Free TV in Houston: 109 channels and counting - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Free TV in Houston: 109 channels and counting

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How do you get your TV? These days, using only "rabbit ears," you may be able to pick up more than 100 channels for free.

Accountant Bob Martin remembers when there were only 3 television channels – and you had to get up from your chair to change them.

But today, using a small antenna aimed at the TV transmission towers in Missouri City, Martin is able to tune in 109 different digital channels.

He says the process isn't really that hard.

"If it's built into the television, it's really easy," said Martin. "You go to the settings and you just tell it to scan for digital channels. It's a little more complicated if you have a converter box."

Taking a closer look at what's available, VAN-TV on channel 55.2 delivers local programming in the Vietnamese language.

And Channel 20.2 now carries movies, 24 hours a day.

Where did all these channels come from? The switch from analog to digital signals left local broadcasters with a lot of extra room on their frequencies, says Houston TV blogger Mike McGuff.

"What that does is it gives the TV station the chance to broadcast a lot more than they used to," said McGuff. "So instead of just one channel, you can broadcast up to 4 or 5 channels, depending on what you want to do."

As for Bob Martin, he estimates he'll only watch maybe 5-10 percent of these channels. But unlike cable or satellite, he's not paying for any of them.

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