What Boston TV channels can I get with a TV antenna?

By Jim Kimble / Published March 8, 2023

You can use a TV antenna in the Boston market to get the big four broadcast networks, (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) along with PBS and local TV stations.

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TV viewers and prospective cord-cutters in Boston can get a lot of free television stations without internet or cable TV service. There are dozens of sub-channels such as MeTV, Laff, True Crime Network, and ion TV. 

Telemundo, Univision and UniMás are among the Spanish-language channels available as free over-the-air (OTA) TV channels. 

Broadcasters in Boston are transmitting mostly on the UHF band, so most quality TV antennas should work well.

Start TV, Dabl, Story and GRIT are among sub-channels that are over-the-air in the Boston market. You can get local news, movies, live events such as Super Bowl and popular channels such as NBC Boston and entertainment networks.

Broadcast towers in Boston are located in Boston, Needham and Newton.

TV Channels in Boston, Ma.

You don’t need an internet connection, streaming devices or any additional hardware beyond a TV antenna and some coaxial cable.

As long as you live within the range of broadcast towers powered by your local television stations, you can watch whatever free channels are available. Reception will vary based on your location and the type of TV antenna you are using. 

Call SignNetwork AffiliationRF ChannelVirtual Channel
WFXTFOX (25.1), ESCAPE (25.2) & LAFF (25.3)3425
WSBK-TVMy Network2138
WMFPSonlife Broadcasting Network1062

How many TV channels can I get with a TV antenna in Boston?

The number of channels you get boils down to how well you can optimize your antenna reception.

But a variety of factors come into play. Hills, skyscrapers, tall buildings, high-electrical wires and building materials can all impact reception of over-the-air TV signals. 

Elevating your TV antenna on a roof or mounting it in an attic can get you optimal reception. You can’t control the signal strength coming from a broadcast tower. But you can try out different locations to mount your antenna to optimize reception. 

Any installation of an outdoor TV antenna should be done by a professional. Be sure to do a channel scan under the settings of your TV. Over-the-air channels do not simple appear or load onto your TV menu.

Is Nextgen TV available in Boston?

Deployment of NextGen TV (the new broadcast standard ATSC 3.0) is underway in Boston. 

There are currently six local TV stations in the Boston market that have made the switch to NextGen TV broadcasts. They are Televisa Univision’s WUNI (Univision; channel 27); Hearst Television’s WCVB (ABC; channel 5); Cox Media Group’s WFXT (FOX; channel 25); GBH (PBS; channel 2); CBS’ WBZ (CBS; channel 4) and NBCUniversal’s WBTS (NBC; channel 10).

TV stations broadcasting with NextGen TV are still transmitting digital High Definition or HD signals known as ATSC 1.0. 

Local TV stations are expected to carry a simulcast in digital for the next five years once they switch to NextGen TV.

So you don’t need any special equipment beyond a quality-made TV antenna with UHF and VHF elements to get your local TV stations. 

NextGen TV has the capability to deliver Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4K picture resolution, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Dolby audio. Many stations are currently offering 1080p picture resolution instead of 1080i resolution that is available through digital signals. 

You need either a new TV that specifically supports NextGen TV, or a TV tuner that supports ATSC 3.0. SiliconDust currently makes an HDHomeRun NextGen TV tuner that is essentially an OTA DVR. 

What type of TV antenna should I use in Boston?

The Boston market has local broadcasters transmitting on the UHF band, including NextGen TV. 

An outdoor TV antenna that has elements that can receive both UHF and VHF signals is the best TV antenna you can use. 

It gives you the best chance of maximizing your channel lineup. But you can likely get some local stations by using an indoor TV antenna if broadcast towers are 30 miles or closer to your home. You look at some of the best TV antennas that I have tested over the span of many months. 

Boston sports channels on an TV antenna

Major broadcast networks such as NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX carry a variety of live sports from college football to national broadcasts of MLB games. 

With a TV antenna, you can watch: 

  • NBA and NHL games are on ABC 
  • College basketball is on FOX, and CBS 
  • MLB games are on FOX
  • Premier League soccer is on NBC 
  • Champions League and Europa League are on CBS
  • MLS Soccer is on FOX
  • PGA Tour is on CBS
  • The Daytona 500 is on FOX

Streaming services with sports and local channels

You need to use a live TV streaming service to watch in-market sports. Home games for the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins are on NESN.

The Boston Celtics are on NBC Sports Boston. National broadcasts for NBA games are on ESPNTNT and NBA League Pass

You can look over channel lineups for DIRECTV STREAMfubotvHulu Live TVSling TV and YouTube TV to stream both local broadcast channels, regional sports networks and cable TV networks. 

Paramount+ carries local CBS stations in its premium-level subscription. Peacock does the same by carrying local NBC stations in every market. 

For more detailed information on specific channels, you can read: 

For more news on streaming, how-to guides and reviews, head over to the main page of The Cord Cutting Report or follow the CCR on Google News.

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.