Skip to main content
Any TV set made since 2007 has a digital tuner that lets you watch over-the-air (OTA) channels for free, if you get an inexpensive indoor antenna. These channels usually include local broadcast channels, including high-definition or “HDTV” signals. But an OTA antenna won’t get you free “premium” channels, which you can only get from cable, satellite, or online content services. Don’t believe an OTA antenna ad that says it can.
 
Today the FTC announced that it sued a company for allegedly lying about the performance of its indoor antennas and signal amplifiers. The company sold products under the TV Scout, SkyWire, SkyLink, and Tilt TV brand names. Its antenna ads claimed that people could stop paying for cable or satellite TV and still get all of their favorite TV channels, including premium channels. That was simply not true, the FTC says. The company’s ads for amplifiers—in English and Spanish—claimed that people could use those with its antennas to get even more stations, including premium or subscription channels, like HBO and AMC, for free. The FTC says that these ads were also false. The FTC also said that some of the ads were made to look like “news reports,” and some of the consumer endorsements were made up.
 
Before you cut the cord and buy an OTA antenna and related products, remember:
  • Read the FCC’s tips about TV antennas and getting good reception.
  • Only trust news reports about a product when they come from a credible news source, and on its own website or news feed.
  • When you look at an online endorsement or review, think about where it’s posted and what you know about who wrote it. Some endorsements and reviews are fake or misleading. It can be hard to tell them apart from the real ones, so it’s better to check several sources. And expert reviews from trusted websites are a good way to go.
If you spot a problem, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

12 Comments


It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Kristen Kennedy
March 15, 2021
I've tried two and they are garbage.
Don't use your…
March 15, 2021
Thank you for help us and sharing this information.
Don't use Blye…
March 15, 2021
I bought the 2 for a lower price also because I have 2 tv's. Neither worked at all. Could not get anything!! Wasted my money!!
Garush
March 15, 2021
The FCC site was helpful. none of the indoor antennas worked. Had an antenna in attic. Learnt it would be 3 times better outside on highest part of roof. Got the best one possible think for about 80 miles. Helps if you live on a hill. Mine is pointed toward NYC which is about 60 miles away. Get about 76 stations (include substations). [ Don't know of any indoor antennas that work. They do not have the range. Tried them on a spare TV. ]
Elated at Your…
March 15, 2021
Thank you for your service. I would like to see it having a much higher coverage. It looks that our society is very rich with scammers and falsehoods.
Phyllis
March 16, 2021
Thank you for this "need to know" information. We need to apply this information when buying anything. Keep your receipts and when you find that what you bought is junk, you have at least 30 days to refund ever penny spent on it. Even without a receipt you should get an even exchange or a giftcard for the amount the item cost the day of the return. Stop the company's from thievery.
alphonzo05
March 16, 2021
I tried 4 different indoor antennas that did not work. The last one I ordered 4 at $20...silly me!
DonnnaB
March 16, 2021
At the time, these antennas were supposed to be the greatest. Well they turned our to be ineffective. No HBO, no free cable. Rip off!
David W
March 16, 2021
I use a cheap RCA indoor rabbit ear antenna with a built-in amplifier. It works fairly well, but the transmitter towers are relatively close to me. I have some trouble with pixelation of several channels, especially at night when power is reduced to those channels. However, this setup, though far from perfect and very limited in the number of channels I can watch, is not as cumbersome as a large rooftop antenna. Best of all, I am not getting ripped off by the satellite or cable companies.
Don't use your…
March 17, 2021
i bought 2 and they WORKED