OTA Antenna Guide: Install and Setup

Aug 16, 2016 | Equipment

After a small house search for our original TV controller and some troubleshooting on how to use it again, we set up our OTA antenna and started receiving the local channels such as ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and more in HD format.

The best part? Besides a small up front cost for an Over the Air antenna any programming received through your OTA antenna is absolutely FREE.

I follow a few cord cutting forums and Facebook groups and I see people new to cord cutting ask about setting up and installing an OTA antenna. Completely understandable given the last time many people used a TV antenna they were big metal rabbit ears.

So, we thought we’d throw together this quick 2-minute video which should help get your OTA antenna installed and setup so you’re receiving those free digital channels. Below the video are the steps in more detail with some tips for success.

OTA Antenna Install and Setup


There are tons of options but we went with the Winegard FlatWave Non-Amplified antenna. It has a 35-mile range and doesn’t need power like the amplified version. So far, it’s served it’s purpose well. Since buying, I’ve seen some reviews of other good OTA antennas so my advice would be to read up and see what new tech is out.

Connect to TV

Check for the Antenna In port on the back of your television and connect the mini coax cable connector into this port. It simply screws in. The antenna comes with the coax cable and connector already attached so there is no assembly.


There is some trial and error here. This Flatwave OTA Antenna comes with two 3M™ Command™ Brand Strip so you can mount to a wall if you’d like but I’d suggest trying a few different placements first to make sure the signal will be continuously strong. It took us a few spots to figure out what gave us the best signal. Here’s what it looked like while testing! Cord cutting isn’t always pretty.

OTA Antenna Mounting


Find Original TV Controller

Remember? Your TV came with one? If you can’t find it, no problem. You can find a cheap replacement at any electronics store. But, supposing you have it, now is the time to dig it up and most likely replace the batteries.

Switch Signal to “Air”

From here on out in the video and here on the page, use my steps as guidance. My guess is your menus and options will look different based on the television you have.

At this step you’ll want to find your TV menu settings. On our TVs there were Antenna menus in the TV Settings that were set to Cable. You’ll want to switch this to “Air” or equivalent to let your TV know you now want to use the OTA antenna to bring in over-the-air signals.

Scan for Digital Channels

Now you need to let your TV know what OTA channels you have available by sending out a scan through your antenna. This can take a couple of minutes. I sped it up a bit in the video but it takes a few. On our TVs there was an Auto Program menu where we selected Air to start the scan. Pretty simple!

Start Watching OTA Channels

When I finished the scan, my screen was still snowy. Your screen may be the same. But, don’t fear – just find the setting for the channel listing, select a channel and start watching. Or, you can exit the menu and click the channel up or channel down button to find something with some programming.


At this point, you’ll start your testing to find the best place for the antenna. More than likely, the first spot you had it in won’t have the strongest signal. Have patience and keep trying. We have our two antennas in places (not mounted with tape!) now that are consistently good.

Enjoy your new over-the-air HD channels for free!

How to Cut Cable Guide

See what steps we took and what services we're currently using to replace our cable subscription. Included are tips for replacing home phone and security.

How To Watch TV Without Cable

Check out our quick beginner's guide on how to watch TV without cable. We give you tips to get started in the right direction.

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