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Millennials Unearth an Amazing Hack to Get Free TV: the Antenna

Why broadcast is making a return to Millennial TV sets

Millennials have grown up with a wide variety of online streaming services and cable TV programs to watch on a whim. They expect (and maybe even demand) convenience. But lately, it’s been coming at a cost that’s prompted some savvy young adults to revert to the tech of the past.

Rabbit ears are returning, but why?

“Rabbit Ears” are making a comeback(!) from the technology trash pile to offer free TV to anyone who hauls them out of the attic. Why and how are these supposedly ancient electronics making it back into the living room?

  • Local channels and major networks like ABC, CBS, and NBC broadcast over public airwaves, allowing antenna users to tap in completely free.
  • Consumer Technology Association is predicting 8 million dollars in antenna sales for 2017.
  • Modern antennas aren’t necessarily the iconic ears. Many are deceptively simple flat rectangles for mounting behind the screen or on the wall.

What’s the hold up?

When something sounds “too good to be true,” it frequently is. Perhaps this is why consumers have been so slow to readopt the TV antenna. But the issue actually runs a bit deeper than that.

  • One in three Americans don’t realize that local channels are actually free to view, therefore believing they must pay for cable access.
  • Many people, especially Millennials and young Gen Zers, believe that digital television killed the public broadcast, when it actually just improved old analog signals.
  • Using an antenna is completely legal—and even allows users to circumvent cable blackouts—because you are always allowed to capture airwaves around you, just like with an FM radio. Yes, Millennials, you read that right.

So head’s up cable fans, you could be dropping that $200 monthly bill in favor of a perfectly legal and only slightly old-fashioned alternative. And retro is back in style, right?

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