Is antenna TV making a comeback?

At least one article wants you to think so. Personally I don’t think antenna TV ever went away.

Jon Marks says…

In a recent article in TVTech, author Jon Marks makes the case that over-the-air television is actually getting more relevant these days. He says,

 Even though antennas hearken back to an earlier era, they have evolved and now are helping to shape the self-bundling equation, and this won’t change going forward. The original delivery system for television has become one of the most attractive.  

For one thing, you can’t beat the cost.

I have to agree with all of that. Today’s TV antennas are modern, sleek, affordable, and powerful. For a one-time price, you can get free over-the-air television in about 95% of the country. That’s hard to complain about, right?

A very short history of over-the-air television

Over-the-air television in this country has been around since the late 1930s. However, due to the Second World War, most folks didn’t get to try it until the 1950s. Even though a TV cost 6 months salary or more, it was a runaway success. And in those early days, over-the-air television was the only way to go. There simply wasn’t any other choice.

Over-the-air TV became less popular in the 1980s with the coming of cheap cable TV. However, as prices rose in the 1990s and 2000s, over-the-air TV started looking like the smart choice once again. That was even more true in the late 2000s as over-the-air stations moved to high definition, often years before their cable TV counterparts.

In the 2010s, the world shifted again as home internet got fast enough for streaming video. The same people who had forecast the demise of antenna TV in the 1990s once again said that it was done for. The funny thing is, it wasn’t. Over-the-air TV remains strong because it’s a low-cost alternative in an increasingly expensive world. Not only that, but most of the top-rated shows are still on broadcast TV, surprisingly.

Who needs antenna TV when you have streaming?

Sure there’s a huge amount of content on streaming services. And, if you subscribe to enough of them, you’ll be able to get most local shows on demand a day or two after they air. But, you’ll be missing out on all the other things that local over-the-air TV has to offer. Most markets have 20 or 30 channels that aren’t available on cable, satellite, or streaming. They offer movies, local interest, religious, foreign language, and other programming of interest… all for free.

Perhaps most important is that local TV offers local news. In an age when it’s increasingly hard to know who to trust, local TV is super-important. Local reporters are usually smart, honest folks with the kind of training it takes to distinguish facts from fakes. We need that more than ever, I’d say. Yet, most streaming services don’t give you local news. Those that do, like DIRECTV Stream, are among the more expensive ones. With a TV antenna you don’t have to pay in order to get this important resource.

Get the antenna you need

If you’re ready to get an over-the-air antenna, why not get one with a side of free advice? Fill out this form and a qualified technician in our Novi, Michigan headquarters will reply with a list of everything you need! There’s no obligation and the service is free. Over-the-air antenna TV is more important than ever, and you’ll find the best selection of antennas when you shop the great selection at Solid Signal.

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.