Broadcast TV over coax for free?
October 8, 2012 6:04 AM Subscribe
Is broadcast TV supposed to come in over coax when you're not paying for it? (or is it not actually coming over coax in the first place?)
posted by jozxyqk to technology (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a comcast/xfinity "internet-only" customer.
We used to pay for TV, but canceled it over a year ago, returned the box, etc. If it's relevant to the question, we have never had phone service through comcast.
I noticed, though, that if I plug coaxial cable from the wall into my (digital-tuner) TV, I am still able to get some channels. Basically anything you could get "over the air", plus a few other channels like Local Access.
Is this normal? Is it a "known secret" or a known non-secret? I can't seem to find a straight answer by googling.
Most answers seem to say "you need an antenna" or "you need to be paying for cable TV service" to get these channels without a cable box.
Now that I'm writing the whole thing out, I also wonder if the answer is more mundane:
Could it be that I'm getting these channels because the wire-to-the-wall is acting like a strong antenna, and they are actually coming over the air after all? The low-numbered channels (what you'd call "VHF" in the olden days) do seem to have stronger signals than the high-numbered ("UHF") channels.
If this is what's happening, is this an electrically bad idea? Should I immediately cease doing this and hook up a powered antenna instead?