Full-power U.S. TV stations switched from analog to digital transmissions in June 2009.
Although cable and satellite TV providers boast about who has the most high-definition (HD) channels, some HD channels can actually be viewed without subscribing to either type of service. One of the benefits of digital over-the-air (OTA) transmissions is the much greater bandwidth available with the signal, which allows for multicasting–separate, distinct sub-channels within the main signal, which can include channels in HD. These channels can be received with an HDTV and the proper accessories and connections.
1. Purchase an antenna for your HDTV that can tune in both UHF and VHF channels. Although many antennas in stores market themselves specifically as HDTV antennas, nearly every antenna that could pick up analog signals can pick up digital ones as well, including those in HD. Choose an indoor or outdoor antenna based on what works best for your location, knowing that an outdoor antenna will provide better reception than an indoor one, and an amplified antenna will outperform one without amplification.
2. Install the antenna using a method relevant to the type of antenna you purchased. For outdoor antennas, this will mean deciding where to mount the antenna, securing the mounting kit to that site and attaching the antenna to the mounting, and running the cables into the viewing room. For indoor antennas, this will simply mean deciding where in the room to place the antenna. Then, connect the coaxial cable from the antenna to the coaxial input on the HDTV.
3. Set your HDTV to the “TV” input and scan for available channels. If you wish, visit the AntennaWeb website and enter your ZIP code and location to get a list of channels that should be available in your area. However, be aware that this only lists main channels and not sub-channels, and it does not designate which channels are in HD. The HD signal is generally found on the first sub-channel under the main channel; so for channel 6 or 7, the HD signal would likely be 6-1 or 7-1.
4. Adjust the location and/or position of your antenna if you are not receiving certain local channels and rescan with your TV, repeating the process until you receive the best reception.