Does a Smart TV Need an Antenna for Local Channels?

You cannot deny that Smart TVs are a welcome revolution to home entertainment. You can now watch your favorite movies and TV shows on-demand via the internet. But, unfortunately, this privilege is not available to all. Depending on your location and budget, online streaming may not be an option. Therefore, your only option is to avail yourself of the free-to-air local channels. 

So, does a Smart TV need an antenna for local channels? Yes. You will need to attach an antenna for you to capture signals of available over-the-air channels in your area. However, not all antennae are suitable for this purpose. Below are the types of antennae you can use, setting them up, and your guide on effective shopping.

What Antenna Do You Use to Get Free-To-Air Channels?

Since the year 2009, all TV broadcasts now transmit through a digital signal. Depending on the location, channels are available in Ultra High frequency (UHF) or Very High Frequency (VHF). Therefore, you will need to add a high-definition digital TV antenna to capture both frequencies.

Currently, there are three types of antennas for Smart TVs. They are:

Indoor Antennas

As the name suggests, these work within your home. They are available in several designs. They include dipole antennas, colloquially known as rabbit ears or loop antennas.   

Outdoor antennas

These go on the roof of your home or on a high pole within your compound. These are adequate for areas with low signals. For example, you are better off using an outdoor antenna if you live in a mountainous area. They are available in either the Yagi-Uda or log-periodic dipole array

Additionally, there are different variations to outdoor antennas. Depending on the types of channels that you require, you opt for any of the following.


These antennas capture signals across a 360° angle. You will generally find these in either cone or dome shapes, with a range of about 50 miles.


You can only use these to capture signals from one direction. Consequently, their suitability is for areas that have signal masts in one location.


You will find these in the Yagi-Uda type of outdoor antennas. Their coverage angle is between 180° and 270° degrees, over a distance of 50 to 70 miles. Additionally, they are much larger than other types of outdoor antennas and tend to be heavier.

Attic antennas

These go below your roofing tiles or within the ceiling boards. Most attic antennas are powerful enough to catch signals through obstacles such as walls and trusses. Before installing an attic antenna, ensure that your house has the requisite infrastructure to accommodate it. 

How Do You Install an Antenna for Your Smart TV?

Installing an antenna for your Smart TV is a simple process. However, you will need the following materials to get up and running.

1. A Smart TV that has a built-in digital tuner

Most smart TVs now come with a digital tuner as a standard feature. It allows you to decode the digital signal of over-the-air channels in high definition. LG, Sony, and Samsung are some brands that include digital tuners in all their smart TVs. Check out the best TVs to buy in 2021 from Alternatively, you can purchase a digital tuner for your TV if the feature is unavailable.

2. A high definition digital TV antenna

You can select any of the three options that are above. Their effectiveness depends on your location. You will find more information on the same later in this piece.

3. Coaxial cable with accompanying RF connector.

Digital antennas use a coaxial connection. You will find the corresponding port on the connection panel of your TV. 

4. List of free-to-air channels available in your area. 

You can find an up-to-date list of free-to-air channels within your area by referring to the Communication Regulation Authority website or your local cable TV service provider.

Once you have all the requirements ready, this is what you need to do:

  • Attach one end of the coaxial cable to the corresponding connection on the antenna.
  • Plug the opposite end of the coaxial cable into the ‘Ant In’ connection port of your TV.
  • Power up your television and press the ‘source’ button on your remote. Select the option for ‘TV’ or ‘Antenna’ to get to the scan for channels menu. The name varies depending on what brand of TV you have. For example, Samsung TVs name it as TV in their source menus.
  • Select the ‘Automatic Scan’ option and let your TV identify all free channels that your aerial picks up. The process can take anywhere from five to ten minutes, depending on the number of channels available and their frequencies.

If all goes well, you can now enjoy watching free TV for life.

Your Beginner’s Guide to Effective Antenna Shopping

Not all antennas are suitable for receiving digital broadcast signals. In this regard, here are a few pointers to help you identify which antenna is ideal for your setup.

1. Location

Your proximity to signal towers determines the type of antenna you should buy. For example, indoor antennas are ideal for urban settings such as towns and metropolitan areas. In addition, the abundance of broadcast towers means that signal strength will not be an issue.

On the other hand, outdoor antennas work best in rural or mountainous areas. This is because their design allows them to pick up signals from as far as 300 miles.  

2. Single-band or Tri-Band

Another thing to consider is the number of frequencies that your antenna can decode. As mentioned earlier, free-to-air channels are available on either UHF or VHF. Therefore, you should always buy an antenna that accommodates both frequencies. Doing so increases your chances of capturing all available FTA channels in your area.

3. The installation location

Aside from where your residence is, the environment can also influence the quality of the signal that you receive. Other wireless devices can cause interference. For example, your indoor antenna may not perform at its best near a wireless router or electrical cables. 

Additionally, your outdoor antenna needs to be in an open area free of tall buildings and other obstacles. These can cause interference or a loss of signal altogether. Furthermore, look for antennas that feature weather-resistant materials in their construction. Attic and outdoor antennas are the most prone to moisture, UV rays, and extreme temperatures.

4. Coverage radius

TV service providers use different broadcast masts to transmit their signals. Therefore, omni-directional antennas are the best option if you want to receive the maximum number of free-to-air channels.

Best Antennas for your Smart TV

Here is a list of antennae to consider for your Smart TV.

Best Multi-Directional Antenna – Five Star 4V HDTV Antenna

  • The antenna comes with a mounting pole and installation guide for quick setup.
  • It can receive channels broadcasting in 4K, 1080p, 1080i and 720p HD
  • Dual-band reception of both UHF and VHF frequencies.
  • Coverage radius of up to 200 miles. 

Best Budget Antenna for Smart TV – Anear Amplified Indoor Outdoor HDTV Antenna

  • Signal capture radius of 240 miles.
  • Supports all digital signals, including 4K and 1080p
  • Dual-band reception of both UHF and VHF frequencies with in-built Smart Amplifier Signal Booster

There you have it. Your smart TV needs an antenna for it to capture local channels. The guide above equips you with all the information to ensure a successful setup.

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