In today’s technology-driven world, most of us automatically assume that we must pay high-monthly fees to watch our favorite TV shows. We’ve always had to pay high amounts for our monthly cable subscription. We’ve gotten used to it, we’ve factored in this payment into our monthly budgets, and we’ve accepted the fact that we will always have to pay large amounts of money if we want access to the television shows that we want to watch.
However, for some Americans the cost of cable television is becoming expensive and prohibitive. That has led them to get creative and start looking into other options for TV access. Many people are opting out of their cable subscriptions and replacing them with digital television antennas.
What is a TV Antenna?
A television antenna (sometimes called an aerial) is a metal conductor specifically designed to transmit, send and receive over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV signals at a certain frequency.
Is a Digital Antenna the Right Choice for You?
Antennas have changed dramatically in the last decade due to advances in digital technology. Antenna manufacturers are able to produce devices that are a fraction of the size of their outdated, cumbersome rabbit ear cousins with superior signal capability and high-frequency quality. Powerful yet sleek and inconspicuously designed, the word is out: Antennas instead of cable means you’ll watch TV for free again.
How Do Antennas Work?
Unlike digital cable that works by bringing the signals for TV programming directly into your televisions set, digital antennas simply pick up a broadcast signal that is traveling over the airways. Unless you live in a spot with physical obstacles such as a mountain range, deep valley or tall buildings, most households will pick up at least five free stations and in some cases, as many as 70.
Are You Within Range?
Most homes located in cities or populated areas are able to receive signals with either an indoor or outdoor antenna. A roof antenna is generally suggested if you live in a remote area, far away from broadcast towers. If you’d like to know if you’re within range to receive broadcast TV signals (ATSC) from an antenna, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have come up with a color-coded labeling system to help consumers determine the best antenna type for their purposes. You can go to AntennaWeb.org, enter your location and get information about the best antenna model for your personal preferences and situation.
Do Digital Antennas Really Work?
Ask Amadou Diallo, a frequent contributing technology and digital imaging writer for Forbes. In his October 16, 2013 article entitled “Ready to Cut the Cable TV Cord? Here’s How to Do It,” he personally sets out to test the theory that one can watch TV for free without buying a cable subscription. Diallo explains, “I put a couple of units to the test and found that the new breed of antennas really work as advertised. In an environment like New York City with numerous obstacles to transmission towers, a major selling point of cable TV in the analog era was that it was the only reliable way to get a clear signal from the free network channels. But today, on a lower floor of my Brooklyn brownstone, I can get 60 OTA channels with a small tabletop antenna…”
Most television stations broadcast in over-the-air HD signal, so you may be able to get high-def transmissions, especially in metropolitan areas.
Cable or Antenna?
Antennas are a cost-effective and ease-of-use alternative to cable. To find out more facts about digital antennas, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers consumers a comprehensive guide “Antennas and Digital Television” that will help you decide if cable or antenna is the best choice for you. Happy viewing!
Nicole is a blogger for the technology industry. She loves researching and writing about anything to do with technology, including everything from television reception to how computers are made. In her opinion, All Clear Antennas offers the best TV antenna repair services she could find.