Why TV Antennas Are Starting to Make a Comeback

Did you forget about antennas? So did we, but guess what—they can be a great cost-saving option if you're ready to cut the cable cord.

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Along with radio, using an antenna to watch television is one of the few free ways people can consume media. More and more households are tired of paying for hundreds of channels that they don’t use and are choosing to “cut the cord” with their cable provider and just pay for streaming services and over-the-air stations. Unlike antennas, these are some products that Gen Z will never use in their lifetime.

“Antenna usage is on the rise and has been since 2013,” says Dennis Restauro, President of Grounded Reason. He put together a report using Nielsen Data that showed antenna users hovering around 11 million households (about 8-9 percent of TV households) before 2013. By September 2018, that number increased to 15.5 million households (about 13 percent of TV households). “That’s an increase of around 40 percent in five years,” says Restauro.

However, in more recent years, due to streaming services that offer live local broadcast networks such as AT&T TV Now, Hulu, YouTube TV, FuboTV, Sling TV, and Vue, Restauro has seen antenna adoption slow down. From 2017 to 2018, the number of homes using antennas to watch television only increased by .2 percent.

“I think this is a temporary slowdown for antennas. As more streaming services like HBO Max, Disney+, and others hit the market, people will again be looking for a way to adjust their TV spending to pick up these networks,” says Restauro. “Dropping the higher-priced live streaming services and using an antenna for free broadcast television will always be a great way to save.”

The best part about antennas is that you can buy them online and set them up yourself. You can find a good indoor HDTV antenna for less than $30. Now all you have to do is cut the cord with your cable company and you’ll be saving money every month. Or, try these other TV alternatives that will help you save money.

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for rd.com or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.