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How to Get Free Over-the-Air (OTA) Television Channels

By Edited Dec 18, 2015 0 0

Thinking about getting rid of that expensive monthly cable television bill?  Did you know that your local TV stations are probably broadcasting their programming over the air directly to your house, for free, with a programming guide and better sound and video quality than cable or satellite?

Depending on where you live, you may be able to get great quality, high definition television for absolutely no monthly cost at all.  This article will show you how you can see what OTA television stations are available in your area, and how you can start receiving them.  If you are tired of paying for TV but still want to get some local stations, then read on.

Stuff you need:

-A TV or device that can receive OTA ATSC broadcasts (most newer televisions allow this, as do some TV tuner cards and digital receiver boxes).
-A television antenna.

The first step is to find out what broadcast stations are available in your area, and where they are located.  There are plenty of websites that have some information, but by far the best website I have found is TVFool.  It lets you input your location, and will generate a report of how close you are to each broadcast station in your area, what direction they are located from your location, and what type of antenna you'll need to receive each station.

Based on this free report, you should have a good idea of what type of antenna you'll need to get the channels you want.  There are plenty of websites and instructional videos devoted to building your own Do-it-Yourself Antenna, which will save you a few dollars, and in many cases give you greater reception then some of the store bought antennas. 

OTA Antenna

 

Depending on how far you are away from the broadcast station(s), you may need an indoor antenna that you can hide behind your television or install in your attic, or you may need an outdoor antenna that you mount to your roof.  You might even be able to get away with plugging in a rabbit ear antenna.  It is possible to have 2 or more antennas hooked up to the same device using a splitter, so you can point them in different directions to receive broadcasts from different locations.  Some antennas are omnidirectional, and will receive signals from all directions.  You can also purchase a rotor, that will rotate to the correct station when you change the channel.

*Don't be fooled by marketing terms like "HD Antenna", there is no such thing.

Once you've picked your antenna, installed it and positioned it accordingly, the next step is to do a channel scan.  Plug your antenna into your television (or tuner device) using a coaxial cable in to the connector labelled antenna.  Once connected, turn on your television, set the source or input to antenna and do a channel scan.  Most devices will pick up both digital and analog stations, and tell you how strong the signal is on the digital channels.  You can use the signal indicator to make adjustments to your antenna's positioning before securing it in it's final postion.

Now sit back, relax, and enjoy high quality, free, OTA television, and hopefully a bit of a fatter wallet too.

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