In most cases, you require an indoor or outdoor antenna to pick up local over-the-air channels on your TV.
However, with the emergence of streaming devices, cable boxes, satellite receivers, and smart TVs, you don’t necessarily require an antenna to get regular TV channels.
These smart gadgets allow you to watch local OTA channels without connecting your TV to an antenna.
Even if you don’t have a TV, you can watch local stations on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop for free using various apps.
This guide explains how to get regular TV channels without an antenna.
Try using some Live TV Streaming Service (YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Freevee, Peacock).
Use a streaming device (Fire Stick, Google Chromecast with Google TV, Roku).
Watch live streams on official websites, YouTube, and Facebook.
Subscribe to cable.
Try using mobile TV apps.
Regular TV Channels Explained
Regular TV channels are Over-the-Air (OTA) channels that broadcast in your area from local television stations.
They were the only TV channels available until the 50s, following the advent of premium channels provided by cable and satellite TV.
Even with the emergence of premium TV content, regular TV channels remain popular as you don’t have to pay anything to watch your favorite shows.
Regular TV channels differ from cable and satellite TV as they do not require a subscription or special equipment such as set-top boxes and receivers.
Even though OTA channels are free and don’t require special equipment, you may need to install a digital antenna for your TV to pick up the channels.
However, TV antennas have their fair share of issues, from signal interference to physical obstruction, making them somewhat unreliable.
Why Are OTA TV Antennas Unreliable?
Bad weather and changing climatic conditions can lead to signal issues, ruining your viewing experience.
For these reasons, many people are now looking for ways to get regular TV channels without an antenna.
Ways to Get Regular TV Channels Without an Antenna
Following various technological advancements, you no longer require a digital antenna to watch regular TV channels.
You can get free local channels using various smart devices and gadgets for a fulfilling viewing experience.
Here are a few proven ways to get regular TV channels without an antenna:
1. Streaming Services
One of the easiest ways to access regular TV channels without an antenna is to use streaming services.
Several popular mainstream streaming services have a live TV option, allowing you to watch your favorite local channels without installing an antenna.
You don’t even need to be close to a broadcast tower to access regular TV channels in your area.
All you need to start streaming live TV is a Wi-Fi-enabled TV with a stable, high-speed internet connection.
Popular streaming platforms with a live TV option include:
While some streaming services on this list are free, others require a monthly subscription to access regular TV channels.
Most streaming platforms that require a subscription have a free trial program, allowing you to access regular and premium content for a given period without paying a dime.
Local ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS stations have an arrangement with most streaming services to have their channels on the platforms.
What Are the Best Live TV Streaming Services?
2. Streaming Devices
If you have a non-smart TV and want to get regular TV channels without an antenna, you can invest in a streaming device such as Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, or Roku.
These devices convert your non-smart TV into a smart TV, allowing you to access the internet so that you can stream your favorite local channels using the various streaming platforms.
Ways to Turn Your Non-Smart TV into a Smart TV
The best part is that these streaming devices, like Amazon Fire Stick and Roku TV, have a built-in channel list of local stations you can stream for free without requiring an antenna.
You only need to set up your streaming device and decide whether to download streaming apps with a live TV option or access the channels from the built-in guide.
How to Watch Live TV with Roku
3. Official Websites
Another easy way to get regular TV channels without an antenna is to watch from the station’s official website.
Many local and national broadcasters have dynamic websites with streaming options, allowing visitors to watch their favorite live TV shows without requiring an antenna.
You can access these regular TV channels from a smart TV or PC without additional equipment or software, making it more convenient and cost-effective.
A simple online search will provide you with a list of the official website of your preferred TV channels.
4. Video Sharing Platforms
Nowadays, nearly every TV station has a YouTube channel and Facebook page.
Many TV networks are taking advantage of these video sharing and social media platforms to broadcast their content and reach a wider audience.
After all, these platforms pay top-dollar to content creators depending on viewership, making it a viable way for TV stations to increase their revenues.
You only need to search for the name of your favorite TV channel or station on your PC or smartphone to start watching their live streams on YouTube or Facebook without requiring an antenna.
CBS News Livestream
5. Cable TV
You can get regular TV channels without an antenna if you have an active cable TV subscription.
Cable TV works by transmitting television signals to consumers through coaxial cables rather than an antenna.
Many cable providers include regular TV channels with their premium content in their subscription plans, allowing you to access local stations without issues.
You only need to connect the set-top box provided by your cable provider to your TV to scan for local channels.
6. Mobile TV Apps
The emergence of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices has transformed how we watch TV broadcasts.
That’s not all. Many TV stations have their own mobile apps, allowing you to access your favorite live channels directly from your smartphone or tablet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How can I get local channels without an antenna?
Answer: You can get local channels without an antenna via a cable box or satellite receiver. Many cable and satellite TV providers allow customers to stream local stations as long as they have an active subscription. You can also get local channels without an antenna through streaming platforms like Hulu + and YouTube TV.
Question: Can you watch digital TV without an antenna?
Answer: Digital TV does not require an antenna to access local channels so long as it is Wi-Fi-enabled. You can stream your favorite TV shows through platforms like Hulu, which have live TV options. Local and national channels like CNN, FOX, and ABC, are readily available with these Live TV streaming services.
Question: How do I get regular local channels on my smart TV?
Answer: You can get regular local channels on your smart TV by streaming them on platforms such as YouTube for free. You can also access local broadcasts on your smart TV through a cable or satellite TV subscription. Since smart TVs can access the web, you can stream local channels directly via their websites.
Question: Do new TVs have built-in antennas?
Answer: Very few new TV models have built-in antennas for broadcast purposes. In anticipation of adopting the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC 3.0) standard, mainstream manufacturers such as Sony, LG, and Samsung are releasing smart TVs with built-in NextGen tuners. These tuners can pick up local over-the-air channels without requiring an external antenna. Some older TVs may have built-in antennas, but these are for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
Question: How can I get local channels on my smart TV for free?
Answer: One of the easiest ways to get local channels on your smart TV for free is through free streaming services like LocalBTV, Pluto TV, and Vuit. Platforms like YouTube TV also offer free access to selected channels. You can also take advantage of free trials offered by mainstream apps like Hulu Live TV to get local stations on your telly.