Go retro with a TV antenna – it gets broadcasts from the past

Well, not exactly, but sort of. If you’ve gotten to the point in your life where you are just plain tired of watching reality show drivel and bizarre crime shows, you might be wishing that TV channels still aired the great old shows from your youth.

Good news, they do…

…but you’ve probably never seen the channels they’re on.

There are networks out there, networks you’ve never heard of, that are right this minute broadcasting shows like Gunsmoke, Match Game ’78, Happy Days, and Mannix. How could this be? Regular cable and satellite companies don’t carry these channels. They say millennials don’t care about those shows. Well, if you don’t care about millennials, you’re going to want to know names like these:

Cozi TV, MeTV, Buzzr!, This TV

These channels broadcast the shows of your youth and they do it the way you got your TV when you were young… over the air. Technology called “subchannels” lets broadcasters add standard-definition feeds to their HD channels, sometimes as many as 4 or 5. This costs them fairly little and so they can afford to reach out to us older folks with the kind of programs we actually want to see. Generally cable and satellite companies don’t carry these subchannels because for them, it is a significant extra expense and after all they’re chasing after the almighty 18-34 crowd.

If you want to reach back in time to when TV actually spoke to you, to when good was good and bad was punished… to when people wore wide lapels and burnt-orange ties… to when black and white was the only way to watch, you need an antenna. Over 90% of the population is served by free over-the-air channels and while not every market has these extra networks, most do. They’re inexpensive as I said and so they’re mostly supported by “per inquiry” ads, the sort of commercials that have you call an 800 number at the end. Just like TV used to be.

How can you find these channels?

There are a number of services that say what’s available in your area. Chances are almost 100% that you have access to at least one of these classic TV services. Almost none of them are available on cable or satellite though.

The first thing you want to do is look for an antenna. There’s a free service that Solid Signal provides and you can even tell them you’re interested in getting the networks I listed above. You can also go to those networks’ web sites and see what cities they serve.

A lot of people can do great with an indoor antenna but if you need an outdoor antenna you’re going to want to choose the right one the first time instead of going up to the roof or attic over and over again. That’s why the unparalleled selection at Solid Signal is so important. We have antennas that are smaller than a sheet of paper and other ones bigger than a basketball player. Of course, we also have everything in between and a great selection of accessories and the technical knowledge you’ll need to get things done right.

Can’t I stream this stuff?

Some of these channels do stream as well as being available using an antenna. Most don’t. It’s better to pick them up using an antenna and save the bandwidth for others in the house. You’ll find a much better selection of classic TV shows on broadcast television than you will on streaming. After all, that’s where these shows started.

What are you waiting for? Shop for antennas at Solid Signal today! Start yourself back on the road to that sweet, sweet nostalgia. You know you want to.

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.