Tuesday, March 25, 2008

should have tried this sooner

DirecTV didn't offer any Knoxville channels in high definition when I first got my HD setup. At the time, I ordered a supplementary rooftop antenna, only to have my order canceled by the satellite company because they claimed that the Knoxville HD channels were coming in January 2007. It would be another year before they made good on the promise.

As of now, I still have not ordered my local channels from DirecTV. When my rooftop antenna order got canceled, the guys from Strickwood Communications stepped up and brought me an RCA Indoor Amplified Antenna as part of my endorsement deal. I've been using the HD rabbit ears ever since.

Everyone in the family had to learn not to walk in front of the antenna, unless we wanted the TV picture to freeze or disappear. Once I got an HD DVR, we would often find that a recorded show had been ruined by bad reception. I missed most of this year's Grammy Awards for that reason, although from what I read about the show it was no great loss. I started to write a blog entry about it that night but abandoned it because it was going nowhere. Here's how that post would have started:
Like any good disc jockey, I tuned in to the Grammy Awards tonight. Sadly, I found them to be unwatchable but only partly because of their pretentious nature. The problem is that my television gets terrible reception of WVLT.
Of all the local stations, I get the best HD signal from WKOP, the PBS affiliate. The worst signal is from WBXX, the CW affiliate. The quality of WATE, WBIR and WTNZ would depend on how the rabbit ears were positioned.

A week ago I was programming the DVR to record "American Idol," "Dancing With the Stars" and "The Riches" while I would be out at the Einstein Simplified show. I kept adjusting and readjusting the rabbit ears, trying to find a sweet spot that would work for both WTNZ and WATE. There is a dial on the base of the antenna that is supposed to help with fine tuning. Out of frustration I turned the dial all the way to the left until it clicked and the blue light went off. Had I turned off the power? Maybe I had turned my amplified TV antenna into a passive TV antenna. Here's the amazing part: for the past week, I have gotten the best reception ever on all the over-the-air channels except for WBXX. Their transmitter is out past Oliver Springs, unlike all the stations on Sharp's Ridge. I was real close to calling DirecTV and ordering the local channels via satellite. Now that the rabbit ears are working better, I can save the extra money and stick with the over-the-air signals.

I'm disappointed that the local broadcast stations aren't making good use of their digital subchannels. WVLT gets an A for effort even though I hardly ever watch channel 8.2. They fill the time with infomercials, syndicated shows, reruns and programming from myNetworkTV. WBIR runs NBC Weather Plus on channel 10.2. I wish they would put on 10News2 instead. WATE used to run weather on channel 6.2 and WTNZ used to run music videos on channel 43.2. Both of those subchannels are currently off the air. I hope they put on something because all I need is more TV in my life.

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Anonymous Billy said...

I've not had TV service at all for 2 years. With all the HD mess going on, I may be glad I dropped it, although I'm sure I'll be signing back up once the live-action Star Wars series gets going. Love the morning show!


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