Antenna-Only TV is a Real Viable Option for Lawton, Oklahoma
As technology continues to evolve, it somehow remains the same. At least that's true of how we consume television these days.
The days of cable boxes and DVRs are gone. Or, at least, they should be. Cable and satellite television costs so much more than getting your entertainment straight from massive multi-media streaming companies like Hulu, YouTube, Philo, etc...
How companies like Dish and DirecTV manage to honey-pot customers into service these days, I'll never understand. Same-same for local television providers, especially considering how premium channels continue to disappear in lieu of channels you could get for free with an antenna.
Full disclosure, I put an antenna on my house in 2019. I figured it was a cheap enough option to try to save a little entertainment money each month. What I didn't foresee was how instantly I ditched all the pay-for-streaming options altogether.
One might imagine that antenna TV is the same now as it used to be... We have four major networks within our viewing area, so there are only four channels on the antenna, right?
While that's how it worked long ago, the technology has grown similar to radio. We used to broadcast just one station, but HD radio allows multiple stations to be broadcast from a single source. That's how modern over-the-air TV works.
In Lawton, you'll get KFDX, but you also get a handful of other channels on the same signal. The same goes for KSWO, KJTL, and KAUZ-sort of...
KAUZ has been virtually unwatchable in the last few weeks/months this far from WFalls, but management reassured us that they're working hard to locate the problem.
Between our four major networks and PBS, you can expect to get 30-ish total channels here in Lawton, Oklahoma. Some of them you'll never watch, others you won't ever turn off. I leave my TV on the 90s-sitcom channel most of the time because Home Improvement is still hilarious thirty years later.
If you'd like to expand your entertainment on the cheap, here's what worked for me.
I used a standard amplified antenna for a few months when I first cut the cords. They're inexpensive and effective, but the all-aluminum and plastic construction meant it didn't last long in the Oklahoma wind. Still, a cheap dip of your toes...
When I realized that most of the free programming on the antenna is exactly the same as what I'd been paying the cable company for, I decided to upgrade to something a little more stout and reliable. Four years and it's still rock-solid and reliably crystal clear.
The only hitch I had was actually getting the signal to my TVs. Most homes have old coax cable and antenna signals don't respond well to splitting off to multiple TVs. Luckily they have a digital tool for that.
Here's a box that works by taking your antenna feed and broadcasts it around your home on your wifi. You just need to download the app to your smart tv or firestick/roku/etc to get that full-strength signal to every TV in the home. Since we don't watch more than two TVs at once, I purchased the 2-feed box, but they have models that allow more multiple streams at the same time.
I still have internet, but the antenna streaming option works without it off any old wifi router you may have laying around.
Will you get the better OKC channels that don't show paid programming 40% of the time? Eh... Oklahoma City is pretty far away, but when the weather is just right I have no trouble getting them. You just have to get your antenna pretty far up in the air and pointed in the right direction. With a pricier and higher-powered antenna, my neighbor has no problem reaching OKC.
Is it right for you? I don't know. I just know it was right for me, and as it seems a pretty common question on Lawton's social media pages, I figured I'd at least share my positive experience so far.