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  • Stuart Sweet

    by Published on 01-19-2018 05:45 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. TV Antennas


    As high as possible. Why? It's not the overall height, it's the ability to see over other things. The biggest enemy of good reception is the "obstruction." An obstruction is anything between you and the towers. TV broadcasts can go through almost anything but they tend to get weaker as they pass through things. It's sort of like if you walk a mile through the air, it's not so hard. But walk a mile through a lake or pond and it's very hard, and you get weaker as you push to make it through the water.

    Putting an antenna on a high mast means that it has a clearer view of the sky and of the broadcast towers it's trying to reach. That doesn't mean the antenna wouldn't work well down on ground level, but if you're trying to reach those distant stations, you'll want to get the antenna up nice and high. Often times strapping it to the chimney will do the trick but sometimes extreme measures are needed. Luckily Solid Signal has you covered with a wide variety of mounting supplies that can help you get a clear signal from as far as 100 miles away for TV, even further for radio. We even stock custom tower equipment for when you're really, really serious.
    by Published on 01-19-2018 04:59 PM



    Remember these? Maybe you don't. Even in the 1970s, a home 8-track player was pretty rare. Most people had one in their cars, if they had one at all, and the 8-track format really only lasted about a decade before cassettes took over.

    On the other hand, if that image makes you feel nostalgic for burnt-orange shag carpet and polyester shirts, you might want to take a scroll through DigitalTrends' History of Home Audio. Starting with the hand-cranked phonograph and going all the way to Google Home, it's a pretty comprehensive visual and written dictionary of home audio. Sure, they miss a few of the more oddball '80s and '90s formats (DAT? DCC? SACD?) and they ignore early streaming pioneers like Rhapsody, but no matter what it's a comfort-food-style trip down memory lane for the kind of people who read this blog. Whether your first experience with home audio was a CD player or a wall of LPs, you'll enjoy wasting a few minutes looking.

    I know I did, and I'm a little ashamed to say I miss some of that old gear. Don't you?
    by Published on 01-19-2018 01:03 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Satellite


    Image credit: Earl Bonovich; Image courtesy DBSTalk.com

    You hear the hard drive in your DVR make funny noises. You might have gotten a message on the screen. What to do? Maybe you've replaced hard drives on computers before, and you just know that it would be easy to replace this hard drive -- you might not even care that you'll lose all your programming.

    Hold on, kemo sabe. Don't open up that receiver. Just don't do it. That receiver is leased, and opening it up is against your customer agreement. They'll be able to tell... there's a security sticker on the back. It's just not worth it.

    If the drive is functioning, you can get an eSATA drive and connect it to the back which will replace the internal drive quite easily. If it's totally dead, you'll have to send that DVR back. There's really just no way around it. This trick works with every DVR except one of the models of Genie 2. Just look for the eSATA port on the back of the DVR and when you find it, you'll know you're ok.

    By the way, if you do decided to go to an external drive, there's practically no limit to the drive size, so if you want thousands of hours of recording space, go for it!
    by Published on 01-19-2018 09:36 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Satellite



    Get those DVRs ready because it's another Starz Free Preview Weekend! Starting now and going through Monday, January 22, it's your chance to check out Counterpart, the new show with the excellent J.K Simmons as a bureaucrat who learns a big secret. I'm anxious to try that one.

    Starz doesn't have breakout hits on the level of Game of Thrones but they have a really strong stable of original programs coupled with the largest number of movies, something the other premium services have pretty much given up on. When you look at the selection available on demand, it's a really exceptional value.

    Of course all the movies you DVR this weekend are going to be available to you as long as you keep them on your hard drive so fire up that Genie and get yourself about 15 days of entertainment for free! Then, if you're feeling so inclined, call Solid Signal at 877.312.4547 to add all the Starz channels to your DIRECTV package.
    by Published on 01-18-2018 05:11 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. TV Antennas,
    3. Satellite
    Article Preview



    Another term you might have heard if you've hung around antennas or satellite systems is wind load. This term describes how much wind affects something. It's a combination of how much wind you have, how much drag the object has, and how big it is. There's a lot of science here, but here's the ...
    by Published on 01-18-2018 03:44 PM

    In Throwback Thursday, we're looking back at the articles we're most proud of from the first ten years of The Solid Signal Blog, and other stuff from the past that we think is cool.

    Before there were internet trolls, there was Starlog. It was a pop-culture magazine that specialized in sci-fi movies and TV shows, back when it was rare to have more than one available at a time. So, it spent time hashing over the minutiae of the Buck Rogers show, or Salvage One, or whatever it could. And along the way it exposed the world to a very early iteration of the "sci-fi geek" that we all know and love.

    Starlog had a letters to the editor section, and it was chock full of extremely minor corrections being demanded of articles, heated and impassioned arguments for or against Star Trek, and the sort of overly emotional, yet critically reasoned missives we often find today on blogs just like this one.

    Starlog had trolls before trolls were trolls, in other words.

    If you're curious about how people got their geek cred before the internet, check out The Internet Archive, where a whole bunch of issues have been scanned and stored. Sure, you won't remember half the TV shows or movies they're talking about, but you'll recognize the tone of the comments.
    by Published on 01-18-2018 02:18 PM
    Article Preview


    This week we're taking a look at obsolete communications technologies. No matter what it is, everything was high tech at one time.

    There was a time not that long ago when Morse code was all around us. Boy Scouts learned it, pilots and sailors were required to use it, and of course everyone still knows the ...
    by Published on 01-18-2018 12:23 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commercial,
    3. Cell Phones,
    4. Satellite,
    5. Data/Networks,
    6. Online/MobileTV
    Article Preview


    In FOOD FOR THOUGHT we'll take a look at the things we take for granted that are actually so amazing that it's hard to even imagine that they work at all.

    100 years ago there was practically no microwave radiation on Earth. ...
    by Published on 01-17-2018 11:24 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Satellite
    Article Preview



    It's looking good for 4K in 2018. DIRECTV just announced their 4K schedule and it's looking stronger than ever. They'll be airing the BBC documentary Planet Earth: Blue Planet II over eight nights starting January 20, on channel 104.

    Blue Planet II is the sequel to Blue Planet and continues the excellent documentary work first seen in the mid-2000s by ...
    by Published on 01-17-2018 11:02 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Cell Phones
    Article Preview



    5G internet is getting closer. AT&T has previously announced that not only will they have 5G wireless internet to the home in some markets in 2018, but that they also plan to introduce 5G phones. In order to make it happen, a lot of things need to come first.
    ...
    by Published on 01-17-2018 10:18 AM
    Article Preview


    Note: The Ken Reid TV Guidance Counselor Podcast is rated PG-13 and may contain mild language.

    I'm Ken Reid, a stand up comedian from Boston, MA and a life long television fan. I've been twice nominated as the Best Stand up in Boston and I have been featured on Comedy ...
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