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You might not know it, but you can watch HDTV with an antenna. Read More Over 99% of U.S. TV households can receive at least one local sation over the air, while 89% can watch five or more. The picture is perfectly clear thanks to the switch to digital TV completed on June 12, 2009. You'll either see a crisp, beautiful image or no image at all (static is a thing of the past). And the best part? All your favorite programming will still be in HD. <>
Some viewers who have decided that they are no longer willing or able to pay for cable or satellite service, including younger ones, are buying antennas and tuning in to a surprising number of free broadcast channels. These often become part of a video diet that includes the fast-growing menu of options available online.Read More
Broadcasters, far from being troubled by the trend, believe it benefits them, according to Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters. He said broadcasters did not mind the move to over-the-air programming because those viewers were also potential audience members for the ads that support programming.
Modern antennas, which cost $25 to $150, pick up high-definition signals that can actually be crisper than the cable or satellite version of the same program, because the pay TV companies compress the video data.
But compared with analog broadcasts, which occasionally showed static, digital signals are less forgiving of interference and more likely to blank out altogether. At a World Cup viewing party in a Brooklyn apartment last summer, the hosts encouraged guests to limit trips to the kitchen and the bathroom to avoid too many interruptions of the signal.
The new antennas do pull in more programs than your grandfather’s rabbit ears, because of new channels that broadcasters added during the transition to digital signals. The broadcasters can fit multiple digital channels into the same frequencies that used to carry one analog channel.