Do You Need a VHF Antenna?

I’ve been in Las Vegas this week for the Amazon re:Invent conference. While there are enough sessions, receptions, and parties to keep you occupied day and night, I just couldn’t pass up a chance to check out the Las Vegas OTA airwaves. The Vdara staff was a bit mystified by my request for the highest south-facing room I could get, but very accommodating. So here I am on the 49th floor with good line-of-sight to the major towers (and a view of the desert instead of the Bellagio fountains, which apparently most people ask for.)

I had packed up a full Entangle development setup, including my trusty Silver Sensor antenna (aka the Zenith ZHDTV1). What I failed to do while busily packing was to check the RF frequencies of the Las Vegas broadcasts. As it turns out there are a few major channels in the VHF bands, including one on channel 2. Sadly the Silver Sensor is a UHF-only antenna.

This brings up an interesting point regarding the current state of OTA antennas: many of them, particularly the compact ones, are UHF-only. Even the ones that claim to be both UHF and VHF don’t handle VHF very well. At best they’ll pull in VHF-Hi. But can you make do with a UHF-only setup?

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Using SSDs in DVRs

Every so often someone asks if I’d use an SSD to store recordings in a DVR. Just a few years ago, I would have quickly replied “No.”  SSD endurance just wasn’t up the demands of recording TV broadcasts.

But the last few years have seen some advances in the durability of SSDs. Now rather than “No”, the answer is “It depends…”

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Just What Is High Definition?

I recently read a newsgroup thread that started with someone asking just what high definition was. The thread wound in some surprising ways, with individuals asserting, among other things, that anything 16:9 was high definition and that 480i digital content was high definition (while presumably 480i analog was not). I suspect most of you wouldn’t agree. After all, we all know 720p and 1080i are HD while anything less is SD, right? Well things aren’t quite so clear cut.

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