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10 Best TV Antenna That Picks Up Cable Channels

It’s high time to cut the cord and kill your cable box, free yourself from over-expense at the end of the month. There are better alternatives in cable tv channels. Trust us, we are not going back, though the cable service cost is still rising.

We’ll find an alternate way to achieve this. Cable tv channels are one of the best ways to watch quality movies and shows for all types of audiences. But, it cut huge amounts from consumers’ bank accounts.

Cable TV still has great outputs, but from now you no longer need to pay for cable tv channels, even if you cut the cord. If you are on the phone call, just cancel the cable subscription. Here are a few necessities you need to consider cutting the cord and going for alternatives.

  • Invest in HD Antenna: Your local broadcast networks require huge costs when you are under the paid cable tv streaming service. So, it is wise to cut the cord and middle man at a time. Today we will explore a list of tv antenna that picks up cable channels for your home or office. It will help you to watch your favorite network TV stations live with an HD version. And it will not cost you beyond the antenna purchase.
  • Use Cable TV Alternatives: There are a few best cable tv alternatives such as Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Fubo, and DirecTV Stream are perfect for every cord cutter. But, must avoid any worst cable tv, because they will suffer you in the long run.
  • Use Streaming Devices: Most streaming devices let you stream cable channels. Roku and Chromecast are well-known streaming devices. But, every device has pros and cons. If you need 4K resolution, fancy remote controls, and great ability to play games, then the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is the top device in our research.

Can You Get Cable Channels With An Antenna?

Even if you have the best cable or satellite package that suits your needs, you can still get the benefit of a TV antenna. You may have forgotten the TV antenna service for a decade. You will be glad to know that with the technology improvement, OTA (Over The Air Antenna) will access your full HD programs with no monthly annoying fees.

While other streaming services are getting more expensive, having OTA programs is great to choose from. You can also use OTA TV as an additional supplement for your streaming device. It won’t affect the quality of the streaming signal.

While OTA TV antennas won’t access you a huge number of cable channels like ESPN, HGTV and won’t let you watch shows on HBO Max and Netflix. But, it will give you free access to 4 major networks ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX with their subchannel depending on location.

These networks stream weekly NFL games, award shows, games shows, breaking news, and home improvement programs for free. Do you think buying antennas is a waste? Hold on and see the benefits of TV antennas here, even if you are a cable tv user.

What Type of TV Antenna Can Pick Up Local Channels?

There are plenty of TV antennas available on the market, but few are great to pick up local channels. As per research, indoor, outdoor, directional, and multidirectional antennas are best to catch radio signals from broadcast towers. Let’s explain them separately.

Indoor TV Antenna

An indoor antenna with a 25 to 50-mile range is best suited in urban household areas. Usually, indoor antennas mount on the wall inside the home. Dual-sided 3M tape is also used when installing an indoor antenna.

A coaxial cable also needs to adjust the distance between TV and antenna. People in rural areas may need an antenna with the best amplifier to extend the reception range. I personally like indoor antennas, as it makes things a lot easier compared to Outdoor TV antennas.

Outdoor Antenna

Outdoor antenna is designed for outdoor configuration. It requires extra effort to install outside of home. You may need longer cables, signal amplifiers, and drilling on holes in the wall to install this antenna. Finding an ideal position to get optimum signal from a broadcast tower is also a hassle for outdoor antennas.

You also have to run the cable from the antenna to your TV. Outdoor TV antennas have better quality reception compared to indoor antennas, but setup and installation are quite tricky.

Directional Antenna

Directional antennas provide reliable connections with increased signal strength. These antennas can easily pick up the desired signal while avoiding interference from other networks. It sends and receives signals from one direction only. It covers a narrow signal range of 50 to 60-degree angles, so they are able to reach farther to pull the signal.

Directional antennas work great where signals are poor and weaker. But, it must be pointed in the direction of the cell tower. And yes, directional antennas are more powerful than omni-directional antennas.

Omni-directional Antenna

Omni-directional antenna receives and transmits signals in all directions. This type of antenna provides consistent coverage in a broad area and does service to many providers while directional antenna only provides amplification for one provider.

Multidirectional or Omni-directional antenna covers up to 200-degree angles but with poor signal quality. But, it is great for boosting 5G, and 4G signal when building material is a barrier for cellular interruptions. But, you should pick the antenna when it has a great channel collection capability and good power of a signal.

How to Pick Up Digital TV Channels with a TV Antenna?

Hooking up an antenna and tuning it into local broadcasters may help you pick up digital tv (ATSC) channels. But, it will work great if you live in a big city while a small town requires more time for tuning.

Before investing in an antenna, check the local broadcasters if they have an ATSC channel lineup for running. However, to pick up digital TV channels with an antenna, follow these steps properly:

  1. Check your TV: Make sure your TV has a built-in digital tuner (ATSC tuner). Most modern TVs have this feature, older TV might miss this feature so, you need to purchase an external digital tuner.
  2. Choose the right antenna: Determine the type of TV antenna suitable for your location. There are four types available:
  • Indoor Antenna: Suitable for areas with strong signal reception or if you are close to the broadcasting towers.
  • Outdoor Antenna: Ideal for areas with weak signal reception or if you are located far from the broadcasting towers. Outdoor antennas generally offer better reception and range.
  • Directional Antenna: Works great where signals are poor and weaker. But, it must be pointed in the direction of the cell tower.
  • Omni-directional Antenna: Great for covering up to 200-degree angles but with poor signal quality. It is great for boosting 5G, and 4G signals when building material is a barrier for cellular interruptions.

3. Find broadcasting towers: Go to AntennaWeb.org or TV Fool to identify the locations of broadcasting towers in your area and the channels available to you.

4. Position the antenna: For indoor antennas, place it near a window or wall and point it to broadcasting towers. For outdoor antennas, mount it on the roof or in an area where it can point to broadcast towers.

5. Connect the antenna: Plug the antenna’s coaxial cable into the “Antenna In” or “RF In” port on your TV.

6. Scan for channels: Use a TV remote, go to the TV menu, and find the “Channel” or “Antenna” setup. Start channel scanning or auto-tuning. The TV will search for available digital channels in your area.

7. Save the channels: Once the scan is complete, you will see a list of available digital channels. Save these channels to watch later.

8. Fine-tune antenna position: If some channels have weak reception, try adjusting the antenna’s position and repeat the scan to optimize signal strength.

9. Rescan periodically: Channel availability and signal strength can change over time, so it’s a good idea to rescan for channels periodically.

By following these steps, you should be able to pick up digital TV channels with your antenna and enjoy free over-the-air broadcasts from local stations.

What Channels Can You Pick Up with an Antenna?

With an antenna, you can pick up local TV stations including ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, ion, CW, and many more. Unlike the analog days of the past a digital over-the-air, digital antenna’s signal is crystal clear with better picture quality than cable or satellite.

Antenna will also pick up sub-channels or Digi Nets including MeTV, antenna TV, Cozi TV, and several others. Most areas pick up between 30 to 50 Channels with an antenna but premium cable channels like ESPN, Hallmark, MSNBC or Fox News can’t be picked up with an antenna.

To get those channels you need a streaming service. Suppose.tv is a great website that will help you choose the best streaming service based on the channels you watch.

Keep in mind that it might be worth giving up a Channel or two if you can opt for a cheaper streaming service like Philo or Sling TV especially if you are able to supplement your local channels with an antenna.

So, what specific channels can you pick up with an antenna at your location? To find out specific channels on your TV, use antennaweb.org, Rabbitears.info, and antennamanpa.com to get ideas about channel lists, signals, antenna recommendations, etc.

Here’s a guide video from Antenna Man, that may help you! https://youtu.be/NLCyuqM0LLc?t=110

How To Get Best TV Reception With an Antenna and Get More Channels?

Assuming, you made a decision to cut the cord and enjoy free HD OTA (Over-The-Air) TV with an antenna. But, getting good reception will make everything possible. Here are a few incredible ways to get the best tv reception with an antenna.

Locate Broadcast Towers: As I mentioned earlier, to locate broadcast towers and available channels in your area, AntennaWeb can help you. You just need to enter the address and ZIP code. It will direct you to a coverage map that will show you which channels and towers exist in your area.

Additionally, it will show the direction, and distance of the broadcast station to your location. This map information is essential to determine the range of antenna to pick up digital tv channels.

Point The Antenna in Right Direction: Point your antenna to broadcast towers so that you can maximize the channel number. If the antenna is not pointed in the right direction, you may miss out on signal frequency as well as some tv channels.

Place The Antenna Near Window: If you are surrounded by buildings or other obstacles between your antenna and broadcast towers, it may hamper signal frequency. When you attach an antenna near a window, it has a great chance to catch a strong signal frequency.

The old rule also applied here, the fewer obstacles your antenna faces, the more signal frequency you will get.

Take It Higher: Antenna height is the most important factor in receiving signals from broadcast towers. Typically, the higher you place the antenna, the more likely you receive channel frequency. That’s why attic and outdoor antennas get more channels than indoor antennas.

Use a Longer Cord: To move the antenna closer to the window, you may need to upgrade the longer coax cable. You can also use the cable to make the position high so that it can receive the best possible signal from the broadcast tower.

Always, extend the coax cable at the optimum rate, too much distance cable may potentially weaken the transmission signal.

Avoid Interference: Interference between antenna and local broadcast towers can reduce reception and signal strength. It can happen when you have a wifi router and wireless device in the same room.

Though, you can test to see if they are the main cause of low reception and signals. Also avoid roofing materials, garages, trees, and nearby buildings because they interfere mostly with receiving signals.

Don’t Use Over Amplified Antenna: There are plenty of antennas available that are already integrated with amplifiers to increase signal strength. If your distance is 10 miles from broadcast towers, and you are using a 50-mile range amplifier integrated antenna.

It could potentially distort the signals from closer broadcast towers. When setting up the antenna, try it without an amplifier. If the signal is not satisfactory, consider using a good amplifier. But, if the signal is better without an amplifier, you don’t need to use an extra amplifier.

Rescan Channel: Signal strength can change over time. So, periodically rescanning your channels may help in getting better signals to pick up more sub-channel.

What Are The Best TV Antenna That Picks Up Cable Channels?

Finding important features on the antenna is crucial when you need the right tv antenna that picks up cable channels. Clear picture, sleek design, and no interruption of streaming with HD quality is the main thing everyone looks at on an antenna.

Luckily, our listed antennas are powerful to access your local channels with high-quality pictures. Here are some best TV antenna that can pick up cable channels.

1. WineGard Flat Wave Model FL5500A

WineGard Flat Wave is a fantastic indoor antenna that delivers impressive performance for cord-cutters seeking to access free over-the-air channels. It comes with a sleek and flat design allowing for easy placement anywhere in the room.

The antenna’s reception capabilities are outstanding, providing clear and strong signals for local broadcast tv channels. This antenna’s range of 50 miles proved it a powerful tool to achieve optimum reception of different channels.

You can also get an 18.5-inch coaxial cable to extend the range. Additionally, the WineGard Flat Wave Model FL5500A is compatible with both UHF and VHF frequencies. It also ensures a broad range of channels can be received.

WineGard antenna setup is easy. It doesn’t require complicated installations or adjustments. No matter, you’re a casual TV watcher or finding a way to watch local content for free, this antenna proves to be a reliable and cost-effective solution for an enhanced viewing experience.

2. Antennas Direct 8-Element Bowtie

The Antennas Direct 8-Element Bowtie TV Antenna, DB8e, is a powerhouse when it comes to receiving free over-the-air channels. With a remarkable 70-mile range, this antenna ensures access to a wide range of local broadcast stations from short or long distances.

Its multi-directional capabilities allow for optimal signal reception and make it suitable for indoor, attic, and outdoor. The special bracket that turns both panels enhances its flexibility. It allows users to fine-tune the antenna’s position for the best possible signal.

It is built to cop-up with all weather conditions. The DB8e comes with all-weather mounting hardware and ensures reliable performance rain or shine. The adjustable mast clamp helps you with easy installation on various setups.

Moreover, its 4K resolution gives you more entertainment and delivers crystal-clear picture quality. In summary, the Antennas Direct DB8e is a top-notch choice for cord-cutters seeking a high-performance antenna to enjoy free HD channels with impressive signal reception.

3. Channel Master CM-4228HD

The Channel Master EXTREMEtenna CM-4228HD is the best outdoor TV antenna that leaves no room for disappointment. With an 80-mile signal range, this multi-directional antenna brings a way of free over-the-air channels, making it perfect for low and high-distance areas.

The pre-assembled designed antenna doesn’t need primary installation. So, it saves both time and effort. Whether mounted on the rooftop or in the attic, the EXTREMEtenna delivers exceptional signal reception, ensuring a crystal-clear viewing experience.

This strongly built antenna is weather resistant, which means it can easily withstand good and bad weather conditions. This antenna is truly a game-changer for cord-cutters looking to access local and regional channels without compromising signal strength or picture quality.

If you’re in search of a long-range, high-performing outdoor TV antenna, the Channel Master EXTREMEtenna CM-4228HD should be at the top of your list.

4. 1byone Amplified HD Digital TV Antenna

The 1byone Amplified HD Digital TV Antenna is an impressive choice for TV enthusiasts seeking to cut the cord and access free over-the-air channels. This antenna’s best feature is, compatibility with both 4K and 1080p resolutions and ensures stunning picture quality.

Unlike other antennas, it has a smart switch amplifier signal booster, which optimizes signal reception, especially in areas with weaker signals. Whether you have a modern HDTV or an older TV, this antenna has all setups.

It’s a worthy investment for households with different tv models. It claims to receive TV signals up to 200 miles. This range is so appealing for users living in remote areas as it enhances the chance of capturing channels for various broadcast towers.

The high-quality coax HDTV cable and AC adapter make the installation process easier, and the indoor design ensures a compact and hassle-free setup. Additionally, the amplifier’s power can be adjusted to find the perfect balance between signal strength and picture quality.

The 1byone Amplified HD Digital TV Antenna offers reliable performance, ease of use, and exceptional value without cable subscriptions.

5. Mohu Leaf 30 Indoor HDTV Antenna

The Mohu MH-110583, offers an exceptional cord-cutting solution for TV users who want to enjoy free HDTV without the hassle of cable or satellite subscriptions. With an impressive 40-mile range, this antenna ensures crystal-clear reception of popular channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox, Univision, and many more in full 1080p HD.

Its UHF/Hi-VHF multi-directional frequencies are reversible. It can easily be hung on a wall or placed in a window for optimal performance. The antenna includes a 10 ft. detachable coaxial cable, along with hooks-loop tabs and push pins.

These extras make the installation process super easy. It is ideal for city and suburban homes, dorm rooms, workshops, and RVs. The Mohu Leaf 30 stands out as a top-performing and highly popular flat antenna on the market.

It’s important to note that reception can vary based on location and environmental factors, the Mohu Leaf 30 continues to provide a reliable and efficient solution for accessing free HDTV channels with 4K resolution.

What to Consider When Choosing a Best TV Antenna?

There are several factors you should look up when choosing the best tv antenna that picks up cable channels. The right antenna gets you optimal performance and access to your desired channel. Here are the key factors-

Signal Strength and Reception Range: Check the signal strength and reception range of the antenna. If you are located far from broadcasting towers or in an area with weak signals, you may need a more powerful attic outdoor antenna.

But, Indoor antennas are suitable for low distances to towers and areas with strong signals.

Type of Antenna: There are two main types of TV antennas: indoor and outdoor. Indoor antennas are small and easy to set up.

But, these antennas have limited range and reception. On the other hand, Outdoor antennas offer better reception and are great for weak signals or distant broadcasting towers.

Directional or Omni-directional: Directional antennas focus their signal in one direction and provide better range and reception for specific channels while Omni-directional antennas receive signals from all directions.

It also helps to receive signals though you have multiple broadcasting towers in different directions.

VHF and UHF Reception: Some channels broadcast on the VHF frequency band, while others use UHF. So, choose an antenna that can receive both VHF and UHF signals to access the full range of channels.

Multi-Directional Capability: If you have broadcasting towers in different directions, choose a multi-directional antenna that can pick up signals from different angles.

Antenna Placement: If you use Indoor Antenna, place it near a window or on a wall. For Outdoor Antenna, roof mounting is a better place. Outdoor antennas provide better reception, but installation may require more effort and expertise.

Size and Design: Size and design are also considerable factors especially if you go for indoor antennas. Flat-panel or paper-thin antennas are popular while loop and rabbit-ear antennas are also good options.

Typically, Outdoor antennas are larger but Yagi, log-periodic, and multi-element outdoor antennas are best for use. Above all, Yagi directional antennas are suitable for outdoor use.

Antenna with Amplifier: Some antennas come with a built-in signal amplifier to boost weak signals. It works well in weak signal areas but in strong signal areas, it might lead to signal overload.

Channel Interference: Co-channel warnings may get you in a situation where 2 separate transmitters broadcast on the same channel. One transmitter can interfere with another. FCC will attempt to avoid interference.

Those who live in two broadcast areas may experience difficulties in channel streaming. So, choose an antenna and a receiver that can resolve this issue easily.

Price and Brand: Price and Brand differ for each antenna. Go for a reasonable budget antenna with optimum support. Generally, well-known brands offer better reliability. But, lesser-known antennas also provide good performance, if you can choose it wisely.

Warranty and Support: Sometimes, antenna manufacturers give warranty and customer support. Both warranty and support can provide peace of mind, in case any critical issue goes with the antenna.

The above factors are sufficient to select the best TV antenna that suits your location, reception needs, and budget. A good antenna ensures a smooth and enjoyable TV viewing experience with access to your favorite channels.

Frequently Asked Question

Why is my antenna not picking up channels?

There are numerous reasons why your antenna is not picking up channels. You may live in a weak signal area, your antenna struggling to pick up the channel but failing.

Your antenna may be loosened from actual placement, which could impact channel surfing. Hills, trees, buildings, or other obstacles may prevent receiving signals from broadcast tower to antenna.

Check the cable quality then avoid damaged or low-quality cable.

How can I get local channels on my smart TV without an antenna?

With or without an antenna, you can access local channels on smart TV. Try some live TV streaming services such as Sling TV, fubo, DirecTV Stream, Hulu Live TV, and YouTube TV to get local channels.

ABC, CBC, NBC, and PBS are well-known local channels available in all streaming services.

Is there an indoor antenna that reaches 100 miles?

Typically, indoor TV antennas are designed to receive OTA signals from near broadcast towers within 30 to 50 miles.

Fortunately, I found two antennas with 100 miles range such as Professional Freeview Antennas and SANON Antenna. But, most outdoor antennas come with long ranges such as 100 miles, 200 miles, 300 miles, etc.

Will an antenna booster help get more channels?

Yes, antenna boosters can help improve signal reception, allowing you to pick more channels. Antenna boosters are also known as amplifiers or signal boosters.

It’s a device that amplifies TV signals received by an antenna. It helps to boost weak signals, reduce signal loss, and distribute signals among multiple TVs.

Final Word

TV antennas are excellent for receiving OTA channels. They can’t pick cable channels. Cable channels require subscription-based cable TV service. In contrast, TV antennas are built to capture free-to-air broadcast signals from local TV stations and provide access to a selection of local channels in HD quality.

TV antennas still remain popular to all cord-cutters and they use it to enhance the TV viewing experience with free local channels.