What is a TV antenna blog, Richard standing on chair with an old pair of rabbit ear antennas

But What IS a TV Antenna?

You might be hearing more buzz recently about TV antennas thanks to ATSC 3.0 advancements, NEXTGEN TV and cord cutting as it continues to grow, but do you really know what they are? Where they came from, or how they work today? Let’s take a deep dive into the past in order to shine a little light on today’s groundbreaking TV antennas. 

At the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, the first commercial publicly accessible television broadcast was unveiled. And by 1948, 350,000 U.S. homes had OTA television sets.

Now when we talk about TV antennas today, we are NOT talking about rabbit ear antennas. You might remember back in 2009, the FCC mandated a switch from analog to digital television. When this switch happened, many people decided to switch to cable or satellite rather than opting for a digital converter box, alas forgetting they could watch their favorite shows live and for free with a TV antenna. Rabbit ears might have disappeared, but OTA television didn’t! And that’s where we enter the conversation.

Advancements in TV antennas have come a long way, by leaps and bounds. The designs are thinner, more streamlined, and less obtrusive. You don’t have to stand in front of your TV set moving the antenna left and right until your soap opera comes through juuuuuust right. Honestly, you’ll be amazed.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of a TV antenna pros:

  • No monthly charges
  • No internet needed
  • No subscriptions
  • Live and free access to local news, sports, special events and hit TV shows
  • Simple to install

Broadcast television is more than just your local channels. There’s ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CBS, The CW, PBS and so many more subchannels that will blow you away with their great content! You can check out what channels you can expect to receive at your location using our Transmitter Locator.

We know most people watch movies on streaming, and OTA is a great companion to your streaming setup! With an antenna get your local TV stations to watch breaking news, live sports, weather, and hit shows from broadcast networks, and watch movies on streaming.

But nothing is “really” free. When it comes to OTA television, you pay with your time by watching ads, and most people are already paying to watch ads on streaming or in fact, on cable channels. If the idea of watching commercials for pharmaceuticals or weight loss drugs is a turn off, you can always get a DVR to record your favorite shows and watch it later, skipping over the commercials. If you’re in the market for a good DVR, check out our friends over at Tablo.

If you’re in the market for a TV antenna but don’t know where to begin, we can help. Here are a few friendly pointers.

  • Be weary of range claims. Due to the curvature of the Earth, there is no such thing as a 150-mile antenna! The curvature of the earth will block most over-the-air broadcast signals at roughly 70 miles. So, if you see an antenna on the market claiming over 100 miles, RUN! It’s a scam!
  • UHF & VHF: What are these frequencies and why you need to know. The most important thing to consider when you’re buying an antenna is whether it’s suited to your needs. This means determining your location and distance to your OTA broadcast towers. Once you know your location, you’ll also know what frequency bands those towers are using. If you have both UHF and VHF in your area, you will need a TV antenna that can accommodate both. You can learn more about UHF & VHF frequencies HERE.
  • You’re not in this alone! Some people get beyond frustrated trying to figure out what antenna would work for their location OR have tried a cheap knock off antenna from Amazon that didn’t work for them and assumed NO antenna will work. Let us help you! Our customer service team is the BEST and can perform a free signal analysis to help determine the best antenna for your location and answer any questions you might have.
  • Speaking of cheap knock of antennas… here’s another place we shine. Unlike many antennas on the market that are designed overseas and sold in the U.S. market, our antennas are specifically tuned to U.S. frequencies to ensure they work the best for North America! Plus, we have a lifetime warranty and stand by our products.

TV antennas have come a long way in the past 80 years, and here we are, in our 20th year of business, and thrilled to say our sales continue to climb thanks to more people beginning to educate themselves on where and how they can watch their favorite content. Why pay to watch live broadcast TV when you could be watching it for free, in HD?! Have any other questions about TV antennas? Don’t hesitate to send us a message, leave a comment or give us a call at 877-825-5572.