Cut the cord : Install an HDTV antenna in your attic

20 November 2017

If you cut the cord and drop cable - streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are great alternatives to replacing TV shows. However, live sports like NFL games and College football are hard to replace without an HDTV antenna.

You can buy indoor HDTV antennas - but I wanted a solution to get free, over the-air (OTA) signal to all my TVs using the existing coax already installed through the house. I wasn’t interested in having a hideous antenna sitting on my roof, so I chose to buy an exterior HDTV antenna - and mounted it in my attic rather than outside on the roof.

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I bought a Channel Master Outdoor TV Antenna for around $75.

Point the Antenna

It’s important to mount the antenna in a way that makes it possible to rotate it (at least somewhat). Visit the site and enter your address. This tool will tell you where your local station towers are located. For example, here is the station listing from my address:


While mounting my antenna - I pointed it around 73-74 degrees to get the best signal for FOX, NBC, CBS, and ABC. (I used a compass app on my smartphone for orientation while up in the attic)

Pulling coax

Mounting an antenna in your attic is the easy part. Getting the coax cable to run from the antenna to inside the house is the harder part.

My attic has quite a bit of head-room, so I was able to fanagle a 10-foot piece of plastic electrical conduit through an interior wall by drilling holes through the top and bottom plates of the wall. With this conduit in place, I was able to run coax from my attic to my utility room located in the basement.

Having conduit is nice, in case I want to ‘fish’ another cable through through the wall in the future.

Notice in the picture there is another piece of conduit - I actually installed 3 pieces of conduit while doing this project for future-proofing.

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I used spray insulation (Great Stuff) to seal the opening of conduit in the attic.

Multiple TVs

Once you get the coax into the house, it’s likely that you will need to amplify the signal to route to multiple TV locations. Currently, I’m using this amplifer with no complaints.

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