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How Many Antenna TV Channels Can You Get for FREE

You’ve done it: you’re saying goodbye to costly cable subscriptions. I hate how they try to lure you back in with a long contract and promises of a better rate for a little bit. The industry is predatory by nature, and the consumer is left paying rising cable bills even for channels they never watch.

If you’re reading this article, I hope you’ve figured out that antenna TV channels are legit .

And while these channels are legal, you probably only get a few. Right?

You can get dozens of channels, but it’s all dependent on a few factors that you probably didn’t consider before.

Which Factors Impact the Channels You Receive?

See, when you turn on your cable television, you’ll tap into the cable lines and start to receive television right over the cable lines. This sounds great, and it’s a direct line to local broadcast towers. This allows you to nix the TV antenna and never have to worry about static.

Well, what many people don’t understand is that the broadcast tower will still send signals across the “airwaves.”

If you have an antenna, you can intercept these signals and start watching television. It’s a free signal that older televisions would pick up. Cable televisions didn’t always exist – people used to use antennas to get their television.

Cable is a newer technology, and it helps with some of the signal issues that people experience with their antennas.

See, the antennas are kind of like satellite television in that they can have disruption that causes the signal quality to degrade.

The “disruption factors” that you’ll need to know about are:

Distance from Broadcast Tower

The broadcast tower’s location from the antenna will have an impact on the channels received. Some towers are far away, so you’ll use an amplifier that will help strengthen the signal and allow you to receive more channels.

If you’re too far from the tower, you may not receive any channels – or you may receive some channels and not others.

Signal Disruption

The signal can be disrupted by objects in the way of the signal. Sure, many times there won’t be any issues, but if you live behind a mountain, your signal will be generally weaker if the signal has to go through the mountain.

You may also have disruption from cell towers and radio signals.

All these factors impact the channels you’ll receive.

So, now that you know these basic factors, let’s talk about how many channels you’ll receive.

Channels Offered on an Antenna for Local Channels

You want to know how many HD antenna channels you’ll receive, and this is a question that’s very difficult to answer. Why? Every broadcast tower offers different programming, so it’s very hard to say “39” channels.

Some people will receive 40 channels, and oftentimes, these folks are in-between a few different broadcast stations, so they’ll receive a few regional channels that would otherwise be unavailable to most folks.

In my local area, a low-end antenna provides 12 channels:

  • CW
  • CBS
  • ION
  • ABC
  • FOX
  • Escape

You’ll likely get a few stations, including a few local news channels. A longer range antenna allows me to receive even more programming, with 4 or more channels added.

Keep in mind that the channels listed above come in HD – so that’s my primary reason for listing them.

TVFox states that 90 of the top 100 channels are broadcasted by towers. The issue with this statement is that the programming may change from one location to another, so don’t expect to be able to receive 90 channels from your antenna.

But in general, you can expect to receive the following:

  • 12+ channels
  • ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS and PBS
  • High definition channels
  • Sub-channels (SD and HD channel duplicates)
  • Local channels

What a lot of people are doing is trying to install the antenna in the highest location in their home. One user went to their upstairs bedroom and installed the antenna to receive more than 40 channels.

The great thing about this is that the person simply needed a better spot to gain their signal, and I encourage you to try and do the same.

Now, even if you don’t plan on watching television in your attic, you can run a longer cable to your living room and watch television, too. If you feel comfortable using a coaxial splitter, you can even split the signal and watch television in numerous rooms.

Winegard, an antenna maker, also states that many people receive up to 50 channels or more on their antenna.

What’s neat is PBS, for example, offers numerous channels, so you may receive 3 different PBS channels with different programming. A better signal also leads to no breakups on the screen and a better picture.

So, I encourage you to try and aim your best hd antenna in the direction of your local broadcast tower and mount it as high up as possible.

It sounds tedious, but once you have it setup and receive your channels, you’ll be happy you put in the extra effort to get the best signal possible.

Clearing Up a Few Fallacies

I’ve seen quite a few fallacies regarding the capabilities of television antennas. Many people are stating, “I get HBO. I get Showtime.”

But these are premium channels, and you won’t receive any of these channels.

You can sign up for them separately from your antenna, with HBO Go being a standalone product. This is my guilty pleasure because I’m able to watch Game of Thrones when it comes out instead of waiting months for it to be available on Amazon or DVD.

So, a general rule of thumb is: if you pay a premium for a specific channel on cable, you won’t receive it on your TV antenna.

Again, many of these companies are starting to offer streaming options to customers, which is neat.

Wrapping up, you can expect 12 – 50 channels on average that are all provided for free thanks to your television antenna. Everything is dependent on your location, signal interference and the antenna that you purchase.

But you’ll never need to pay for cable again, which is so nice.

March 15, 2017 ,

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Jack here. I’m the admin behind Best HD Antenna – a site for hardcore cord cutters. I’ve been struggling to find a way to help friends and family cut the cord