It has never been more difficult for parents to monitor what their kids are exposed to right under their roof than it is today. The litany of services many of us subscribe to for our entertainment, combined with unbridled access to the internet on so many devices in our home, makes it pretty much impossible to keep kids from experiencing things you don’t think they’re ready for.
The ‘Parental Controls’ Of Over-The-Air TV
That’s where over-the-air TV can be a concerned parent’s best friend. Unlike streaming networks like Netflix and Hulu, OTA TV is moderated by the Federal Communications Commission.
That means the lineup of channels is more kid-friendly. It’s true that violence and light adult language can be regularly viewed on the broadcast networks, but anything above a rating of TV-14 is rarely ever seen on them and almost never before 10 p.m.
Censorship is required by law for the networks you’ll find on OTA TV, including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS. The whole reason these networks are free to watch in the first place is that the airwaves they use are owned by the American public and regulated by the federal government. The FCC has rules in place regarding what can be said and shown on these networks, with the rules being slightly relaxed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., during the so-called “safe harbor” hours.
What you do get with the content on OTA TV are many of the most popular shows and virtually all of the top live sporting and entertainment events every year. From weekly NBA, NFL and college football games to the Academy Awards to “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Voice,” you’ll be able to watch them with your antenna.
What You Need To Access OTA TV
Ready to start watching free over-the-air TV? First, take this short quiz to find out which antenna is best for you. To make it easy to get started, we’ve put together two bundles of recommended equipment for watching free TV, including OTA DVRs that let you record and pause live TV.
If you live in an urban area or nearby suburb:
$64.99 from Amazon
This highly-rated indoor antenna is designed to receive frequencies 50+ miles away from broadcast towers. It easily grips smooth surfaces like walls or windows for optimal placement to pick up as many channels as possible.
Recommended antenna if you live in a far suburb or rural area:
$130.20 from Amazon
This powerful antenna has a range of 70+ miles and can be installed inside, outside or in the attic. It has UHF and VHF multi-directional elements designed to deliver reception in remote areas.
Pair your antenna with an OTA DVR to record your favorite shows:
Make your antenna smarter and give it the ability to connect it to multiple devices in your home with devices like TabloTV. Tablo lets you keep the benefits of pay tv (record, pause and replay) and also provides a 14-day TV guide plus over 60 additional streaming channels (all for free). Here are the latest Tablo devices available today:
- Tablo 4th Generation OTA DVR (2-Tuner model, no antenna): Watch and record up to two shows/channels from your HDTV antenna simultaneously. Included with the one-time purchase is the ability to record up to 50 hours of shows, a 14-day TV guide and an additional 60+ free streaming channels through the TabloTV app. The purchase price is around $99 and you can buy on the TabloTV.com website, Amazon.com, Walmart.com and BestBuy (online or in store)
- Tablo Total System, 4th Generation OTA DVR (2-Tuner model, with antenna): Same bells and whistles as the above 4th gen model, plus a 35-mile indoor antenna is included in the package. The purchase price is around $109 and you can get it on the TabloTV.com website, Amazon.com, and HSN.com
- Tablo 4th Generation OTA DVR (4-Tuner model, no antenna): Same bells and whistles as the above 2-Tuner models, but you can watch and record up to four shows/channels at once. The purchase price is around $139 and you can currently buy the 4-Tuner on the TabloTV.com website and BestBuy (online or in store).