Cord cutting: How to get free HDTV
Published Friday, December 15, 2017 10:59AM PST Last Updated Friday, December 15, 2017 7:07PM PST
With Netflix, Apple TV and other streaming services letting consumers stream their favourite shows, sometimes the only thing holding folks back from breaking up with their cable TV provider is access to local news and sports.
But for a one-time cost anywhere from $15 to $100, a digital TV antenna might be a solution.
"Once you buy the antenna, the programming you get is free. So you get all your basic local channels and you don't have to pay anything. And that's really appealing to people who are spending more than $100 a month to get a pay TV package," said Jim Willcox, Consumer Reports electronics editor.
The devices are easy to install. Just hook them up to your antenna input and you may even getter better HD than cable.
"Sometimes cable channels are compressed and you may find that that the pictures that you're getting on your TV using an over the air antenna are better than what you were getting with cable," Willcox said.
But the number of channels you'll be able to receive depends on a few factors.
To be able to get decent reception, you have to consider how far you are from a broadcast tower, the geography of where you live, and whether there are obstructions like mountains, hills and trees that could interfere with your signal.
You may have to move your antenna around. Put it close to a window or buy one that mounts outside.
The product’s box will typically list the channels you should receive. The website tvfool.com will also give you an idea what channels to expect based on your location.
And once you're set up, remember to let your TV periodically rescan for channels. You may be surprised with a new station or two.
For those who don't have smart TVs, devices like Roku can help improve your experience. Roku is trying to make it seamless by offering a 'smart guide' that integrates streaming options, such as Amazon and Netflix with live broadcast TV, into a single DVR style programming grid.