View Full Version : Digital vs. analog broadcasts

01-17-2008, 03:49 PM
We do not have satellite service. At home we have cable and when we travel we get cable hookups at some RV parks. Other times we just pick up local broadcast with roof antena. With the change coming next year going away from analog to digital I know that at home we will be ok because we will get service on cable but wonder about using the roof antena for local service. Anyone have the answer? :confused:

aquiring signal
01-17-2008, 04:29 PM
We pulled in to an RV park this week that has no cable TV. We have DirecTV, but since we arrived at night, I didn't want to set up the dish & tripod right away so I cranked up the antenna.

I was knocked out by the picture quality. The local channels were being broadcast in both analog & HD and WOW, the picture was AWESOME. I'd say you have nothing to worry about if you have a modern TV in your coach.

01-17-2008, 04:32 PM
The antenna will be ok but it depends if your televisions are digital or not. In my 2007 3055 my television in the living room is digital but the television in the bedroom is not and will need a converter to work.

01-18-2008, 11:11 AM
We travelled this summer and stopped several times and I didn't even bother putting the arial up and we got great reception. We were pretty close to major centers but still were impressed.../Doug

01-18-2008, 11:23 AM
It's not the antenna ... it's the TV receiver that will be the issue. If you have an older TV, it's an analog receiver. The converter box mentioned above "massages" the digital signal back to analog so the old TV will work. High Definition is different. The newer antennas from the factory will receive HD signals, so if your TV is HD "ready" (as opposed to capable), you'll be in business. Older trailers will likely need an upgraded antenna to receive local over-the-air HD signals.

01-18-2008, 04:13 PM
... Older trailers will likely need an upgraded antenna to receive local over-the-air HD signals...

Stevie, what is "older"? Or, in my case, will my 2006 produced in July/August of 2005 receive digital signals?

01-18-2008, 07:23 PM
You should be okay. Check the owner's manual to be sure if you can.

01-18-2008, 10:07 PM
Folks, any antenna that will receive the uhf bandwidth will receive HD signals successfully. This includes most any antenna that was made in the last 30 years. We have a 2006 Bighorn and it gets HD just fine. As long as the TV you get has an HD tuner, it will work in any 5vr that Heartland makes.:)

01-18-2008, 10:18 PM
StevieWonder: I have to disagree with your statement about needing a newer antenna. HDTV Signals are sent over existing UHF/VHF frequencies. So, any UHF/VHF Antenna will pick up HDTV signals just as well as Analog Signals.

The difference is this: HDTV is an actual MPEG-2 Encoded digital video stream being spurted out onto a radio frequency. The receiver in your TV, TiVo, PC HDTV Tuner, HDTV converter receives this signal in a 100% digial form. This digital signal is far superior to analog because even if you have a marginal signal, as long as the signal stays constant you will have AMAZING picture. There is no such thing as snow on HDTV like on Analog channels that are broadcast. There is digital fade. If the marginal signal is intermittent ( due to obstruction, antenna movement, etc ) then you can experience what looks like a bunch of square blocks on the screen that don't match what should be going on on the program your watching.

With HDTV over the air signals, you will see NO DIFFERENCE when compared to Cable/Satellite HDTV signals... Except that it's 100% FREE! (If you have the hardware that is.. )

One thing to realize though when watching HDTV Over the Air (OTA) signals. Most of the local TV Broadcasters are VERY new to HDTV. You will notice hiccups from time to time depending on the local broadcaster while they 'fine tune' their systems. These hiccups could look like digital fade as described above, audio drop out while the video continues on fine, or the signal returning to an SDTV format (letterboxed) for a period of time.

Also, not all content provided by local HDTV broadcasters was originally recorded for HD broadcast and even though you're tuning to an HDTV signal and getting great reception, the show you're watching will appear with side letter boxing.

If anyone has any more questions, please ask away!

**Edit: A great web site to see what HDTV channels are available in your area is http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/Address.aspx ... I've punched in my address many times on that site without getting any additional junk mail. Just make sure to uncheck BOTH of the 'You may send me...' boxes before hitting submit. Also, keep in mind that even though the channel you're used to watching may be in the UHF range ( Channels 14->69 ).. The FCC may have assigned them VHF spectrum for their HDTV signal. The antennaweb.org site will help point that out as well.

01-18-2008, 10:49 PM
My understanding was that some of the older antennas have issues that restrict/limit their UHF reception. These would have been a decade old (?).

01-20-2008, 02:36 PM
Thanks everyone for your answers.

Also, LK, great link. I've bookmarked it for future reference. Looks like a great website to aid in finding TV stations when camping in new locations.

Now, if I could only afford one of those new flat screen gems. In the 2006 models, we got the huge CRT models that weigh a ton.

01-20-2008, 09:05 PM
My understanding was that some of the older antennas have issues that restrict/limit their UHF reception. These would have been a decade old (?).

Most antennas are actually only rated for one or the other.. VHF or UHF. Most will pick up some of the other, but not great.


01-01-2009, 12:21 AM
What affect does the booster/spliter have on the digital signal? I have not been able to pick up a digital/HD signal from my antenna. I have a hdtv in a '09 Big Horn. I found that the booster/splitter would not allow a digital signal from my satelite through the cable connection on the outside of my previous trailer. I must be doing something wrong from what I am reading.

01-01-2009, 10:13 AM
To use the Over the Air antenna you need to have the booster on. It does not cause a problem with the signal to my TV. If the booster is on you can not see cable or Sat signals.

The Website antennaweb.org is good, however I entered the address of our present location it indicates there are no Digital or HD channels. However, I can receive digital and HD where we are now located. The website is good to help point your antenna but there could be digital or HD signal.

I entered a generic address not to far from where we are staying and it gave me digital channels.

Another interesting thing about the new TV's is that some use the period or dash to separate the channel numbers. 8.1 or 8-1 are the same channel, depending on your TV. I find for my viewing I am happy with most digital channels. HD is great but if it is not available the HD signals are great.

I have heard, not sure if true, but when they go to the full blown Digital & HD they will transmit a strong signal. My problem with the Over the Air signal is that where we stay a lot the signal is not strong enough to keep a good picture.

01-01-2009, 07:43 PM
Thanks TXBobcat, I will try it with the booster on next week. My camper is at my farm about 90 miles away. I can recieve over the air HD on my house sets and get 2 extra channels on some stations (3-1,3-2 ect). The signals are much stronger than the anolog channels. I just need to figure what I am doing wrong in the RV. The web site shows many HD air channels in our area so I will try the booster as you suggested.