How to Get Free-to-Air TV Signal

By Patrick Nelson

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has switched off full-power analog TV broadcasts. They want to use the spectrum for other purposes. Older televisions will no longer pick up free-to-air signals without a digital tuner adapter. New televisions have a built-in digital tuner. Now that the transmission from analog to digital television has been completed, you have a few choices on how to get free-to-air programming.

Step 1

Purchase a digital television or a digital converter box. Purchasing the digital converter box will be the cheaper alternative but will require you to use an existing television. You can get converter boxes at any big-box consumer electronics retailers like Best Buy. Your neighborhood drug store like Rite-aid also will have them in their electronics section.

Step 2

Connect the digital television or the digital tuner and analog television to the existing antenna. If you got good quality reception on channels 2 to 51 with your previous setup, you may not need a new antenna.

Step 3

Power on the digital television or the digital tuner and analog television. The device will run through its initial setup procedure and will prompt you to scan for available channels. Let the setup proceed. The scanning can take a few minutes.

Step 4

Test and verify the channels scanned. They will have been memorized by the digital television or the digital tuner.

Step 5

If the channel lineup is acceptable then you don't need to take any further action. Digital television, however isn't quite as forgiving as the old analog transmissions were, so what passed before as acceptable, if a little fuzzy picture, may not register at all on the new device.

Step 6

Reposition the antenna. Move it around a bit to see if your channel selection improves. Remember to always re-scan for channels every time you move the antenna.

Step 7

Purchase a new indoor digital antenna if you continue to get unacceptable channel selections.

Step 8

Have a contractor install a digital outdoor antenna for optimum reception.

Step 9

Complain to your favorite television station if the issue continues to be unresolved.

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