Surrounded by storm chasing helicopters, vehicles and the latest weather coverage technology, the Broadcast TV Liberation Tour rolled into the National Weather Festival on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in Norman. With hundreds awaiting free access to their favorite television, Antennas Direct, in partnership with TVFreedom.org and News 9 liberated over 400 festival attendees with a ClearStream 2V antenna – granting them the most reliable connection to up-to-the-moment weather coverage.
And, in a market like Central Oklahoma, that kind of connection can be the difference between life and death. That is not hyperbole. There is a reason the local broadcasting meteorologists like David Payne at News 9 are heralded as venerable rock stars. And, with a TV antenna, those local viewers don’t ever have to worry about outages due to inclement weather.
As the hundreds received antennas during the festival, the team of the Broadcast TV Liberation Tour heard comments about the reliability of antenna technology. And, long after the last antenna was given away, we remained on hand to answer the biggest questions that TV viewers had about antennas.
Will this work no matter what the weather does? Yes.
What is the monthly fee for getting the signal over-the-air? There is no monthly fee.
How many channels can we get with one of your antennas? In this parking lot with the antenna pointed in the wrong direction, we are receiving over 50 channels.
What if I put it outside and something falls on the antenna? The antennas come with a lifetime guarantee. Just let us know what happened, and we’ll send you a new one.
The total value of the giveaway in Norman was over $40,000 worth of antennas. However, the potential annual savings to local households was close to $600,000 if they cancel their subscription to cable or satellite television. That is money going back into their budget as opposed to lining the pockets of cable CEOs.
Like many of the stops on the latest leg of the tour, we saw the overwhelming demand for local broadcast television. We are still astounded at the emotional connection people make to their local broadcasters and the best entertainment the world has known. Broadcast television is the most reliable window into the world for a growing number of Americans.
If you would like to see the bus in your city, take a moment to check out our Bus Tour landing page and request a bus stop!
The East Canyon gusty winds (with 50 to 60 MPH gusts) could not keep an estimated 2000 New Mexicans from showing up for the chance to receive free over-the-air television. In partnership with TV Freedom and KOB-TV, Antennas Direct gave away just over 400 of the ClearStream 2V antennas at the American Home Furniture in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The first person in line had been on location since 10 PM the night before – braving the chilly and cruel winds – to ensure he received the best television the world has known without a monthly fee.
All of our 400 antennas (plus a few extra) were gone within an hour.
Even after all of the antennas were gone, we stuck around to answer those common questions we always get: Yes, over-the-air is free. No, there is not a catch. Nope, no monthly fee. And, of course, there is no “upcharge” for high definition. Yes, you really can get that many channels.
Especially important to the Albuquerque area are all of the Spanish, in-language content that is available over-the-air. Ever since the digital broadcast transition of 2009, broadcasters have invested billions in their infrastructure to provide powerful signals over-the-air. Part of that investment was the creation of digital subchannels, which allow for niched programming for underserved communities.
According to the latest census, almost half of Albuquerque’s population is Hispanic or Latino with a quarter of the residents identifying as bilingual, an antenna provides reliable access to in-language, hyperlocal content for free.
We are grateful to Erica Zucco and the entire KOB-TV News Team for supporting our efforts to liberate more Americans on our Broadcast TV Liberation Bus Tour.
Almost every week, we hear from a well-meaning person who tells us that TV antennas are dying – that we should try something else. If you happen to one of these people, we appreciate your concern.
But, seriously, here are three of the reasons we don’t listen to you:
Our sales are booming.
We make great antennas that deliver the best programming for free in high definition.
National business media is taking note of the growth of over-the-air antennas.
Yesterday, Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal, the most widely heard program on business and the economy in the country, posted a story about the cord cutting trend and the growth of antenna sales across the country. As part of the story, our founder and president, Richard Schneider shared his hard-earned wisdom, some of our recent sales numbers and the work that remains to be done.
“Right now we are only selling to the minority that knows that over-the-air even exists,” he said. “People we talk to aren’t even aware that you can get digital TV for free.”
This afternoon, the Toronto Sun wrote the best article you will read today, called “Cutting the cord: 4 reasons to consider using an HD antenna.” Richard Schneider, president of Antennas Direct, laid down his broadcast television knowledge. Now, we can think of 100 reasons why it’s time for you to cut the cord, but here are the 4 The Toronto Sun narrowed down:
Better Picture Quality
Discover New Channels
More Time to Live Your Real Life
Thanks to Sean Fitzgerald and the Toronto Sun for taking the time to interview Richard and help spread awareness of cutting the cord. It’s exciting to see a large influx of people ready to take that next step and end their relationship with pay TV. If you’re interested in reading more, you can find the article in its entirety HERE.
Today, you may have opened up your mailbox only to see that dreaded monthly cable bill again. They want an additional $7.00 per month for those required cable boxes for each of your TVs. That’s another $28 per month on top of the hundreds that you are paying. Are you fed up yet?
Here’s some advice: Crumple up that bill and take a few steps toward free, high definition TV. I’ve recently cut the cord, and I’m enjoying the cord cutting life. Out of my experience, here are the 6 Steps to Achieving TV Freedom.
Step 1: Evaluate what you watch
Ask yourself what TV channels you actually watch. What are your favorite “can’t miss” weekly TV series, sports, news and weather programs. Get out a pen and paper and write it down. If you are like most TV couch potatoes like me, you might realize that you have been watching the major broadcast TV networks as much as 90% of the time. I’m talking about your local TV stations that are affiliates of the ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and PBS networks.
A word about broadcast television
Please allow me to introduce you, or re-introduce you, to the unnoticed world of free, over-the-air broadcast TV channels. You know those five great networks I just mentioned? They were the very first TV channels and programming broadcast over 65 years ago. They were free then and they are free now.
February 2009 marked a huge change and an even bigger free bonus for folks who enjoy free, over-the-air, broadcast TV. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) mandated the end of analog TV signals and required all TV stations to upgrade to the new digital television transmissions. Not only are today’s digital signals from your local TV stations’ stronger than ever, they are also absolutely gorgeous in sound and picture quality. Better than what you get with cable because they have to compress the signals to deliver them.
The biggest bonus of all regarding free digital TV watching….a lot of the TV stations in your city broadcast additional programming called subchannels. For example, in my town channel 18.1 is our ABC network and local news. The subchannel of 18.2 is the CW network and 18.3 is THiS network.
Step 2. Check your television
That new flat screen HDTV you just bought? It contains a state-of-the art HD digital tuner. You paid for it, you should use it to receive free broadcast TV. Have you notice the channel up & down arrows on the remote for your new HDTV? You haven’t been able to use those buttons because your cable or satellite company has their own remote. To use the HDTV’s tuner and remote, you’ll need to buy an antenna for local TV viewing – a one-time purchase that will be your own property with no monthly bill!
Step 3. Find your local TV stations
Go to antennaweb.org or antennapoint.com. This will be your guide in finding where all your local TV towers are relative to where your house is located. You will next need to put in your zip code and address. This will assist you in selecting the right antenna for your home. You can also see (before you spend a dime) how many available channels you will be able to receive.
Tom’s antenna set up at Thomas Video Studios in Eau Claire, WI
Step 4. Call or click Antennas Direct
Antennas Direct is the best company in the business. They are an American company with a superior product and world class call center. They will assist you in selecting the correct antenna for your home – all for a total investment of less than one month of cable TV. And then you’re done. No more cable TV expenses again. All of Antennas Direct antennas come with a lifetime warranty and is much more attractive than that old cable box or satellite dishes hanging on the side of your house! Go online to www.antennasdirect.com or shop at your local Walmart, Best Buy or Lowe’s.
Step 5. Install your antenna
On a nice day with only a few hand tools and a drill, you can enjoy just an hour or two with your son or a friend installing the antenna. You can also re-purpose the existing cable wiring for your TV antenna. First, locate where your coax cables join together. That’s where you’ll find the cable splitter that splits the cable to all TVs in your house. First, unscrew the incoming cable from the splitter and replace this with the cable you ran from the antenna on your rooftop. That’s it! If you have an outdoor antenna and you would prefer to hire an installer, Antennas Direct has some contacts for you as well.
Step 6. Channel scan your TV and adjust the antenna
Using your remote, go to your TV’s menu and look for the “auto channel” programming mode.This will allow your HDTV’s built-in tuner to scan the airwaves for all the available TV channels. You may have to rotate the antenna slightly to receive all the available channels, but that’s pretty typical with any antenna. One last thing to do before you sit down on the couch with a cold one. Pick up the phone and call the cable TV company to say “Goodbye!”
We have some truly amazing customers. We love hearing from our Antennas Direct clients with their feedback on their latest purchase. Patrick recently sent us a video of him reviewing his C2V antenna, and we were so excited with his feedback that we had to share it with all of you.
Last week, 100,000 broadcast radio and television industry shapers from 150 countries gathered in Las Vegas for the 2015 NAB Show, the world’s largest electronic media show. Perennially, the event has been the host of the latest technology surrounding broadcast media and journalism attracting brands such as CBS, Apple, HP, Samsung and, of course, Antennas Direct.
More than just passively attending, we love being a part of the show and learning about the future of television from some of the best minds in broadcast. Here are some of our biggest takeaways.
There’s (still) no better journalism than broadcast news.
“Broadcasters are more relevant, vital and trusted than ever,” said Gordon Smith, president of the NAB who also challenged show-goers to imagine a world without free over-the-air television. “In times of emergency, while other media may crash and fail, local television is there to connect the community.”
Broadcasters also continue to innovate how they deliver content to the community. Bart Feder, senior vice president of Tribune Media, pointed out that his stations are facing greater realities about how media is consumed, and they are taking steps to meet the demand.
“The reality is that people turn on Facebook before they turn on their TV,” said Feder. “We are the second screen in the two-screen household. The onus is on us to call the audience back. We need authenticity and a way to give the news greater context and meaning.”
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is a fan of free, broadcast TV.
While it may come as a shock to some in the industry, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is a big fan of over-the-air television. In his opening remarks on the second day of the NAB Show, Wheeler recounted the story of installing an indoor, flat panel digital antenna in his daughter’s home. He said she was floored when she realized she could get her favorite shows in high definition for free.
“Broadcast is an important part of our lives. And over-the-air provides our uniquely diverse communities with a shared experience,” he said. “With the high cost of cable bundles, consumers are perusing alternatives. One alternative they are perusing is broadcast TV. The number of households relying on over-the-air exclusively went up last year. We also see a growing number of people cutting the cord and pairing an over-the-air antenna with OTT services.”
The broadcast incentive auction is happening in 2016 (after five years of talking).
For several years, the FCC has been working on a plan to auction a portion of the broadcast spectrum to wireless providers. And, though it has been a long time in the making, there appears to be an end in sight. By Spring of 2016, television broadcasters will have the option to offer their spectrum for the auction. This means they may have to do a “repacking” of their broadcast. Wheeler says this is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for broadcasters and the auction will yield the greatest value for their spectrum.
What does this mean to fans of broadcast television from a viewer perspective? That remains to be seen. There are still some unanswered questions for the FCC and pending lawsuits. However, there is a potential for more broadcasters engaging in “channel sharing” and switching to a VHF frequency.
What is known is this auction is yet another business decision broadcasters need to make within the next several months to better meet the shifting demands of media consumption.
We have seen the future. And it was from a drone camera.
On perhaps a lighter note, the future of broadcast television will involve drones. The NAB Show featured an entire display and several vendors allowed engineers to try out the drone capabilities. As the technology stands, the drone will not replace the traffic helicopter, but it can add a degree of storytelling enhancement to broadcast news.
The FAA has yet to create a final list of rules regarding the safe use of drones and the companies who are licensed to pilot them are very few. However, with the fast scalability of the technology, most industry experts predict the drone coverage and usage will be an integrated part of storytelling by the next NAB Show.
Future for broadcasters includes deep investments in IT.
A broadcaster’s programming used to be simpler. You would create video for television consumption and this would be your single outlet. However, broadcasters now distribute content to websites, social media, Roku players, and mobile apps. And currently most internal workflows do not allow this to be managed in an efficient way.
However, Disney Corporation, which encompasses ABC, ESPN and seemingly most of the known world, has switched to an IP (Internet Protocol) format for their content. Currently, they are transitioning to a real-time distribute digital video to 150 different outlets. You can see the full panel discussion here.
Broadcasters face a lot of challenges to both their bottom line and their business models in the next year. And despite all of it, they are steadfast in their desire to provide free, over-the-air, high-definition television. Stay tuned as we create new ways to make more consumers aware of the choices they have to receive the best entertainment and news without a hefty cable bill.
Cutting the Cord Starts with an Antenna: Antennas Direct Featured on KUSI San Diego
The good people of San Diego woke this morning to the gospel of free broadcast television. In this below segment on KUSI, The Muscleman of Television, Bruce Pechman, points out that cutting the cord starts with an antenna from Antennas Direct. Check it out:
In addition to the never-ending sunshine, we know that Southern California will now bask in the glow of free, over-the-air television. Many thanks to Bruce and to KUSI News for their attention to cord-cutting – no longer a trend, but a reality. Stay classy, San Diego!
Have you ever struggled with installing a TV antenna and wish you had something to help you make the process a little easier? We had a customer who felt exactly this way, so he created an excellent install video where he takes you along each step of mounting, installing and running a channel scan with his Antennas Direct ClearStream 5 and DB8e antennas. His video does a great job showing how easy the install process really is and the excellent picture quality, even when splitting the signal between multiple televisions. Check out the video and big thanks to Robert for taking the time to share his video! Feel free to film your own install or review videos and share them with us on Twitter or Facebook, we would love to hear your thoughts.
Are you looking for an easy solution to cut the cord and say good-bye to monthly cable bills? Perhaps you are interested in adding a TV to a second location and you can’t stomach feeding the cable monster more dollars. A TV antenna is the quick and easy solution to FREE TV, but which antenna […]
Yesterday, our new Broadcast TV Liberation Tour road-tripping president, Richard Schneider, was interviewed on PRI’s The Takeaway about the booming growth of digital TV antennas. He was able to frame the importance of over-the-air television and its role in the lives of all TV lovers – across ages and demographics. “Over-the-air broadcast is the new […]
Almost every week, we hear from a well-meaning person who tells us that TV antennas are dying – that we should try something else. If you happen to one of these people, we appreciate your concern. But, seriously, here are three of the reasons we don’t listen to you: Our sales are booming. We make […]