These days, it seems that there is a secret to getting free TV. The multi-billion dollar cable and satellite industries don’t want you to know how easy it is to get TV for free.

The free TV secret has been hidden from view, however I will shine the line upon it…

Looking for how to get free TV? Looking to cut the cord to your cable provider or satellite TV provider? Looking to save the exorbitant fees that they charge? Well there are a number of ways to replace their channel lineup with your own free TV entertainment choices, and I will let you know about one of them…

You techies already know this, but for the rest, it’s fairly simple… You can simply utilize an antenna to receive many, most, or all of your local TV networks broadcast in HDTV over the air! That’s right, you can get HDTV for free ‘over the air’.

I have done this for years in the various locations where I have lived. Although I still paid for some cable and/or satellite at times, the ‘techie’ in me enjoyed the benefits of ‘over-the-air’ free HDTV. That’s right, there’s a benefit to receiving the signal through an antenna versus the signal on cable or satellite… The picture is technically better. Here’s why…

The reason is because the High Definition signals that are broadcast over the air are mandated to be ‘full bandwidth data rate’ (more data, the better the picture). Cable and Satellite providers will ‘squish’ or compress the signals in order to squeeze more channels within their ‘pipes’. While it is arguable that in some cases it may be difficult to discern some of these differences, I have witnessed some pretty significant improvements by watching ‘over-the-air’ signals.


What Free TV Channels Can I Get Where I Live?

The following tool is pretty cool! It’s from and by entering your address or zip-code it will calculate the strength of each TV station that may be received at your location and determine the antenna type that you will need to receive it.

To discover how many local channels you could receive with an antenna,
Go to the Address Entry page.


Which TV Antenna Do I Need?

Today there is a color-coded labeling standard that classifies antennas. While the features, designs and prices of antennas may vary greatly between models and manufacturers, the color-coded labeling standard ensures that all models within a given type will have similar TV reception qualities.

Antenna color chart from the ‘Consumer Technology Association’,

A Small Multi-Directional Antenna when generally 10 to 15 miles from the TV station transmitter.

A Medium Multi-Directional Antenna when generally up to 30 miles from the TV station transmitter.

Lt Green:
A Large Multi-Directional or Small Directional Antenna when generally up to 30 miles from the TV station transmitter.

A Medium Directional Antenna when generally 30 to 45 miles from the TV station transmitter.

A Medium Directional Antenna with an Antenna Preamplifier or a Large Directional Antenna when generally 45 to 60 miles from the TV station transmitter.

A Large Directional Antenna with an Antenna Preamplifier when generally up to 60 miles or more from the TV station transmitter.

Note: Geographical terrain barriers (do you live in the mountains?) between you and the transmitter tower may reduce or eliminate your success.

Note: Just because an antenna may be marketed for ‘x’ miles of reception, chances are your real-life results will be less. So unless you live very close to the transmitter or within an unobstructed line-of-sight, it may be a good idea to upgrade to the next level (or more).

Note: You may need an antenna rotor if you are far away and wish to receive TV signals that are transmitted from different directions.

Note: You may be surprised though by how many TV stations that you can receive with a relatively simple antenna, and even an indoor antenna if you live within or near a city region.


HDTV Antennas

Small Indoor HDTV Antenna for fairly close proximity,
Winegard Amplified Digital Indoor HD TV Antenna

A Medium Range outdoor antenna,
Winegard High Definition VHF/UHF Antenna

A Long Range ‘Channel Master’ antenna,
Channel Master VHF, UHF, HDTV Antenna

Antenna Amplifier,
Channel Master Medium-Gain Mast Mounted Preamplifier

Antenna Mast,
Channel Master Steel Antenna Mast, 5′

Note: I have owned Winegard antennas in the past, and they have performed well for me. Channel Master is another well known name…


Where Do I Plug In The TV Antenna?

Most HDTV’s have a built-in tuner and you can simply attach the antenna’s cable directly to the TV. However not all have built-in tuners, so check behind your TV for a ‘Antenna Input’ or ‘RF In’ (which will look the same as an ordinary cable-TV input).

If your HDTV does not have a built-in tuner (most do), you can get an external tuner which itself will connect with your antenna and then plug in to your Monitor via HDMI cable.

TiVo over-the-air HDTV tuner and DVR (no monthly service fees)
TiVo Roamio OTA 1 TB DVR

Or a HDTV tuner/converter box that is far less expensive but gets the job done…
Digital Converter Box DVR, 1080P HDTV, HDMI Output

Additional sources of interest:

More and more people are ‘cutting the cord’ and going with over-the-air Free TV. There are other ways to get free TV (Internet) however I hope this has helped some of you…

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