Many homes have satellites, but is it possible to get free over-the-air (OTA) TV from one? Unfortunately, it’s not. A satellite dish is not designed to pick up local TV broadcasts like an antenna, as it’s pointed toward the sky instead of toward a broadcast tower.

It is possible to remove the satellite dish and install an antenna in its place, but this must be done with precision to ensure good reception. We highly recommend contacting a professional for this project.

Unless you have contracting experience, it is highly recommended to hire an installer to install an antenna in place of a satellite dish. To do this, the bolts of the satellite dish should be loosened until it slides off the pole. Then, the antenna is put in place and connected to the coaxial cable that was previously used by the satellite dish. If the satellite dish was hardwired to the coaxial cable, new end connectors will need to be installed. As a final step, any splitters used by your satellite dish should be replaced with a powered splitter. You can find a recommended powered splitter here.

Once all of your TV sets are connected directly to the coaxial cable that comes from the wall, run a channel scan. You should be able to pick up all of your local channels. If you cannot, you may need a larger antenna or it may need to be installed higher up. You can find information on how to locate an antenna installer here.

Getting started

Watching free, over-the-air TV with an antenna is simpler than you may think. In many cases, you can take an antenna out of the box, connect the cable to your TV, run a channel scan and voila! You have dozens of local channels to surf.

The number of channels you can access and how clearly they come in is based on a number of factors, including your distance from the point of broadcast towers, the type of antenna you have and where it’s located in your home.

Not sure what kind of antenna you need? Take our simple quiz to help narrow down the options. You can also find a general list of recommended antennas here.

Pair your antenna with an OTA DVR device to record your favorite shows

Did you know you can use an antenna similarly to how you watch cable? Ditch the costly subscription fees, but keep the cable capabilities (record, pause, rewind and fast forward) with an OTA DVR device. Here are the products we recommend:

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