By Jim Kimble / Updated November 18, 2023
In the Los Angeles market, you can use a TV antenna to get the big four broadcast networks, (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) along with independently-owned TV stations.
TV viewers and prospective cord-cutters can get a lot of free television stations without internet or cable TV service. 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.
TV Stations in Los Angeles
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There are dozens of sub-channels such as Laff, GRIT, and ion TV. And there are a number of popular Spanish-language channels, including Telemundo, Univision and UniMás.
These channels are available as free over-the-air (OTA) TV signals that you can get without a cable TV or satellite service.
Broadcasters in Southern California are transmitting on the UHF and VHF band, so it’s important to use an TV antenna that has elements for both bands.
Other local networks that are free over-the-air channels include PBS, KCAL, KWHY, Univision and Unimas. MeTV, Decades, and ionTV, are among sub-channels that are also over-the-air in the Los Angeles market.
Broadcast towers in Los Angeles are located in Pasadena on or near Mt. Wilson.
How many TV channels can I get with a TV antenna in Los Angeles?
The number of local broadcast channels you get boils down to how well you can optimize your antenna reception.
But a variety of factors come into play. Hills or small mountains, high-electrical wires and building materials can all impact reception of OTA TV.
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.
Is Nextgen TV available in Los Angeles?
NextGen TV (the new broadcast standard ATSC 3.0) is being used by a number of television stations in the Los Angeles area. In December 2021, FOX Television stations and Nexstar Media Group launched NextGen TV broadcasts.
The stations offering ATSC 3.0 signals included KTTV-TV, KCOP-TV, and KTLA-TV. More stations are expected to make the switch in the coming months.
Most TV stations are transmitting digital TV signals known as ATSC 1.0. It was adopted more than a decade ago replacing the old analog signals.
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 serves as an OTA DVR.
What type of TV antenna should I use in Los Angeles?
The Los Angeles market has local broadcasters transmitting on the UHF and VHF bands.
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.
- How to Choose the Best TV Antenna
- How to Connect Multiple TVs to One Antenna
- Review: The Best Indoor TV Antennas
- Review: The Best Outdoor TV Antennas
Los Angeles sports 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 local channels
You need to use a live TV streaming service to watch in-market sports. Home games for the Los Angeles Angels are on Bally Sports West. The Los Angeles Lakers have home games on Spectrum SportsNet. Los Angeles Clippers games are on Bally Sports SoCal.
Paramount+ carries local CBS stations in its premium-level subscription. Peacock does the same by carrying local NBC stations in every market.
There are lots of options to watch local TV stations in Los Angeles, but you should try a TV antenna first.