Millennials have discovered antennas will give them free TV channels

Same here but I just say Gen-Y and that seems to help a lot people for some reason.

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Also, depending on the metro area you live in/near, there’s the possibility of weird indy over-the-air stations (which used to be viewable on the UHF portion of your TV dial) like MeTV or Comet, which show tons of great old cult films and whatnot. Even the commercials tend to be weird. It all makes for some very comfortable background entertainment while working, drawing, doing whatever.


CometTV is novel, I’d add. And MeTV has Svengoolie.


Well it’s not like cable news is worth while. It takes them talking heads an hour to explain something.

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I’m not from USA, but in Europe over the air tv is used a lot. In Italy there are a lot of really crappy local station but there are some quite decent free-to-air national channels. Everyone has a terrestrial antenna, and some people have a Pay-TV subscription by satellite. What I have noticed, that despite the aggressive marketing techniques more an more people are ditching the pay TV subscription, actually only football and sport on TV addicted are remaining with pay TV.

Either people stick wit terrestrial channels or they’re abandoning TV.


I’ve managed to live my whole life without any kind of cable TV. I think I may be the first person in my neighborhood to install an aerial antenna on their roof for decades.

Most people I know realize in an academic sense that broadcast TV is free, but a surprising number say “…but I get basic cable because the reception here sucks” before they even bother trying an antenna.


The times i had TV with access to local stations PBS was never among those, wonder what dark rituals i have to perform to get that. It was always crap like TBS, Fox, NBC, etc. Then again as i mentioned previously, i don’t really watch TV anymore so it’s whatever.

It’s also free on the internet thanks to Zattoo.

Terrestrial is not so free tough, at least in Germany, where they changed the signal encoding twice in the last 5 or so years so that each time, we had to buy expensive new receivers.

Satellite is free, though. Seriously: who pays extra for TV? It’s either paid already by taxes or by advertisement. Here in germany, we even have a separate tax which is unavoidable, even without a TV set of any kind. Enough ripoff aready if you ask me.

I’d rather have free internet access than free tv/satellite.


The only can of worms here is the antennae business has a cloud of hocus pocus around it that rivals mattresses. I’d really like some guidance on what is a good antennae for HD broadcasts. I have a rabbit ear with loop at center type, with a built in signal booster, but its performance is only so so. Its too directional, and adjusting it when you change to a particular station that is different than the others is a big pain.


Why not both?

Also free public transport.


About a third of the people don’t believe you can get hi-def signal thru an antenna. Or that there are 40 channels available (near Houston TX) Another 40 if you want to watch foreign language or religious channels.

I’m in the gen-X range and my parents had a roof mounted antenna with a directional dial that set beside the console/furniture TV (or sometimes on it). I remember using it as a kid…and then we got cable. OH HOLY SHIT it was all kinds of awesome. We still used rabbit ears on another TV until the mid 90’s or so. But here is something I don’t think a lot of the younger generation gets - “cable ready”. With that first cable connection and ancient TV we had a good old rotary cable box. Want to change a channel, you had to get up and go do it. And then along came “cable ready”…and we got upgraded with a VCR in 89 or so (still attached to that ancient TV). But it meant you could now sit with a remote and change the channel - it was glorious.

And now, NOW - 30 years later? Cable ready doesn’t exist. I have to pay ever month for the privilege of renting a box to decode the cable I pay for. Thirty years later and it’s the 80’s all over - fuck you TWC/Spectrum/Comcast.

Yeah, but it’s exactly what people had gotten used to paying for, amazingly.

I wonder what fraction of that third of Americans who “don’t know” you can get free television lives somewhere where broadcast reception is too terrible to bother with…


You mention Free-To-Air, which is worth mentioning as well.

In the US that phrase refers to free, unencrypted satellite channels. I’ve explored these, and they are an even more mixed bag, but there’s so many of these channels that there’s definitely a few diamonds in the rough (like NASA TV). Of course it’s highly regional, which satellites you can get. (The BBC satellites apparently can be reached as far as western Germany, but mostly you only can get them in the UK.)

Because i have no need for TV and would rather not have to pay taxes for it? Internet on the other hand i would gladly pay taxes for.

Also worth mentioning, if you are in an area with good reception, the over-the-air signal looks so much better (not compressed to hell and back) than what you get via paid cable.

+1 to PBS, even for us border hugging Canucks
-1 for commercials, obviously.


I recall Wyatt Cenac having a routine about hipsters eventually only watching TV, via rabbit ear antennas and sitting through the commercials. Authentic TV, the way it was originally, artisinaly crafted to be experienced.


But will they be able to master the complicated dance moves required to hold the antenna just the right way to get the picture and the sound for that one channel that never quite comes in?


Full, disclosure, I work for Mohu - the original flat antenna company. And we spend a TON of time educating people about antennas . I’ve personally been asked multiple times how much watching OTA costs per month. Or when looking at an antenna, how you connect it up to wifi or bluetooth.

Although, we are launching a network based antenna soon, so I guess it will be fancier like people expect.