Even with the best antenna, some TVs pick up channels better than others. Something you might be aware of is that different TV sets have different tuner sensitivity. Similar to radios, some TVs pick up more than others even when connected to the same antenna and coaxial cable, even with an amplifier. Since 2015, TV tuner sensitivity has improved. The brands that work best in terms of tuner sensitivity are LG, Samsung and Vizio. But don’t worry, if you own a TV set by a different brand, that doesn’t mean you need to get a new one.
If you have multiple TVs and have noticed one picks up more channels, try bringing the not-so-great TV to the same spot as the better TV. Connect it with the same cable from the better TV and run a channel scan. If it picks up more channels, it might be experiencing signal loss at its original location or that it needs a new coaxial cable. If you are connecting multiple TVs in your house to one antenna and coaxial cable, it’s important to use an amplifier. If you have a TV with subpar tuner sensitivity, you can purchase an external tuner.
How older TVs can become more enhanced
For older TVs that don’t have WiFi capabilities built-in, try purchasing a smart device or streaming stick (i.e. Roku Stick, Amazon Fire Stick, etc.) to help bring your TV up-to-date, so to speak. This is an affordable hack that allows you to watch streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube and Disney+ without having to purchase an entirely new TV. (Of course, buying a new TV is always an option, but might not be the most cost-effective.)
Another benefit of having a smart stick with an older TV is that you can use WiFi-enabled devices to wirelessly send your TV antenna signal to that TV too. Yet another hack that will save you a ton of money year after year! Use a two-tuner or a four-tuner Tablo device for this—neither use an HDMI connection but have DVR capabilities.
Two-tuner: Tablo Dual 128GB OTA DVR ($169.99)
Record up to 80 HD hours and stream up to two free broadcast channels from your HDTV antenna
Four-tuner: Tablo Quad 1TB OTA DVR ($239.99)
Record up to 700 hours and stream up to four free broadcast channels from their over-the-air HDTV antenna simultaneously
Does it need to have an ATSC 3.0 tuner built in?
Probably not. Most TVs don’t have an ATSC tuner built-in and if they do, they can be expensive. Even with this feature, if the tuner sensitivity isn’t great, it might not give you any more channels. Since this technology is fairly new still, there’s not much enhancement in picture quality. However, if you live in an area with heavy tree coverage and have trouble on windy days, it could be worth it for improving your reception.
What you need for a smart TV
You can watch all your local channels, favorite sports and events on a smart TV without spending money on monthly subscriptions. For over-the-air TV with a smart TV, you’ll need to have an antenna or download a free app from your TV’s app store.
Now that you know what TVs work best with an antenna, are you curious to try it for yourself? The monthly savings can really stack up!