Learn how to get started watching your local channels for free!
Using an over-the-air (OTA) antenna is a great way to ensure you can watch live local programming in your area for free. Setup can be a snap, and best of all, won't require any nerve-wracking trips onto the roof or having a family member perform gymnastic feats with tinfoil-covered bunny ears in order to get a signal.
Let's take a look at how to set up and install your mini indoor OTA antenna so you can quickly start watching your favorite local programming for free!
Important Note: Some of these steps can vary depending on the manufacturer and model of your TV. You may want to have your TV's instruction manual handy during the setup of your OTA antenna. If you don't have the printed version on hand, you can often find your TV's manual online by searching the make and model number.
Let's get started!
Set up your antenna
Find the coaxial connection on the back of your TV and connect your mini antenna. To ensure a solid connection, tighten until snug.
The location of your TV's coaxial connector can vary depending on the model, so make sure to check your instruction manual if you're not sure which connection to use.
Set your input
Most TVs have multiple inputs such as coaxial, HDMI, USB or components. Your TV remote will have an Input button (could also be Source or similar) to switch between which of these inputs the TV is using.
The coaxial connection will usually be listed under Antenna, COAX, TV, or similar. Check your TV's instructions to find the wording on your TV.
If switching to your OTA channels from streaming on a different device, you'll need to hit the Input button and select the connection your antenna is using. If you'd like to switch back to streaming on a device, you'll need to do the same.
Scan for channels
The last step is to run a channel scan on your TV. A channel scan will determine what channels you can receive through your antenna.
The steps to run a channel scan can vary depending on your TV, but in general, this function can be accessed through your TV's settings menu. Check your TV's instructions for exact steps.
That's it! You'll now be able to watch your local programming over the air for free!
Have additional questions about your OTA antenna? Check below for more answers:
Can I use my OTA antenna with an older TV?
You can, however, you may need some additional equipment. In 2009, all OTA television signals began being transmitted digitally. Antennas are now configured to receive those digital signals. If your TV is from 2009 or earlier, it may only be able to receive analog signals.
You can purchase a converter, which will change the signal your antenna receives from digital to analog, so your TV can display OTA programming.
Digital converters are usually readily available at most home electronics stores or online retailers.
I'm getting a weak signal, what can I do?
If you're further away from a broadcast tower, an amplifier can help boost a weak OTA signal.
Amplifiers are usually available at most home electronics stores or online retailers.
If you're receiving a weak signal and are relatively close to a broadcast tower, try re-positioning your antenna by changing the direction it's facing. Once you've re-positioned your antenna, try scanning for channels again to see if signal strength improves.
How can I troubleshoot OTA antenna issues?
These are the most common troubleshooting steps for details with OTA issues such as low or weak signals, pixelated images, no sound, or missing channels:
Re-position your antenna
Visit the FCC’s DTV Reception Map here to see which channels you can get in your area. Try moving your antenna so that it is facing in a different direction or towards a window. Once you’ve re-positioned your antenna, try scanning for channels.
Scan for channels
If you need to re-position your antenna at all, or if you originally scanned for channels during inclement weather, try re-scanning for channels to see if reception improves, or if channels you weren’t able to receive previously become available.
Check your connections
Make sure that all connections are secured, and if you’re using any additional devices such as an amplifier or digital converter, that those devices are receiving power and that any cables are properly connected.