How to Get Local Channels for Free

By Nicole Schmoll

The digital revolution is here. Television stations no longer broadcast free content on local stations over an analog frequency. This does not mean, however, the end of free local channels. Television stations now broadcast digital signals, and anyone with a high definition digital television and a digital antenna can receive free, high definition programming of their local channels.

Things You'll Need

  • High definition television
  • Digital antenna
  • RG-6 cable

Step 1

Determine how far away you live from a broadcasting tower used by local television stations to broadcast digital content to surrounding neighborhoods. Calculate your distance from the tower by driving to it from your home in the most direct route possible. Write the mileage down, and use it to determine which type of antenna you need to purchase.

Step 2

Purchase either an indoor or outdoor antenna depending on your distance from the nearest television tower. If you live within a few miles of the tower, a small, indoor digital antenna that sits atop your television will be sufficient. If you live more than a few miles away from the tower, select a larger, outdoor, roof-mounted digital antenna. Consider digital amplified antennas with high gain (decibel) levels to give yourself the best chance of obtaining the strongest signal.

Step 3

Install the antenna on your roof or in your home. Use a compass to situate an outdoor antenna in the direction of the TV broadcast tower. Run the required amount of high-quality UL-rated dual or quad-shield RG-6 cable from the antenna directly to your television tuner. Attach the cable to the "antenna in" or "satellite in" connector.