DIRECTV still lets you get over-the-air channels through their DVRs and receivers. The trick is that they no longer sell the adapter. At Solid Signal we still have a small number of them and the truth is you won’t find these anywhere else.
The really neat thing, as you can see in the graphic above (totally unretouched) is that local over-the-air channels are presented right under the satellite channels, but it’s still pretty easy to tell which is which. You can add or remove the OTA channels into your favorites lists and from the point of view of the average TV watcher it’s just this seamless experience.
At one time, both DISH and DIRECTV were strongly committed to over-the-air programming on their receivers but in the last few years the tide seems to have turned. At one time DIRECTV was openly stating that if content providers didn’t shape up, then all DIRECTV products could have over-the-air support built in and that would mean local channels wouldn’t get any money from the satellite provider. Since DIRECTV became part of the AT&T family, that rhetoric has almost completely disappeared.
It’s a shame too, because over-the-air TV has better quality than satellite delivered TV and 90% of people can get TV over the air. Even better, it doesn’t take a large antenna in many cases and the reception is much better than it was in the old days.
It’s hard to know if DIRECTV will ever swing back to fully supporting over-the-air antenna signals in their products. At the moment their antenna adapter is no longer made and there is no third-party replacement. The same goes for DISH, unfortunately. So, we’ll have to wait and see.