What to Do If You Have an Old Tube TV

Last updated: October 28, 2017 at 23:25 pm by Brian Shim

If you have an old tube TV like the one shown below, or a flat screen that does not have a built-in digital tuner (made before 2006, when digital tuners were mandated), you will need a digital TV converter box (also called a tuner box) in order to get free TV using an antenna. These cost less than a month of cable TV for most people.

Tube TV

Tube TV

Consider Before You Buy a Converter Box

The cost of flat screen TVs has come down so much that might want to consider upgrading to a one if you can afford a bit more. Here are some reasons why:

  • You won’t need to buy a digital TV converter box (saving you $50).
  • If you get a “smart” TV, you can access subscription Internet content without having to buy a Roku/AppleTV/etc. (saving you $35-$100).
  • You’ll have incredible picture quality compared to your tube TV.
  • The TV will use less space, and you can hang it on a wall.
  • Flat screen TVs use less energy than tube TVs of the same screen size, saving a bit of money over the long run.
  • Even if you buy a Sony 40″ wide screen HDTV, the savings from cancelling cable will pay for it in less than a year.

Recommended TV Converter Boxes

OK, if you still want to buy a digital TV converter box for your tube TV, there are two models that I recommend:

The HomeWorx unit includes a recording feature, where you can record shows to a USB drive.

If you have a flat screen TV without a digital tuner (these are relatively rare), you’ll need to get a digital tuner box. I searched around a bit and couldn’t find one that has gotten good reviews. Let me know if you find anything.

Note, this is an independent review site that receives compensation from the retailer or manufacturer (at no extra cost to you) when you purchase through the affiliate links on this site. I test and/or research each product or service thoroughly before endorsing it. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Antennas

Once you have the converter box, you’ll need a broadcast TV antenna. Before buying anything, enter your zip code into the Station Finder and make sure there are signals in your area.

If there are, here are some low-cost indoor antennas that I recommend.

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