SOUND OFF AND WIN: What’s your favorite subchannel?

Is it ThisTV? Buzzr? Heroes and Icons?

There are tons of channels that you can only get with an antenna. Much of the time these are subchannels, which are channels that are part of the transmission that your cable or satellite company strips off when it puts a channel on its system. Adding subchannels to cable or satellite can be very expensive, but if you have a TV antenna, they come along for free.

How to get subchannels

It’s easy actually. Connect a TV antenna and aim it toward the broadcast towers in your area. Your TV has a menu that will let you scan. Usually it’s called “Cable/Off-Air” or “Antenna.” Just press the MENU button on your TV’s remote and poke around. You’ll find it.

A channel scan generally takes a few minutes and automatically adds all the channels that you can receive in your area. There are bound to be more than you expect!

How you know it’s a subchannel

Subchannels are identified by a dash after the channel number. With antenna TV, the main channel is the one you’re expecting, usually a major network like ABC or NBC. That will be the “-1” channel, and will have a channel number like “2-1, 4-1, 5-1” and the like.

Secondary channels, or subchannels as we like to call them, will have a “-2” or higher number. Some channels have 8 subchannels! The more subchannels you have though, the lower the quality overall so most major networks have one or two subchannels and that’s it.

Tell us about your subchannel experience

We’re giving away an HD-Blade antenna to one lucky commenter. This clear HD-Blade will work on VHF and UHF and is optimized for great reception within 25 miles or so from the broadcast towers.

One lucky commenter will be chosen at random from our social channels (including this site.) No purchase necessary to win and all that other legal stuff our attorneys would rather us say.

In the comments, leave the name of your favorite subchannel and you could win!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.