The way people watch television has changed. Rather than planning their schedules around what they want to watch, most viewers watch what they want, when they want. Even with an over-the-air TV antenna, you can record OTA TV using a digital video recorder to ensure you don't miss any of your favorite shows, movies or live events.
But, sometimes, you want to catch special live events as they take place. For instance, if NASA, SpaceX or another entity were televising a rocket launch, you might want to view it in real-time. The same can be said for sports, award shows, special news programs, political addresses, debates or severe weather announcements.
There are countless events that you can watch on free TV with the right OTA antenna. Here are some of them that don't require a subscription to cable, satellite or any other TV service.
Tournament Of Roses Parade
Affectionately known as the Rose Parade, this event is a New Year's tradition. The Parade takes place in Pasadena, California, traveling 5 1/2 miles down Colorado Blvd. The four types of entries featured are floats decorated with flowers, equestrian units, bands and Tournament entries following that year's theme.
How to watch on OTA TV: You can watch the next Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 2, 2023, starting at 8:00 a.m. Eastern on your local ABC or NBC station.
Scripps National Spelling Bee
Designed to promote literacy, the National Spelling Bee originated when nine newspapers collaborated to host the first event in 1925. The E.W. Scripps Company, The Free TV Project's parent company, is the longtime steward of the competition, in which more than 200 school spelling bee champs compete.
How to watch on OTA TV: For more than 20 years, the event could only be watched with a subscription to ESPN but it's moving to free TV starting in 2022. You can view the Scripps National Spelling Bee on June 1 (semifinals) and June 2, 2022 (finals) on the Bounce, Ion and Laff OTA channels.
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
First held in 1877, the Westminster Dog Show is the top dog competition in the United States. It is held annually by the New York City-based Westminster Kennel Club. Dogs are judged in several categories, including agility, showmanship, breed, group and best in show, always making for a fun watch.
How to watch on OTA TV: You can enjoy Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show events on your local Fox station from June 18-20, 2022. Check local listings for times of specific broadcasts.
'A Capitol Fourth'
On the air since 1980, A Capitol Fourth features a larger-than-life fireworks display over the skyline of the nation's capital with performances by well-known musical artists. For example, the 2021 edition included Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffett, Gladys Knight and various U.S. military bands, among many others. Twenty cameras are positioned around Washington to provide coverage for an exciting, colorful show.
How to watch on OTA TV: You can view "A Capitol Fourth" on July 4, 2022, on your local PBS station at 8 p.m. Eastern.
The iHeartRadio Music Festival
The iHeartRadio Music Festival is a live music experience displaying a diverse group of performers and genres of music. Past events have featured top musicians such as Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, Keith Urban, Ed Sheeran, BTS, Doja Cat, Fleetwood Mac and many others. It's one of the biggest music events aired on TV every year and you can watch for free with an OTA antenna.
How to watch on OTA TV: You can catch the festival on Saturday, Sep. 24, 2022, starting at 6:30 p.m. Eastern on The CW.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Rowland H. Macy opened R.H. Macy & Co. in New York City in 1858. In 1924, a group of employees asked the company to host a parade, and the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade occurred. The parade is now an annual event with over-the-top balloons, marching bands from across the nation, Broadway performances and so much more.
How to watch on OTA TV: You can watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 24, 2022, on NBC at 9 a.m. Eastern.
Miss America Pageant
The first Miss America Pageant took place on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in 1921. A century later, the pageant shifted focus to no longer judge contestants on outward appearance. Instead, the focus is now on their voices, skills and goals. In addition, the contestant who wins the crown and title works with the Miss America Organization for the following year to positively advance the goals and objectives of the organization and her chosen social impact initiative.
How to watch on OTA TV: Although the date and time for the 2022 Miss America Pageant have not yet been announced, it normally takes place in December and is televised live on NBC.
'Christmas in Rockefeller Center'
In 1931, a group of construction workers building on the Rockefeller Center site in New York City put up a 20-foot tree and decorated it on Christmas Eve with a handful of simple items. Two years later, the first "official" tree was set up, and the tradition has continued ever since. The televised live tree lighting also includes performances from big-name musical artists doing Christmas songs.
How to watch on OTA TV: You can view "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" on NBC.
'Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade'
Christmas is a magical day and Disney Parks are some of the most magical places on earth, so it only makes sense that the two come together in the form of an annual holiday parade that's free for anyone with an OTA antenna to watch. The Christmas Day special takes place at the Magic Kingdom and features appearances by favorite Disney characters, celebrities on floats, marching bands and more.
How to watch on OTA TV: You can enjoy the "Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade" on Dec. 25 on ABC.
'New Year's Eve Live: Nashville's Big Bash'
Count down to the new year with country music's hottest stars, all free on TV with an antenna. The five-hour celebration airs live from Music City each year on CBS. In addition to the big countdown, live performances are shown from several locations across Nashville.
How to watch on OTA TV: You can ring in the New Year with "Nashville's Big Bash" on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, on CBS starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
You can catch exciting and entertaining live special events as they happen without paying for cable or even a single streaming service. All you need is your TV, a good antenna and a comfy place to sit.
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:
Tablo DUAL 128GB Over-the-Air [OTA] DVR: Record up to 80 HD hours and stream up to two free broadcast channels from your HDTV antenna simultaneously.
Tablo QUAD 1TB Over-the-Air [OTA] DVR: Record up to 700 hours and stream up to four free broadcast channels from their over-the-air HDTV antenna simultaneously.