Digital Broadcast Television: It's free, it's clean and sharp -and the wave of the future! Cut the pay-cable cord and save megabucks!
So far, I'm getting 104 channels of perfect digital reception, which is not uncommon for a major metropolitan area.
Those cable TV providers can hawk their bottled water all they want, I'm just not buying the idea. I was actually able to take my family to Europe on the money I saved. It's all in where your priorities are, I guess. And I extend no sympathy to those who tried to pull in digital broadcast television on a cheap rabbit-ears antenna, gave up easy, and opted for pay TV.
But if you're the type of do-it-yourself person, who feels that quality television viewing should be free, do what I did 20 years ago, and go to any radio electronics store and they will help you select an appropriate roof-top UHF-VHF antenna, antenna rotator with wired-in remote, and coax cable.
You also might want to try out an inexpensive signal amplifier, but only after you have installed and used your rig for a while. In spite of what many have posted on the internet, the traditional roof-top UHF-VHF antenna still reigns king, and is absolutely required. But the electronics store staff may also inform you that your area is too sparsely populated and has very few digital broadcast stations in your area.
I keep a running TV Channel listing on my laptop and update and print out a new one, every now and then, when a new TV station appears. And I glued a detailed paper compass dial around the knob of the indoor antenna rotator consol housing, 360 degrees, marked at every degree. But you'll have to do your homework: Over time, fine-tune and carefully note the exact antenna directions of your favorite stations, and revise them on the master list.
To remove all doubt, I would suggest that you simply knock on the door of some person in your community who has a rotating rooftop antenna, to get the lowdown on the true possibilities. Don't be bashful, as most of us love to talk nuts-and-bolts. But, unfortunately, we're far and few. In my sizable town, there are only only three of us, as far as I know.
So check out this easy step-by-step guide, to see if free digital broadcast TV is for suitable for you, in your area.
I predicted, a couple of years ago, that free digital broadcast TV would run pay cable TV out of business. So I am amazed that almost everyone I know simply glazes over and still pays out monthly for cable TV.
Step 1: Are There Enough Digital Broadcast Stations in Your Area?
Your first step is to go to TVFool.com and determine how many local digital broadcast stations are in your area:
And click the link: "Check Your Address for Free TV"
Enter your local data to receive a simple, intuitive chart of the local TV stations, as well as the compass direction to each (sample chart below).
With a medium-size rooftop rotating antenna, you will able to view all of the line-of-sight television stations in the green (1st section) and yellow (2nd section) of the TV Fool channel listing chart -without the use of an external signal amplifier. Line-of-sight means that the transmitter tower(s) of the television station(s) are visible from your rooftop antenna, even if binoculars are required to actually see each transmitter tower. Local line-of-sight stations are noted by a "LOS" under the "Path" column, of the television listing's "Signal" column.
After doing this, some have opted for free digital broadcast, with as few as only two or three television stations in their remote, rural area, and dropped their cable TV subscriptions.
If the broadcast television stations plotted on the circular chart are from more than one direction from your home, then you'll also need to install an outdoor antenna rotator with an indoor consol (detailed in the next step of this Instructable).