Broadcast television is back… mostly because it never really went away.
An equal parts informative and hilarious report by the Wall Street Journal expounded on the virtues of a low-cost hack millennials are discovering in order to access free television: an antenna. Depending on your age, your reaction may be “duh” or “hmm… go on.” Also referred to as “rabbit ears,” antennas, which can be purchased for around $20, allow viewers to access half a dozen major networks — like NBC, ABC, and CBS — for free.
There’s no shame in the game of not knowing about the advantages of this not so antiquated pre-streaming favorite. In fact, you’re not alone. According to a June survey by the National Association of Broadcasters, 29% of Americans are unaware local TV is available for free.
We’ve enlisted the help of our friends at NASA to help provide a bit more insight.
Many believe the use of antennas may have been cut along with all the cords, but not so. The WSJ reports that Antenna sales in the U.S. are projected to increase to nearly 8 million units in 2017, a rise of seven percent.
Richard Schneider, the founder of a St. Louis manufacturing company called Antennas Direct, confirms that 2017 has indeed been a bit of a renaissance for antennas. With even the latest high-def flat-screen TVs needing an antenna to access free broadcasts, Schneider said he sold 75,000 antennas. Not 75,000 antennas in 2017, oh no. 75,000 antennas in June of 2017. Despite the increase in sales, he still needs to explain to the uninitiated the quaint charms of this dependable relic.
“If I’m at a party and I tell people what I do for a living, they’ll say, ‘That’s still a thing?’” Schneider said. “‘I’d think you’d be out of business by now.’”
Nope. Quite the contrary. It appears as though the antenna business is alive and well.