DisableMyCable.com

Free and cheap TV without cable or satellite

How to Use an Antenna If You Have an Old Tube TV

Jul 10, 2020

If you have an old tube TV like the one shown here, or a flat screen that does not have a built-in digital tuner (made before 2006, when digital tuners were mandated), you won’t be able to watch modern broadcast TV using just an antenna.

Tube TV
Tube TV

You’ll either have to buy a new TV, or buy a digital TV converter box (also called a tuner box) in order to get free TV using an antenna. Converter boxes run about $30 to $50.

Consider These Points Before You Buy a Converter Box

The cost of new flat screen TVs has come down so much that you might want to consider just buying a new TV if you can afford to spend a little more. Here are some reasons why:

  • You won’t need to buy a digital TV converter box (saving you $30-$50).
  • Your user experience will be much better since the tuner will be integrated with the TV.
  • If you get a “smart” TV, you can access subscription Internet content without having to buy a Roku/AppleTV/etc. (saving you $35-$50).
  • 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″ widescreen HDTV, the savings from canceling cable will pay for it in less than a year.

Whatever you decide, you should make sure there are broadcast TV signals in your area before making any purchases. Enter your zip code into the Station Finder.

My Recommended TV Converter Boxes

Mediasonic HOMEWORX HW130STB
Mediasonic HOMEWORX HW130STB

OK, if you still want to buy a digital TV converter box for your tube TV, I recommend this one:

These feature analog and HDMI outputs, and DVR recording capability to a USB storage device (but if you do a lot of recording, I would recommend more refined DVR solutions).

Check out my full review of the Mediasonic HOMEWORX converter box.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. I test or research each product or service before endorsing. This site is not owned by any retailer or manufacturer. I own this site and the opinions expressed here are mine. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Antennas

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.

Can You Use a Roku With a Tube TV?

Yes, but you’ll have to use the 2018 Roku Express+. It’s the one with the three RCA cables on the box:

On Amazon, you’ll have to look under “other sellers” since this is an older model.

More Options

If you are interested in more alternatives if you have a tube TV, check out this article:

Keep in Touch – Subscribe or Follow

Brian Shim

If you liked this article, please sign up for email updates. I'll send you my new articles, no more than once a month. - Brian

Subscribe

* indicates required

Ask a Question or Leave a Comment

I try to answer every question. If you have a reception question, please leave your zip code.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
43 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Lucille taglialavore Mcquarters
Lucille taglialavore Mcquarters
1 month ago

How do I get the converter box menu screen to keep the antenna selection on

Lucille taglialavore Mcquarters
Lucille taglialavore Mcquarters
1 month ago

These new TV’s and converter boxes are frustrating and complicated I just want a simple one so I could relax

Anthony
Anthony
2 months ago

I have a Vizio tv that is probably 2 years old (2019) and there is no auxiliary input, am I not able to watch regular tv through an antenna on it?

Bob Gustafson
Bob Gustafson
4 months ago

Can I use this info on my old tv…TV… your website free

Kim Davis
Kim Davis
3 years ago

I ordered an antenna, where do I install it??

Brian
3 years ago
Reply to  Kim Davis

Hi Kim,

If you have a newer (thin) TV, you can plug it directly into the TV.

If you have an older tube TV, you’ll have to get a converter box like one on this page, and plug it into there, then plug the converter into your TV.

Best,
Brian

Mark
Mark
3 years ago

I have digtal reception and get several channels
One of channels comes in very clear but i only get a high pitch continuos beep
Also about 10:30 PM we begin losing most of our channels

Brian
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Hi Mark,

Not sure about the continuous beep; that sounds like like it’s being broadcast that way.

See this article: https://www.disablemycable.com/blog/broadcast-tv-channels-disappear/

Best,
Brian

Mark
Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian

My sister a mile away has no problem with this channel

Mark Fitzpatrick

Amy Schmucker Granados
Amy Schmucker Granados
3 years ago

We have a TCL Roku tv. It has been hooked up to a digital antenna for months. It had been on & then we left for an hour. When we came back the screen display showed the wrong time & show decsriptions for all channels. We tried to rescan the channels. Now our TV states no antenna channels found. Any suggestions?

Brian
3 years ago

Hi Amy,

I would suggest trying to reset it. If you Google the TV’s model number you can usually find the manual online.

Best,
Brian

Dexman Namxed
Dexman Namxed
3 years ago

Hello, what do you think the “blue box” value of a 2003 Panasonic HDTV (not a flat screen) would be in an insurance claim? It went out (and the power will not come on) due to a power surge, and my renters deductible is $191.

Brian
3 years ago
Reply to  Dexman Namxed

Hi Dexman,

That is a pretty old TV, pre-digital judging by the year. I don’t know the size of it, but I’d guess it has very low value if any.

Best,
Brian

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares