The best way to Purchase and Set up a Free Wi-fi Information and TV Antenna

Sarah Tew / CNET

Without an immediate end in sight Coronovirus pandemic You might be looking for free and convenient entertainment to spend endless hours indoors. What you may not have considered is the antenna tuner already built into your television. Over-the-air TV has been around for years and is a free source of entertainment for those who only have an antenna. It’s especially useful for getting local live news coverage – more important than ever – and the latest national news and shows broadcast by ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and PBS (note that ViacomCBS is the parent company of CNET ). It’s no wonder OTA is one of the first stops for anyone looking for it After the TV has streamed, cut the cable.

The best is the price. The broadcasts are completely free, no monthly fees are required. If you live in an area with adequate reception, you can purchase OTA TV with an indoor antenna for less than $ 20. In other parts of the country, you may have to spend more on an outdoor antenna.

Antenna TV will be around for a long time, even if it turns into one new ATSC 3.0 standard (now called Next Gen TV)and it’s easy to set up. Continue reading!

Try it. Its cheap

Sarah Tew / CNET

Indoor antennas are so cheap that my best recommendation is that you just buy one, plug it into your TV, and see what channels you’re on. I checked out the best indoor antenna models from Amazon and found that the best in an urban setting is that Channel Master Flatenna. It is available direct from the manufacturer for $ 10 plus $ 7.50 shipping. Or you could get it for $ 19 with free shipping from Amazon.

In my tests, I found that the number and strength of channels in an area with poor coverage did not increase when replaced with a more expensive model, even with a gain amplifier. In other words, if the Channel Master is not working, it is probably not a similar will. That’s because your location is the biggest factor in whether or not you get reception – your antenna technology is a second distant at best.

If you have problems with reception, you can make improvements with an outdoor antenna. Unfortunately, they cost more and are considerably more difficult to install as they usually require access to a roof or attic and you may need professional help to install one.

We didn’t test any external antennas on CNET, but highly rated antennas from Amazon and tech site Tech Hive start at $ 60. Try to get an antenna that is compatible with both UHF and VHF. While most channels have switched to UHF with the advent of digital broadcasts, some older stations are still using VHF.


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To cut the $ 10 cable: Install an indoor antenna

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Tips for installing an indoor antenna

Given the complexity and potential danger of installing a roof antenna, we’ll stick with internal antennas for this article. You will need:

Most modern indoor antennas are flat and designed so that they can be installed high up against a window, preferably facing towards a broadcast antenna. How do you determine which way it is?

In addition to selling their namesakes, Antennas Direct is an excellent resource for cutting cables. It provides maps based on your location as well as the direction of the closest antennas. Keep your compass or Google Maps app practically!

Antennas Direct provides a map showing the nearest transmission towers.

Screenshot by Ty Pendlebury / CNET

The flatenna contains adhesive strips for assembly. If your antenna doesn’t, you’ll need tape or poster putty. Don’t use tape as it can mark your walls or windows.

Install the antenna as high as possible as neighboring houses and buildings may block television signals. Experiment with Placement – If a window doesn’t work, try a wall as this can result in better reception. Try to keep the antenna away from magnetic metals such as safety bars and radiators as much as possible.

Many indoor antennas have a long, detachable coaxial cable. However, if your TV and the best reception location are too far away, you may need a longer cable. When the cable is slack enough, plug the free end of the coaxial cable into the back of your TV or DVR. Screw it tight. Finally, you can now set your tuner to look for available channels.

What channels can you get?

Local TV programs and channels, seen here in the OTA interface of Sling TV via AirTV 2.

Sarah Tew / CNET

If you live in an area with good reception, you can receive at least the most important network channels and their partners, including your local PBS station. Depending on where your home is, problems can arise due to natural or man-made obstacles. If you search for a problem channel on Google, you can determine if it’s a common problem.

In addition to the Antennas Direct site mentioned above, the FCC maintains a DTC Reception Cards page where you can enter your address and find the channels available in your area. It rates each station based on frequency and signal strength, but doesn’t tell you which direction the antenna is facing.

If you live in a poor reception area, you can try a model with a built-in amplifier. Be aware, however, that this can overload your tuner and you may have fewer channels. If you have a model with an amplifier, try without it first.

Since you are receiving digital signals instead of analog signals, you will not receive snow if reception is suboptimal. If you have poor to no reception, you will either get a jittery or pixelated image, or nothing at all, just blackness.

If you can get good reception and choose to get aerial television, you may want to invest in an aerial DVR. It allows you to schedule and record shows for later viewing, skip commercials, and even stream your aerial television outside the home.

Continue reading: Best Antenna DVRs for Cable Cutters

The recast of Amazon Fire TV is our favorite antenna DVR.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Do I need a new antenna for Next Gen TV?

Next Gen TV, also known as ATSC 3.0is the next generation of free OTA TV, rolling out now and in the next few years in selected regions of the country. Among other things, it supports 4K HDR videos and an Internet back channel that is used for on-demand video and usage data.

You don’t need a new antenna to get Next Gen TV. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that you will need a new TV or tuner box. TVs with next-gen TV tuners are only just arriving and they’re there mostly expensive. No TV tuner boxes have been announced yet, but we expect them to arrive later this year.

ATSC 3.0 broadcasts are still in the early stages, but by the end of 2020, up to 60% of households will be able to receive broadcasts. It will also not replace HD immediately, if at all, and these broadcasts are expected to continue for at least the next 5 years.

In other words, your cheap antenna will be useful for a long time.

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