Friday, July 5, 2019

AT&T / DirecTV cut off your local channels? Here’s a $30 “for life” fix

Update: Now Dish Network has gotten into the dispute game. For the Mobile Metro area, only WEAR, the ABC affiliate, is broadcasting on all major television services. There is no reason anyone living between Moss Point, MS and Destin,  FL should have to put up with not watching their favorite local channels.

Original post:

I don’t get paid one cent for this.

If AT&T is in a contract dispute with the owners of your local television station, you can still see your local news and catch regular network programming with a $30.00 (maximum) fix.

All it takes is this antenna and maybe $10-$15 for additional materials to mount it in the best location.

You DO NOT have to connect the antenna to you AT&T or DirecTV black box. As long as your TV has a screw-on ‘ANT’ connection, you’re good.

I have all of the TV’s in my house connected to their own antenna. Reception in the central part of Mobile County is very good on all four local broadcasters, even WEAR (ABC affiliate), which is in Pensacola. WALA (Fox) is the weakest because it broadcasts on UHF rather than VHF, but reception is still clear enough.

I get all of the sub-channels, too

Here’s what I did:

Be PATIENT. And follow instructions (IK,R?)

Using poster mount adhesive (or even thumbtacks), mount the antenna as high as possible on a wall less than 15’ away from the TV (unless you will be using more cable, see below). Run the cable from the antenna to the ANT jack on your TV.

Turn on the TV. Use the input button on your remote or on-screen menu and select the input method that lets you switch away from AT&T or DirecTV. It might be Cable, Air or ANT. Press Ok or wait for the TV to switch inputs by itself.

Use the TV’s internal tuner to scan for available channels. Be patient because the TV will tune in to, test, and either store or reject each signal it finds.

When it’s finished, the TV should tune to the lowest watchable channel it found, or you may have to manually tune it to a channel you want to see.

If there are missing channels or reception is poor, connect the supplied amplifier. Remove the cable from the TV. Connect it to the ‘IN’ jack on the amp. Connect the cable from the amp to the same ANT jack on the TV. Plug in the amp and try the scan again.

If reception is still poor, unmount the antenna and mount it to a wall that is at a right angle from the first wall. Keep the amp connected and try the scan again.

If reception is still not right, you have options.

You can buy some additional coaxial cable and try to mount your antenna in the attic. If you’re in an apartment or condo, you can try going through a window to get outside.

But if you’re going outside with your antenna, you might as well go big and get something like this beauty.

You don’t HAVE to get the equipment I linked too. Any of the big box stores carry decent antennas and as usual, the most expensive item in the category you’re interested in is the best one they offer, and probably the one you want.

If you do buy additional coax cable, get RG6 and use as little cable as needed to do the job.

You can paint the antenna any color you want (avoid metallic) without affecting reception. You can hang it behind a picture (but not a mirror).

If you want to say goodbye to cable, digital fiber or satellite TV (like I did) and you have high speed internet, get a $30 Roku box for TV’s made before 2015. Or use your newer TV’s “smart” capabilities and subscribe to SlingTV or YouTube TV. Those services offer most cable channels and some local programming. And Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime all work, too.

Addendum: Some followers have mentioned Firestick as an option. That and Google's YouTube TV both carry local stations (if they have an app; not all do and there are limitations), but their model is the same as the one AT&T and Comcast/XFinity use. Amazon and Google negotiate with the owners of local TV stations just like Dish, AT&T, Comcast and Mediacom do.

Sooner or later, a contract dispute will happen, and the carrier will drop the station(s) involved.


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