Back in the 50's local TV channels were it. No streaming, satellite, and no cable. And now, local channels are making a comeback. They offer local news and local programming. They have picture quality that beats all the other video services (Yeah, I said it!). On top of all of that, these channels are free.


This Step is all about if you want to have local channels or not have local channels. Local channels are your local news, sports, and the big networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX). There are three ways you can get these local channels, a TV antenna, Cable TV or Satellite TV, and finally, streaming media services. If you can live without local channels, you can skip this step and go on to the next step.

Local Broadcast Channels

These local channels are known as "Local Broadcast Channels or OTA (Over-The-Air) Channels. Somewhere in your community, town, or city, there are one or more broadcast transmitters in towers or tall buildings. These transmitters have a limited range. As you travel further away from the broadcast transmitter, the signals get weaker. Additionally, large physical barriers like other buildings, mountains, or valleys will block these signals from reaching you. So, receiving these OTA (Over-The-Air) Channels is not a sure thing.

The ideal place to start cord-cutting is to replace your Cable TV or Satellite basic channels with a TV antenna. You get rid of the monthly Cable TV or Satellite bill for the local channels, and you then get these channels free over-the-air on your antenna. Of course, you will only get the channels that are available.

😎 WordCutter: If you already get your local channels from a TV antenna and you are a happy camper, skip ahead to the next step.

TV Antenna

You already have an existing rooftop TV antenna, and it is working. You are all set. If you want to install or upgrade an antenna, the SUBSCRIBER content will tell you everything.

Cable TV or Satellite

As you already know you can just stay with your Cable TV or Satellite service to receive these local broadcast channels. Before you choose to stay remember that you are trying to save some money here. If there is any antenna solution available, you really should take it.

Streaming Media Services

Several of the streaming media services offer local broadcast channels. For example, FOX news has national and local news coverage. The local coverage is your local TV station in town. So, you can get the news for your community. This is the same for ABC, CBS, and NBC networks.

Do they have the local unaffiliated TV stations? Not likely. It's just a matter of shopping around to get what you like.

😎 WordCutter: Remember, you can subscribe to more than one streaming service. You may have one for local channels and another for movies and TV shows.


Getting your local channels with an antenna is the best choice. Good picture quality (in most cases) and no monthly fee. Cable TV, Satellite, or Streaming Media Services is the second choice. You need to shop around and see what you get for the monthly price.

No antenna solution? How bad do you really want your local channels?



ACTION ITEM: Perform a "Walking" Antenna Survey

Do you live in a good reception area? Go outside and take a walk around the neighborhood. Look at your neighbor's rooftops for TV antennas.

If you live in an apartment or condominium, you probably have a built-in house antenna system. Looking to install satellite, do you see satellite dishes on balconies?

If you see a lot of antennas in your nearby neighborhood, you are in a good reception area. If you don't see any, it's either a bad reception area or antennas are prohibited by an HOA (Homeowners Association) or other local building codes.

😎 WordCutter: Tip - There are some web sites that will tell you what off-air reception is available for your specific street address. These are engineering guesses and only an actual TV antenna will tell you the real story, but you can check them out. FCC Digital Reception Maps which will tell what's being transmitted over your house. Also "Antennas Direct" will tell you the same thing (hopefully).

Your "walking" survey will clarify your local channels options.