This season, consider giving a gift that can save your friends and family hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over the long haul if they are a subscriber to one or more monthly subscription platforms for content viewing. A one-time purchase of a TV antenna allows people to view an array of TV options, from westerns to dramas to romantic comedies, without having to pay anything additional. Streaming services seem to get more expensive each year, but over-the-air (OTA) TV doesn’t require a login, passcode or any recurring fees.
What might surprise people about using an antenna is the quality of the reception. The big networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and PBS broadcast locally in HD image quality. The picture is better than it was with older analog broadcasts and might even be clearer than cable.
With NextGen TV, also known as ATSC 3.0, becoming more and more available throughout the country over the next few years, it’s the perfect time to explore OTA TV because it will keep getting better and better. Look for improvements like higher audio and video quality.
If you’d like to give your friends a gift that keeps on giving, here’s how to help them get set up with free OTA TV.
Find The Right Antenna
If your friend or loved one lives in an area with good OTA reception, the start-up cost will be minimal for an indoor antenna—less than $40. Some locations are more compatible with outdoor antennas, but it’s worth starting with an indoor model and going from there. View our handy guide to help choose between antennas.
If you frequent your recipient’s house, you may be able to set it up for them or to help troubleshoot, if necessary. Sometimes all an indoor antenna requires is to be moved closer to a window and for a channel rescan to be performed.
Consider Purchasing A DVR Too
A digital video recorder (DVR) allows you to record shows to watch when it’s most convenient. An OTA Digital Video Recorder is an antenna and DVR combined. OTA DVRs work in two different ways: via app or by connecting directly to the TV with an HDMI cable. Once set up, you can select preferences and record programming. It’s worth noting that some OTA DVRs require signing up for a low-cost monthly subscription to access every feature available.
Our friends at TabloTV currently offer two DVR options: the device only (if you already have an antenna) and a Tablo Total System. The Tablo Total System includes a 35-mile indoor antenna. Both are a one-time cost and you can record all your favorite network channels. As a bonus, you get over 40 additional free streaming channels!
With an antenna, you’re gifting a friend or family member the possibility to save money in the future. It doesn’t mean they have to drop their other subscription services once it’s installed; it simply gives people another entertainment option to explore. They may find they like it so much that they want to watch TV for free from now on, or they may use it pull back and use just one streaming service instead of several. The antenna simply expands their choices and allows them to decide what’s best. So, by gifting them with an antenna, you could be helping them keep more money in their pocket month after month.