How To Find Free Local HD TV Channels Over-The-Air

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Did you know you don’t have to pay for local TV channels? That’s because local television channels are available free over-the-air. The digital signals (formerly analogue) are sent from broadcasting stations and can travel miles to your home. Channels such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS are free for your home or office. You simply need an antenna, coaxial cable, and TV (or converter box for older TVs). You can even get HD channels for free!

How to Find Free Local HD Channels

Most 4k (2160p), 8k (4320p), and HD (720p/1080p) TVs have a built-in digital tuner that can scan an antenna connection for available signals from local broadcast stations. Depending on weather and other obstacles, channel strength can be inconsistent. But channels with nearby broadcast facilities, if unimpeded, are near perfect and can look and sound even better than cable or satellite!

To find local channels simply connect an outdoor or indoor antenna (here are some affordable options from Amazon) to the TV input of your TV, or, to a device like an inexpensive DTV box or Amazon Recast box connected to the TV. Be sure to select the TV or Antenna source (most TVs have multiple input sources such as HDMI1, HDMI2, USB, etc.). Use the channel button for your TV to search through channels manually, or, do an automatic channel search that will store all available channels over the air.

You can also use the websites or to final local broadcast stations by entering your zip code. The results will give you directions on which way to face your antenna to maximize the signal reception of a specific channel or network.

The local HD channels traveling through digital signals in your area should also be available from your service provider, but are also free over-the-air if you choose to bypass a paid service (also known as “cord-cutting”).

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Why Are Local TV Channels Free?

HD channels, along with SD (standard-definition) channels, are available as a public service from broadcast stations across the country. After the analog-to-digital conversion that took place in June 2009 digital signals (which take up less bandwidth than analog) are traveling in all directions. To receive digital High-Definition or Standard-Definition channels all you need is a digital television or digital receiver and CEA-certified antenna.

If you have an older tube TV that isn’t HD or Ultra HD you can still get standard-definition channels in digital quality using an analog-to-digital converter box that sells for about $25 or higher.

4k/HDR Local Channels

The first Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standard replaced the National Television Systems Committee (NTSC) that had been established in 1941. The next version, ATSC 2.0, with features such as advanced video compression and advanced video guides never launched because it was essentially outdated before it could be implemented as a standard.

NextGen TV (known as ATSC 3.0) is a major upgrade of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standards for television broadcasting that is slowly rolling out, but without any mandatory switch like 2009. The standard includes support for HEVC video channels with up to 2160p (4K) resolution at 120 frames per second, as well as wide color gamut, high dynamic range, Dolby AC-4, and MPEG-H 3D Audio.

For more reference on receiving HD channels over-the-air read How To Get HD Channels Free Over-The-Air.

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