Antenna tips for city dwellers

chicago gray sky

Just because you own a TV doesn’t mean you have to pay each month to watch shows on it. Did you know you can watch countless live TV shows, news and events without paying for cable or a satellite dish? If you’re a city dweller with a great internet connection, you might prefer to use affordable streaming apps combined with an antenna to catch local programming. You can pick up free television with an over-the-air (OTA) antenna to watch as much free TV as you’d like.

Opting for OTA television can save you money while still fulfilling all your entertainment needs. With the right antenna, you can bypass cable and satellite companies completely. All it takes is a little time to locate the best placement for you to receive the clearest signal. Then you can use the extra money you’ll save on doing all the fun things your city has to offer — like dining out, attending cultural events and having nights out with friends, rather than spending it on a monthly bill that can easily top $100.

Best TV Antennas For City Apartments

If you decide to go the OTA route, you’ll need to purchase an antenna, which is fairly economical and just a one-time cost. Once you’ve installed one, you’ll be able to watch as much TV as you’d like — for free.

There are also a few key things to keep in mind: how much range the antenna has (i.e., the distance between your house and where the signal can be picked up), where you’ll place it (on the roof of the building or in your unit), and your budget. Since you’re in the city, you won’t need to worry too much about the range as you’ll likely be closer to the broadcast towers used by your local TV stations. The problem you’ll possibly face, instead, is that mirrored skyscrapers and large buildings could interfere with your reception.

Indoor and outdoor antennas each come with their own sets of pros and cons.

Common Antenna Problems in City Areas

Fine-tuning your antenna is where a little effort can offer big rewards. You will likely need to use trial and error to find its sweet spot, in terms of reception. This may mean spending time fiddling with it to see what exact placement provides the clearest picture. An antenna can still pose the same issue as a satellite dish would, meaning a bad storm might disrupt service at times.

Tall skyscrapers and trees, power lines and cell towers can cause signal loss for viewers in cities. Other home elements, such as the construction materials that make up your house or apartment, appliances and LED lightbulbs, can also cause interference. That’s why buying a high-quality antenna is the best first step. The second is figuring out where you’ll place it. An outdoor antenna will work well on the roof while an indoor one works well when located near a window or a second-story or in an attic.

The Best Antennas for City Dwellers

If you want to reduce your costs and try OTA, here are the best antennas for city dwellers, based on our research.

Channel Master Flatenna+: An attractively sleek option, this set, which includes the Flatenna indoor antenna plus a MicroAmp indoor antenna amplifier, is one of the best options available for urbanites. It’s easy to install and provides the option of adding amplification to boost signals in indoor environments where it might be difficult to receive a signal. It’s available on Amazon for $56 (amplified) and $29 (non-amplified).

DigiWave Panel UHF Outdoor TV Antenna ANT2088: Compatible with digital tuners, TVs and DVRs (yes, you can also record shows that come in through your OTA antenna to watch later), this compact antenna receives clear high-definition signals from broadcast towers up to 70 miles away. While it’s listed as a wind-resistant outdoor antenna, customers have noted having more luck when this is mounted in their attics. Find it on Amazon for $46.66.

Winegard Platinum Series HD7694P Long Range Antenna: Receive signals 45 – 65 miles away for digital TV with this high-performance outdoor directional antenna. Find out where nearby towers are and check for obstructions via the nifty augmented reality app that comes with it. Ultra HD and ATSC 3.0 (aka NextGen TV) ready, it’s available on Amazon for around $150.

Hopefully these tips will help you be on your way to enjoying free OTA television and will save you some cash in the long run. After all, living in the city is expensive enough!

Getting Started With OTA

The best antennas recommended by experts in the industry to get the most out of your OTA experience.