|Louis Kratz on 9 Jun 2014 05:05:14 -0700|
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|[PLUG] HD-Homerun and OTA broadcast (Was: Comcast, Cable Cards, Antenna, ...)?|
I realize this is a bit outdated, but thought I'd post an update since I've had success as of late with OTA broadcasts. I had a lot of interesting constraints but have a Comcast-free solution now. I'm posting this hoping it helps someone else.
Shout-out to JP's thread "Comcast and Antennas" for good inspiration and advice.
WHYY and WPVI broadcast out of Roxborough on the VHF band making reception difficult around downtown. I couldn't get either station on our ground-floor television with antenna  below, and other stations (ION, FOX, etc) were spotty at best.
I rent a two-floor row-home near south street, meaning I:
* have an obstructed view of the towers
* can't run coax or cat 5 through the walls
* can't put an antenna on the roof
Step 1: Elevation
Everything out there says height of the antenna and line-of-sight are key. This left our 2nd floor window, which faces north even though there is a 3 floor row-home across the street.
Problem is my PVR is on our first floor so it can connect to the internet and television.
The solution I found was the hd-homerun plus (HDTC-2US):
This network tuner has hardware h264 compression (something I wanted anyway).
I couldn't run cat 5 downstairs, so I dug up an old router, installed dd-wrt, and followed this guide to create a wireless bridge:
I bumped the TX power on the router to 152 and am able to record with a reasonable compression (mobile setting) over the wireless bridge.
Step 2: Antenna.
This still didn't solve my reception problems, so I started investigating different antennas.
I evaluated 3 antennas:
 Homeworx HW110AN Super Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna
 Antennas Direct CSM-1
 RadioShack HDTV Antenna 1501874 http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103077
I had  kicking around from way back and it had the worst performance with. This isn't surprising considering it's size and material (feels like cardboard).
I picked up  at a sidewalk sale on the cheap. It got much better reception of other stations than , but still no ABC/PBS.
 Is the "budget" option at radio shack. Some users on phiadelphia speaks rave about it, and for the cost/return policy I figured I'd give it a shot.
The budget antenna  totally worked for me. I see about a 75% signal strength on the HDHR management page (their measure).
I can't rave enough about the HDTC-2US. I still would prefer an internal tuner, but in this case it worked to my advantage.
I was really surprised (and yet, not?) about the inexpensive option from radio being the best. They're classic rabbit ears, and I'm sure I'll have some tin foil on there soon enough.
I use a DB8  Bow tie with amplifier on my second floor balcony. My
issue is that I don't have line of sight and have to go through 6 other
unit in my townhouse row. Still I get KYW-3, WHYY 12, NBC10, Fox29, MIND 35
This is rated for Channels 14-69, 30deg beamwidth, peak 15.8 dB antenna gain and 15db
gain in the pre-amp. It works somewhat on ch 12, but not lower.
The only station I don't get is 6 which is VHF. 12 WHYY comes in fine
most of the time with this Antenna. KYW3 is actually on UHF.
Note that I get all these stations without rotating in azimuth ( from
Here are some good info:
----- Original Message -----
> From: "Louis Kratz" <email@example.com>
> To: "Philadelphia Linux User's Group Discussion List"
> Sent: Monday, November 18, 2013 9:54:56 PM
> Subject: Re: [PLUG] Comcast, Cable Cards, Antenna, and HD-Homerun
> Thanks so much to all of you for the info!
> FiOS isn't available at my address :( but I'm definitely going to try an
> omni-directional antenna.
> I'll post back to the list with any further info/results.
> Philadelphia Linux Users Group -- http://www.phillylinux.org
> Announcements - http://lists.phillylinux.org/mailman/listinfo/plug-announce
> General Discussion -- http://lists.phillylinux.org/mailman/listinfo/plug
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