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, and CW. There are also many substations available with great shows and content.

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.

 

Check Out our YouTube Channel for more helpful videos.

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 from the towers. The first thing 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 the size and style antenna needed. 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.
    • ANTOP – The website has good DTV signal maps and an antenna selector.

Smart Phone Apps

These apps for a smart 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, just 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 the distance the broadcast towers are from your house. This will give you an idea of the mile range antenna needed 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 their 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.

Use caution when purchasing an over the air antenna. There are many scams. When buying an antenna, stick to name brand companies who do not exaggerate their clams. The ones we prefer are found on this page. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Green Antenna – 30 Mile Range

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

Mohu Leaf 30 TV Antenna, Indoor, 40 Mile Range, Original Paper-thin, Reversible, Paintable, 4K-Ready HDTV, 10 Foot Detachable Cable, Premium Materials for Performance, USA Made, MH-110583

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)

[Upgraded 2019] 1byone Digital Amplified Indoor HD TV Antenna Up to 80 Miles Range, Amplifier Signal Booster Support 4K 1080P UHF VHF Freeview HDTV Channels with 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

 

Where to Buy:

The Mohu Sky 60 Amplified Attic/Outdoor Antenna is available at these retailers:

Mohu:

Mohu Sky HDTV Antenna

Amazon:

Yellow – 60 Mile Range

ANTOP AT-415B UFO Dual Omni-Directional Antenna

Upgraded Version - ANTOP AT-415B 720° UFO Dual Omni-Directional Outdoor HDTV Antenna with Exclusive Smartpass Amplifier &4G LTE Filter, Fit for Outdoor/RV/Attic Use(33ft Coaxial Cable,4K UHD Ready)

The ANTOP UFO Dual-Omni AT-415B Outdoor/RV/Attic HDTV Antenna is very easy to set up-no tools are required. This antenna comes with a quick and easy mounting bracket. Just mount the antenna and hand tighten with the provided wing nuts. The size of the antenna allows for many applications. It is much smaller than most antennas in this mile range. ANTOP AT-415B UFO Antenna can be mounted on a balcony, on the roof or in the attic. It comes with a power amplifier and built-in 4G filter which will help to boost the signal and filter out unwanted cell phone interference. ANTOP smart pass technology amplifier is easy to adjust the balance between short and long range reception. Plus the intelligent switch can avoid signal overload.

Where to Buy:

The ANTOP AT-415B UFO Antenna is available at these retailers:

ANTOP:

ANTOP UFO Dual-Omni AT-415B Outdoor/RV/Attic HDTV Antenna

Amazon:

Yellow – 60 Mile Range

1byone 85 Miles Digital Amplified Attic or Roof Antenna

TV Antenna, 1byone Amplified Outdoor Digital HDTV Antenna 85-100 Miles Range with VHF/UHF Signal, Built-in High Gain and Low Noise Amplifier, Mounting Pole

With the 1byone 85 Miles Digital Amplified Antenna, you will get superior reception without the whole neighborhood noticing. This compact outdoor antenna is designed to maximize signal reception and integrate seamlessly into any home environment, indoors or out. It’s easy to install. Turn a few bolts and this antenna is ready to be mounted outdoors or in the attic. It’s a complete kit with a very strong mount.

 

 

Specifications

  • Withstands tough outdoor conditions
  • Superior reception outdoors or even when mounted in the attic
  • Includes J-shape mounting pole, built-in high gain/low noise amplifier

Where to Buy:

The 1byone 85 Miles Digital Amplified Antenna is available at these retailers:

eBay:

Buy It At eBay

Amazon:

Red Antenna – 100 Mile Range

DB8e Extreme Long Range Bowtie HDTV Antenna

Antennas Direct 8-Element Bowtie TV Antenna, 70 Miles Range, Multi-directional, Indoor, Attic, Outdoor Applications, Special Bracket to Turn Both Panels, All-Weather Mounting Hardware, Adjustable Mast Clamp, 4K Ready, Silver - DB8e - DB8-E

The DB8e Extreme Long Range Bowtie HDTV Antenna has a gain of 17.4 dB which makes it one powerful OTA antenna. This antenna comes with a special bracket that allows you to turn each panel toward different broadcast towers. This HD antenna is excellent for rural areas where heavy foliage or roofing materials can reduce your signal. It works well in an attic or mounted on the roof.

Specifications

  • Weatherproof
  • High gain UHF band (UHF channels 14-51)
  • 75-ohm Impedance
  • Gain 17.4 dB
  • Dimensions: 50″W x 37.5″H x 6″D
  • Product Weight: 12 pounds

 

Where to Buy:

The DB8 Bowtie Antenna is available at these retailers:

Antennas Direct:


DB8e Extreme Long Range Bowtie HDTV Antenna

Amazon:

Red Antenna – 100 Mile Range

Channel Master CM 3020 UHF / VHF / FM HDTV Antenna

Channel Master CM-3020 Long Range VHF, UHF, FM and HDTV Antenna

The Channel Master CM 3020 is a keeper and totally worth it. Get crystal clear free HD channels with this antenna. So well built, even on windy days it locks into all channels. It is very easy to install and has excellent reception. The antenna is all that Channel Master claims it to be. Well made with clear easy to follow directions and simple assembly. This antenna has a signal range of 100 miles and will pick up available local digital and HD signals. It is a little on the large size, but that is why it works so well.

Specifications

  • Reception Range: Up to 100 miles
  • Picks up UHF, VHF, FM and HD
  • Antenna Size: 152 x 95 x 22 Inches
  • Easy installation
  • Superior signal strength in weak signal locations
  • Optimized for HDTV and Digital FM Signals

Where to Buy:

The Channel Master CM 3020 UHF / VHF / FM HDTV Antenna is available at these retailers:

Channel Master:

Channel Master CM 3020 Antenna

Amazon:

Grey Antenna – Over 100 Mile Range

Long Range Rotating Antennas

Tree New Bee Amplified HD Digital Outdoor HDTV Antenna 150 Miles Long Range with Motorized 360 Degree Rotation, UHF/VHF/FM Radio with Infrared Remote Control

Long range rotating antennas are excellent for receiving channels from towers that are in different locations. They come with a motor and will rotate the antenna 360 degrees. Most are HDTV Yagi style antennas with a pre-amplifier. If you live far away from different broadcast towers, you can dial in your reception by rotating it in the right direction. These long-range antennas come with a wireless remote to control the motor. They work well in the attic or on the roof.

Where to Buy:

Long Range Rotating Antennas are available from these retailers:

eBay:

Buy It At eBay

Amazon:

HD Antenna Mounting Options

Most antennas that you purchase will come with the mounting hardware. In some cases mounting to a pole, tripod or bracket system may be your best option. We have an article explaining different methods of mounting an OTA antenna. See the link below.

Different Ways to Mount an HD Antenna for the Home

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 the user manual for more information. Most TV’s also have an option to allow you to see the signal strength to fine-tune the antenna. You may have to move the antenna around a bit to get it in the ideal position to obtain all the channels available. Use the map you generated to point the antenna in the right direction.

 

One Antenna Multiple Televisions

basic-splitter-diagram

If you have other TV’s in the house, add a splitter to the one over the air antenna and distribute it to multiple televisions. 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 the 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. Just enter your address or zip code for channel results. Stick with name brand antennas like the ones listed below and on this page. Be wary of scammers. Click on the logo below to get started.

 

Channel Master – Antenna Locator

 

Mohu Antenna – Channel Locator Tool

 

Antennas Direct – Antenna Selector

 


ANTOP – DTV Signal Maps and Antenna Selector

Conclusion

As you can see, you don’t need cable to watch TV. Free television is at your fingertips, just by installing an over the air antenna. Get rid of that expensive cable bill today.

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October 1, 2019 0

ANTOP Smart Boost Adjustable Antenna Amplifier

Last updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2019If you own an over the air antenna then you know how important amplification is to get a good signal. If your signal is too weak an antenna amplifier can strengthen the signal to improve reception. It also helps to amplify the signal if your cable runs are very long. In some cases, over-amplification can cause your signal to be too strong. It can cause loss of signal because of the overmodulation of the signal to the tuner. Most antenna amplifiers give you all or nothing for signal strength. The ANTOP smart boost antenna amplifier can help in these matters. It has an adjustable power boost that allows you to control the amount of gain sent to the tuner. This can be extremely helpful [...]
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About Johan
I started this site to educate the public on alternative ways you can watch television besides subscribing to cable. I have been in the audio-visual business for over 20 years. I also have an extensive computer networking background. I am a Microsoft Certified Professional and CompTIA Network+ Certified Technician. I hope you will find my articles and reviews helpful in conscious uncabling.

15 Comments

  1. Nice tutorial. Been trying to do something like this for a while, but was very undecided about which antenna to choose. Your article has made it way easier for me, Thanks.
    As a suggestion, I would like to see an article soon on how to integrate an HDHomerun device to a setup like the one described here.

    • I am glad you found it helpful. I will be adding more content soon. I will be sharing ways to watch internet TV. I will try and integrate an article about HDHomerun that allows you to stream live TV to your devices. Thank for stopping by and stay tune for more!

  2. Good Morning Tech Guy, We just moved to the Mountains of east Tn. We are trying to set up our antenna. We have put up a 30′ tower to help get our antenna as high as we can, we live in-between two ridges. How do we hook up two directional antennas together and boost the input?

    • Hello, Setting up two antennas in line can be a bit tricky. It may take some tweaking to get it to work. You will need to plug in both of your antennas into a passive two way splitter first. Like this one: http://amzn.to/1Pq1IBb. Make sure that each cable length from each antenna are the same. This will help with phase and interference. Then come out of the splitter into your pre-amp then to your TV. You should try and aim each antenna at different broadcast towers. You could also consider using a rotating antenna. These antennas allow you to electronically rotate them and point your antenna in the right direction for better reception. Here is an example on one: http://amzn.to/1UMUgE8. You may also find that using one antenna may work out just fine. I would say try installing the first antenna and see what you get for channels, then add the second to see if you can gain anymore. The other possibility is that each antenna may cancel each other out. I am planning to experiment with this myself. There are a few channels that I would like to see if I can get to come in better with a second antenna. I will right an article of my findings. Hope this helps and good luck.

  3. This site is just for the USA, any for Britain?

  4. I have a 150 mile amplified UHF/VHF antenna. Live on a Ridge on a mountain antenna 30′ above house stations are less than 75 miles in 3 directions..still have weak signals..what can I add to this already amplified antenna to help?
    Also I can get the CBS chanels but not the ABC chanels from same city..why?
    Can not get any UHF chanels?

    • You could try adding a motor to rotate the antenna in different directions. There are kits that allow you to do this. It may help in obtaining some of those stations. In some cases adding a signal amplifier will make your signal worse. Have you tried removing it? What kind of antenna do you have?

  5. How many tv’s can you hook up to an antenna?

  6. Phyllis Weberman April 8, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Hi, I am 75yr old senior woman. Son gave me Kodi and a keyboard. I want to get off cable. I live in valley and no one gets in area gets reception except thru cable and some insider connection to a satellite. I need to find someone to help me set up an antenna in my attic and teach me what I have to do. Know anyone in 12701 area for me?

    • You could try Amazon Home Services and hire a handyman in your area. Just type in your zip code and fill out the description. Just explain that would need help installing an HD antenna for your home. Submit your request and you will be emailed quotes from handymen in your area. Here is the link to get you started: http://amzn.to/2oNeB6H. You can also head over to our Antenna Locator Tool page, type in your zip code and click the map it button. It will generate a color coded list of all the channels in your area. Then scroll down to see what type antenna you will need. Here is that link: https://www.overtheairdigitaltv.com/tv-station-locator-tool/. I did a quick search and looks like you will need a large roof top or attic antenna to obtain most of the broadcast stations. Good luck and I hope this helped.

  7. Been reading your article on how to get free cable without going to the cable companies. With so many products out there for Flat HDTV antenna and price varies, how to know if it will work or not. You listed Mohu and onne by one as the most reliable. What about the other antenna that claims Free channels,strong reception,Anti Static,r they scams? When i check amazon brand name on amazon, there is no info on the company.

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