How to Get Free HDTV


Introduction: How to Get Free HDTV

About: Field Guide for the Millennial Man

In this video I'll show you how to receive FREE HD channels using an antenna and an ATSC digital tuner. Of course you will also need an HDTV. The simplest and most cost effective thing to do is get a TV that has an ATSC tuner built in. Then all you need is an antenna. Imagine not having to pay your cable bill every month but still having access to locally broadcast channels. This video tutorial assumes you don't have an ATSC tuner built in to your TV but you do have one built in to your DVD player.

You can find out what channels are available in your town by going to They have a useful online tool that will tell you what type of antenna you need to pick up specific HD channels.

Remember back in the day you had to adjust the rabbit ears to pick up channels? ATSC DIgital Tuners and antennas function on the same basic principles. The difference is the channels are crystal clear HD digital now. No more analog (NTSC) tuners and no more snow. But just because the signal is transmitted in a digital format that does not guaranty perfect signal reception. I have noticed that during high winds and rain the signal tends to drop out occasionally. With digital signals the signal distortion does not come in the form of snow. The signal simply drops out altogether and most tuners will have a default screen that pops up saying "weak or no signal".

If you have an HDTV but don't have an ATSC Tuner built in you can usually find DVD players that have ATSC Tuners built in. The signal flow will look something like this. The antenna will connect to the DVD players Antenna Input, which will be an "F" type connector. This cable that plugs into the DVD player will come with the antenna and be permanently attached to the antenna at the other end in most cases. If not you'll need a coaxial cable. Next you'll need to attach the output of the DVD player to your HDTV input with a COmponent cable or an HDMI. Remember audio can be embedded in an HDMI signal but not with a Component signal. If you decide to use a component cable you'll need to also make sure you use an Audio Cable to connect your DVD players audio output to your HDTV's audio input.



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    Congress has sold off the remaining TV band to cellphone providers to help pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.

    Broadcast TV will be gone by 2015, you can thank our government for selling the public airwaves off to private enterprise.

    Yay capitalism!

    1 reply

    my dad would always take the coax cable and poke the copper into a beer can and BAM awesome antenna for cheap

    1 reply

    That works fine in strong signal areas. In some places you can get by with a bent paperclip stuck in the RF input.

    Really a special antenna is not needed to be able to watch HD programming over the air. A regular VHF/UHF antenna does a great job.

    2 replies

    I would pretty much agree with that. If you've got an old antenna in the attic that should do the job. I haven't looked recently but are VHF/UHF antennas still in retail stores these days? I suppose they probably are and are intended for other uses. You could always try a coat hanger if your desperate!

    He, he, he! I love the coat hanger idea! About your question, yes, some stores, albeit not many, still carry VHF/UHF antennas. As a matter of fact, mine is one and I get clear HD picture in my LCD screen TV. I get decent reception in my other two analog TVs, both are connected to digital converters. By the way your video is very professional looking. Thank you for posting.

    This looks so professional that it's almost spammy. But this looks to be just good, old-fashioned helpful advice. Over the air HD: the secret that your cable company doesn't want you to know about. Thanks for sharing, Nate.