third. Can you explain why this happens??

    And another thing, sometimes I can be watching a station, as I am now, which will switch from great picture and sound to pixilated pic and no sound to black screen and “No Signal” showing up. Then it will switch around again. Any idea why this occurs? Can it be weather related? It seems worse on nice days. Is it God telling me to get out and exercise in the nice weather???

    Any insights will be appreciated.

  15. Doogie says

    Hi Lynn

    Just read the article posted above, as well as the comments. You are on the fringe of a weak reception area. With digital transmissions, either you get a good picture or you get no picture. The picture gets pixelated when the signal is falling below the signal threshold.

    Transmission signal strengths are not constant. Weather conditions, current draw through power lines between you and the transmission tower (higher with air conditioner use on hot days), frequency interference, and numerous other issues can affect the signal strength at your location.

    The main solutions would be to get a better antenna and/or a signal amplifier.

    Either that, or God may be telling you to get out more in nice weather. :)

  16. Bruce says

    I’m lucky to get two in and out channels on my tv with amplified antenna being both in and outside my home, at least with analog we could deal with some snow. I live 23 miles from Green Bay, Wi and feel that the tv stations should be allowed to boost their transmissions or be required to revert back to analog. This isnt progress it’s stupidity! You want 40 million Americans getting on their roofs to install vhf antennas from the 70′s,, that is not progress ! do something FCC

  17. Lynn says

    Since transmission signal strengths are so variable (see 9/27 message and response), are the DTV designers working on things that will overcome some or all of these problems? Is it unreasonable to hope for improved signals in the next few years?

    Why are there so many problems since the DTV creators have been working on it for more than 20 years??? Are there any estimates of the number of homes that have had to go to satellite/cable or who have little or no TV because they can’t afford cable/satellite hookups?

  18. Doogie says

    This was all driven by the US Congress, not by common sense or a serious need to upgrade technology. I have not heard of any improvements that are in the works.

    If you in a good reception area, it works great. If not, you may be hosed.

  19. Bruce A says

    I live in the Kansas City metro. Generally I have very good reception for all locally transmitted stations. I do have one problem, however. Every ten to fifteen minutes the I get a loud interruption. The sound is something like an alarm clock buzzer and it is about twice the volume at which the television is set.

    I have turned down the volume of the converter box and increased the volume of the television and vice versa, but neither makes a difference in the volume of the noise.

    Anyone have a similar problem or insights?

  20. Mark Urosevic says

    Fox 2 Detroit’s signal is inadequate and/or interferred with. For 3 months it was coming in at about 10 to 20 percent signal strength, now it is coming in at about 51% maybe because the tree’s leaves have fallen? All of the UHF signals come in at about 80% Channel 4 comes in at 100% And, these towers are very close to Fox’s.

    Fox needs to SIGNIFICANTLY boost its signal or change to VHF like everyone else (this seems to not be prone to signal interference). What can we do to speed these changes along? WJBK doesn’t like to take calls or acknowledge a problem exists….

    See this article…. this is what is happening to those west of Detroit who use antenna:

    Fixing VHF DTV Reception Problems

    Also see this:

    Broadcasters expect VHF reception woes in 2009

  21. Doogie says

    Hi Mark

    Those are good articles that should help some readers understand the transmission problems.

    It is clear that in order to resolve these issues for people on the fringe of the reception areas, the broadcasters will have to gain approval to strengthen their transmissions. I believe that is an FCC licensing issue, so it not just a matter of investing in stronger transmitters.

    The government created the problem. The government should therefore help to resolve it.

  22. scott widman says

    What causes a station (and only yhtis station) to be strong, clear and have a high level of intensity and signal quality in the morning and then slowly die to zero reception with an hour or two (like great at 7:00 am and gone at 8:3o am. None of the explinations above addrees this. thanks.

  23. Doogie says

    Hi Scott

    Here is one cause that I’ve seen. It depends upon how many power lines are between you and the station. If you have a major power line or a transformer station between the two points, the signal can become disrupted and weaken as the current flowing through the power lines increases as the demand for power increases throughout the day. The same thing happens with cell phone signals.

  24. Dave says

    I live in Cincinnati. I live in an apartment. I find it appalling that the solutions for getting a better signal are to pay $100 a month for cable or put up a 30 ft antenna. At any point during the process of converting to digital did it even occur to anyone that some people might want to watch TV who live in an apartment? Who can’t afford cable? Obviously not.

    When it’s cloudy the reception is pretty good. When the sky is clear it’s terrible. I’ll find a spot, the the signal will disappear. And sometimes the voices all sound like those electronically altered calls from kidnappers in movies. I only live about 3 miles from the stations. Why is the signal so bad? Didn’t they test this? Or do people who can’t pay for cable or satellite just not matter.

    Right now I’m watching a show and the signal is cutting in and out. Moving the antenna isn’t helping. Is there any solution that isn’t going to cost me a small fortune?

  25. Dave says

    Oh and by the way, since I don’t have a high def tv, the picture is no better than it was with analog. There was nothing in this for people like me except having to chase all over town to find the sole remaining converter box (everyone was out) and a lot of frustration.

    Someone seriously dropped the ball on this one.

  26. Matthew says

    I have the same problem Scott has. Our local ABC station works fine all day until about 6:30p and then dumps. The signal strength meter on the receiver goes from strong to zero in less than 30 seconds typically. No other station has this problem. Not even the stations that are transmitting from the exact same tower. Only the station broadcasting on RF-39.

    Is there something unique about that frequency?

    If it’s a problem with powerlines, are they interrupting the signal or are they distorting the signal?

    If it’s interruption, would an amplifier be able to boost the signal strength to the receiver?

    If it’s distortion, can anything be done short of selling my home?

    I am very interested in any other ideas about how to overcome this problem.

  27. Doogie says

    Dave

    The best solution is to get a larger or stronger outdoor antenna and put it on the outside of your home. Make sure that it is oriented properly.

    Keep in mind that the resolution is not supposed to be better with digital transmissions. The new digital transmissions are not in high definition, so the picture is not necessarily better if you have an HDTV.

    Matthew

    You could call a local television service to see if they can diagnose the problem, but they will probably just recommend a better antenna with an amplifier to strengthen the reception. Power lines disrupt radio and television transmissions. With digital transmissions, when the signal is not strong enough, you will not get any reception. With the old analog signals, you just got snow or a weak picture. Digital works differently. It either works or it doesn’t. Analog is like a dimmer on a light bulb. Digital is a switch.

    There are major power lines on three sides of the area where we live. When everyone cranks up their air conditioners in the summer, our cell phone signals drop from 5 bars to 1. At this point, the phones just barely work. If we didn’t have cable, we probably would not get any television reception.

  28. Karyn says

    We have 3 tv’s in the house, and an antennae in the attic (west suburb of chicago). Channel 5 (WMAQ) comes in perfect on 2 of the tv’s, but not on the 3rd – no matter how many times we re-scan. We haven’t gotten this channel since the conversion. We just can’t figure out why it comes in on 2, but not the third. Any ideas?

  29. Doogie says

    Hi Karyn

    Hmmm. I have not seen that problem. The only thing that comes to mind is that the channel 5 signal could be weaker to that television or converter box. If you are using converter boxes, it could be a weak amplifier in the box. Try swapping the converter box with one that does work with channel 5. With digital transmissions, once a signal drops below a threshold level, the station will not display.

    It is also possible that you have a long cable run and the signal is degrading between the antenna and the television location. The television cabling in a lot of older homes was wired with standard flat antenna wire or RG-59 coaxial cable. Neither are adequate to prevent signal loss and neither are shielded properly to prevent interference when in close proximity to AC wiring behind the wall. The cabling for a home should be done with RG-6 cable. RG-59 is about 1/4 inch thick. RG-6 is about 3/8 inch thick. If you remove a wall plate that the cable is connected to, you might find a marking on the cable.

    I’ve seen electricians–who should know better–bundle speaker wiring, television cabling and AC wiring through the same holes in the studs behind the wall and then cannot figure out why things do not work correctly. The general rule with television cabling, telephone lines and speaker wires is to keep them at least 6 inches from a parallel run with any AC wiring. With speaker and telephone wiring, the AC lines produce a hum. With television cabling, it creates interference that degrades the signal. A good RG-6 cable has better shielding and much stronger resistance to AC interference and signal degredation.

    If your home is built using the Chicago Electrical Code using metal conduit, AC interference should not be a problem. That is primarily an issue with Romex-type cabling used with the National Electrical Code.

    I suspect the problem is poor cabling or a bad converter box. Let us know what you find.

  30. Martin Bayhorse says

    I feel every ones pain here. This whole mandate of analog to digital was total bs. Just another bill of goods sold us. I have run the gamut in the digital conversion and have yielded no improvement. Before the end date of analog broadcast I clearly received all 3 major networks, FOX, PBS,CW,and 32 a sister network to another main network. after the end of analog, converter installed i at first gained a little i still had the 3 major networks plus two additional digital channels from one network and 3 additional channels from PBS. The only one i lost was 32. As time went on I lost 1 major network (couldn’t even see the winter Olympics)
    and lost all 3 of the pbs channels and the 3 sister channels to the 1 network i gained come n go.

    Im sick of it I do have dish network own my own equipment for it but sick and tired of paying $100 + a month to see the same BS over and over when i only wanted 3 of the channels they offer in separate packages (nice how they bite you on that) Anyhow in this economy there are more important things to me than spending that kind of money on TV (like food for my family) This whole thing just pisses me off but that’s our leaders “its not broke so lets fix it” Whatever! All i can offer anyone whose gone through the same crap I have is save your money on trying to fix what cant be and buy a good book instead or rent a dvd. LOL good luck to all

  31. Gene Sky says

    There is no such thing as a digital television antenna. Go to these web sites to find the locations of television transmitters. tvfool.com , dtv.gov , antennaweb.org , please note that antennaweb does not show the actual location of the television transmitters only the direction. Please note that tvfool and dtv.gov both show the actual location of television transmitters.

  32. Gene Sky says

    Please note that All Antennas are Digital Antennas. Please note that All Antennas are Analog Antennas. An antenna is an antenna , the antenna does not know if the signal is analog or digital. There is no such thing as a ‘Special digital tv antenna’ , There is no such thing as a ‘Super duper special digital tv antenna’. There is no such thing as the ‘Wiz bang tuned digital tv antenna’. There is no such thing as the ‘ Secret break through technology digital tv antenna’. There is no such thing as the ‘Super mega focus digital tv antenna’. There is no such thing the ‘Digital tv antenna that ‘Pulls’ in tv stations from 1 million miles away’. What amazes me is how easly people go for the flim flam the scam.

  33. Tim says

    After reading the above posts more thoroughly I wanted to ask if some types of older coax won’t allow some signal, or do inline signal boosters help at all?

  34. Doogie says

    Hi Tim

    An inline signal booster will not probably help with some coax, such as RG-59 because the coax is not shielded well enough and therefore picks up interference from AC electrical wiring and stray transmission signals. That resulted in weak reception and ghosting problems with the old analog transmissions.

    I have not tried using a booster with weak digital transmissions. If the signal strength is just below the threshold, it may work.

  35. Dave says

    Nice comments and answers. But who and Why was DTV to benifit?
    I have satalite down stairs and two TV.s upstairs with converter box’s and rabit ears. Each tv gets different chanels if you lay in bed a lift your foot some channels come in. Others have great picture and no sound? (not the same chanels on each TV.
    Other than complain what can be done??

  36. Larry says

    Like a lot of people, we have digital problems. Comcast asked that we install digital boxes (Motorola). They sent them and we installed them. Now, we cannot get with very, very few exceptions channels above “21″. Two repairmen visited. Both said the splitter is not digitally capable. OK…However, the builder of the building hid the “splitter”. We have not clue where it is located.

    Question: 1) Is their a way to locate the splitter without tearing up all the ceiling? 2) Is their a way to digitally broadcast the channels from the garage to the televisions? without using the cable?

    Advise.

    Larry

  37. Doogie says

    Hi Larry

    That’s a strange problem. I have not seen a splitter that was not ‘digitally capable”, but sometimes a different frequency splitter is be used for satellite connections.

    Most cable companies are still using analog signal transmissions. A special digital box can be added as an upgrade to allow you to receive special digital channels (usually a range of channels above 100) that they offer, along with enhanced features. A digital converter box (something different) is used to convert digital transmissions so that they work with older televisions with analog tuners. It sounds like Comcast in your area is using a digital transmission via cable which requires a digital converter box for compatibility with older analog televisions.

    There may not be an easy way to locate a splitter behind a wall. A splitter or any cable connection should never be behind a wall, but it sounds like the builder did not follow proper procedures or standard building codes. Usually a splitter is found at a cable service box (called a terminal box) on the outside of the home, in an attic, or in a basement where the cable enters the home. They can even be found behind the cable connection plates on the wall. Sometimes homeowners daisy chain a cable run, but that is not the proper way to run cable. All cable should be run using the “home run” method, which means that the main cable network cable connects to a splitter, which distributes the signal via individual cable runs to each room. The splitter is most likely to be found at the point where the cable enters the home.

    To transmit video and sound signals, do a search for “wireless video transmitter”. There are several on the market. I don’t have a specific recommendation. I suggest you do a search for products in Amazon.com and read all of the product reviews carefully. Be aware that you may get what you pay for with this type of gear and it probably won’t be cheap if you have to transmit to several televisions.

  38. steve says

    Was their a change made in the strength of signal for digital reception? Live in San Jose Ca and was able to scan 2 times and get allmost all the stations.

    Know i have to scan multiple times and not get most of them. I can know only get a few stations 36 and 54. It has been this way for the past 3 months.

    use and indoor anteana.

  39. Tom Dowd says

    I don’t understand how a strong signal one moment can go to a level between 10-25 another moment. I cannot explain this with weather changes or traffic. Good reception seems to change with the time of day. I have a new flat RCA antenna that is supposed to be omni directional. I need help.

  40. Doogie says

    Hi Tom

    You may need to call in a local TV tech to pinpoint your problem. Something is interfering with your signal. Local power lines can be a big problem. So can fluorescent lights that are close to your antenna. Anything that throws out a disrupting signal can weaken your reception.

    I don’t personally like omnidirectional antennas unless you are in the middle of a city. That means it is receiving signals from all directions. If all of your television transmission towers are located in the same general direction, a good directional antenna will pull in a stronger signal. Move it around until you get the strongest signal across the most channels.

  41. Tim B says

    I didn’t have the patience to read every detail of every post here… so forgive me if my situation is a duplicate of someone else’s. ;-) Just canceled Comcast to save money. Pulled the DTV box out again, hooked it up with just a basic indoor antenna (2 telescoping sticks, that’s it) and was pleased with the picture on FOX 29 with the Phillies game on! Great. Channel 3 rocked too (CBS I think). Then comes 6 ABC and 10 NBC. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I live in Philly and the antennaweb.org didn’t help me at all. I guess I’ll go pick up a new antenna with “power boost.” ;-) But why would I pick up only one of the 3 big network channels when all the Philly channel broadcast from either Center City or the Main Line. I’m not lookin for the podunk stations to come in, but hey TBN’s broadcasting like 3 variant channels and they all come in like a champ. Who’da thunk that with an hour and a half before the Flyers face the Blackhawks in game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals… broadcasting on NBC no less… that I’d be dinking around trying to get a freaking signal. Nice job with the TV “upgrade” Uncle Sam. Thanks. Go FLYERS! ;-)

  42. William L. Palminteri says

    This is the first website I’ve found that admits there’s a “problem” with this great new broadcast system of ours. Other websites play it off with “get a better antenna, and a signal booster looks nice on the TV table too”. I have had all of the reception problems that have been mentioned so far, and I find it a travesty that we consider ourselves the greatest, most technologically advanceed country on the planet, and we have a government mandated “upgrade” to this nonsense. I live 10 miles east of midtown NYC, at 175 feet elevation, and my “reception” is a joke. At this point in time I am receiving a total of two (2) stations during the day, and the reception is sketchy at best. If my neighbor walks into his apartment downstairs, bye bye signal. If a car passes by outside, sayonara signal. And this is from the same country that put men on the moon 40 years ago.
    I feel like Ralph Kramden when he and Norton got their first TV set. It was funny in 1956. Today, the humor is lost on me, since now I AM Ralph Kramden, and it’s 2010, not the ’50′s.
    Trust me on this, calling something “digital” doesn’t make it better.
    “Ready, oh Captain Video !!!”
    Best regards,
    Bill P.

  43. V says

    This is a response-rant to some of the frustrations listed herein. It is nothing new and we all know what Congress implemented this new system for and that is/was to make money. Nothing is done unless money is being made or involved in one form or another. As they explained it when they tried to shove it down everyone’s throats before it was implemented it was stated that if analog used say four lines to transmit signal then digital will allow ten lines of communication allowing them to make more revenue off of it via being able to sell to businesses all these exra airwave signals.

    It is just another way of government making all conform to what they want you to be doing and having without coming right out and saying it. That would sort of be like communism, right? They lead, you follow and when they go off the end of the cliff don’t forget to be a lemming and just follow along. Notice that once it got implemented you can no longer access help or anything else, that is just another perk of this useless system of no T.V. reception. So the reason for that is that they have now created another problem for you that you should then in turn call a repair person who is not going to be able to do what you can’t do and that is, make the signal strong enough to transmit to your particular area. But it will add to the repairmans bottom line and the government as yet another source of revenue!

    Watch free T.V. at hulu.com no gimicks involved. For R-rated content you will have to join. Takes no time. I do not work for any of them, I am a consumer who is fed up with paying out every penny to greedy money mongers who not only force all this on us, but they also set the price beyond most people’s means. Makes me wonder if that is to help keep the seperation of rich and poor going and therefore eliminating the middle class as has been going on for years. Everything plays into government. They never do anything with just the pure reason of doing it there are many avenues to be had when they implement anything by force. Much like your computer you may have and like a lot, well not if they come up with the next newest one that does not upgrade off the last and you are forced to go out and buy a whole new one to keep up with it all. You want it you will pay for it in one way or the other. That is why government also wants to tax the internet, they just hate to see a source of revenue they have not gotten their hands into and made a mess of pass them by.

    As to the stupid booster antenae’s that they said to go out and get to “boost” the signal for receiving more stations, it to, is just another way to get consumers to follow the leader and go out and buy some more of what does not work and they do not need, but because they said so, it must be so, right? My son bought me one. I used to get 4 stations prior to installing it and then got three using the booster and now for the past week and a half there is zero signal. How do I know, the box has a function to look at the antenae signal and it is showing 0 strength when it runs from 14 to 17 and we know which one pulls the better signal, and as Doogie states herein, you either get signal or you don’t and that goes for watching T.V, too. Also, when scanning before it would make a dark blue color in the little box indicating it found a channel, and now it just runs its little scan right on through like no tomorrow and no channels either. All any of this did was make money for the government by making us buy the DTV box if we wanted to continue to have T.V. (which is a lie they were aware of and knew that not all people would get a signal, I think it would be interesting to see a report of how many homes got signal with analog as opposed to DTV.) reception and make money for the stores via taxes and now making money for the repair business to fix what they can’t fix, but they will come out and try, and charge you for it, too. This was all about the government making money, there was nothing wrong with the way old T.V. worked.

    If you are really fed up and it doesn’t bother you to watch T.V. on the computer, then you have your answer to many of what people state herein. I pay for the cheap DSL, if you do not have DSL the movies and T.V. shows I watch for free on-line will not stream properly and you end up with much the same as the lovely DTV BS. Go to hulu.com and you can watch all kinds of movies and T.V. shows/series. It is free, quick and easy. I refuse to pay for cable, satelite, or dish television. We already get gouged enough at the places we have to buy from for survival purposes without willfully handing even more to these cable and more companies that all you get is repeat after repeat. That is the other advantage of free T.V. over the net, you already pay for your internet so you are not paying twice.

    I don’t see it as a drawback, but for those who just have to have the latest this and that big screen and such then you need to get someone to hook your T.V. into your computer or vice versa and you can still watch it on big screens. Otherwise, it is watched on whatever monitor you may have. You will not get a movie that just came out, theaters are the way to go for that and or rentals which defeats getting free T.V. You can watch them as hulu is allowed to present them though. Sort of like waiting for a movie to go on DVD, but it is on the net instead. The other great advantage to this is that it takes up no extra space in your home/apt because you do not store DVD’s, VHS’s or any other media retrieval format.

    You get to watch what you want, when you want and no repeats (unless you want to repeat a show) and you can even watch some of the old movies from days gone by. Some of the movies and shows are great and some mediocre and anywhere inbetween. It just depends on you and if you think it is a better deal to watch T.V. through your computer connection which you are already paying for or if you want the added expense of cable. And for the rest of us who get no signal, at this it just means time freed up to do other things that would have been spent in front of the T.V., not that I ever spent much time, but it would be nice to catch the news and the weather. Shows I have watched on hulu.com are House, The Red Shoe Diaries, The End of The Spear, 30 Days until I’m Famous, Arrested Development, Better Off Ted, Bones, Brothers&Sisters, Canvas 2006, Caught on Tape, Cops, Crime & Punishment, Dateline Crime & Punishment, Fatal Memories, Forever Knight, Ghoset Junters, Hope &
    Glory, Angels & Demons, Jackie Chan’s The Myth, Kickboxer 3, Kyle XY, and so much more. Did you ever miss episodes of a favorite show or not get to see a movie and waited to see it again but never got repeated, well make it a point to check this site out and see if you can’t find what you missed. Best part is you watch when you want and what you want and no repeats, unless you want to.

    I don’t think local stations get the impact of this nor do the advertisers. They lose a lot of potential customers for their programming and the advertisers lose us to not seeing what they have that is new on the market and therefore,we aren’t even aware of what they want to sell to us, the consumer. I am out of the loop on some things now and I have gotten so used to it that I like it and will not go back to watching T.V. the way it used to be. It is internet T.V. or it will be no T.V. When it is time to move I also won’t have to lug a big heavy T.V.

    Good luck to all, I honestly feel what you are going through as there are so many of us and the government could care less they got what they wanted and now so do I. T.V. on demand!