How to Get TV Reception in NYC

digital antenna tv reception
New York Times

Time Warner Cable has renamed NY1 “Time Warner Cable News NY1,” Gothamist reports—but I wouldn’t know that, because I don’t get NY1! This wasn’t always the case: when I moved into my current apartment, the last tenant had left his deactivated cable sticking out of the wall. Now, I ain’t some Rockefeller, so I don’t pay for cable television, but seeing that protrusive cord, I thought, why not? It had worked for me in a previous apartment. I’ll just stick it in and see what happens. Lo and behold, I had television reception: not cable, mind you, even basic cable, but all the networks, plus their divided digital streams (not just channel 4 but 4.1, 4.2, etc.), and a few extras: NY1, TBS, the horse racing channel, etc. It was great.

For close to two years I watched the occasional Family Guy or Seinfeld rerun this way, until one day the TBS stopped working—the channel had just gone blue. I heard I wasn’t alone in this: other people incurious as to why they had magical television reception also suddenly lost their TBS. No need to panic, though; fortunately, most of the other channels remained unaffected—that is, until several weeks ago, when I no longer got any TV reception at all. Just solid blue-screen channel after solid blue-screen channel.

I don’t know why this happened, same way I don’t really know why I ever had TV to begin with. (I assumed that with the change to digital TV from analog, cable companies were compelled—or, you know, acting out of the kindness of their hearts—to provide easy, basic access even to non-paying customers. At least, that it was easier to leave most cables on than to shut ’em all down.) But, so, I dug out my old digital converter box, collecting dust on a shelf for years, and made it the intermediary between my television and my faithful ol’ rabbit ears, also dusty. But nothing happened. I think because if you want to get a digital TV signal, you have to have a digital antenna…

You know what’s easier than all this? Hulu!

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart


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