According to Dummies, the word “smart” has been adapted into the tech industry to mean a device with higher function capabilities.
Similar to the path of analog telephones to smart devices, the transition from cable television broadcasting to modern Smart TV has been technologically transcendental.
But will a Smart TV work with an antenna?
A Smart TV will work with an antenna, but modern digital antennas will work better than analog if you want to watch regular TV channels. After setting up your digital antenna, you can receive cable channels through over-the-air (OTA) programming.
As technology continues to progress, consumers are left to figure out how to connect their smart devices and television screens to the channels they’ve always loved.
Read on to learn more about how to set your Smart TV with an antenna, so you can tune in to all your favorite programs.
Smart TVs Have the Advantage Over Cable TVs
A smart TV is a television that gives users access to the internet and media streaming services.
As streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu continue to grow in popularity, the demand for cable television is falling.
The result is that more modern smart TVs don’t have built-in access to cable channels.
The advantages of Smart TVs are easy to spot: Instant access to your favorite movies and TV shows, on-demand and potentially ad-free.
Still, many users are still reliant on cable television for news and entertainment.
The good news is, setting up your smart TV to work with a cable antenna can be pretty simple.
Smart TVs, such as the Amazon Fire TV, can be purchased for roughly $300-$500. Many modern smart TVs have built-in antennas.
However, most can only be used for Bluetooth, WiFi, and smart home ecosystems.
This means that users will likely not be able to access standard broadcast channels without an auxiliary antenna.
Do Smart TVs Come With Digital Antennas?
Smart TVs don’t come with digital antennas. However, they do have antennas, but according to Techpenny, those won’t connect the TV to broadcast cable channels. In order to access regular TV channels, users will need to purchase and install a new digital antenna.
Digital antennas function by taking in broadcast frequencies as electromagnetic signals.
The signals are then sorted and converted into the audio/visual display.
Digital broadcast is regulated by the FCC, which means it’s owned by the public and can be accessed without a monthly subscription.
Digital antennas, such as this 360 degree, 320-mile radius Forlovv Digital HDTV Antenna (available on Amazon.com, are necessary for modern Smart TVs to receive and display channels in high resolution.
The exception to this rule is if the user’s Smart TV includes a premium cable subscription with the plan.
This is more common when a Smart TV is connected to a smart home ecosystem.
Smart Home Ecosystems
A smart home ecosystem refers to a system of smart devices situated around the house.
They’re usually supplied by the same or related providers.
This allows for the devices to communicate smoothly with each other, creating an automated living environment.
Smart home ecosystems will often include elements such as:
- Smart thermostats
- Security systems
Providers such as Samsung also carry:
- Smart stoves
- Washing machines
More immersive smart home ecosystems are more likely to include cable access as a perk.
Now, let’s go over some facts about how modern Smart TVs work with antennas.
1. Cable Antennas Can Be Connected via Input Ports
Most Smart TVs, although not equipped with cable broadcast or OTAP antennas, have ports on the back.
Simply connect the satellite or cable box to the back of the Smart TV using an HDMI cable. There should be multiple HDMI ports on the back of the Smart TV.
If you’re replacing an old TV with a Smart TV, the same cable you’ve been using should still work.
Once the HDMI is hooked up, accessing cable channels is simply a matter of tuning your Smart TV to the proper source.
You may also wonder: Do I need an Android box if I have a smart TV?
2. Smart TVs Can Receive Cable Channels Through OTA Programming
One of the ways to continue watching cable programs on a Smart TV is through over-the-air (OTA) programming.
OTA requires the use of a digital antenna, according to CableTV. This method of receiving cable is relatively affordable and requires a limited setup.
Moreover, OTA also tends to have better resolution than traditional cable.
This is due to the over-compression that occurs on cable broadcasts, effectively squashing the picture quality.
These attributes make OTA a popular option as more consumers are immersing smart technology into their daily lives.
3. Smart or Adaptive Array Antennas Provide New Solutions
According to IJERT, you can roughly compare how an adaptive antenna receives and organizes input to closing your eyes and listening as a speaker moves about the room.
However, it’s an imperfect comparison, but it can be helpful in visualizing the technical details.
Smart antennas operate wirelessly, making use of the diversity effect either at the transmitter or the receiver.
The diversity effect essentially serves to reduce the relative error rate as a signal is received.
Smart antennas perform the task by either transmitting or receiving multiple radio frequencies.
This lowers the error rate essentially by triaging the broadcast between multiple sources and/or destinations.
Adaptive Array Antennas
Although they perform a similar function, adaptive array antennas aren’t the same as smart antennas.
Adaptive array antennas work in a similar way to human ears. Ears take in sound from a moving source isolating the recognized pattern from the other unrelated sounds.
The antenna does the same, seeks out the selected broadcast.
The ability of an adaptive antenna not only to track its source but to respond allows it to distinguish between desired and undesired broadcasts.
This allows for the antenna itself to identify and display the highest resolution possible with consistency.
You might also want to know: Should a Smart TV Be on 5G or 2G? 6 Things To Consider
4. Smart TVs Can Interact With a Home Ecosystem
One of the advantages of a Smart TV is that it can become an element of your smart home ecosystem.
Smart TVs don’t generally come with access to cable channels. However, much of the information and content users rely on can be accessed by other means.
News, weather, headlines, and fluff pieces are all provided by a wide variety of news and media sources online.
Incorporating your television into your home ecosystem will allow you to access the news you need from wherever you are.
5. Analog Antenna Can Work Intermittently
Hooking up an analog antenna to a Smart TV gives the viewer access to local cable.
However, the likelihood of having picture quality issues is much higher when using analog versus digital, smart, or adaptive array antennas.
The same HDMI ports located on the back of the Smart TV can be utilized to connect an analog antenna to a Smart TV.
A standard television antenna should work with “any kind of real television, including a Smart TV”, according to Long Range Signal.
BONUS: Multiple Devices Can Be Connected to a Single Antenna
One of the advantages that come with the use of a smart antenna is that it can project signals onto multiple devices.
For multi-TV households, this means that all the devices can be sourced from the same origin.
Digital antennas–such as the ANTAN Indoor Window HDTV Antenna from Amazon.com–are designed to communicate to devices through walls.
It allows multiple devices to receive a high-resolution picture from the antenna, no matter where the device is in the house.
Read also: Smart TV Keeps Freezing: 4 Reasons & 5 Instant Fixes
As technology continues to advance and complicate, the ways in which viewers connect with their media is also changing.
Smart TVs are more common than ever, accompanying the mass shift of consumers away from traditional broadcast television.
Updating your TV doesn’t have to mean giving up your favorite shows, however.
By using a smart, digital, or adaptive array antenna, you can pick up local stations.
Using new technology may even give users a new appreciation for classic television through higher resolution and better overall quality.