Category: Ask the Expert

Q&A with the antenna experts now

Jun
15

Posted in AD Bus Tour, Ask the Expert, Cut the Cord | Comments

Antennas Direct Founder Once Again Tests Technology Down The Lincoln Highway

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Richard Schneider, our fearless leader, once again embarks on an exciting journey this weekend…a journey along most of the historic Lincoln Highway. Richard, and his much too patient wife Noel, will be traveling from San Rafael, CA to Moline, IL in his 1969 Mercedes 280SL.

great race

They will be stopping in cities along the way to test out the reception of some of our over-the-air technology and report the findings. Not only will we be posting videos, but Richard will occasionally live streaming the race and their many adventures, so who knows what kind of gems you might witness.

“I look forward to the Great Race each year. The opportunity to be around the best cars and test out the best antennas,” says Schneider. “We want to show Americans that regardless of where you live, it is possible for you to cut the cord. And we want to help.”

The Great Race starts Saturday, June 18th in California and Richard will arrive in Moline, Illinois on Sunday, June 26th. Follow the Great Race and Richard’s crazy antics at antennasdirect.com/66ADBusTour,  InstagramTwitter and Facebook and live streaming on UStream.

Jun
9

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cut the Cord, Industry Update | Comments

ATSC 3.0, in Layman’s Terms

ATSC 3.0 better

A few weeks ago we shared the ATSC 3.0 video and a brief description about WHAT it is, but really, it’s a bunch of detailed, techie, nerd talk. What does it really mean for you, in layman’s terms?

Here are the main points on the ATSC 3.0 transition:

  • 4K Ultra HD Video!
  • High dynamic range high definition
  • 1 +4 surround sound and immersive audio
  • Way more multicasting! There will be over 100 sub-channels per main channel (the system has much more efficient compression), which means potentially hundreds of over the air channels per market
  • More reliable and robust transmissions won’t be prone to interference (this means no more break ups!)
  • Indoor reception will be MUCH easier with an antenna
  • Interactive, the view can control the viewing experience and will allow two way communications with the broadcaster, choose viewing angle on sports, etc.
  • Targeted advertising, this will be great for businesses to sell their products to particular demographics.
  • Metadata- more detailed show info, actor bios, all the fun background info you might be interested in knowing, but don’t want to spend time looking up!
  • Immersive and VR experience

Ultimately, there is a lot of buzz with the transition, but it will be a lengthy process. There are currently no broadcasters transmitting in 3.0 and they won’t be until probably 2018 at the earliest. It will all depend on when station decides to make the switch and even then, the consumer will need a device with a 3.0 tuner chip set.

For the most part, broadcasters will continue to transmitting signal in both 1.0 and 3.0. Once 3.0 TV’s hit the market, there will be a lot of people who will be able to access these features IF the broadcast station is transmitting in 3.0. It will be an interesting transition because there is not a harsh turn off deadline for 1.0, it’s not like there will be one day where all of a sudden there will no longer be 1.0 and everyone will be broadcasting in 3.0. That won’t be happening! Basically, it’s consumer adoption for 3.0 and how people decide they want their content delivered to them. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out, and we will be sure to keep you updated!

Jun
1

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cut the Cord, Industry Update | Comments

The Antennas Direct Antenna Selector is Here to Save the Day!

antenna selector

“But I don’t know what kind of antenna to get.”

“How far am I from the towers?”

“Indoor or outdoor, which is better for my location?”

“What stations should I get in my area?”

These are all questions we hear on a daily basis. And we get it, it can be tricky trying to determine what antenna to get and take that step to cut the cord. We know how frustrating it can be to purchase something and bring it home, only to realize it won’t work for you! So to help ease that pain and streamline the process, we have developed an antenna selector!

What do you need to do?

Step 1:

Visit our Antenna Selector HERE.

Step 2:

Type in your zipcode. The selector will determine the best antennas for your location, both indoor and outdoor, depending on your needs.

antenna selector 2

Step 3:

Sit back and admire the list of available channels. You’ll be amazed how many stations you’ll be able to get, all for free!

Step 4:

Add the antenna of your choosing to your cart! It’s that simple. No more guessing what would work best for you.

That’s it! We’ve made the process so simple, you’ll wonder why you didn’t cut the cord sooner! Don’t hesitate to give our Connection Crew a call to ask them any questions you might have. And by ANY questions, we mean it! Not only are our products the best in the industry, but so is our service!

May
23

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

5 Ways to Get Better Antenna Reception

Television has come a long way since the days of rabbit ear antennas on top of TV boxes weighing over one hundred pounds. Now, you can get a TV so flat you are afraid a stiff breeze might break it, and a little box can get you hundreds of channels. That little box obviously comes with a cost, and that cost seems to be going up at a never-ending rate (yep, I’m talking about cable). In turn, people have come back to antennas as a viable option and a key asset for anyone looking to cut cable.

EclipsewAmp_

The antennas of today are much more advanced. Antennas Directs ClearStream series of HDTV antennas are perfect for cord-cutters looking for advanced solutions. Antennas today are often designed with sleek, inconspicuous profiles, and the reception ranges have grown vastly from the earlier versions. Check out the ClearStream Eclipse. It’s the ultra-thin antenna that grips to any smooth surface. The range of content you receive can include award-winning TV shows, live sporting events, educational programming, and even broadcasts in foreign languages. For example, in my guide for the Indy 500 I mentioned the antenna as one of the easiest and cheapest options to watch the race without cable.

The worst thing that could happen to you is you do all your research, purchase your antenna, set it up, and find out the reception you are receiving is poor. It isn’t always as easy as turning on your TV and checking for the reception… sometimes it just cuts out. We just highlighted how to watch the French Open with an antenna and imagine watching the final match and having your reception get blurry then cut out right near the last points.  That would be devastating, so you should take all the steps ahead of time to improve your antenna’s reception and make sure you’re all set. Below are some of our top tips to improve the reception for your antenna.

1) Direct your Antenna Correctly

Unfortunately, for many of the antennas on the market it is not as simple as throwing it near a window and getting perfect reception. Many antennas need to be directed towards a certain point where the broadcast signal originates. This could be a relatively easy and quick fix to improve your reception.

All you need to do is use sites like AntennaWeb, TVFool, or the Digital TV Map from the FCC. You simply put in your details and it will tell you which channels you will likely receive and provide you with a map displaying where the broadcast signal is coming from in relation to your location. Based on this map, you should adjust your antenna to point the correct direction. If you are aimed in the correct direction you could even increase your chances on picking up subchannels.

2) Move your Antenna’s Placement

If the direction is not the solution it may be the actual placement of your antenna. The marketability of many current antennas is the sleek design allowing you to place it around your house without it being an eyesore. Maybe you thought it would be best to hide it behind the TV, but it would probably perform better if it was in a less blocked off area. The idea is to get it as close to the broadcast signal as possible, so if the broadcast tower is to your East the best place to likely put it would be near an external wall on the East side of your house. Or, if this still results in poor reception you can always try moving it to a higher location.

3) Reduce Interference

Moving the antenna will reduce the amount of physical interference involved, but it will not account for any sort of electronic interference. The interference can be caused by Wi-Fi routers or any other device communicating wireless. If you have devices that may be interfering, you can test if these are the problem by turning them off and checking your antenna’s reception. The best solution is to move any potentially interfering devices away from your TV and antenna as far as possible.

4) Consider Replacing your Cable

Like many products, antennas arrive in the packaging with the additional equipment needed for it to function. The cable most antennas give you is a generic one, often an RG59. This is what connects what your antenna receives to what you watch on your TV, so it is critical to have a high-quality cable. I recommend replacing the RG59 with a thicker cable, such as the RG6. It has more capability to deliver a better signal between the two devices. Learn more about the difference between the two types of cables here.

5) Amplifier

An amplifier would be the last recommendation to get better reception on your antenna. A majority of antennas have amplifiers built in to improve the signal, but if yours does not you can add a compatible one with the hopes of spreading out your reception range. Amplifiers can be hit or miss, because they not only amplify the broadcast signal from network stations but amplify other signals as well. This could add to your interference and ultimately result in just as poor of reception as you had in the first place. It is why we recommend an amplifier as a last chance option if you have tried everything else with little or no improvement.

There you have it—5 ways to get better reception for your antenna. Here’s to better free tv!

cutcable

Chris Brantner is the founder of CutCableToday.com, a resource for people who want to cut the cord and still get the TV they crave. Follow him on Twitter @CutCableToday and find him on Facebook here

May
17

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cut the Cord | Comments

Announcing the Antennas Direct Dads and Grads Giveaway

dads and grads

For many folks, especially our kiddos, this is a favorite time of year. The school year is over, summer vacations planned, a break from the homework, and for dads, a day to celebrate you for being a pretty awesome dude.

To celebrate both those special father’s and lucky graduates, we are hosting a Dads and Grads giveaway!

Our Dads and Grads giveaway will run May 17th-June 13th. Simply fill out the form HERE and you are entered to win! One entry per person, please.

Giveaway Prize:

  • 55″ LED Smart HDTV Roku TV- You want a great TV to watch all your FREE OTA and streaming shows.
  • ClearStream Eclipse antenna- Simply slap on a window or wall, plug into your TV, scan for channels and you’ll be watching glorious, crystal clear TV.

Whether you’re having a laid back, backyard BBQ to celebrate these special humans or a blown out party, you’ll be their favorite human if they unwrap these gifts. And what better way to thank your dad or husband for being a kicka** human then winning him the ultimate Father’s Day present? And same goes to you graduates. The winner of this prize pack would have the hottest pad for entertaining, hands down.

Here’s to you, dads and grads! We raise a beer to you, congratulations on raising children who don’t totally suck and managing to not sleep through all your classes. We know it was a challenge, and we applaud you!

May
11

Posted in Ask the Expert, Industry Update | Comments

ATSC 3.0- What do you need to know?

Richard White House

There’s been a lot of buzz recently around the new ATSC standard and what it will mean for you. Our talented nerd group at Antennas Direct are currently in Washington, D.C. to learn more about ATSC 3.0. To give you a quick background, a portion of the spectrum is used for wireless, so the new ATSC 3.0 standard is the biggest thing to happen since the digital transition. And that is HUGE! Moral of the story, over the air television is going to just keep getting better, and that is what we like to hear!

ATSC 3.0 better

Here are a few key points on ATSC 3.0:

  • Television broadcasters are leading the way with the new system that will merge the capabilities of OTA broadcasting with the internet.
  • Broadcasters are evolving to meet the needs of today’s viewers and advertisers. They have YOU in mind.
  • This next generation broadcast platform merges the best capabilities of over the air and broadband feeling. The result is a convergence of the most popular method of watching live events with the variety of programming available online.
  • Next generation transmission system that can deliver 4K Ultra HD images with high dynamic range plus interactive features and multichannel immersive audio.
  • ATSC 3.0 is the world’s first broadcast standard built on an internet protocol backbone. This offers the advantage of both broadcast and broadband, designed to integrate with internet delivered content, ATSC 3.0 will present viewers with more streams, more choices, more channels and more flexibility.
  • Adaptable for single frequency network transmission systems that can overcome the physical challenges to deliver TV deep inside buildings and on the go. The result is better indoor reception and wide coverage for mobile devices.

ATSC 3.0 is flexible, adaptable and focused on the future, today.

Overall, this is great news for viewers, making it easier for them to watch the live, over the air content they love, when they want it and where they want it.

Following is the full video released today to learn more about ATSC 3.0.

May
10

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

What are Digital Subchannels? Why Cord Cutters are Falling in Love with the Content they Offer

Kill the Cable bill avatar

According to conventional wisdom, television channels are organized by simple numbers; 1, 2,10, etc… But what people may not realize is there is an entire subset of television channels, bundled together, and hidden from people with cable television.

These hidden networks are called Digital Subchannels, and they’re quite possibly the coolest thing about over-the-air television.

How Subchannels Work

Back in 2010, broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, etc…) were required to switch their signal from analog to digital and the by-product of this switch was the birth of digital subchannels. Essentially, when networks send out a broadcast signal, there’s still some extra space left over on the signal.

What broadcasters will often do is add additional transmissions onto that signal, and those additional transmissions are the subchannels. Think of it like a person living alone in a six bedroom that decides to take on some roommates.

If you’re still stuck with cable, I can understand your confusion. I mean, why did nobody tell you about these mysterious hidden channels, right?

The answer is that cable companies are lazy, greedy, and do their best to hide the subchannels from you. On cable, your subchannels often appear in the upper 500 channels; which is why you probably haven’t noticed them.

Subchannels

Accessing your Local Subchannels

However, if you have an OTA antenna it is much easier to find the subchannels. Each subchannel is demarcated with a decimal point. So if there was a subchannel on, let’s say channel 2, the subchannels would be 2.1, 2.2., and so on.

If you would like to know what the subchannels in your area are, check out this state-by-state list of all the digital subchannels in the US.

At this point, you may be wondering what kind of content you can find on a subchannel. And the answer is: quite a lot. Digital subchannels are often local channels that have less strenuous programming formats.

From Doppler radar, to high school graduation, to art history; digital subchannels are pockets of niche content just waiting to be discovered. Some channels even broadcast reruns of classic television shows.

Eclipse

Getting More with your OTA Antenna

The bottom line is that with the addition of digital subchannels, purchasing an OTA antenna pretty much becomes a no-brainer.

Think about it:

For a modest investment of less than $100 you not only get access to hours of free television from the top broadcast networks but also all the weird and wonderful television programming that your local area has to offer. And the longer you have an antenna, the better that small investment becomes.

Contrast that with cable television, which almost always falls in value the longer you have it. Think about, for the first year of cable you’ll often pay lower rates of $100 or less a month. But after that first year, your rates will almost always go up; despite receiving the same amount of service you had the year before.

A good service should always give you more for less, not the other way around. Cable has always been great in theory, but when stacked up against  cable TV alternatives like OTA, it almost always falls short. So the only question that remains is why are you still paying more for less? Take that leap, cut the cord, and let’s kill the cable bill today!

Kill the cable Bill

Guest Post: Dave Kennedy is a long time cord cutter who became increasingly frustrated with the high cost of Cable TV and decided to make a stance. In 2011 he launched KilltheCableBill.com, a site dedicated to helping people save money through providing simple, cost-effective cable TV alternatives. Since then, David has helped 1,000s of people cancel their cable subscription while keeping the shows they love.

 

 

May
5

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

Mark Barros Shares His Cord Cutting Tips and How to Kick Your Cable Company to the Curb

HD Geek Review

We get it, taking the plunge and cutting the cord isn’t always an easy decision. First comes convincing your family. Then deciding what equipment you will need, what HD antenna, what streaming services, etc. And then… you dive into the deep end. You call your satellite or cable provider and give them the bad news. It’s time to end your relationship, and no, it’s not you, it’s all them. Tears might be shed, but everyone will move on, you on the better end of the deal with a boat load of money.

MArk BarrosNow comes the time to install your antenna. We have shared countless tips on how to choose the right antenna, how to find your towers, aim the antenna, and scan for channels, but it’s always nice to see a video from a real-life cord cutter who gives their tips and tricks. And that’s where Mark Barros comes into the picture. Mark cut the cord using an Antennas Direct DB4 years ago, and has never looked back. He’s our kind of guy. A cord cutting superhero.

If you’re looking for tips on how to install your outdoor antenna, look no further than this video from Mark. He talks us through how he installed his DB4 including some tricks that will make the install process even easier for you.

Now, to some key points and tips Mark shared in his video:

  • With an antenna, you will receive broadcast signals for FREE in high definition
  • Install Tip: When mounting the antenna, the higher the better to reach signals further away
  • In his location, Mark receives 35 channels, more than enough for his viewing pleasure
  • For help choosing an antenna and installation tips, call the friendly folks over at Antennas Direct

When it comes to the overall summary of Mark’s thoughts on cutting the cord and his experience as a cord cutter, he said “best of all, this solution eliminates any monthly bill I have to pay and the quality of the signal I receive is fantastic.” That sounds like a pretty happy Antennas Direct customer. We like happy customers.

We will leave you with these brilliant words from Mark himself.

“Rid yourself of the tyranny of the cable industry once and for all.”

Apr
20

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

Sling TV Introduces Multi-Stream Service Including Hit Shows and Local Sports

Sling TV

As cord cutters, we still want to enjoy our sports. And since our hometown is St. Louis, we want to enjoy the Cardinal’s game. When games are broadcast OTA, we are happy campers, and thanks to Sling TV, we are soon to be completely set!

Just last week, Sling TV announced the launch of a new beta multi-stream service that offers even more live and on-demand television including new channels from the Fox Networks Group like FOX Sports, FX, and National Geographic.  All are available on up to three devices simultaneously for $20 per month. Between ESPN, a ClearStream antenna, and Fox Sports Midwest, we are all set in St. Louis to catch the games we want to watch. Happy, happy dance!

As if that was not enough, Sling’s “Extra” packages include content from AMC, A&E, HBO, Turner, Scripps, Epix, and Univision. With the multi-stream service, your spouse could be sitting at home watching Law and Order, and you could be sitting at work enjoying the baseball game on your laptop (don’t worry, we won’t tell your boss).

Here is what you can catch with Sling TV’s Multi-Stream Service:

  • FOX Sports– included in the multi-stream package, you’ll have access to FOX broadcast, regional and national sports, whether it be baseball, football, soccer, basketball or hockey, you’ll be connected to it all.
  • FOX Regional Sports Networks– including FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports West, Fox Sports Florida, FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports Arizona, FOX Sports Cincinnati, FOX Sports Detroit, FOX Sports North, FOX Sports Prime Ticket, Fox Sports San Diego, FOX Sports Southeast, FOX Sports Southwest, FOX Sports Sun, SportsTime Ohio, and YES Network.
  • FOX Networks– FX and National Geographic are included; you can binge watch all your favorite shows.
  • Best of Live TV Favorites– like the single-stream service, the multi-stream includes nationwide availability of A&E, Adult Swim, AMC, Bloomberg, Cartoon Network, CNN, El Rey, Flama, Food Network, Galavision, HGTV, History, IFC, Lifetime, Local NOW, Maker, Newsy, Polaris+, TBS, TNT, Travel Channel, truTV, UniMas, Univision and VICELAND.
  • Extras– you can add “Extras” for even more content, including “Hollywood Extra”, “Lifestyle Extra” and “World News Extra” for $5 more per month. You can also include HBO for an additional $15 a month and Cinemax for $10 more a month. So many options!
  • Three Streams– watch Sling TV on up to three devices at the same time, in or outside of your home. It’s perfect for the whole family!

How do you get it? If you are a current subscriber to Sling TV, simply login to your account and edit your subscription type. New to Sling? No problem. Simply go HERE and sign up! It’s great to see Sling evolving and opening up more options for cord cutters. Between an antenna and streaming services like Sling, Netflix, and Hulu, you have all the content you could ever desire, and for a fraction of the cost of pay-TV. We’re big fans!

Apr
11

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cut the Cord | Comments

Can I Watch Major League Baseball with an Antenna?

glove

Its springtime, which means not only are flowers blooming, but bats are cracking, and the 2016 MLB season is underway. And for many of us, that means trying to figure out how to get as much baseball coverage as possible without signing an expensive cable contract we can’t get rid of.

Luckily, it’s 2016 and cord cutting options keep getting better and better. There are plenty of streaming services that offer MLB coverage, but the real question here is…what can we get for free with our antenna? After all, free TV is the best TV! That being said, let’s take a closer look.

What Networks Have Deals with the MLB?

As of 2016, MLB rights are shared among ESPN, TBS, and FOX network families. The bad news is that two of those are cable networks. But the good news is that assuming you have the right antenna for your location, you can get FOX for free in uncompressed HD. I’d recommend you run a report and see what channels are specifically available in your area.

What MLB Coverage is Available on FOX?

FOX coverage is split between the FOX broadcast network and FOX Sports 1, their premium cable sports network. Here’s a look at what you can get with your antenna on FOX:

  • FOX will air 12 games on Saturday afternoons throughout the season
  • The 2016 All Star Game will be on over-the-air
  • FOX gets an alternating Division Championship game each year
  • The World Series will be on live over-the-air

When Does FOX Saturday Afternoon Coverage Begin?

On May 21, FOX will begin airing 7:15 PM games. This will continue up to the All Star game on July 12. After that, coverage will pause until September 10th, where it will pick back up for two weeks. Currently, that’s as far as the schedule goes out on MLB.com.

Are There Other Ways to Watch the MLB without Cable?

As I mentioned before, there are different streaming services that offer different levels of MLB coverage. You could go with MLB.TV for example, although in-market blackouts will keep you from seeing your home team.

Other streaming services worth looking into for national broadcasts are Sling TV and PlayStation Vue (the only way to get Fox Sports 1 without cable). Both of these services offer ESPN and ESPN2 (very useful with the NFL Draft coming up as well), as well as TBS. So you’ll get most of the non-FOX national coverage through them.

What’s All This Blackout Talk?

The MLB blackout policy has been under quite a bit of fire as of late. But it still stands for cord cutters. So what exactly does it consist of? Well, if you look at the MLB’s FAQ, it’s nearly impossible to understand. But Nathaniel Grow over at The Hardball Times did a pretty good job explaining it when he said it “prevents subscribers of either the MLB.tv or MLB Extra Innings services from viewing, in real time, the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game of the week, the subscriber’s regional Fox Saturday broadcast, or – most importantly – any game involving the subscriber’s designated ‘home’ team.”

However, since that article, the MLB faced a lawsuit that caused them to change things up a bit, as noted in this USA Today article. In a nutshell, the changes no longer prohibit in-market streaming for MLB.TV… if you subscribe to your local regional sports network.

In other words, you still need cable to use the “cable-less” service. Big help.

Questions About Watching MLB without Cable?

The options aren’t perfect, but they’re getting better year over year. Have questions? Leave a comment below for answers!

cutcable

Chris Brantner is the founder of CutCableToday.com, a resource for people who want to cut the cord and still get the TV they crave. Follow him on Twitter @CutCableToday and find him on Facebook here

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