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Old 03-21-2008, 01:51 PM   #1
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Indy-Jim
Digital TV Planning for your TT

For all Sunline Owners (and others as well):

For those TT owners that depend on television reception during their camping experiences, there is a new challange heading our way. Effective Feb. 17, 2009, by law all television transmission must be transitioned to digital signal transmission, thereby resulting in an end of the present analog signal transmission that has been used since television began. This is going to challange a lot of campers that depend on television for whatever reason. In general, and assuming that you do not have a "digital ready" TV set, and you only use a television set in one location (living area or bedroom), this will require the addition of a TV Digital Converter, which will receive the signal from the antenna (with the antenna amplifier turned on) and convert it to digital format and then to your analog TV set either with the RF cable or component hookups. The digital converter will then become your "tuner" with your TV tuned to channel 3 or 4 (if using RF hookup).

Where it becomes more sticky: if you have any other electronics connected within the loop of your TV system, such as a VHS recorder, then the Digital Converter would be connected to the VHS recorder first and then to the TV set. However, if you depend on the VHS recorder to record at given time, the Digital Converter will have to be set to that respective channel prior to the recording time. Meaning that if you are going to be going hiking, etc., set the Digital Converter to the channel you want to record and leave it on while you are gone (with the VHS recorder set to the proper recording time).

Antenna - Now the question comes like "Is my batwing antenna going to work OK with Digital Transmission signals?" I can tell you this - I connected a Digital Converter to a set of rabbit ears (in my garage) and I received strong signals that I had received only marginally previously. You will also discover that some of your favorite TV channels now have sub-channels that provide additional programming (like channel 6, 6.1, channel 8, 8.1, 8.2, etc.), with exceptional reception. As soon as I can, I will repeat this test in my TT to see how the batwing antenna works. At this point, I feel that reception may not be a problem.

Modifications - When we purchased our TT, (the T2363) I modified the antenna output configuration so I could feed off the antenna into a VCR and watch either on-air transmissions or VHS tapes (or DVD's) in either the living area or bedroom without having to move equipment around each time. Now that I have to insert a TV Digital Converter into the equation, I've got a lot of studying to do. Signal spliters and other devices may provide the answer, however, they can present problems as well.

I've given just a quick assesment of what this new feature may entail and will be working this out as we approach the camping season (got almost a year to get it done ) but it is something to start considering in your spare time. Any suggestions and ideas for mods will be welcome for assessment. It will be interesting to hear how others approach this challange.

Note: Go to Gov. website to sign up for two $40 coupons for purchase of 2 TV Digital Converters ($40 off each one, basic model only) and a listing where they can be purchased. Limit two coupons per household. I don't remember the date, however, this offer does expire so do it soon. There are more expensive TV Digital Converters available that provide more features that may provide needed capabilities. The coupons cannot be used on the more expensive units.

Another Note: When you run out to purchase a new television or recording device that is digital capable, make sure that in fact does meet the digital requirement (Must have a "NTSC" tuner). There are still analog TV's on the market so don't waste money on those.

Sorry for the lengthy verbage, however, there is much to consider on this topic.

Jim
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Old 03-21-2008, 06:29 PM   #2
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I got a digital ready tv for christmas and this past week I set it up in the camper and got GREAT digital reception out of the OLD OLD OLD antenna, so I see no reason that the more modern batwing antennas would not work.

Tough to see but this is MY antenna:
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Old 03-22-2008, 09:14 AM   #3
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Hi GhettoMedic -
Glad to hear that you received good signal levels. It does appear however, that you have a "Yaggi" type antenna on top of your TT (somewhat difficult to make out in the picture) that is of a high gain type of antenna capable of receiving signals from transmitters located 50-75 miles from their origin. That is no match for the batwing type TT antennas as the yaggi antenna will outperform the batwing type by a very large margin. It is a good way to go however if one can rig up that type of hookup. Go for it.
I do believe that the TT batwing type antenna will do a reasonable job of receiving the digital signals, just not at the distance that the yaggi would do. I would be interested in knowing how far you are from your TV station transmission towers. Thanks for you input.
Jim
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Old 03-22-2008, 03:47 PM   #4
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Interesting,..... Here I was thinking my 1981 expanding aluminum antenna was old and outdated compared to modern technology. Cool sometimes old is good. By the way I was receiving crystal clear digital signals from about 40 miles away (direct line, not actual driving distance) even with the amplifier turned off. Thanks for that info because I was toying with the idea of replacing it with a new modern style. But if your info is correct than I'll keep it.
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Old 03-23-2008, 01:29 PM   #5
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GhettoMedic -
It would be interesting if you were able at some point to compare your reception with a neighbor camper at your location that has a digital TV and using the batwing type antenna to see how they compare with your setup.
Jim
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Old 03-23-2008, 06:42 PM   #6
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Jim

You seem to be into this and I have not ventured into this area, yet. So here is a question.

On my camper, I have a digital TV now. Or at least it says Digital on the front of it. And it is using one of the Wineguard amplified Batwing antennas.

Question: How do I know if this TV and antenna are actually working on digital or analog?

This TV came with the camper and I have no book on it. Will have to web search for one. It also has a goofy auto tune channel finder. Which if I'm at a campsite and I have no clue what the actual broadcasting channel is, it can skip right past it on the auto tune settings and I end up with 1 channel working, sometimes none. I have to do this auto tune about 3 to 4 times as I move the antenna about 30 degrees and try again.

In the old days before the auto tune channel preset features, when you would get a fraction of an image, you could rotate the antenna and then tune it in.

Now it is like I either get a perfect picture or none.

At home this things work great. But in a campsite where I do not know the area channels, it’s sometimes hopeless.

Any ideas? Even wild ones…??

Thanks

John
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB
Question: How do I know if this TV and antenna are actually working on digital or analog?

Any ideas? Even wild ones…??
John,

Does your TV menu have a Channel Set-up selection?
And does it provide the options to auto set-up for TV/DTV or CATV?
If you use auto set-up TV/DTV your TV should also tune in the digital sub-channels.

Also, if your TV has a remote with an Input button, try pressing the Input button, some TVs allow you to switch between Analog and Digital using the Input button.
Sometimes the "Display" button will also give you an indication if you're receiving in Digital or Analog. Additional information, such as signal type, may be displayed if you’re in digital mode.

What type of TV is it? Have you tried to find a manual for it on-line?

Wrt the Wineguard Batwing antennas, I remember reading somewhere that if the wings are painted - it's compatible to receive digital signals. If they're not painted, the antenna is not compatible for digital reception. I've been searching to see if I can find where I read that information to confirm it, but no luck so far. I beleive it was info provided by Wineguard.

Hope this helps a little.
Hutch
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:45 AM   #8
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My tv's at home have digital receivers and there are several more (sub) channels with the local broadcasters as stated above so there may be more choices camping if within range of tv. For us dry campers, are there any 12v converters? If so, it's another draw on the battery. I guess I'll just turn the tv off and sit by the fire.

Here's a little tip. We don't watch much tv camping but sometimes watch a movie at night on the DVD player. We watch for interesting titles, old movies, old tv shows, etc on $1.00 DVD's at the Dollar Store and Wally World. They're all entertaining. If enough people did this, we could have swaps at the campsites for variety. Some of those old 50's sci fi's are a riot!

happy camping
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:31 AM   #9
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John-
Looks like you have some experience with the digital world already. Like you stated, you either have a picture or you don't. That is pretty much what it is like with DTV (digital televion). You will have an excellent picture with no ghosting, smear or other interference. If you have a marginal signal, you may see your picture breaking up into little squares (like a bad satilite signal) or the picture drops out entirely. When the signal drops out, you may get a visual message stating "no signal" or other similar indication. As Hutch mentioned, try punching in a sub-channel number (eg. 6.1, 6.2) and see if you receive a channel. That will tell you if you are receiving a digital channel if a sub channel appears. Also, the channel search should select them if sufficient signal level is present. I believe that most quality TV sets being marketed today have both the digital tuner and analog tuner installed and will automatically select the received type signal.

The TV industry has been making this transition during the last several years, and during this ongoing evolution, TV set capatilities will vary greatly as time goes on. There will be sets out there that will do this and that, and those that will do this but not that and so on. So if you are in the market for a new tv, be sure that it is of the current design.

Also, I did see an article somewhere regarding the antennas, I think it was in one of the trailer magazines, that stated that the painted antennas were needed for digital TV. I would question that as being a marketing tool to sell antennas. I would have to see factual evidence of that.

Keep the ideas and questions coming as this is interesting. We are all going to learn something here.

By the way John, what brand of TV do you have? And as Hutch said, go online to the tv manufacture and see if they have an online manual for your tv model. If so, the specs should state if it has a ATSC tuner (digital). The manuals are usually in PDF format so you can print them out.

Jim
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Old 03-24-2008, 01:28 PM   #10
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More on the Digital TV puzzzle

Another Hint -
If and when you are in the market for a new TV, I would recommend that you search the big box store websites and search through their inventory of TV sets. When you find sets that may meet your needs, check the specific set specifications to see that it meets the physical and screen dimensional sizes that meets your needs. Then check the buyers reviews to determine the customer satisfaction level of that set. I have seen many customer reviews that did not recommend the set for one reason or other. So far, the stores are not editing out negative reviews. Also, the old adage that states you get what you pay for applies as well.
Jim
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Old 03-24-2008, 02:16 PM   #11
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Do any of you have recommendations for specific brands of TV Digital Converters or where to purchase them at a good price? Like anything else that hasn't reached the saturation point, the prices will probably be grossly higher than they should be.
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Old 03-24-2008, 03:20 PM   #12
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You can buy an LCD/HDTV at Walmart for under $300. We use ours once in awhile when camping, and even with the batwing antenna the picture is as good as cable. With the push of a button, it will search for analog, digital, or all channels that are getting a signal. And with digital I haven't found the need to turn the antenna. Either you get the station or you don't.
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Old 03-24-2008, 05:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al in PA
Do any of you have recommendations for specific brands of TV Digital Converters or where to purchase them at a good price?
Al,

We went the TV route instead of a converter figuring we can use the TV in the house during the winter.
We bought a 20" SDTV at Wal-Mart. Went with the SDTV instead of an HDTV because of price and for the trailer we really don't need the HDTV.

Here an earlier post that also talks about TVs.

Hope this helps
Hutch
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:43 PM   #14
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Hutch and Jim

Well you pointed me a looking and I found an on line manual.

TV is a RCA BD20TF10

And here is the 104 page manual....http://157.254.235.130/public/15694480.pdf it's 21 meg so be for warned in case you hit that link

I have been reading and reading, but the manual does not say a whole lot on Digital. Yet it does say Digital on the front of the TV.

Here on page 22 of this catalog, it shows the BD20TF10, flat screen, DVD combo TV. http://157.254.235.130/public/RCA2001Catalog.pdf It's only a 5 meg catalog. Mine had a date of July 2003 for the year of manf on the back of it. However that model does not have a digital comb filter, if that means anything.

I'm still readiing..... maybe now I can figure out this remote....

I'll be back to this with more questions trying to figure out analog/digitial or what ever I have. I'm still not exaclty clear on what I have.

Thanks

John
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