Cable and satellite TV cost money, while antenna TV is free -- even after the digital TV transition in 2009. You won't get as many channels with an antenna, but depending on where you live you might get anywhere from 10 to 50 channels. This includes local programming, news, weather, entertainment and public broadcasting. If you are looking to take some of the bite out of your monthly bills, consider dropping your cable or satellite and hooking up an antenna.
Things You'll Need
- Digital TV set or converter box
Check to see which channels are available via over-the-air transmission in your area. Go to DTV.gov, click on the "Reception Maps" link on the right-hand side of the Home page, enter your zip code and view the results. Notate your available channels and their signal strength.
Check to see if your TV has a built-in digital tuner. If your TV doesn't have an input labeled "Digital Input" or "ATSC," you will need a converter box. You can purchase converter boxes at many electronic and retail stores.
Purchase your UHF/VHF antenna. The antenna can also be purchased at most electronic and retail stores. Consult your list from Step 1 and see how powerful the over-the-air signals are for your specific address. Purchase your antenna based on the broadcasting power you need to receive a clear picture on your TV. You might be able to get away with an indoor antenna if your signal strength is strong enough. If not, you'll need to purchase an outdoor antenna.
Install your antenna (or have it done professionally) according to the building codes of your area. If you must use an outdoor antenna, it is a good idea to have the antenna professionally installed. This ensures that it is properly grounded on your roof, not too close to electrical wiring and stable during inclement weather.
Hook the converter box up to your television using the cable that came with it (F Cable). Hook your antenna up to the converter Box. Turn on your TV and converter box. Tune your TV to channel 3 and press "Scan" on the digital convert box. Allow the box to scan for your available channels.
View your picture and adjust your antenna accordingly for the clearest over-the-air feed. You should only need to make adjustments once. If you are having a difficult time getting a clear picture, use a signal strength indicator to see where you receive the most powerful signal.
Tips & Warnings
- A rooftop antenna will get better results.
- Moving your antenna to different locations may get better results.