Can you run an antenna TV system with a generator?

Winter’s storms aren’t that far away. For many people in the north, it’s time to get ready to stay indoors. That means being prepared for long, slow days without a lot to entertain us.

How to keep up to date

When those storms strike you’ll need a good source of information. Cable TV isn’t going to help… it seems like that’s the first thing to go down in a winter storm. Luckily most folks don’t rely on landlines. Cell phones are a little more reliable but if winter (or a reckless driver) aren’t kind to your local tower, you could be out of luck for a while. There is one way to get the news you need. It’s a one-time purchase and it can even work when the power is out.

Free, over-the-air TV

If you put a TV antenna on your roof (or inside your house if you’re close enough) you’ll get dozens of channels of free entertainment. Once you connect the antenna there’s nothing more to pay. Antennas work even if the power is out, although obviously you’ll need to power the TV. Luckily today’s TVs use a lot less power than those old tube sets so you should be able to use a TV on a generator.

Things to consider

Before connecting the TV to your generator, consider a few things first. By taking some common sense steps, you’ll be able to get the information you need when storms hit, and enjoy entertaining programs the rest of the time.

Use a surge protector

Often times the power coming out of the generator isn’t very clean. Electronics can be pretty sensitive to power surges so always use a good surge protector when you connect anything electronic to a generator. Your stuff will last longer.

Use a small TV if you have one

The smaller the TV, the less power it’s going to use. Ideally, if you still have a 32″ or smaller flat TV in your home, that would be the one to use. You can even go and buy a 19″ flat TV just to have in the emergency kit and you’ll find it uses barely more power than a cell phone charger.

If you use an amplified antenna, plug that in too

Some amplified antennas will work even if the power is out. Some won’t. Neither of them will give their best performance if there’s no way to power the antenna. Most antenna amplifiers use almost the same amount of power as a cell phone charger so they won’t tax your generator. Just plug them right into the same surge protector as your TV.

Don’t have an antenna yet?

This is the perfect time of year to get an antenna from Solid Signal.  We have a huge selection of large and small antennas, designed to get the best reception from practically any distance. If you know what you want, just pick your best choice. If you need help, fill out our free antenna request form and one of the technicians in our US-based call center will review it. You’ll get free, no-obligation recommendations based on your specific needs. Need even more help? Call Solid Signal at 888-233-7563.

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.