Choosing an Over the Air TV Antenna for Free HD Channels

One of the most expensive bills each month is the cable bill. Losing the cable bill can save you upwards of $1,500 a year. What the cable companies don’t want you to know is that by installing an over the air TV antenna you can get free hi-definition channels right in your living room. The process is very basic. All of the newer televisions have what they call a digital tuner built right into the TV. This allows you to plug in an over the air TV antenna and you can start watching free TV. You get all the major stations like ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CW just to name a few.

Looking For a Digital Aerial Antenna in The UK? Click Here for Our How to Guide.

How Does an Over The Air Antenna Work?

It’s Easy Follow These 3 Steps:

OTA antenna diagram

  1. Connect to ‘ANT IN’ on the back of any digital-ready TV.
  2. Place the Antenna– Place on wall, window, attic or roof and find the optimal position for the antenna.
  3. Scan Channels – Select ‘Menu’ then ‘Channel Search‘ and you are ready to enjoy your free TV shows.

 

Finding The Right OTA Antenna

Choosing an Over the Air TV Antenna for Free HD Channels

OTA Attic Antenna

Since the signal is being broadcast from a transmitting tower, you need to find out how far away you are. The first thing you need to do is find the proper antenna for your location. Generally, if you live close to a major city, you may not need such a large over the air antenna. There are some great websites and apps that will tell you what size and style antenna you will need. Let’s take a look at them:

Websites

  • TV Station Locator Tool – Use our website tool for finding channels, maps and antennas for your area. Just enter your zip code for results.
  • Mohu Antenna Selector – Enter a zip code and will generate antenna list and stations.
  • Antennas Direct Antenna Selector – Gives you a channel list and range results for your location.
  • Tvfool – Gives you options on what size antenna you need and channels you will receive.
  • Channel Master – Nice antenna selection guide. Giving you the distance and location of broadcast towers.

Smart Phone Apps

These apps for your phone can help point your OTA antenna. They can be useful and accurate when you are in the attic or on the roof trying to adjust your antenna. Just use one of these apps to point your antenna in the right direction.

iPhone

OTA Map

OTAmap

TV Towers USA
tv towers usa

Antenna Point

tv towers usa

Android

Digital TV Antennas

digital tv antennas app logo

HDTV Antenna Pointer

antenna pointer app

 

Generated Maps

For most of these sites, you enter your street address and zip code. It will then generate a map and a list of channels that you will be able to receive. It will also tell you what style antenna you will need and which way to point it.

Antenna map

Mile Range

These sites will also tell you the distance the broadcast towers are from your house. This will give you an idea of the mile range antenna you will need to pick up the stations.

Antenna channel list

Color Code

As you can see in the picture below there are quite a few channels available for the area I entered. The chart is color coded and tells you what type of antenna you will need to receive the signal.

Choosing an Over the Air TV Antenna for Free HD Channels

Channel List

This shows the available channels in the area I entered. You can see a map and channel list for yourself by using our station locator tool.

Type of Over The Air Antenna You Will Need:

Green – An indoor “set-top” antenna is probably sufficient to pick up these channels (30-mile range)

Yellow – An attic-mounted antenna is probably needed to pick up channels at this level and above (60-mile range)

Red – A roof-mounted antenna is probably needed to pick up channels at this level and above (100-mile range)

Grey – These channels are very weak and will most likely require extreme measures to try and pick them up

tv station locator tool

Let’s Choose an Over the Air Antenna

There are many companies that make over the air antennas. We will show you what we consider the best of the field. We will list these HD antennas by the color code system we showed in the previous graph. For most people that live within there city limits, a yellow (60 miles) range should work well. A general rule of thumb is the higher you place the antenna the better the reception.

Green Antenna – 30 Mile Range

Mohu Leaf 30 Indoor Over The Air TV Antenna (30 Mile)

Mohu Leaf 30 Television Antenna, Indoor, 30 Mile Range, Original Paper-thin, Reversible, Paintable, 4K-Ready HDTV, 10 Foot Detachable Cable, Premium Materials for Performance, USA Made, MH-110598

The Mohu Leaf 30 Indoor HDTV Antenna is one of the best interior digital TV antennae on the market today. It’s Omnidirectional flat design and weight makes it very versatile. Its simple square design makes adjusting unnecessary. Assembly is as easy as attaching the cords per the directions, powering up the amplifier, and hanging the Leaf in the best spot for over the air reception. This antenna will give you crystal clear reception. Initial setup is as easy as screwing in a light bulb.

Where to Buy:

The Mohu Leaf 30 Indoor HDTV Antenna is available at these retailers:

Mohu:

Mohu Leaf 30 Indoor HDTV Antenna

Amazon:

Green Antenna – 30 Mile Range

1byone Super Thin Digital Indoor HDTV Antenna (30 Mile)

1byone HDTV Antenna, HD Digital Indoor TV Antenna UPGRADED 2018 VERSION, 50 Miles Long Range with Amplifier Signal Booster for 1080P 4K Free TV Channels, Amplified 10ft Coax Cable

Installation is super simple with the 1byone indoor antenna. Just connect the coaxial cable to your TV. This indoor/outdoor antenna from 1byone is a great way to cut loose from your monthly cable bill or to get over the air signals for rooms that aren’t wired for cable. In the package are the flat panel antenna, mounting accessories, the power adapter, the power booster and a waterproof connection cover for outdoor installation. You will need a coax cable of the necessary length to hook up to your television. You can mount the antenna on a wall or on a pole. It’s lightweight, so it’s easy to mount or put up anywhere.
1byone window

 

Where to Buy:

The 1byone Super Thin Digital Indoor HDTV Antenna is available at these retailers:

Ebay:

Buy It At Ebay

Amazon:

Yellow – 60 Mile Range

Mohu Sky 60 Amplified Attic/Outdoor Antenna (60 Mile)

Mohu Sky 60 TV Antenna, Outdoor, Amplified, 75 Mile Range, Durable Lightweight, Mount Kit Included, Roof or Attic, 4K-Ready, 30 Foot Detachable Cable, Premium Materials for Performance, MH-110585

The Mohu Sky 60 HDTV Antenna is nice and solid. This antenna is extremely light. This size antenna will fit comfortably between typical roof joist spacing in an attic or a crawl space. The mounting components are high quality and can be adjusted for any mounting configuration. This multi-directional antenna provides excellent quality HD television from signals approximately 60 miles away. The build quality and construction are top notch. This antenna is completely weatherproof. Lightweight and will not topple in high winds. All the needed hardware is included in the package and the instructions are well written.

MHMounted

Key points

  • You can use this antenna inside or outside.
  • Comes with a 30-foot cord
  • Comes with hardware and mount to bolt it down
  • Brings in many channels and makes existing channels more solid
  • Comes with a USB powered preamplifier
  • Small footprint

 

mohu setup

Mohu 60 parts for easy install

 

Need help installing your OTA antenna. Hire a handyman from Amazon Home Services.
Just type in your zip code, fill out some information and you will be emailed quotes from contractors.

Scanning Your Television for Stations and Fine Tuning

Once you have you’re over the air antenna set up, you will need to scan your TV for the stations to show up. That option depending on your television should be in the menu options. Check your user manual for more information. Most TV’s also have an option to allow you to see your signal strength to fine-tune your antenna. You may have to move your antenna around a bit to get it in the ideal position to obtain all the channels you want. You can use the map you generated to point your antenna in the right direction.

 

One Antenna Multiple Televisions

basic-splitter-diagram

Now you can take it to another step and add a splitter to the one over the air antenna and distribute it to multiple televisions. You just take the output of the HD antenna and plug it into the input of a powered UHF splitter. Then plug each cable from the output of the splitter into your other televisions. In most cases, you can use the existing wiring in your home, left by the cable company.

Check out our article on how to properly set up a antenna splitter.

Other Helpful OTA Antenna and Station Locator Websites

Are you still having trouble finding an HD antenna? If you are looking for more information on available channels and antenna options, then these websites can be very helpful.

Channel Master

Channel Master has an excellent video explaining how to select an HD antenna for your home.