How To Check What NextGen TV Channels Your Antenna Can Receive

Despite the prevalence of streaming services and digital cable, over-the-air (OTA) television is still alive and kicking through services like NextGen TV, the newest iteration of old-school OTA broadcast signals. It's similar to when HDTV signals first rolled out — it's a bit confusing where you can receive them and what hardware you need.

These options generally offer local channels (due to the nature of signal broadcasting) and are viewable from a digital TV set and on older hardware — so whatever you use to watch TV, it'll still work. The catch with OTA TV is that it requires an antenna to receive broadcasts, and not all stations are available in every area.

Yes, many digital and smart TVs come with a built-in antenna, but this is meant for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, not local broadcasts. This means you'll still need to get ahold of one if you plan to watch any OTA channels. Figuring out the best antenna for your location and setup will require a little extra work — made more manageable with tools like The Free TV Project — but it still needs a bit of initial setup (and a purchase of $20 to $70 or so). Because of this upfront investment of time and money, it's a good idea to see exactly what channels are available in your area in the first place.

Looking up channel availability

The key to figuring out what channels you can watch via TV antenna is to check out NextGen TV's Markets web page. Here you'll find a map marking various cities and towns that offer the service or will in the future. If you'd rather not analyze a map of the U.S., you can also scroll down to the bottom of the page to find alphabetical lists of "On Air" and "Coming Soon" locations, but that only tells you where NextGen TV is broadcasting. You'll need to enter additional information to find out what channels are included.

  1. Scroll past the map to the What channels can you get with a TV Antenna? section.
  2. Enter your address or the address of the location where you intend to use the TV antenna.
  3. Choose either Indoor or Outdoor for the antenna location, then select submit and wait for the results.
  4. Results will be sorted into NextGen TV Channels and Additional TV Channels. Browse through the lists to verify whether or not the channels you want are available.

Remember that some channels may not be watchable via your antenna, despite being on the list. This is due to "a variety of factors," as NextGen TV states, which can include hardware limitations and signal interference from various local sources (construction, topography, weather, etc.).