Free OTA Broadcast TV

You can LEGALLY still watch Broadcast TV without having to pay huge sums for cable or satellite TV. OTA (Over-The-Air) Broadcast TV is still available for free. You do not need a descrambler box. Most of the newish TVs (any of the thin flat TVs)  are capable of receiving the OTA digital signal without any extra help. You will not be watching cable channels like HBO or Cartoon Network. But you can watch ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS and a few that you may not have heard about such as

COZI hit movies and iconic television series

GETTV action, crime, comedy and western TV series and movies from all eras

MeTV a variety of classic television programs from the 1950s through the 1990s

H&I primarily airs classic television series from the 1950s through the 2000s, with a focus on westerns, crime dramas, sci-fi, and action-oriented programming

THIS programming emphasis on films primarily sourced from the library of partial owner Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, also airs other limited general entertainment content in the form of classic television series and children’s programming

CW some CW affiliates are receivable over-the-air in border areas depending on the station’s signal coverage

GRIT features classic TV series and feature films targeted at men

LAFF specializes in comedy programming, featuring a mix of feature films and archived sitcoms

ION a general entertainment network featuring mainly recent and older acquired programs

As well as channels that seem to be dedicated to game shows. You will not get all channels everywhere. But you should get the basic networks plus THIS which has a lot of movies.

A couple of years ago, I bought the cheapest flat TV antenna that Family Dollar sold at the time (As Seen on TV Clear TV flat panel for about $15). I didn’t want to put much money into something that I didn’t think was going to work since I was 75 miles away from ABQ at the time and I didn’t know where the signal booster towers were for the area. The tiny town I was living in at the time did not have a local TV station. I got 8 good strong channels (9 if you count the Spanish language channel). I recently gave my little antenna to a friend so he could watch TV on his new TV. Our park has gotten rid of the cable boxes for now and we don’t know if they will get them back or replace with something else. Not that it matters to me. I tend to watch Netflix only thru my hot spot. Haven’t watched broadcast TV in a long time. When I get another antenna, I will get one with much longer range, probably a 50 mile one. The steel skin of the bus messes with the signal but the antenna does have a longish cord so I can shift it around within a few feet to find a window that gets a better signal. My friend got a few more channels than I did and he is in a manufactured RV. The antenna allowed me to watch TV at a ti when I did not have access to cable or a WiFi hotspot with unlimited data. I wanted something that would allow me to watch TV that was cheap and didn’t involve high monthly payments. I had been looking at RV park reviews and websites for the past few years and realized that I was noticing more and more campgrounds and RV parks that did not offer cable TV in their services. I looked into those portable satellite dishes like the Tailgator but I cringed at the price not only of the antenna but the monthly programming packages. So I picked up the little flat antenna and stuck it in the window of the bus. I was really amazed at the reception. Now the weaker channels would digitalize but the stronger channels were really clear and crisp. The only thing I would suggest is that you get a longer range (more expensive) antenna instead of the cheapest/shortest range one. I used suction cups to hold the flat antenna to the glass. It was easily removed for traveling.

Clear TV Antenna

To connect the antenna to the TV you can just attach the coax connector on the antenna to your “Antenna In” connection on the TV. Not very complicated. I had mine connected to an AV switcher that I bought at Wal-Mart. The antenna is connected to the “Antenna In” port and my DVD player is plugged into another connection using Composite Audio/Video cables (red/yellow/white plugs). The AV switcher is plugged into the TV using a coax cable. My DVD player and Coax for connecting to park cable is on one side of the bus and the TV is on the opposite side. I have a long coax cable under the the floor to connect everything.

What can you watch? You simply go to and enter in a few things to get a daily channel listing. This is a free service and you can sign up so that your choices are saved. But you don’t have to sign up. I did but have since forgot my log-in and password. When I get another antenna I will have to remember to sign back up again and write my log-in and password down.

On your computer, go to

Scroll down to the listings to “Provider” and click on “change”. A little pop-up window will appear. Use a local-to-you location zip code.

Choose “antenna” and you should have at least one “Area Broadcast” OTA Broadcast show up. In NM apparently that is only ABQ no matter where you are in the state.

Click on the Area Broadcast you prefer. The pop-up window will close.

Close any pop-ups for TV shows that appear to save your sanity. They are irritating and eat up data.

On the left hand side of the screen you will see a listing of channels. You most likely will not receive all of the ones listed. The bigger (more expensive) your antenna is the farther the range it has and the more channels it will pick up. The channels are numbered oddly (2.1, 3.1, 3.2 and so on). When you run the “auto channel program” for “Antenna” on your TV, it will cycle thru and only select the channels that have a strong enough signal to register. You will probably have to delete a few channels because the signal is strong enough to register but not strong enough to make a clear picture. You may need to move the location of the antenna to get the channels to come in clearly. I found locating the antenna in a window worked best. The longer range your antenna is the better your channels will come in. Get a notepad and write down all the channel numbers that you are getting on the TV.

Once you have your channel numbers, you can see what the stations are using the TV Guide Listing. Next to the Channel call letters is a little heart. You click on the heart to turn it red. This indicates that it is a “favourite”. Then you can simply go back up to the bar above the time line and click on “Favourites” and that will be the only channels you will see listed. This helps to clear out the you can easily see what is on the channels you receive.

Right now, I don’t have a need or desire to use my little flat screen antenna. It’s why I gave it away. I bought an Unlimitedville hotspot when they were doing the unlimited data plans for $50/mo. It allows me to stream Netflix. Between Netflix and Redbox movie rentals, I haven’t watched broadcast TV since July of last summer. But that is now. When I start back traveling again, I will more than likely find that I will be wanting to have a OTA TV antenna for those times when I don’t have cell service for my hotspot.


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