Will a TV antenna work on a Smart TV?

Nearly all Smart TVs, whether made by LG, Samsung or Vizio, work with indoor or outdoor TV antennas. Here is how you start with free live TV.

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Nearly all Smart TVs, whether made by LG, Samsung or Vizio, work with indoor or outdoor TV antennas.

Take a look behind your television, and find the port to plug in a TV antenna. A technician might have once used it to plug a cable box into your TV. That port, called the “F connector” or “F-type connector”, is also used to connect a TV antenna to a television. 

Having that port also means your television has an ATSC tuner necessary for picking up digital over-the-air signals.

Table of Contents

Hooking up a TV antenna to a Smart TV

  1. Plug the coax line connected to your TV antenna into the television’s “F connector” port. 
  1. Go to settings under the TV’s settings menu that controls inputs. 
  1. Look for an “AirTV” or “Over-the-air” TV option, and choose “scan for channels”. This process will take five to 15 minutes. 

Once the channel scan is complete, you should be able to start scrolling through the channel guide that works within your Smart TV menu.

Ideally, your TV antenna will be positioned where it’s facing your local broadcast towers. 

I recommend using a free tool such as rabbitears.info to determine where local broadcast towers are in your area. Antennas Direct also has a free tool that maps out local broadcast towers around you, and recommends specific TV antennas.

Just remember that you need to live within range of local broadcast towers powered by your local TV stations to get any channels. 

Can you use a TV antenna on a Smart TV to get local channels?

A Mohu Arc Indoor TV Antenna, like any TV antenna, can be connected to a Smart TV for free over-the-air channels. (photo credit: Jim Kimble / The Cord Cutting Report)

Yes. You need to live within the range of local broadcast towers to get over-the-air TV stations, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS. 

You may even get sub-channels, and stations such as MeTV, GRIT and ionTV. The same is true for an older non-Smart TV.

Do I need a TV antenna with a smart TV?

Smart TVs are connected to the internet and provide a number of free streaming options. But if you want free over-the-air local channels then you need a TV antenna to watch them. 

What type of antenna do I need for a Smart TV?

Smart TVs don’t require a specific kind of TV antenna. Picking the right TV antenna has more to do with your proximity to local broadcast towers. 

Generally speaking, if you live 35 miles away or under from broadcast towers, an indoor TV antenna will likely work for you. 

Broadcast towers that are between 35 and 55 miles away will require an outdoor TV antenna on your roof, or at the very least, in your attic.

What TV stations can a Smart TV get with an antenna?

Smart TVs with a digital tuner can potentially get the big four broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.  A variety of other local networks are available for free. Local PBS affiliates and sub-channels, including MeTV, GRIT and ionTV broadcast over the air. 

Jim Kimble is a seasoned industry expert with over two decades of journalism experience. He has been at the forefront of the cord-cutting movement since 2016, testing and writing about TV-related products and services. He founded The Cord Cutting Report in 2016, and serves as the editor.

Major publications, including MarketWatch, Forbes, and South Florida Sun Sentinel, have interviewed Kimble for his years of expertise. He gives advice on the complexities consumers are navigating with streaming options, and over-the-air TV. Kimble has been a staff writer or correspondent for several award-winning, daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe.

4 thoughts on “Will a TV antenna work on a Smart TV?”

  1. I had no idea that a TV antenna could work on a Smart TV! This is great news for those who want to enjoy free over-the-air broadcasts without having to pay for cable or satellite services. Thanks for sharing this information with us, it’s definitely something worth considering for anyone looking to save money and still enjoy their favorite shows.

    • I’m glad to hear this. I’ve been with Dish T V for over 30 years, prices started at about $20 a month and now has increased to Around $140 a month. I’m getting a $40 discount by taking a years contract, I have two more months on this contract , But after that Dish can put where the sun don’t shine. Thanks

  2. My Sony 75 inches smart TV has an antennas port broken off, probably since my son was playing his play station. How do I get to replace it ? Is it possible to do it myself, or I should call a Sony serviceman ?


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