Grounded Antenna, subWoof, and the HDTV

low mounted Winegard CA 9095 Antenna
Antenna Test: low mounted due to obvious snow issues

Test setup of my old (25+ yo) Winegard CA 9095 High gain UHF antenna with a Winegard AC 4990 Low Noise UHF Preamp, and an Alliance Tennarotor. I mounted this on a castiron staff for hanging baskets – I wasn’t going on the roof with this snow!

I made the mistake of looking at High Definition TVs (HDTV) the
last time I went by Circuit City. What an amazing picture – on a good set its like looking through a window. Of course, part of that excitement for me is from years of working in cable TV headends, looking at studio quality pictures just off the satellite dish. HDTV brings that kind of picture into your living room, and its amazing. Oh – did I mention that many HD shows have Dolby 5.1 sound?

There are a couple of critical things for High Def – to view it properly requires a Widescreen TV (a width: height ratio of 16:9, instead of the 4:3 of conventional TVs). Its a digital signal, so it requires a special tuner (ATSC) to decode the signal, instead of the NTSC tuner of older sets. And, most of the Over The Air (OTA) broadcast stations are sending their HD signals out using channels in the UHF band in addition to their older channel slots. So, you need a good UHF antenna, connected to an HD tuner, feeding to a Widescreen HD-Ready set … and sending the audio to a good sound system is a plus!

Of course, I have a lot of interests in life, so doing anything with HDTV means working within a real tight budget – I’m not putting $2000+ into a TV set, even if it DOES look really good. My old 27′ Zenith still works fine, so after some research, I figured the best approach was to get an HDTV tuner that would let me use my old TV. (At least until I buy an HD Ready set to go along with it). I knew using my Zenith would be a “downgrade” – viewing just a portion of the HDTV signal on an NTSC set instead of seeing all the pixels on an HD Ready set – but I’m waiting for a real deal on one of those, and I can watch the clean pictures with digital sound until I find a set. I have a component Audio system, why not a component Video system? Thats basically what I already have with a Tv and AV Receiver and VCR and DVD anyway … And to really ice the cake, I got a cheap Sony 8″ Subwoofer for under $100 – that extra “boom” makes a lot of difference! It makes the room that much more like a theatre – when watching action films, or classical music – even Fantasia on old VHS tapes!

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