How to Get Free HD TV Channels Without Cable


Hey what’s up guys, I’m ThioJoe. Now in the past I’ve made some joke videos
about getting free cable with one ridiculous method or the other. And while the truth is that you can’t get
CABLE for free, legally at least, you may not have realized that you CAN get most network
TV channels for free, even in high defition, at least here in the United States. If you’re like me, you might just be assuming
that really the only way to have TV service is to get it through the cable company, even
for the most basic channels. I mean sure there are TV antennas, but no
one actually uses those anymore right? Surely those only get you crappy local channels,
with bad reception and even worse picture quality. But that’s where you’re wrong. You see, all the major “network” TV channels,
like NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, and Fox, are actually broadcasted over the air, in high quality,
high definition video. And these can be picked up with a TV antenna
that costs maybe $30. And they don’t look like what you’re probably
thinking, which is a big metal antenna on your roof. No, these antennas are pretty small. This is one I bought on Amazon, and as you
can see, it’s basically just a flat sheet that you stick on the wall, or window, or
anywhere with good reception really. And I’ll put a link to this one in the description
if you want to get one similar. But the best part is you will never have to
pay to watch these. You buy an antenna once and good forever. I know this might seem very obvious to many
of you, but when I was growing up, we always just had cable as long as I can remember,
so I just kind of went on thinking that was how you got TV. And recently, I decided that I don’t really
watch TV ever, so I cancelled my cable subscription. The only thing that stopped me from doing
it before was the thought that I might rarely want to see what’s on the major channels I
mentioned before. I should therefore at least have the most
basic cable package right? Well imagine my shock when I found out I could
get all those same channels for free, and the radio signals were already flying by me
as I speak. So I picked up that antenna. For those of you who aren’t familiar with
all this, you might be wondering how exactly you do this, and how many channels you’ll
get. Well set up is really easy. You’ll first want to know how many TV broadcast
towers are near you, so you know how big of an antenna to get, for example mine is 50
miles. There are a ton of websites that will tell
you which channels you should expect to receive based on where you live. Once you buy the antenna, you just plug the
coaxial cable into your TV, and stick the antenna either on a wall or window. Mine gets similar reception even when hidden
away on a wall, so I put mine there. This particular antenna also has a built in
amplifier that’s USB powered, so I can plug that into one of the TV’s USB ports. Then once it’s all hooked up, your TV will
have some function to scan for channels, and that’s it. No waiting on hold with the cable company,
waiting for a 4 hour window to activate your service, or renting a cable box. Just plug and play. In my case, I receive a whopping 90 channels. Now, I need to point out, there are really
only a few of these channels that you’ll ever want to watch. You’ll have the main network channels and
some local news channels which are usually affiliated with the major networks too. And again yes, you might even be able to get
HD signals depending on the broadcast station nearby. But the rest are probably going to be crappy
public access channels, or spanish channels. Here’s another interesting fact that the cable
companies definitely don’t want you to know. It turns out, the high definition video signals
you get with an antenna, for free, are actually BETTER video quality than the cable stream
you would get for that same channel. You see, cable companies have to fit so many
channels down a single coaxial line, that they rely on heavy compression for the video
streams. The video will obviously still look good,
but you will definitely notice compression artifacts if you look carefully. However, over the air TV signals don’t have
this problem. They’re still compressed a bit, but not to
the same degree as cable channels. So these channels, particularly the HD ones,
will look really good, even better than cable. Besides the setup though, receiving your TV
through an antenna isn’t much different from cable. If your TV has a built in guide feature, you’ll
still be able to use that to browse through all the channels and see what’s on. It will also tell you the schedule for what’s
coming up next. If you want you can also set up a DVR the
same way you would with a cable box. You can see here there are quite a few to
look through, most of it just junk, but the main lower channels have all the stuff you’re
used to. The local channels probably won’t have anything
good running during the day, but you’ll at least get the news at night. I should also point out that it’s definitely
possible to have both cable and an antenna, depending on your setup. If you have a cable box that uses HDMI or
RCA wires to put the video on your TV, you still have that coaxial plug on the back you
can use with the antenna. Or alternatively, you could get a converter
box for the antenna, which could also output video through something other than coaxial. Oh, and if your TV is older than about 2007,
you’ll probably need a converter box anyway, since that’s when TV stations switched from
Analogue to Digital, and older TVs might not support that. When you get your TV over the air, there are
some other quirks you’ll notice. For example, with many of the channels you
get, there are also sub-channels. Like channel 3-1, 3-2, etc. The channel might broadcast different signals
simultaneously, whether it’s totally different programming, or maybe one is HD and one is
SD. Or maybe one of the sub channels is only for
weather, or public access, that sort of thing. And many of these sub channels are just not
available if you get cable. Now before I briefly touched on the fact that
you can buy antennas that have different ranges. And depending on how far away from TV towers
you are, what kind of terrain is around you, and signal strength, you’ll need a certain
antenna size. There are really small ones that are around
25 miles, and there are enormous metal ones that go outside that have ranges of 100 miles
or more. Some of them you can even remotely rotate
to get the best signal at different times. As for the technical aspects of TV antennas,
they will receive one of two types of signals. Either VHF or UHF, which stand for “Very High
Frequency” and “Ultra High Frequency”, referring to the radio waves. VHF is for channels 2-13, and UHF is for 14
to 83. VHF uses the lower frequency, larger wavelength
band between 30 to 300 Megahertz, and UHF is from 300 Megahertz to 3 Gigahertz. These frequency bands have different properties
in terms of signal range and how well they deal with obstructions. For example, because UHF is higher frequency
and therefore shorter wavelength, it can be received with smaller antennas than VHF. However, VHF signals may propogate better
across terrain obstructions like valleys and hills. In my experience, almost all the channels
come in crystal clear. But there are a few channels that are really
far away that are unwatchable because the signal is too weak, and it just looks like
a mess. My apartment also isn’t on the ground floor,
so I get a little bit more elevation that way, which would help with the reception. If you live on the ground floor, or in a valley
or something, you’d probably want to mount it higher up. Besides all that though, I think the main
question is why should you care about all this? As for me, I wish I had known more about over
the air TV before. Considering how little I watch TV, I wouldn’t
have even gotten a basic cable package from the cable company, because the only reason
I got that was to just have the main few network channels anyway. At this point, if I can get those for free,
with a cheap antenna, it’s a no-brainer. This is especially so considering that for
the TV shows I do like, like on HBO, I can typically just get a streaming service to
watch them. For example HBO has “HBO Now” which is like
$15 a month, as well as ShowTime and other premium channels. No need to go through the cable company, and
you aren’t locked into a contract, you can just buy the service as long as your show
is airing, and cancel it after the finale. So we may as well talk about some of the alternative
options for cable besides just broadcast networks. These days there are a few devices you can
choose from. There’s Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and
Android TV devices like the Nvidia Shield. Also, you might not need any of these if you
have a smart TV that includes streaming apps right out of the box. Once you have the device, then you’ll be able
to use it to connect to any number of streaming services. The big one is Netflix obviously, and the
ones I already mentioned are HBO Now and Showtime. There’s also Amazon Prime video which has
been adding a lot of shows recently, both originals and from big cable channels. And finally another big one is Hulu, which
has been around for a while. These services range in price, but are typically
in the 8-15 dollar range. Considering how expensive cable is these days,
it’s probably possible to get multiple streaming services to cover almost all cable shows anyway,
for a fraction of the price. Obviously the only difference is you can’t
watch the show live, you might have to wait a day or so. That may or may not be a big deal to you. In any case, the main point of this video
is to inform you guys about another way to get TV besides just going through the cable
company. Maybe some of you knew about this all along,
but I’m sure those younger than me hadn’t even considered getting a TV antenna. I know I didn’t. So I hope you guys enjoyed this video, let
me know what you think down in the comments section. If you want to keep watching, i’ll put some
other videos right here, you can just click on those. And if you want to subscribe, I make new videos
every tuesday thursday saturday, should be worth it. I’m looking forward to hearing from you, thanks
for watching, and have a good one.

100 thoughts on “How to Get Free HD TV Channels Without Cable

  1. i got a 14, dollar antena and i get the chanels crystal clear, in hd and put the audio out in my surround sound system , incredible , no more monthy fees, love it , i live on a second floor ,

  2. No joke, I totally enjoyed learning about this. I pay $130.00 a month hoping to loose that bill with this information. Thanks for your clear instructions. Thank You!

  3. First serious video …and guess what..went to Costco got one and worked but I live too far away in mountainous terrain…got only 2 channels..needless to say I returned it

  4. I live about 178 miles from the nearest TV station and with my antenna set up I have I pick up 75 Channel for free I do have a video of it on my page

  5. Can you suggest a good outdoor wifi booster for RV,s many in the RV community would be interested! Love your channel, Thanks for all the info!

  6. Thank you! One of the most informative videos I've seen on digital antennas! One point you could add would be advice on swapping out the cable that comes with the antenna for RG6 and advising folks to only buy the antennas that don't have a fixed cable so the cable can be swapped. The one you showed was a fixed cable attached to the flat antenna.

  7. Free TV channels are not even worth watching . except the news they treat free TV users like they are stupid . americas children need more than what they are providing and they know it . the poor can not afford cable so they are forced to watch outdated programs that have no up to date value for them . I am tiered of getting shafted because we are poor . I hope you choke on it .

  8. A damn antenna cost so much. So this video is helpful. I don't have cable I own a fire stick and you don't need to buy Netflix or Hulu. Everything they have you can find on firestick even Amazon prime. Like I said you can get everything on the firestick. Except live TV. So don't waste time watching a video on how to get free TV with your devices. It doesn't work.

  9. Koax cable + key ring step 1 put key ring on koax cable needle step 2 plug tv in and tape koax cable to wall

  10. is there a way to record a show.. ??? say the news if I am out .. I like to catch the news and another show ……. I can get these channels over the air .. and yes the reception is so much better than my basic cable…… but the cable I can record the shows I like……is there a way to record my shows …. what do I need … a regular dvd recorder? I have a dvd player but I dont expect that will record for me thanks in advance …

  11. I live on a hill in a major city I only care about ion and escape yet I can’t seem to access them with any clarity I’m so lost I’m tired of paying for the streaming data on my phone

  12. What is 'cable'? Do you need a satellite dish? In the UK you can choose from multiple separate providers for your internet, phone and tv services (although phone line+net is now usually bundled and not worth splitting). I was suspect after seeing the date of this video, as the switch from analogue channels to digital channels was in 2002. Before then, there were only five channels (BBC1,BBC2,ITV,CH4,CH5). The 'analogue to digital' conversion boxes were in all tv and tech stores from around 2002. Everyone bought one to receive the new digital channels. Modern tvs don't need this conversion box today of course, given that they can all scan for digital broadcasts, picked up either from your standard analogue brown RF cable (coaxial?) connected to the rooftop-loft aerial, or to the aerial above that tv (you'll usually receive get a poor reception with the latter). The boxes are really only required now if you have an old CRT screen tv. The analogue channels were removed completely around 2012.

    These 'freeview' digital channels over analogue are standard digital tv which everyone now has access to. Not a lot of channels, around 70 TV channels, 15 HD TV channels, and 30 radio stations. As it updates, channels change, new ones are added, and more 'online only' channels have appeared on the service, which require a smart(er) tv. More channels seem to have longer adverts, or advert breaks every 15 minutes. The few BBC channels are still the ones without ads. As with other European countries, the only thing paid for is that tv licence, around £150 annually. I don't know how that compares to cable if the majority subscribe, but if you can receive more channels without cable using a box, then you're likely on to a good thing. If you want a lot more channels in the UK of course, you'll need to subscribe to satellite tv or try another digital service, or add an online service such as Netflix to boost what you've got. The most popular broadcaster of satellite tv (Sky) has stopped including satellite dishes with their new subscription packages as of this year, so the focus seems to be on tv via fibre in future. Soon to be hogging up all that bandwidth 🙂

  13. Getting local channels with antennae and uncompressed too, better than the cable providers compressed signal, it's a no brainer. Also get a fire tv stick to get 100's of tv channels is the best way to go.

  14. At least here in Switzerland we have a easier an cheaper way to watch free TV than with such a little antenna:

    Zattoo, Teleboy and Wilmaa are three swiss companies, which allow to watch TV for free over the internet (Zattoo for example offers 245 free tv channels). 
    The only negative point is: There is some advertisment. For example if you switch channels there will be an ad like in youtube. But I think that is totally worth it.
    If you want it without the ads and with the possibility do record or replay something, you need to pay a little, but if you don't need that, you can use it for free.

    But I don't know if something similar exists in other countries.

  15. What if you are a child and it’s midnight and you can’t sleep without the tv on with Disney channel without getting nightmares??

    Asking for a friend…

  16. I am ashamed that I am old enough to remember when tv station broadcast would end at night..lolol I haven't used an antenna for tv in a really long time.. but I am so tired of cable having lived through the beginnings of "ON" tv back in the old day to all the cable upstarts to now the streaming wars.. I have cut my cable out and was curious as to the current tech out there for free over the air tv, as i will be streaming content I would still like to have local programming and news access so thanks for the informative vid..

  17. Good job! You answered all the questions I had about a FS TV w/no cable hookup. Gonna give the antenna a try. Hope it works in this somewhat "mountainous" area of NE PA. Thanks!

  18. I always think it's a joke.
    That's why I don't watch your misleading channel anymore.
    Good for you, trolling for fools is easy to do.

  19. We bought the same antenna you have and we can only get 2 channels. Would a converter box help this?

  20. You IDIOT!!! I thought this is for real. You look like one of them gullible nerd. I actually believed in you. No wonder people call you fake.

  21. Even if you want to keep cable, an antenna and a switch is nice to have for when your cable goes out. Your fm radio will pull in more channels with most tv antennas too. Last, if you don't mind being a season behind, you can get most hbo, showtime and other cable only shows at your library. You ARE paying for that with your taxes anyway.

  22. I bought this antenna and it just didn´t work in my place. I can tune only two channels although the website that measures signals says there are 6 channels with a strong signal. I got very disappointed 🙁

  23. Thanks a bunch! I'll order the antenna you have and see how it works. I purchased another one and had to return it. I only got 4 channels and 3 of them were for children…go figure!

  24. At 68601, I get 43 channels with a $30 Amazon omnidirectional antenna 25' off the ground… NO BILL! SPECTRUM here has a joke, $11 monthly "broadcast fee…" so I cut the cord. NFL looks better FOR FREE, on CBS and Fox and NBC locals, without going through a cable box. hard to explain, just try it…. It is called "uncompressed HD video."

  25. I purchased that flat white antenna and only received one channel. It was a piece of crap and is still packed away in my closet. Went and purchased a Winegard for $29.95 and now pick up about 30. My Winegard is mounted on an 18foot mast outside. I ran my own coax and then programmed my flat screen tv for over the air. I also bought a 'rabbit ears' antenna at a garage sale for 50 cents and with an adapter I hung it from the ceiling for my spare tv. Surprisingly, I get about 20 channels off that! So, you can get many channels on the cheap, just like this fellow says.

  26. When TV was first marketed back in 1948-49, it began as free through or over the air reception, all you needed was a good TV, and a good antenna to either put up on the roof, or rabbit ears antenna would work just as good too.

  27. If you have a TV antenna, can I ask you how you get your internet service. We have it in a bundle that I am trying to do without. THANK YOU for all your videos.

  28. When I was little, I thought antennas were like satellite dishes, in that there were various "antenna providers" that you had to pay. Typical cable kid smh

  29. This entire video shows your youth. Lol. Us old folk remember analog broadcast television, before the switch to digital broadcast, so we're well aware of free local channels. Digital broadcasting basically brought you more free channels you were unable to receive through analog. Keep up the great vids, kid. Your IT advice has been very helpful.

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