Budget HD Television

This holiday weekend has basically thrown HD television onto my person.

First – Johnson2 gets a line on a 43 inch rear projection TV. 43 inch HD television. Apparently this person was selling it on the cheap to get a LCD. “How much?” was the obvious next step… “$350 – and an HD tuner for $50 if you want that.”

Yes and Yes.

Is rear projection my first choice? no. Is having a built in HD tuner better than a set top box? sure it is. But this was a chance to leap into big-screen HD television for $400 dollars. The in-laws teamed up with William Clay Ford and helped us move the TV that evening.

After hooking up the television, rearranging the entire living room, watching Neo vs. Smith, and generally basking in all that is man; I began weighing my options for high definition content.

I’ve been a Comcast subscriber for some time now, and through the entirety of that business/customer relationship I have loved and hated this company. I hate comcast when I get the bill. Paying over 100 dollars a month for high speed internet and basic cable is pretty much a deplorable scenario. But, then I do a speakeasy speed test and my download speeds consistently reach upwards of 25 – 30 mbps. This results in near euphoria. Regardless though, the thought of paying even more to these buttholes was really not a pleasant thought.

Enter the “Antenna”.

Apparently when I was sold the HD tuner, it had come with a basic and generic indoor antenna. Not really thinking anything of it at the time; I decided to try hooking it up and see what would happen. The new TV had a cable and antenna input, so I tried that first… Nothing special: 5 or 6 fuzzy local channels. Then I tried hooking that antenna up to my HD tuner. To my exorbitant surprise; I suddenly had several fully high def 1080i channels over the air by way of this ‘useless’ antenna – for free!?

Having never heard of this functionality before – I was sure I had stumbled onto something completely unknown to the rest of the world. I hit google up a little bit and landed at a few different sites talking about how over-the-air HD is actually better than cable or satellite because it is uncompressed. And people just go crazy to get HD this way… People buy and/or build huge outdoor powered antennas in order to pick up HD signals from miles away.

I finally ended up at http://www.antennaweb.org which allows you to put in your location and then lists all over-the-air HD channels in your area; including how far away, what channel, and even what direction to point your antenna. I punched through the wizard and came back with all sorts of HD channels that were available within 30 miles of my home.

I immediately went out and invested in a nicer indoor antenna (amplified, directional, adjustable gain, etc.). After re-discovering all the channels with my new antenna, I have 15 HD channels including the big ones like Wood TV, WZZM, and FOX.

Basically this is one of the coolest things ever. 25+ year old technology being used to view High Definition televion… Not to mention that I have 15 free HD channels forever just by spending 27 dollars on a decent indoor antenna.