“Are TV antennas legal?” This is a question we hear on a daily basis, especially on TikTok, which tends to be a younger audience who might not have the same experience with TV antennas as other generations. We have lost count of the number of videos we have had reported and taken down by people who are claiming we are selling an illegal product or promoting an illegal activity, they claim watching broadcast TV with an antenna is “stealing”. FALSE! Broadcast TV is and has always been free with a TV antenna! (Also, here is a shameless plug if you’re not already following us on TikTok to give us a follow, we just hit 10k followers!)
Now down to the nitty gritty: yes, TV antennas are legal in most countries, including the United States. In fact, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the U.S. specifically protects the right of consumers to install TV antennas and use them to receive over-the-air broadcast television signals.
The FCC’s Over-the-Air Reception Devices (OTARD) rule prohibits restrictions that interfere with a person’s right to install, maintain, or use an antenna to receive video programming from direct broadcast satellites, broadband radio services, and television broadcast stations. This rule applies to homeowners, tenants, and condo owners, and it generally prevents restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance, or use of antennas installed on property a person owns or leases and has an exclusive right to use.
There are some limitations to this rule, such as restrictions on antennas that would interfere with safety or historic preservation, but in general, the use of TV antennas is legal and protected by law. BOOM!
So now the next question we hear ALL the time, “why would I need to use a TV antenna?” We can think of MANY reasons why, but here are a few.
- Cost savings: One of the main reasons people use TV antennas is to save money on their TV service. OTA TV signals are free, so by using an antenna, you can watch your favorite shows and channels without having to pay for cable or satellite. Still want to watch movies or TV shows on your favorite streaming service? A TV antenna is the perfect complement to your streaming set up. Between an antenna and a few choice streaming services you have MORE content than you could ever consume AND you’re still spending way less than you would on cable.
- Local programming: TV antennas allow you to access local programming you might not be able to find on streaming services, and without having to wait until the next day. This can include local news, weather, sports, and hit new shows from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, The CW and more.
- Better signal quality: By using a TV antenna, you can receive a high-quality, uncompressed signal which provides a better viewing experience. You will be amazed by the picture and sound quality with a TV antenna.
- Backup in case of emergencies: In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, your cable, satellite or internet services might be disrupted. By having a TV antenna, you can still receive important emergency information from local broadcast stations.
- Environmental concerns: Finally, using a TV antenna can be a more environmentally friendly choice than using cable or pay TV. OTA TV signals require less energy to transmit than cable or satellite signals, so by using an antenna, you can help reduce your carbon footprint. It’s an all-around win!
So now that we’ve debunked a few of the antenna misconceptions we hear on a daily basis, what antenna questions do you have? Share with us in the comments and we’d love to answer them in our next blog! And if you need help choosing the best antenna for your location, give our customer service a call at 877-825-5572. They can perform a free signal analysis at your location to help determine the best antenna for YOU.