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Over the Air HD

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

So I've had my home theater pc playing back high-definition video for some time now, but now I want to be able to record HD material. I have HD service from Time Warner Cable and it looks pretty awesome most of the time, but when we would record something it would only be the standard-definition analog version put out by TWC for their analog service. I could use their digital cable as a video source, but I'd need a dedicated set-top box just for the HTPC and I'm not willing to give TWC any more money.

A few years ago I got an HD tuner on eBay but never got around to setting it up. The version of MythTV I was previously running didn't correctly detect the card the same way every time and caused problems with the other tuners. This problem has apparently been fixed in newer versions. I connected the HD tuner to the cable and it got signal, but it seems TWC doesn't push any non-encrypted HD channels. The only other thing to do was to try for the over-the-air HD channels. I checked antennaweb.org and based on my location I should be able to get ABC, NBC, FOX and WXXI.

This house doesn't have an antenna on it, so I was going to buy one, but then I found a video on Youtube about building one out of coat hangers; of course I tried building it. It took 6 wire coat hangers, a 2x4, some screws and washers and a 75Ω to 300Ω (VHF to UHF) converter. The only thing I didn't have on hand was the converter which was a few dollars at Radioshack.

I tested the antenna inside on the floor and got 1 channel. I held it up in the air and got 3 channels. I settled on hanging it up just under the roof in the garage. Getting it up that high allowed me to get all the channels Antennaweb said I should plus a few more!

my home-made hd antenna

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