Should you use the internet or antenna to watch TV for free?

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Stop paying for TV. I’m not just talking about cable: You can drop Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+, and you’ll still be able to watch TV for free. Sure, you won’t keep up with the golden age of live broadcasting, but you’ll have free 24/7 entertainment in your living room, thanks to both antennas and internet TV. If you’re really considering cutting the rope and sticking with one of these options, you’ll want to know what makes them special, but also, what makes them different from each other.

How does a TV antenna work?

Free over the air TV is still around to this day. In the age of wire-cutting, streaming, and generally very expensive TV, there are still free programs flying over your head every minute. However, you can’t access it using your TV alone, and you can’t rely on “rabbit ears”. In order to take advantage of this content, you will need an antenna.

There is a large variety of antennas, each serving a different purpose. If you live outdoors and not crowded, you’ll probably be fine with a cheap, flat antenna. These usually cost around $20, which makes investing in one less a leap. Antenna prices start to rise as their quality increases, however: some are capable of receiving 4K signals, and are able to pick up more channels than bargain options.

However, cheap antennas can suit you well, even in an apartment in a crowded city. However, you will likely need to do some serious trial and error to find the right place for the device. Unlike advertisements, which show the antenna resting on the wall behind your TV, in real life, you might find the perfect location for the antenna to be somewhere weird or limited.

Windows are the best place to start, especially if you have access to the outside of the glass, such as through a balcony, fire escape, or if you’re on the ground floor. If you want to place it on a wall in your home, you should be prepared to test out every square inch of available space, with the antenna in nearly every configuration imaginable. If the antenna is upright on one wall of my room, I won’t get a signal, but shifting it 90˚ brings in the channels. Don’t ask me why.

How many channels you’ll pick up depends on your antenna and your area. The bigger and better the antenna, the more options it’ll connect to, with some antennas claims a range of 60 to 70 miles. Again, if you live in an open and unobstructed place, in terms of your dwelling and the land around it, your signal is likely to be stronger than if you live somewhere with a lot of interference.

With some patience (and a bit of grease), you’ll undoubtedly find a place in your home that picks up just the right amount of ducts with a consistent connection.

What is Internet TV?

The most convenient and convenient option is to use the free Internet TV service. There are a lot of options, from Pluto TV to Tubi TV (for a full list, Check out my guide here). These services allow you to tune in to live TV absolutely for free, as if you had an antenna connected. If you have a smart TV or streaming device such as a Roku or Fire TV stick, you likely have access to the apps for these services built into your system, or at least available for free download.

There are two main advantages of internet TV versus antenna in my mind: The first is the sheer convenience. You wouldn’t waste an afternoon testing every location in your house for the antenna (the angle of the antenna is 90 degrees on this square inch of the wall gives me 20 channels, but the right side of the window next to the balcony gives me 45), because all you have to do is open the app and start in clicking. Of course, no antenna means free TV truly FREE: It costs nothing to run the Pluto TV app, while the antenna is an investment (albeit a small one).

The second feature is amount of the channels you will find. There is a seemingly endless supply of these free channels, and many of them offer shows you’ll actually want to watch. My favorite channels are those dedicated to a single show, like the Portland Channel. Who wouldn’t want unlimited, unlimited access to Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein?

Of course, all of these channels are supported by ads. Nobody likes ads, but you will deal with them whether you choose aerial TV or online TV. Ads are worse with Internet TV. While Antenna TV displays ads in a predictable standard timing, Internet TV will sometimes throw ad breaks at random content. You’ll be watching a movie on Channel One, when suddenly Dr. Squash cuts a dramatic scene. But hey, it’s free: It’s hard to complain about ads when you’re not paying for TV. Hell, you see a million ads when you watch cable TV, and you pay a lot for it.

It is necessary to have an Internet TV and an antenna

With all that said, Internet TV seems to be the clear winner: a similar experience, with number Setup Pain in the Ass? Why would anyone care about an antenna? Well, as you have gathered, I You still use an antenna, and for one reason: local channels. Internet TV is undoubtedly great, but it is the same everywhere. It offers a lot of channels that you might catch with an antenna, but local stations that only serve your area won’t be there. The antenna is how you can disable these options and stay up to date with local news and catch up on great programming from public stations.

I love having both options, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to get the full package.