Disclosure: Your support helps keep our site running! We earn referral fees for some of the products & services we recommend. Learn more

HD TV For Free: Guide to Getting HD TV Through an Antenna (Save Money on Cable)

Last Updated:

The picture quality an Indoor Antenna can deliver has greatly increased in the past few years. This is largely due to Digital broadcasting – which is an improved method of TV broadcasting that offers cable Television Stations for free over the airwaves. In June 2009, TV stations in the US switched over to this new standard.

How to Watch HDTV Without Cable

mohu leaf

Determining if you have a built-in HDTV tuner is the first step before a HD Antenna purchase. High-definition tuners, which are also commonly referred to as HDTV, digital or ATSC tuners, are tuners built into HDTVs that allow you to access high-definition television broadcasts over-the-air.

OTA refers to television broadcasts that can be accessed without any cable or satellite television service. Without a high-definition tuner, your won’t be able to view high-definition channels, even if you own a high-definition TV.

Many older TV sets on the market come as “HDTV-ready”. The problem is that HDTV-ready TV sets cannot be used for watching HDTV over-the-air because they lack a tuner. If you don’t know whether your TV set has a built-in tuner, look for the RF antenna connector on the rear/side panel.

Watch TV for Free

If you’re still not sure, check the manual or find out when the TV was made. The federal government mandated that all TVs made after February 2007 that cross state lines to be sold or that are imported from other countries must come equipped with a digital tuner.

If yours was made after that, you’re set. If you find that your TV does not have one, don’t worry, this is something you can purchase.

The Leaf is Currently #1 on Amazon’s Televisions & Video Products Best Sellers List!

Access Over-the-Air TV Stations for Free!

Searching for OTA Channels by Zip Code? Check out our HDTV channels zip code search link:

HDTV channels zip code

Suitable for those living in city apartments and for those in suburban homes, a compact HD Indoor Antenna lets viewers get Free HD Streaming in full resolution. To find out what channels are available in your area, visit a site called AntennaWeb.

To get the most accurate estimate, enter your street address, town and zip code. If you are in a rush or don’t want to give out your personal information, just enter your zip code. You will then need to answer the structural questions and click Submit.

The site will then ask you to confirm your location on a map; if it looks correct just click Continue. You will then see a list of stations along with the distance of each station from you…

Results can vary, but from my experience with a newer HD Antenna you should be able to pull in most of the stations listed within 30 miles of your home.

Example of a search for OTA channels by zip code in the San Jose CA. area:

OTA Channels by Zip Code

Mohu Leaf Indoor Antenna  — #1 Selling Indoor Antenna

When you are ready to make the leap check out Mohu; they make the best Indoor Antennas on the market and they are very reasonably priced. It only takes 5 minutes to plugin and you’ll gain access to the top 20 shows on TV in HD.

Local television shows are available too through Major Network TV Stations — such as NBC, CBS, ABC & FOX.

Leaf Indoor TV Antenna

The Leaf indoor television antenna is a paper thin antenna that connects to your TV and mounts on the wall, behind a picture, or just about anywhere to enable you to receive free over-the-air broadcasts. 

Performance:  In side-by-side tests comparing against other major brands of indoor antennas, the Leaf/Leaf Ultimate performed better on average than all others tested. The Leaf Antenna was designed by experienced antenna engineers who have been designing antennas for the US military for years (see their sister company GreenWave Scientific).

Leaf Ultimate Indoor TV Antenna

How to Watch HDTV Without Cable: The Leaf Ultimate is unlike any other amplified HDTV antenna available! The Leaf improves upon the top-selling Mohu Leaf Antenna by providing you with an additional range for remarkable reception.

For channels that experience occasional dropouts or pixelation, the additional gain of the Leaf Ultimate will provide a far more reliable signal than other antennas.

How the Amplifier Works: The Leaf Ultimate gives you a USB power injector at the end of the antenna cable to provide power to the amplifier in the antenna housing. You can power the amplifier by using the supplied power cable or by plugging the USB cable into a USB port on your TV.

There is not another Antenna like it on the Market!

 “If you are cutting the cable bill and streaming content…we have discovered probably the best thing you will ever plug into your HDTV. It’s the paper-thin HDTV antenna from Mohu.”  – HDTV Magazine

How to Install the Leaf Antenna

Installing Mohu Leaf Ultimate
Click Below to Learn More:
Indoor AntennasOutdoor AntennasOTA DVRs
Leafrsz_skyTiVo Roamio
Mohu Antennas are the #1 Selling Antennas on Amazon for a Reason!

Customer Reviews

…this time when I ran scan channels I was floored. My TV tuner found 14 channels. I was seriously impressed when I actually sampled the channels. I got 19 channels and three more (two of them analog) that do not work well. I cannot wait to connect a low power in line amplifier. With that I am sure I will get 22 channels, all with an indoor antenna and I do not need to reposition it to get them all. I cannot wait to see what happens when I position the Leaf to pick up stations to the North of me… 

…We ditched our cable last year for OTA signals and already had two antennas (purchased at the Blue and Yellow store) when I ordered the Mohu Leaf. The shipping was incredibly fast, the package was very simple, and the product installed in 5 seconds. Instantly, we went from receiving 15 channels with our previous antenna to receiving 23 channels with the Mohu Leaf…

…I used the HDTV channels zip code search tool. Everything looked good but I did not quite believe it. I was expecting my usual “ZERO CHANNELS FOUND” message. I walked out of the room while it was scanning and come back in and there’s Antenna TV playing. I almost passed out cold on the floor. This little paper-thin thing managed to get the Antenna TV affiliate from 70 miles away at my house between mountains. I moved the thing to the other window and got another 2 channels from another city 70 miles in the “other” direction…

So what do you have to lose? You will save over $1000 a year if you can just make the leap!
But you’re not done yet!

Now you need to look at how to combine Hulu, Netflix and a Video Steamer to get even more of your favorite TV Shows in HD. To learn more read Hulu + Netflix + Video Streamer = Big $avings. Then check out the Ultimate DVR Guide for the 2011 Fall TV Lineup – Most of which can be accessed via an OTA TV Signal!

As always, comments are welcome and encouraged. Cheers!

p.s. If you really enjoyed this post, please consider helping me out and spreading the word below! Thanks!

Ditch “Big Cable” Now – 3 Simple Steps to Cut the Cord

  1. Pick the right streaming service
  2. Get the content you deserve with the best VPN.
  3. Supercharge your internet provider

That’s it — you’ll save money, take back control, and enjoy TV more!

Page Updates

  1. Image changes. Pricing updates. Reworded some things.

  2. Image changes. Changes to formatting. Reworded some things.

  3. Image changes.

  4. Image changes. Misc changes.

  5. Updated one section. Image changes. Added some more links.

  6. Mentioned channel info. Updates to a section. Mentioned offers. Put related links.

  7. Updates to a section. Reworked one section. Additional links.

  8. Updated some sub-sections. Image changes. Pricing updates.

Frank Moraes
Follow me

53 replies on “HD TV For Free: Guide to Getting HD TV Through an Antenna (Save Money on Cable)”

So OK…. I’m in Belgrade Maine. Local channels are in Portland, 100 miles away. What would I need for local channels and FOOD NETWORK? Is it possible? Thanks

We have been with Comcast since 1985. Our bill is almost $200 per month for cable, internet and landline. We often call for promotions to have our bill lowered but its for a 12 month period then the bill goes back up in price. I have researched so much about antenneas, Roku, Mohu etc…. We only watch certain channels,,,,all the local (ABC, NBC, CBS), as well as AMC, Food Network, Travel and Weather Channel, our son watching all the sports channels (mainly ESPN), our daughter loves the TLC channel. We live 30 miles northeast of Atlanta. What do you recommend we do to get those channels??? Thanks in advance.

Hi Lisa – I suggest using AntennaWeb to find out where your local broadcast towers are located and make a list of the channels that you can expect to get. Then if you can afford it and if you live in an area that can support it would invest in a Mohu Sky Antenna. If you are still unsure or don’t want to invest that much, you can start with an indoor Leaf antenna. When you receive it, set it up, test it, optimize its location and start showing your family what you can get for free. Then add in streaming services like Netflix and use our TV channels page for everything else. Finally reiterate how much you could save and come up with some cool ways (with your family) to use the extra money. Then KilltheCableBIll! Good Luck and let me know how things go.

One more note: Yes, if you use our links to buy a Mohu antenna we get a small commission. But we only promote Mohu because we know they are the best Antennas on the Market, and without some way to earn money, there is no way for us to continue to support the cause. You don’t have to take our word for it. Do your own research, but when you are ready to buy, please consider buying through using the links on our site. (Same goes with Amazon Products!) Thanks!

Hi Melinda – you really have two options. The first thing you should try is moving the antenna around the house. You will be really surprised what just moving it a few inches from side to side can make. Secondly if that does not work, I would look into an outdoor antenna like the Sky. Check out this article to learn more: https://hotdog.com/sky-hdtv-outdoor-antenna-from-mohu/
Note: if you act today you can still take advantage of Mohu's 20% off sale!

You should have no problem utilizing existing coaxial cable. Any Antenna should work from that regard.

My husband and I just purchased an LG smart tv, we would like to get rid of our cable so we got an indoor antenna, it picks up 2 stations. The tv itself already has a lot of apps already installed like Netflix, crackle, hulu…etc. We live in WV, is there anything else that you would recommend getting as far as picking up more channels? Thanks

Is there an antenna that can be attached to a dish still set up on my house?? I live in the 03574 area of Northern New Hampshire and really hate paying for dish and/or cable. makes me sick!

Hey Arie – Hulu does not pick up entire channels. Hulu offers individual shows – so you would need to start with a list of shows you want, then search the different streaming services to see what is available.

we live on a sailboat in Kodiak Alaska, have a modem for wireless internet, a 1 yr old TV that probably has it’s own tuner – we have an antenna that gets 2 channels of local TV.
Will this work for us?

HI Debra – first of all. Cool i am jealous. Sounds like an amazing place to live. Yes that should work, or at least get you started. Issue you may run into is streaming capability using a wireless modem. In other words, wireless is typically less optimal than a hard-line because the internet signal can spike and drop over time – which will cause pausing in the video playback. 2ndly you may want to look into a MOHU antenna with an Amplifier. These antennas pick up many more stations and in better quality, then almost everything else on the market. Check out our posts on Mohu to learn more (you even get 10% off if you use one of our links). Hope this helps and please dont hesitate to reach out again if you have more questions.

I live in northern michigan, fairly remote.

all we want is sports . will it pick up NFL MLB AND NHL?

It will pick up programs broadcasted on Major Networks. So when NFL plays on Sunday, YES, when it plays on Thursday, NO because that is only available on NFL Network. Hope that helps…

To check which stations you would get check out AntennaWeb as mentioned above.

I have a blu ray and hd tv but need an antenna. Do I still run the antenna directly to the tv or if not how do I attach the antenna?

Hi Deborah – thanks for reaching out! Yes you need to hook the antenna directly into your Television – via the coaxial input outlet (same place you would hook your cable TV coaxial cable). Let me know if you have any more questions.

trying to hook up an outdoor digital antenna to our vizio 50 in 1080p flat screen. Cannot find the antenna in port on tv. We currently have 5 wire connection as we have been using an HD cable box from our provider. Want to get away from cable. Way too much money for way too little service

Interesting. Can you send me the model number and i will see if i can find the manual? There has to be a way to hook an antenna to this TV.

We do not have model number. All I know is it is Vizio 1080p LED I think. 50 in. screen. This was supposedly a floor model from Best Buy. ———- Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone

Sorry to ask again, but I think getting the model number is the first step. Even if it was a floor model, you should be able to find the model number on the TV itself. Here is a link to a webpage that VIZIO created, to helps people located the model number on their devices: [link removed] Please take a quick read and let me know what you find out.

Hi, Here is the only number on the back of our set. It is under a barcode, however, it does not state model number asis should. 091000486. Subject: [killthecablebill] Re: HD Without Cable – Using a Simple Indoor Antenna

I have been looking into this for a long time and would love to do it, but am afraid of missing Fox Sports West. I am a HUGE Lakers fan and see I can get their away games, but they play on FSN at home and am pretty sure I can’t get that channel with the Leaf. Any suggestions? Thanks and looking forward to buying the Leaf.

The first step is to find out what channels are available in your area by visiting a site called AntennaWeb. Not sure if you can get FSN, but i do expect you would be able to get just Fox.

For next year i would look into the NBA League Pass: https://www.nba.com/leaguepass/

And I assume you live in LA, but if not there is the All-Access Membership, but that blocks out local games… https://www.nba.com/allaccess/watchListen.html

Let me know what you decide to do. Hope this info helps!

Really if you are offered hassle free wire less access to your favorite channels in HD TV than you will surely go for it…It’s smart technology..

Absolutely. The formula is: Video Streamer + Indoor Antenna + Video Streaming Services (VUDU, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon VOD) = Huge Savings

That’s great!!! You have given the good idea for all the requirements.

Thanks. Please let us know how you have used HotDog.com to rid yourself of an expensive cable or satellite bill!

Its really smart option to choose for watching your favorite TV shows in HD and it also avoid hassles of cable wires

Well it definitely can help with the clutter. But more importantly it can really help with the cable bill!

Thanks for sharing the site called Antennaweb. It has really help in streaming in more channels.

Great Andy, Glad you found that useful. Positioning your antenna correct is everything. Just moving it a few inches one way or the other can make all the difference in the world.

This is a very cost-effective way to receive TV channels locally. It’s a good thing I have an HDTV that I usually use with my laptop connect to tv using a USB tv tuner. I think this would provide good quality reception for my HDTV.

Hi Emman – Thanks for reaching out. Sounds like your antenna is working well for you. I would still suggest trying out a Mohu Leaf, as they are proven to pick up many more channels than any other antennas out there. And when you think about what your paying, vs what your getting with an antenna – its well worth it.

btw…I have an older tv..made in 2001, so I don’t beleive it has a tuner built in…so do I need to purchase a tuner as well?

If your TV does not have a built in tuner, then yes you will need to buy one. But you should really make sure TV is not compatible before you go down this road. I suggest first taking a look at the back of your TV and If it has a standard coaxial cable male connector – chances are your TV has a built in tuner. Then you can buy an antenna and give it a try. Last thing i want you to do is spend money on a tuner unnecessarily. Good luck.

I just got rid of my cable…now after reading your article above, I’m still a bit confused. I know I need to purchase an indoor antenna, but do I also need a tuner as well in order to get any OTA channels??

You first need to figure out if your TV has a tuner. If you purchased it in the last several years than most likely it does.

Thanks for all the info. on how to watch basic TV stations OTA via an antenna. This article made it so easy to do. I killed the cable last week, hooked up a indoor antenna the other day. I get ABC, CBS, FOX and quite a few others. Not able to get NBC for some reason, but can’t think of anything on there worth watching anyhow. The OTA channels plus my Roku 2sx gives me more than enough programs to watch. Next will be to get rid of my landline.:) I keep thinking of all the money I’m going to save!

Hi Kathy – Thanks for checking in sharing your success story. Please keep us updated on how much you end up saving this year!

Hi Geoff – No unfortunately it will not. Will you be able to access local channels in HD – YES, but you definitely wont be able to access the internet.

Just received your KILLTHECABLEBILL.COM email.

First, how much is the LEAF? Second, I already have an outdoor roof antenna that picks up the nearest channels about 41 miles away which works great but I’m interested in what the indoor LEAF can pick-up on my other tv. I love this new free dtv in HD! And, I’m so glad that you are trying to get the message out to those billions (probably) who are still enslaved by the Cable TV Companies.

Hi Suzan – The Mohu Leaf cost $40, the Leaf Ultimate (which i highly recommend spending the extra money for) costs $89. Plus you get a discount if you use my coupon code. As for your second TV, again i would suggest the Leaf Ultimate. In includes a built in amplifier so those hard to reach signals come in crystal clear. Good Luck and please check back in soon to let us know what you decide to do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap