Cutting the Cord, Part IV: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

We set up and tested our antenna today. On the roof (with Joe holding it at the peak and pointing it roughly toward Philly ... it turns out we don't own a compass), we received all the stations we could expect to.

However, we're hoping for an attic-mount situation. We have a lot of trees and don't fancy the fall leaf drop tangling around our antenna, or the antenna getting smacked regularly by falling twigs and branches. So, we moved the antenna to our bedroom (right below the attic but WAAAAY easier to get to) and scanned for channels again. Fewer and with significantly lower quality.

We've decided to give the poor struggling antenna some help. We've just ordered a pre-amplifier and a tuner. Some additional amplification should help out a lot, as should tuning the signal close to the antenna, rather than running the signal through (literally) fifty feet of coax before it's tuned at the DVR-PC.

Lots of high hopes and optimism tempered with some disappointment that it didn't work out just the way we wanted to as-is. Depending on shipping speeds, we should be ready to test things again this weekend.

Total Cutting the Cord Expenses to Date: $62 for the new remote, and $30 for the USB tuner stick. $0 for trial memberships for Hulu-plus and Playon. The antenna cost $119.99. Add another $133.66 to the bill for the pre-amp and tuner. Total out-of-pocket expenses thus far:$345.65. Roughly 4 months without Comcast to recoup that.


1 comment:

Kristin said...

I don't think the pre-amplifier will help you much beyond what moving the tuner next to the antenna will do. Consider that there is a certain amount of energy at the input of the antenna, for the tuner to work this energy needs to be sufficiently above the noise level of the tuner (signal-to-noise ratio or SNR). Much of the noise comes from the antenna picking up the cosmic background, thermal noise on the antenna and other interference. All of which are amplified right along with the desired signal by the pre-amp. So putting the tuner at the back of the preamp means the SNR hasn't changed (this assumes that the tuner is reasonably well made and is not a significant noise source itself).
So the pre-amp really only helps compensate for the long cable run (that reduces everything relative to its level at the antenna). If you're going to eliminate the cable run by moving the tuner to the antenna... well, you're about as good as you can get.

I suppose you can always send the preamp back if it doesn't help.