Picking up free over the air television transmissions is easy if you have an antenna. For many people, this can give enough television content. Keep reading to find out how to do it and decide if antenna TV is for you.
What channels will I get with antenna TV?
The first step is figuring out what you will be able to pick up in your area. In my previous post about cord cutting basics, I linked to a site that will show you what channels you can pick up. Please refer back to that post because it will also give you information on where the transmission antennas are located. It will also tell you the distance which you will need when choosing an antenna. If you are in an urban or suburban place, you probably won’t need to know that since you will likely get strong signals. If you are in a rural area, it will help to know where the antennas are since you may have to make some adjustments to maximize your reception.
There is another site I would like to refer you to that will list your available channels in a different way, so take a moment to enter your address at Antenna Recommendations. Notice that it lists the channels by signal strength. You can usually pick up the channels listed in green, but it’s not a 100% certainty. You just need to give it a try and maybe make a few adjustments.
What kind of antenna do I need?
There are a few main styles of an antenna. A thin antenna is the first type I would suggest. They attach to the back of your television with double-sided tape which makes for a very clean, and simple, installation. It’s a relatively inexpensive option and will work well for most people. This same style can also be amplified, which just means they you will need to plug it in to a power outlet and it will boost the signal. You can pick these up at a home improvement store, like Home Depot, or your local Best Buy or Wal-Mart.
What if I don’t get the channels I want?
If one of the previous options does not work for you, you may need to focus on a particular direction. A directional indoor antenna will allow you to target transmission antennas in a given direction. Refer back to the site that shows you where your local antennas are. If they are in multiple directions, more powerful omnidirectional antennas exist. The drawback for these is that the antenna will be visible, so keep that in mind and think about where you would need to place the antenna to that it doesn’t detract from your home decor.
So far these have all been indoor antennas. For some other situations such as rural or very hilly, you may need to install an antenna outside your house. I suggest hiring a professional to install the antenna if it’s necessary.
What else do I need to do?
Once you have connected the coaxial cable from the antenna to your television and plugged in the power, if necessary, you are ready to program your television. Using your television remote, go to the menu. There should be an option for channels. If it asks for the source, choose Air (as opposed to Cable). There should also be an option to search for channels. Just select that and leave it be for maybe 15 minutes. When it’s finished, you should have a number of local channels available.