How Do You Find Free TV Channels With an Antenna?

Daniel Oines/CC-BY 2.0

To find free television channels with an antenna, plug an antenna into a television or a digital tuner device, make sure the digital tuner device is connected to the television, and then scan for any free available channels. The antenna will pick up any broadcasts within a certain radius, but it is possible that there are no television channels being broadcast in the area.

Originally, all television channels used analog transmissions that could be picked up by antennas. Today, however, most of the television broadcasts have switched to digital transmission, which makes it harder to find free television channels using an antenna. Use the following steps to find broadcasts that are still available through a simple antenna.

  1. If possible, plug the indoor or outdoor antenna directly into the television.
  2. Some newer televisions have a built-in digital tuner. If this is the case, simply plug the antenna into the television.

  3. Plug the antenna into an external digital tuner.
  4. If the television does not have a built-in digital tuner, the antenna will need to be plugged into an external device that has a tuner, such as a digital converter box or a DVR. Make sure that the device is connected to the television.

  5. Scan for free channels.
  6. From here, go to the menu on the digital scanner device and click on “Setup” or “Settings.” Navigate through the installation or channel settings to find an option to “scan channels,” “autoscan” or “program channels” to find free channels.