What to Do If You Have an Old Tube TV
If you have an old tube TV like the one shown below, or a flat screen that does not have a built-in digital tuner (made before 2006, when digital tuners were mandated), you will need a digital TV converter box (also called a tuner box) in order to get free TV using an antenna. These cost less than a month of cable TV for most people.
Consider Before You Buy a Converter Box
The cost of flat screen TVs has come down so much that might want to consider upgrading to a one if you can afford a bit more. Here are some reasons why:
- You won’t need to buy a digital TV converter box (saving you $50).
- If you get a “smart” TV, you can access subscription Internet content without having to buy a Roku/AppleTV/etc. (saving you $35-$100).
- You’ll have incredible picture quality compared to your tube TV.
- The TV will use less space, and you can hang it on a wall.
- Flat screen TVs use less energy than tube TVs of the same screen size, saving a bit of money over the long run.
- Even if you buy a Sony 40″ wide screen HDTV, the savings from cancelling cable will pay for it in less than a year.
Recommended TV Converter Boxes
OK, if you still want to buy a digital TV converter box for your tube TV, there are two models that I recommend:
The HomeWorx unit includes a recording feature, where you can record shows to a USB drive.
If you have a flat screen TV without a digital tuner (these are relatively rare), you’ll need to get a digital tuner box. I searched around a bit and couldn’t find one that has gotten good reviews. Let me know if you find anything.
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Once you have the converter box, you’ll need a broadcast TV antenna. Before buying anything, enter your zip code into the Station Finder and make sure there are signals in your area.
If there are, here are some low-cost indoor antennas that I recommend.