HDTV rabbit ears
By Joe Milicia, Related Press
CLEVELAND purchasing an antenna for a high-definition television seems as out-of-place as utilizing a rotary phone to help make a call.
But some consumers are spending thousands of dollars on Liquid Crystal Display or plasma TVs and hooking them up to $50 antennas that do not look a great deal distinct from just what grandpa had above his black-and-white picture tube.
They truly are maybe not carrying it out for the nostalgia.
Regional TV channels, broadcast in HD over-the-air, offer superior image quality over the often-compressed signals sent by cable and tv organizations.
Plus the best part? Over-the-air HD is free.
"Eighty-year-old technology will be redesigned and rejiggered to provide a picture quality, " stated Richard Schneider, president of Antennas Direct. "It is an appealing paradox."
A couple of years ago, Schneider started an assembly-line inside the storage and marketed antennas out from the trunk of his vehicle. Now his Eureka, Mo.-based organization has seven staff members and did $1.4 million in product sales a year ago. He wants income to increase in 2007.
"People believed I became peanuts. These were laughing at me once I told all of them I was beginning an antenna business, " Schneider said.
Before cable and satellite existed, men and women relied on antennas for analog signals from neighborhood TV stations' broadcasting towers. Programs nevertheless distribute analog signals, but the majority today transmit HD electronic indicators besides. (Congress has ordered broadcasters to shut-off old-style analog TV broadcasts by Feb. 17, 2009.)
Customers who are able to get an electronic sign from an antenna gets an excellent photo, stated Steve Wilson, principal analyst for consumer electronics at ABI Research.
One significant difference with an electronic digital over-the-air signal is it doesn't get snowy and fuzzy such as the old analog signal. Rather, the image will develop into small obstructs and go black.
"You either have it or you never, " stated Dale Cripps, founder and co-publisher of HDTV Magazine. "Some people can receive it with rabbit ears, it depends where you stand."
Schneider suggests indoor antennas limited to clients within 25 kilometers of a place's broadcast tower. A patio antenna will grab an indication from around 70 miles away providing no hills are in the way in which, he stated.
The Consumer Electronics Association has an internet site that tells how long an address is from towers and suggests which type of antenna to use.
"if you are utilizing an antenna to obtain an HD signal it will be easy for real broadcast-quality HD, " said Megan Pollock, spokeswoman for group. "Some of the cable and satellite companies may choose to compress the HD signal."
Compression involves the removal of some information from electronic sign. This is done so the providers have enough space to send a huge selection of other networks through the exact same cable range or satellite transmission.
The difference in picture quality is a case of opinion, said Robert Mercer, spokesman for satellite provider DirecTV Inc.
"We think the DirecTV HD sign is more advanced than any origin, whether it's over-the-air or from your own friendly neighbor hood cable business, " Mercer stated.
Self-described television fanatic Kevin Holtz, of suburban Cleveland, chose an antenna because he don't wish to spend his satellite supplier extra for regional broadcast networks.
Holtz, 30, can't obtain the sign from 1 regional community affiliate marketer or a general public broadcasting station but stated the rest of the programs can be bought in clearer than they would through satellite. He uses a $60 antenna for a 40-inch Sony LCD, which retails for about $3, 000.
"Over-the-air all things are perfect, " Holtz stated.
Another disadvantage to making use of simply an antenna is the fact that just local networks are available, meaning no ESPN, TNT, CNN or Discovery Channel. Some customers lover an antenna with cable or satellite solution.
Many individuals aren't conscious that they can get HD over the airwaves, Wilson stated. He estimates you will find 10 million homes with HDTVs hence less than 2 million of them utilize antennas. Including domiciles with analog sets, 15 million of this 110 million homes in the United States make use of antennas.
HD antenna rates consist of $20 to $150 for interior and outside versions. The countless models of available indoor antennas look more like a fleet of spaceships compared to rabbit ears of old. Manufacturers include Terk, Philips, Audiovox, Jensen and Magnavox.
Those actually interested in saving a dollar and who've only a little MacGyver inside might make their antenna. Steve Mezick of Portland, Ore., produced one out-of cardboard and tinfoil.
"I made the decision to construct it due to the fact design seemed exceedingly quick. We scrounged up stuff throughout the house and put one together, " said Mezick, a bowling street mechanic whom fixes pin spotters.
The 30-year-old has actually since upgraded his initial design utilizing a line baking sheet, clothing hanger and timber. He mounted it to the side of their home and gets all their local programs.