Author Topic: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve  (Read 790 times)

unix

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I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« on: October 30, 2016, 05:04:43 AM »
And I am getting 22 free HDTV channels, including "RT", PBS and the usual mix of excrement such as NBC and stuff. No Fox news unfortunately.  DC's finest.

My 46" Samsung did not have a place to plug in a coax cable, I had to buy an adapter to plug it in the coax into it and then into the HDTV unit.  If you buy an HDTV, make sure it has a coax input, not all of them do. Samsung has awesome picture quality but I am surprised they overlooked this detail, cheaper units have coax inputs without converters.  It's just a 4" piece of cable that plugs into the TV and costs $10 but still.

One Latino channel comes in fabulously in true HD and in fact looking better than cable since it is not compressed. RT is so-so.

Maha 50 Curve supposedly has 50 mile range but  you should stick it in the window, not on top of your TeeVee.   It comes with a 12' coax cable which gives you some leverage.

Best 40 bucks I ever spent, got a used one off Amazon. They do retail for 70.  I think if I put this in a strategic place I could pull even more channels.

Cable costs are going from ridiculous to absurd and in fact have been there 15 years ago. 300 channels and nothing to watch.   OTA on top of Netflix and stuff does it for me. 

« Last Edit: October 30, 2016, 06:24:19 AM by unix »
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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2016, 05:42:42 AM »
That's very cool. I lost interest in cable seeing no value in it many years ago and switched to an antenna around the time stations started switching to digital and I had to get a converter box. I had to get in the attic, drill, cut, and drop coax through the walls. Picked up stations 100 miles away, but the antenna is very directional. About a year ago I moved the TV and haven't had a chance to go to the attic again (nor do I want to, has blown fiberglass up there). But I also realized I didn't actually watch broadcast TV any more. There's a few exceptions, like the presidential debates, but those are available on live streams. Not sure if I'll get around to reattaching that antenna.

unix

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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2016, 06:25:20 AM »
Well, it is free.
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unix

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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2016, 07:37:32 AM »
I thought I was making a political statement. You know, the opposite of these bumper stickers you see "Kill your Television".

I am embracing Status Quo much like Wilson in "1984" when he admitted that 2+2 is 5 in the end.
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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2016, 07:43:34 AM »
Well, you started out describing your antenna, so I'm pivoting this as a nuts and bolts discussion. :D

I need to blog what I've done this year to cut the cord.

Our bill with TW - bundled cable internet, TV and phone (which I used for a biz line) was approaching $200/month earlier in the year.

I first moved my biz line off of TW to a smart phone so my business line could be more portable. TW then increased my monthly rate. More money for one major service removed. The phone reps were flippant assholes and told me I wasn't eligible for a bundling discount. They grudgingly knocked 20/month off.

Next I floundered for months for a cable TV and DVR replacement. I considered: a streaming TV device + MythTV, Kodi, or similar, satellite, or just using streaming services for everything. I bought this antenna, which I finally just mounted outside our house with a coax going into the basement.



The short answer on DIY DVR over the air technologies like MythTV, Kodi and the rest is: they're all abominable shit. They only run on Linux, the necessary fixes and tweaks are endless, and the software is always unstable and always crashes. The UIs are shit shit shit, developed by stupid assed Linux/Unix heads who are clueless about end user needs. The only way to get a quality DVR UI is to lease it through Time Warner, Tivo, Dish or Direct TV. And the entire point with over the air TV is that it's free and it's stupid to pay Tivo $15/mo for channel directory info that services supply for free. MythTV isn't good at all, it's poorly designed, terrible to install, hard to set up and keep running. Even elemental shit like recording a show and getting no audio happened all of the time.

For an over the air DVR solution I went with this:

https://www.amazon.com/Mediasonic-Homeworx-HW180STB-Converter-Recording/dp/B00IYETYX8/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477845359&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=mediaworx+mediasonic

Essentially, it's one of those HD to analog converters like we all received the government rebate card for in 2009. Except this thing is only $30 and it *records* to a USB memory device. A 64K memory key I bought for it causes glitches like crazy in the recording. I finally went with an old 80 GB external hard drive.

It's dirt cheap and it works and it is by far an even worse UI than MythTV or Kodi. It has some glitches. But it WORKS most of the time. Most local programs are seamless and as clear as live.

For replacing cable content, I had thought I would simply buy programs a la carte through Google Play or Amazon. A season of Walking Dead for $25 or so, etc.

Instead this recently just became available for Roku: Playstation Vue, an online streaming service that offers about 90% of the major cable networks, live as well as "cloud DVR" capability.

$35/month - COMPLETELY replaces our Time Warner DVR box and programming and fees which was $100/month.

The DVR is OK - sometimes they capture shows where the end of the show is cut off, but 90% of shows are intact. You just go into the program browser, set a show as "My Show", and when it records it, episodes start showing up in your list. And many shows are automatically streamed.

And you can watch live channels, too.  PS Vue is a complete cable replacement if you have high speed internet.

Our Time Warner bill is now just $51/month for internet only.

I'm as happy as a clam with what we're saving and we're NOT sacrificing anything.
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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2016, 07:50:10 AM »
And the insane thing about cable TV services is that basic Time Warner service in our area is only a subset of the local broadcast stations, C-SPAN, some local interest channels that are never used, and is $30/month and you still need a digital converter box at 2.50/month.

Free TV should be FREE. What I installed, for a total cost of about $180 (antenna+Winegard signal pre-amp+TV recorder) in one time costs replaces that $33/month time warner basic package. That's about as political as it gets.

My 46" Samsung did not have a place to plug in a coax cable, I had to buy an adapter to plug it in the coax into it and then into the HDTV unit.  If you buy an HDTV, make sure it has a coax input, not all of them do.

If you only have HDMI inputs and no antenna/coax input you must have a *monitor*. That's the definition of a monitor - no tuner, therefore no coax input.

I'm really curious. Do you tune this TV through its own remote or does the adapter have to be used to tune it?
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unix

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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2016, 10:57:37 AM »
It's an HDTV, about 5 years old now but top of the line when new. I use the remote control / menu option to tune it.

Samsung UN46C7100

You need this gizmo to hookup coax:

https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-BN39-01154P-Cbf-Signal-Rf-Ntsc/dp/B00AKD6QZ0

Samsung BN39-01154P Cbf Signal-Rf Ntsc

5.0 out of 5 starsWell it is original equipment after all
By G. Wilson on June 16, 2013
Verified Purchase
It does exactly what it's supposed to...connect your Cable TV or digital antenna coaxial cable to the Samsung TV. It is pricey, but if you lost the one that came with the TV, like I did, serves you right! (Btw, I found no other option, or adapter, that worked)
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5.0 out of 5 starsA samsung TV part that I couldn't find.
By Stephen R. Cooley on January 20, 2014
Verified Purchase
A part that Samsung should never had required. No other brand makes you need one and even the new Samsungs do not require it.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2016, 11:40:23 AM by unix »
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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2016, 12:07:27 PM »
Ok. How incredibly odd. I've never heard of any TV sold in the US that doesn't have basic compatibility with antenna coax.
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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2016, 12:08:30 PM »
It's really weird from a design perspective.

Though I guess they were just preceding the whole Apple thing where you need some strange adapter for the most basic function that everyone needs.

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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2016, 12:17:38 PM »
I have a Samsung 26" monitor-TV hybrid, the SyncMaster 260HD, and it has a standard coax input.

So I wonder what signal or piece of equipment that Unix's TV is natively compatible with. What's designed to go right into his TV's RF?
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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2016, 12:52:35 PM »
I'm assuming it has HDMI "nothing but digital" only, ie it's a monitor as you said. But if it has low res composite analog but no coax, I'll be mad and the lack of coax has no justification at all.

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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2016, 09:43:09 PM »
Quote
author=The Gorn link=topic=13000.msg89520#msg89520 date=1477845814

For an over the air DVR solution I went with this:

https://www.amazon.com/Mediasonic-Homeworx-HW180STB-Converter-Recording/dp/B00IYETYX8/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477845359&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=mediaworx+mediasonic

Essentially, it's one of those HD to analog converters like we all received the government rebate card for in 2009. Except this thing is only $30 and it *records* to a USB memory device. A 64K memory key I bought for it causes glitches like crazy in the recording. I finally went with an old 80 GB external hard drive.

It's dirt cheap and it works and it is by far an even worse UI than MythTV or Kodi. It has some glitches. But it WORKS most of the time. Most local programs are seamless and as clear as live.

Hey, Gorn, thanks so much for posting this! I've been looking for an OTA recording solution for a long time. Who knew I should have been looking at converter boxes instead of DVRs? Mega-thanks!

My current TV solution is -- a couple OTA tv's and netflix. I save over $1,000 a year over what cable charges around here.

I made my OTA antennas out of a piece of wood and coat hangers (see youtube for easy instructions). I also bought one called the DB2 by Antennas Direct, sold through Amazon. Excellent OTA antenna for receiving today's digital signals.

I think people are figuring out that there are many ways to stitch together a cheaper TV solution than cable or satellite packages. Unfortunately, the cable companies are strangling our internet access and shifting their profit over to that part of their oligopoly. So long as there are so few alternative ISPs good inexpensive solutions for consumer TV--ISP--telephone needs are gonna be hard to find in most areas.

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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2016, 06:48:38 AM »
Hey, Gorn, thanks so much for posting this! I've been looking for an OTA recording solution for a long time. Who knew I should have been looking at converter boxes instead of DVRs? Mega-thanks!

It fell out from Amazon when I searched for DVR.

A technologically much superior solution to over the air DVR is a device called the Tablo. It's about $200 through Amazon. It's a pure streaming device - no HDMI outputs - you must have it on your home network and use a Roku or other streaming device to view it. It supposedly has a refined UI and a fairly cheap monthly subscription for a program guide, otherwise it's close to a Tivo.

Simply put, I don't rely on over the air TV for much more than evening news, PBS shows, and cooking shows on PBS, so the Mediasonic or similar devices are a great solution for us at the moment.

The thing is actually a converter, too. It has video, left and right RCA jacks.

I saw an RCA branded converter/recorder at Walmart for about $40. These devices seem to be quite common now.

My current TV solution is -- a couple OTA tv's and netflix. I save over $1,000 a year over what cable charges around here.

Currently we have:

Netflix: $10/mo
Amazon Prime (for the shipping, too): $8/mo effectively
Playstation Vue: $35/mo for the middle channel package

I made my OTA antennas out of a piece of wood and coat hangers (see youtube for easy instructions). I also bought one called the DB2 by Antennas Direct, sold through Amazon. Excellent OTA antenna for receiving today's digital signals.

This is the Antennas Direct antenna I have the picture of mounted on a pipe outside. I've seen it for about $75 at Walmart.

https://www.amazon.com/ClearStream-Indoor-Outdoor-Antenna-Mount/dp/B007RH5GZI

It's rated for 50 miles. We live about 20 and 30 miles respectively from the two big cities with all the stations. The antenna is somewhat directional. I point it at the farther away city and the signal quality from the closer city in the opposite direction is adequate.

I had originally mounted it in the attic for testing, and then outside on the side of our garage but it was blocked by the roof from the two cardinal directions for signals, so it performed poorly in both places. It needs to be mounted outside with reasonably clear paths to the directions of the stations. Otherwise I would only get 1/2 the stations - I get about 50 channels/subchannels clearly with decent signal strengths right now.

I also bought this and it is inline with the antenna. A preamp. It makes a HUGE difference in signal quality.

https://www.amazon.com/Winegard-LNA-200-Boost-Digital-Preamplifier/dp/B00DQN3R9O/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1477928973&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=winegard+preamp

I think people are figuring out that there are many ways to stitch together a cheaper TV solution than cable or satellite packages. Unfortunately, the cable companies are strangling our internet access and shifting their profit over to that part of their oligopoly. So long as there are so few alternative ISPs good inexpensive solutions for consumer TV--ISP--telephone needs are gonna be hard to find in most areas.

Right now the backbone of streaming TV for us, too, is high speed internet. If we couldn't get 10 MB/s and up (our connection tests at 35 mbps) we'd need another solution. That part appears to be commodity priced at under $100/mo.
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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2016, 10:37:03 AM »
Gorn, the Winegard pre-amp looks great, I'm going to buy one and see if it helps me with a few of the marginal stations I get. Any maybe it will help with signal stability during bad weather, like really heavy thunderstorms. Definitely worth a try at $45.

You've done a great job pressing these issues further than I have and figuring out much more about how to do OTA best.   I owe you double thanks!

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Re: I finally got an over the air antenna - Mahu 50 curve
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2016, 10:59:56 AM »
You're welcome and I should bundle it all up in a blog posting.

The bottom line is that few do it yourself over the air TV DVR technologies are worth the trouble and expense. I sought to minimize up front expense and maximize effectiveness. My current stance is that over the air TV is just not worth a huge investment in hardware or software effort or expense.

MythTV is a boondoggle. It's not worth the huge effort to get it working smoothly or at all. It can't decode cable TV even with a cable card subscription because the cable card won't feed it. To decode and record cable TV you either need Windows Media Player on a Windows PC or you need a Playstation 4.

One other thing. Playstation Vue and Sling TV are the two major streaming cable TV replacements. I got a deal of 3 months of Sling earlier in the year (they offered a Roku 3 free as part of the promotion.) Sling doesn't have recording, pausing live TV or much on-demand programming. Vue is the clear choice here.

And I didn't mention whether Hulu has any value. I think Hulu would be good if you didn't have a good antenna setup - it carries local TV networks. I believe Hulu is currently running a $6/mo promotion.
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