If you haven’t seen a TV antenna recently, the thought might conjure up ideas of giant rabbit ears paired with grainy reception. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case.
The recent resurgence of antenna use isn’t propelled by consumers harkening back to a revival of simpler times, as might be the case with other nostalgic items, rather it’s more likely to be the result of people looking for ways to cut extra costs. By eliminating the need to pay for monthly subscription services, consumers can save $10, $20 or more each month, which adds up year after year. Antenna use is on the rise. Data from the research firm Park Associates reports more than 23 million U.S. broadband households regularly use TV antennas for over-the-air (OTA) TV viewing, and the Consumer Technology Association anticipates that 50 million homes or more will be using antennas by 2025.
When people first consider switching to OTA TV, they’re often concerned about how good the reception quality will be and how painful the installation process is. They’ll likely be pleasantly surprised in both departments and how smooth the entire process can be.
Let’s talk about antennas first, which have come a long way since they first arrived on the market. Technology has improved considerably and ATSC 3.0, also referred to as NextGen TV, allows for better reception and sound quality. Plus, smart antennas allow individuals to capture OTA content with built-in DVR functionality.
It’s a misconception that OTA only grants access to major broadcast networks, shopping networks and a few local stations. OTA TV is much more robust than that, offering more than two dozen multicast networks, including stations like Grit for Westerns, Bounce for African-American-targeted content and MeTV for classics. In addition to all four major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox), consumers can access an abundance of fast channels, local programming and even Spanish channels. Rescanning the TV every three months can help unfold new channels that might be available too.
Depending on your location, you might benefit from an antenna being mounted to your roof, indoor antennas now work better than ever and don’t take much time or effort to install. They’re also no longer an eyesore with some models designed to be thin, flat and even paintable. What’s great is that antennas don’t cost much, most indoor antennas are less than $100. Outdoor varieties average between $100 – $200.
Of course, if antenna installation feels daunting to you in any capacity, there’s always the option to hire a professional for a one-time service fee.
If you’re looking to save money without skimping on entertainment options and would like to consider testing out OTA TV, you can use this handy guide to help you get started.