Antenna TV is really the best TV for sports

There’s no getting around it. When it comes to live sports, if you can get it on your antenna, you should. The quality of a broadcast TV signal is closer than anything else to the experience of being there, and no amount of post-processing is going to help you gain back what was lost when your cable company got hold of it.

Why cable TV is the worst

Cable companies get the live feeds much the same way you do, with an antenna. Sure, some get a direct fiber optic feed but it’s still the same signal that’s being broadcast out through an antenna. It’s not the ultra-pristine signal that’s captured at the stadium, since there is some sort of compression required for transfer and broadcast, but it’s close.

Cable’s the worst because they usually overcompress the signal and even cut the resolution to be able to fit more channels onto the cable that comes into your home. DIRECTV’s system is much better, and honestly their signals are good but still… not perfect. Add to that there’s a short delay while the signal goes up and down to that satellite in the sky, and you don’t want to be the one waiting and wondering why your antenna-bearing neighbors are cheering, do you?

You can have both

Remember, the choice isn’t either/or… whether you have cable or satellite you can still use an antenna. Every television made in the US must be able to receive over-the-air broadcasts. Connect that antenna to the TV and you’ll be able to get crystal clear HD, instantly. Or, use a converter box which lets you add DVR capability by using any old hard drive or flash drive. You probably have one hanging around since you moved everything to the cloud.

What kind of sports will you get?

Now fair is fair… an antenna isn’t going to give you every game. For that you need satellite, because they’re the ones who are going to give you every possible game on every possible channel, as long as the folks in the leagues let them (silly blackout rules.) But if you can get it locally you should. You really owe it to yourself to get that perfect in-game experience.


This time of year is all about football. You’ll get your local team, usually on your CBS or Fox station. The league did away with blackout rules some time ago so you shouldn’t have any problem following the home team.


During the regular season, major league baseball games are blacked out using a very confusing set of rules. It usually boils down to whether the game is sold out and if it’s a home game. Unfortunately many MLB franchises have moved to cable networks and that makes it rough.

Once you get into the playoffs — and we’re quite close now — you’ll find those broadcasts on local channels for all to see.

Other sports

Here it really depends, city by city. In the larger cities, you’ll find almost every sport has moved over to a cable channel but in smaller ones it’s much more common to see games broadcast over the air.

What kind of antenna do you need?

If you’re not sure, why not get a free antenna recommendation from Solid Signal? Our recommendations are done by real technicians, not just from an app or web page. Plus, the Signal Guarantee makes it even easier to know for sure that you’ll get the channels you want.

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.