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From Bay Area to Barcelona

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TDT changes [ Thursday, 20 Nov 08 | 13:14 ]
[Tags|, ]
[My Location |el Masnou (Barcelona) España]
[My Mood |geekygeeky]

Antenna system for the building

UHF antenna above and
omni-directional FM antenna below

One day last month while reading LJ, I heard some noise above me. This is quite unusual as there is only a storage room above my “office”. After a few minutes, I went up to see what was happening and ran into a técnico who was leaving. He told me that he had just finished upgrading the communal TV and radio distribution system so that it would handle digital TV (TDT) signals.

This was good news. I no longer needed to use an in-door antenna now that the antenna on the roof and signal distribution system could be used. I quickly did a scan and found that I could receive a total of 43 stations, 40 different, 3 duplicates. And now all of them had signal quality levels in the 90s (out of a 100). So I was very happy with this upgrade.

I went out and bought a TDT tuner for the TV in the bedroom. It’s mounted on the wall so there is little space available. I found a tuner that would plug into the SCART or Euroconnector plug on the TV. The tuner is flexible and can be tilted so that it is nearly flush with the back of the TV. So no problem with space. I can receive all the TDT channels at “99%” signal level. And I can also watch analog stations with the TV’s built-in tuner.

While scanning for digital stations, I found a new one for the town of L’Hospitalet. It’s located on the other side of Barcelona and not too far from where gorkabear lives in Viladecans. All four “city” stations, Barcelona, Badalona, Besós and now L’Hospitalet share the same channel.

The comarca, Maresme, where I live is scheduled to go all digital next month. Barcelones, where Barcelona is located is not scheduled to switch over until April of 2010. Although I live in Maresme, I actually watch stations transmitted from Collserola in Barcelona. For a full list of the TDT channels and digital radio, go here.


[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Thursday, 20 Nov 08 | 22:04 (UTC)
Remarkably, I can't get some stations to work. I can't get the newer ones because I live behind a small hill that covers somewhat the Collserola signal.

When are you and Ruben coming for a visit? :)
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Friday, 21 Nov 08 | 06:20 (UTC)

I can't get some stations to work

Interesting! That actually was the "symptom" that I had before. I could receive the channels below 50, but not the ones in the 60s. That means the amplifier/demux in your antenna/distribution system needs upgrading (replacing). You probably already have a UHF antenna like mine.

The difference in frequency (470 - 862 MHz) doesn't affect the way these radio waves behave around buildings and hills. VHF, where FM radio (87.5 - 108.0 MHz) is broadcast acts a bit different, but not at all like AM, which is a much lower frequency (520 – 1,710 kHz) and highly susceptible to interference. The COFDM transmission method used here (in lieu of 8VSB used in the US) is better at handling multipath (e.g. buildings and hills).

I'll ask Ruben about a visit when he comes over this weekend.


Edited at 2008-11-21 06:38 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Sunday, 23 Nov 08 | 22:10 (UTC)

Re: I can't get some stations to work

Funny thing is that I'm not facing my neighbours for a few more TV stations I won't watch either. I'm sick of that.
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[User Picture]From: cuboz
Friday, 21 Nov 08 | 04:10 (UTC)
I went out and bought a VERY cheap SD Digital TV receiver box a few months ago when I moved in to this place... it was only AUD$59.

What was GREAT about it, was that it had a space to put in a Hard Drive (with all the connectors, etc), so I used my old 80GB hard drive from my old computer, and turned it in to a VERY cheap, but effective PVR! Yaaay! :-)
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[User Picture]From: beardoc
Saturday, 22 Nov 08 | 12:29 (UTC)
What's more, the commercial networks are about to be allowed to multichannel on their SD channels, so we'll finally get news channels, kids channels, dedicated sports channels, all on free-to-air digital terrestrial TV here.
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