DTV Antenna Project?

One of the things I’m considering with the advent of Digital TV is improving my antenna situation. I’ve had a TV antenna on a rotator for many years inside my attic. It was more than adequate for my needs, and I could reliably get stations from Buffalo, Hamilton and Toronto with little effort.

But the new DTV signals are a little more demanding, at least so far. I get digital signals from all the Buffalo stations, but even when the antenna is aimed right at some of the stations, we on occasion have the picture drop out. DTV signals are all-or-nothing, there is no snow, there is just nothing unless it’s perfect.

So what should I do? The antenna in my attic is only a few feet lower than where one might be if I put it on my rooftop. It’s a VHF/UHF combination antenna of medium size, as big as I could get and still turn inside the attic crawlspace.

I’ve been researching this on the interwebs and combined with my knowledge of electronics and radio communications (35 years as an Amateur Radio Operator) I can weed out the misinformation. But it’s still not totally clear-cut. Continue Reading…

More DTV woes…

HDTV Shakedown

I’ve already talked here about the pros and cons of the switchover to DTV. Here’s another aspect of it I wasn’t fully aware of: Royalties are adding about $30 to the cost of your Digital-ready TV.

I won’t belabor the point here. Just click on the logo above to read all about it.

2009 Molson Concert Series Lineup

The return of the Lockport Molson Canal Concert Series is about a month away and the promoters released the schedule and lineup of entertainers on Wednesday.

As usual, there is a lot of fuss about the headliners, and has brought in a bunch of top-name acts that will undoubtedly have the square behind Ulrich City Center packed again. You’ve probably already heard the names and most of them were no surprise; they were almost all leaked/announced on the individual bands websites and show schedules.

But, unlike most of the local free summer concert series, they have also released the local or regional performers who will be opening for the headline acts. I think this is great as it gives the fans of the local bands some notice, give the bands themselves time to promote their appearance and in the end, brings even more people to the shows. Since the openers play first, this means more people get there early and probably stay longer which translates to more business for the vendors and surrounding businesses. It’s such a no-brainer, that I don’t understand why venues like Artpark and Thursday at the Square don’t put more emphasis on this.

So, let’s look at a few of the local bands: Continue Reading…

My latest PC: Shuttle HTPC

Well, it’s spring and a young man’s thoughts turn to…
Shuttle HTPC
building a PC, of course. Well, I’m not that young, but since I bought a new LCD TV and mounted it on my living room wall, it was the next logical step.

I’ve had a sound system tied into my TV watching since before “Home Theater” was a common term. My first DVR came in 1999, when I got a ReplayTV 2000. I only retired it a year ago when it’s power supply failed. I still have it, in case I want to repair it, but about that time, I got a satellite dish and got the DVR option along with that.

But, I haven’t been totally happy with that, plus with the switchover to DTV, and no way to record over-the-air, I’ve been seriously looking at HTPCs. Home Theater PCs are a computer with a tuner card to collect video and then display it, in real-time, or later via recording, on your TV. It’s a different breed of PC in some ways, with some special needs in the areas of cooling, sound levels and I/O devices. Continue Reading…

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