I get 36 digital channels from my rooftop outdoor Winegard hd7697p with a Channel Master 7778 pre-amp. Like it or not, size counts with antennas. The radio waves travelling through the air have different wave lengths. If you want an antenna that provides real gain (not just electrically amplified gain) then your antenna will have to be cut to the right length -- as my antenna has been. An antenna that has real gain is the only kind of antenna that can pull a weak TV station out of the noise -- the electrical amplifier can then give those weak channels the boost they need to travel through the rg6 coax and through your splitters without being subject to further losses in the lines. An amplifier can only amplify the signals that the antenna picks up. A small antenna is not cut to the right length to be efficient. It just picks up whatever it picks up. The only way to build an efficient antenna with real gain is by cutting the elements and directors to the correct length and by spacing them out properly. It's physics - there's not way around it. Small antennas compromise perfomance for looks and ease-of-use -- and that isn't a bad thing. If it happens to work, then that's great.
I get from East York:
2.2 Universal Sports Network
2.3 Retro TV -- old TV shows
17.2 PBS SD
17.3 PBS Think Bright -- Also shows PBS World content - It's like getting a second PBS channel.
26.1 TCT1 SD - These are religious channels
26.2 TCT2 HD
26.3 TCT Kids - This channel shows some old sitcoms and Bonanza late at night.
26.4 La Fuente - Spanish religious
29.2 The Country Network - Music videos all the time
47.1 Omni 1
49.1 MyTV Buffalo
49.2 The Cool TV - Pop/Rock/Hip-Hop/Retro music videos all the time.
51.1 ION -- Lots of recent dramas in syndication (Without a Trace, Ghost Whisperer, Criminal Minds, etc)
51.2 qubo - 24/7 children's cartoons
51.3 ION Life - similar to HDTV/Slice
66.1 Sun News Network
67.1 WBBZ - has NY Yankees games
67.2 ThisTV - old movies - generally pretty good movies.
67.3 MeTV - old sitcoms mostly such as Happy Days, Mary Tyler-More, etc., some old dramas such as Dragnet.
67.4 Daystar - religious
69.1 Omni 2
There is still one analog channel. rf15 Star Ray from Toronto, Main & Gerrard. It is low power so it is hard to get. I get it because I'm nearby the transmitter.
My antenna is aimed at the hardest-to-get station WBBZ from Buffalo broadcasting on rf7 (virtual 67.1, 2, 3, 4). Because of my fixed aim, CHCH and CTS are finicky for me. CTV2 from Barrie on rf10 (virtual 3.1) is also there for the taking with my antenna, but Barrie is north. To lock-in to all of these channels, I'd need to add a rotor, which I plan to do.
Those Nippon antennas are nice and compact but they are suburban antennas designed to work well with relatively strong signals. They look good and they are small. If these are considerations, then the Nippon antennas are with considering. We are lucky in Toronto because the strongest signals coming from Buffalo happen to be the main networks that everyone generally knows about and wants. The channels that a Nippon antenna is likely to have trouble with are ones that you might not care that much about. So if you go with a Nippon antenna, you'll likely be happy with your results, but you can't expect to get year round reception on all of the channels that are available to you with a larger antenna.
If you need an antenna with real gain (not amplified gain through electricity), then you need a larger antenna. If you're lucky enough to have a tower in your yard, you should definitely get an antenna like mine.
Note also that the Nippon antennas appear to be UHF-only antennas. In Toronto we have TV stations that broadcast on the UHF band, but also on the VHF band. The Toronto -area VHF stations are CFTO CTV Toronto on channel 9, CHCH Hamilton on channel 11, CKVR CTV2 Barrie on channel 10, and WBBZ Buffalo on channel 7. It appears that CFTO's signal from the CN Tower might be strong enough that even UHF-only antennas within a reasonable distance will work in spite of themselves. But if you're in Toronto, don't expect to have a chance to pick-up WBBZ, CHCH, or CKVR with a UHF antenna.
VHF-Low Band = Channels 2 to 6
FM Radio Band = Between Channels 6 and 7
VHF-High Band = Channel 7 to 13
UHF Band = Channels 14 to 51
As of September 1, TV stations can appear anywhere between channels 2 through 51. In the GTA, there happens to be stations only ranging from channels 7 through 51. So if you want the best antenna setup then you need a combo VHF-high / UHF antenna or two separate antennas - one UHF and one high-VHF joined together by either an amplifier or a UVSJ (UHF/VHF Splitter/Joiner). If you don't care about CHCH, CKVR, and WBBZ, then you might be able to get away with a UHF-only antenna but you risk not picking up CFTO CTV Toronto on Channel 9. An advantage for consumers of UHF is that the wavelengths are quite narrow so UHF antennas can be smaller than VHF antennas.
Best of luck and enjoy the free HDTV that is yours if you want it!
PS: The only TV station in the GTA over channel 51 is Sun News Network on rf66, but they have special permission to stay on the air until end of October 2011 and then they will be shutting off for good and becoming a cable-only station.
PPS: If you really want a smaller antenna that can easily be mounted on a wall or roof, and you are prepared to go with a UHF-only antenna, then my recommendation, for what it's worth, is a Channel Master 4221hd. You can mount it using a satellite mount. If you need to later, you can add a pre-amplifier such as the Channel Master 7778. Aim at Buffalo. Probably aiming at WGRZ (NBC Buffalo real channel 33, virtual 2.1,2,3) is best. Don't buy no-name clones. I suggest learning about Channel Master, Antennas Direct, Winegard, and Antennacraft.
If you really like the appearance of the Nippon antennas also read about the Winegard Square Shooter. Read the specs and compare.
Last edited by HWP; 09-01-2011 at 05:38 PM.
Over-the-Air TV Enthusiast
Winegard HD7697P, Channel Master 7778 pre-amp, Grounded
All Major US & Canadian Networks in High Definition - 37 Total Channels - Free