Posts Tagged ‘tv’

Antenna TV Research 2018

Friday, June 8th, 2018

I created the Platteville HDTV Antenna and Streaming page to be dedicated to both streaming tv and local antenna tv solutions. For Platteville WI area residents, you can replace costly CenturyLink/DirectTV/Dish with a lighter package of live streaming cable channels and Madison broadcast channels.

CenturyLink no longer allows Platteville residents to sign up for PrismTV. Pushing new customers to DirectTV. CenturyLink will sell DirectTV to you as a “bundle discount”, but it is actually the same price as unbundled if you were to purchase seperate. The cheapest plan from DirectTV costs $70, on top of what you already pay to CenturyLink for internet. New subscribers to DirectTV are signed up at a 50% discount for the first 12 months, afterwhich your bills double and they equipment rental fee you to death. When I cancelled DirectTV after the third year, my bill was around $160 per month. That is a LOT to pay for local TV channels and a few dozen cable channels!!

What is the better way?

For just internet, CenturyLink’s cheapest plan without discounts is $45 for 25Mbps internet. Streaming TV needs at least 5Mbps for HD video and 8Mbps for super HD video. CenturyLink maintains a minimum goal of 80% of the promised speed. Meaning, at worst you should never drop below 20Mpbs. This is plenty for a 2-3 person home. If you do drop below 80%, call CenturyLink and complain that they fix it.

There are many streaming services to choose from. here are a few that I have researched.
– YouTube TV ($40 and includes local ABC,CBS,FOX,NBC Madison channels)
– Hulu TV ($40 and includes local ABC,CBS,FOX,NBC Madison channels)
– Sling Orange or Blue ($20 and includes local FOX,NBC Madison channels)
– DirectTV Now ($35 and no local channels)

The YouTubeTV and HuluTV services both include all the major local Madison channels. No antenna required. If you do not have a recent smart tv with a Hulu or YoutubeTV app built in, you will need to purchase a streaming device for your tv. There are three big streaming platforms FireTV, Roku, and Apple. Between YouTubeTV and HuluTV, I find that the Hulu FireTV app is much faster to navigate than the Roku Youtube app. The FireTV YouTube app can only be installed by sideloading using an unofficial app.

Best streaming stick for Hulu:

Total monthly costs so far are $45 for internet and $40 for online live streaming. Not including any additional streaming packages that you may want, such as Netflix.

What about cheaper?

Cable companies have pushed hard the last 30 years, convincing multiple generations that TV isn’t free. I am always surprised at how many people I talk to do not know this.
Your local TV channels are free, you don’t have to pay for them! It is not a scam or illegal pirating. Your local stations are wirelessly broadcast to your home. All you need is the correct antenna to pick them up.

The Madison market has around 26 channels that reach Platteville, plus 1 Dubuque channel. Here is an up to date list.

3.1 CBS, , 3.2 MyN, 3.3 ION, 15.1 NBC, 15.2 CW, 15.3 Antenna TV, 15.4 Weather, 21.1 PBS, 21.2 Wisconsin, 21.3 Create, 21.4 PBS Kids, 27.1 ABC, 27.2 Me-TV, 27.3 Decades, 40.1 Christian, 47.1 FOX, 47.2 Comet, 47.3 Charge, 47.4 TBD, 57.1 Independent, 57.2 Movies!, 57.3 H&I, 57.4 Stadium, 57.5 QVC, 57.6 Laff, 57.7 Escape, 57.8 Grit

Sound good? Well, not so fast. You live in the Platteville area. The wireless broadcasts from Madison are weakened by the area hills. In order to receive them, you will need an outdoor antenna. Depending on your location and elevation, you may also need the antenna roof mounted.

You will read online that there is no “best” antenna and you need to do research to choose an antenna that will work for you. If you live in the Platteville area, I have already done that for you. Pick any of my recommendations, properly mounted and aimed, and you should see some level of success.

Click here for a one page handout I wrote, listing Do it Yourself HDTV Antennas that WORK in Platteville

OTA Antenna FAQs

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Here are some Frequently asked questions I get about TV Antennas in my town:

  • What is the best antenna?
  • Can I go bigger?
  • Can I pick up channels from both Madison and Cedar Rapids?

What is the best antenna?

The best antenna is the one that fits your budget. Here is my handout I give folks who ask. I have it broken into three budgets. < $50 / $120 / $200

Can I go bigger?

Short answer, no. Long answer, it depends but probably is not worth it. You can explore this page which describes running multiple DB8 antennas. Midway down the page you will find “Why this 16-bay antenna might not work”. Take a read through.

Can I pick up channels from both Madison and Cedar Rapids?

Again, short answer no. Long answer, maybe. Antennas like the DB8e have multiple elements that can be pointed in different directions. Aside from halving your antennas efficiency by splitting it in two, the next problem is that some of the signal picked up by Side A is then radiated out of Side B. This results in your received signal dropping by more than 50% !
If you are thinking about adding a second antenna to overcome these losses, see above “Can I go bigger?”

OTA Channel List – Aug 2017

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

I did a scan tonight and found FIVE new channels I wasn’t aware of. If you have an antenna, do a channel scan on your tv to find the new channels. ION, 24/7 PBS Kids, TBD TV, American Sports Network, and QVC.

Here is an updated list of stations from Madison that we can receive in Platteville~! All primary channels are broadcast in 1080i or 720p HD, with the exception of CW, all subchannels are 480i.

3.1 CBS
3.2 MyN
3.3 ION
15.1 NBC
15.2 CW
15.3 Antenna TV
15.4 Weather
21.1 PBS
21.2 Wisconsin
21.3 Create
21.4 PBS Kids
27.1 ABC
27.2 Me-TV
27.3 Decades
40.1 Christian
47.1 FOX
47.2 Comet
47.3 Charge
47.4 TBD
57.1 Independent
57.2 Movies!
57.3 H&I
57.4 ASN
57.5 QVC

Amazon Fire TV or Roku TV?

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

I think the Amazon Fire TV will replace my current recommendation for the Roku TV as my favorite “Over The Air” receiver. Just like the Roku TV, the Fire TV will have the ability to pause and rewind live TV.

However, Fire TV adds the ability to pull up a TV Guide. A feature I sorely miss from my cable days and I supplement with a TV Guide app on my phone.

You can checkout the features here:
Fire 55 inch TV:
Roku 55 inch TV:

Cord Cutters and Data Caps

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

As people stream more video you may run into Data Caps. The average Platteville resident with CenturyLink internet has a 250GB Data Cap. Note: There are no Data Caps for the 1Gbs service.

Some rough numbers from Netflix and SlingTV put HD streaming at 750MB/hour and SD streaming at about 400MB/hour. If you only watch HD streams, you would hit 80% of your 300GB monthly data cap after 63 hours/week. Not too shabby.

What about UHD 4K streams? Netflix estimates those at 4-8GB/hour. If you only watch 4K streams, you would hit 80% of your 300GB monthly data cap after a mere 5-12 hours/week. Yikes !

OTA: Metal Monster

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

91XG Unidirectional Ultra Long Range DTV Antenna


Have you seen antennas that look like this around Platteville? You will usually see them on 30 foot towers. This is a long range UHF and VHF combination antenna.

Those antennas are expensive to have installed (the tower is the bulk of the cost). The height rule for VHF reception is 8 feet above your neighbor’s home OR 32 feet above ground. Meaning that a tower is normally required to get the needed clearance.

But did you know that Platteville receives no VHF channels?? All that height is overkill for the shorter waveform UHF reception.

For reception of Madison TV channels in Platteville, you need a good UHF only antenna. Do not worry about VHF reception at all. UHF antennas are small and do not need much of a clearing to aim into. A few hundred feet of clearing is fine. For height, 3 feet is best but will work with as little as 2 feet above your neighbor’s roof. UHF antennas can function when mounted 3 feet from ground~!!

Mount where it makes sense for your home. The link below is for good quality UHF only antennas.