I get my broadcast TV for free over the air*. Last year, I was an early adopter of the new digital television broadcast standard and purchased a DTV decoder with the help of my $40 government-issued coupon. Although I later regretted not being in the second wave of adopters due to the refinements in later versions of the DTV decoders, my actions now look prescient, since as of Jan 9, 2009, the coupons are all gone.
DTV reception with the old UHF antenna on my roof has not been without its issues. The antenna required reorientation to avoid massive dropouts and pixelation. Pixelation is still an occasional issue, usually at the most inconvenient time. The inconvenience of having another box on top of my TV has been an irritant too: There's the additional complexity of another source of audio and video (component and S-video) that has resulted in some non-optimum setups. For instance: so far I haven't been able to take advantage of my DTV's S-Video output and while I can pipe my DVD audio through my stereo, I can't listen to the DTV audio through the stereo.
Some tips found on the web:
Most people don’t realize that the new signals are being broadcast on the UHF band and the VHF antennas that they buy from Lowes won’t do your HD tv justice. The UHF antennas have a smaller footprint and work amazingly well.
Here’s a good site for UHF antennas: http://preview.tinyurl.com/uhf-antennas
Check out http://antennaweb.org for proper antenna placement.
Using antennaweb.org, I was able to determine that I should get best reception pointing my antenna at 22 degrees from magnetic north. I assume this is towards Mt. Wilson. I don't know how my antenna is currently pointed, but surely this is one thing to check first.
*If I had cable, I would spend an hour flipping channels looking for the one good program on my 500 channels. I get no more TV than I need or can handle when I use over the air (OTA) reception, plus it costs nothing.