To keep up with important news, sports games, and pop-culture events, I broke down and got an HDTV antenna. I’ve used a couple of models over the past two years, but I’ve recently switched to a new model from Mohu that has performed very well so far.
An HDTV antenna connects to the same coaxial jack as your cable box but gives you free access to any stations it picks up. You won’t get premium channels, but if you’re within range, you will get CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, local news affiliates, PBS, and a handful of other channels in HD — if available — without paying a dime.
That means that if your favorite shows always air on network TV, you can cut the cord without missing out on watching them live.
The only factor that distinguishes lower-end antennas from higher-end options is their range, which matters quite a bit. If you’re in a metropolitan area, you can probably get away with a shorter-range antenna, but that’s not the case if you live somewhere more suburban or rural. I recommend consulting TV Fool and AntennaWeb, two free services that will let you know which channels you should be able to receive in your area.
Of all the tech I’ve shown people, TV antennas always get the most positive response, as they’re easy to set up, save you money, and work surprisingly well. I brought one over to a buddy’s place to watch the Super Bowl last month, and everyone kept asking how he was streaming the game without cable.