You can receive bunch of TV channels for free over the air (OTA). Including HDTV (High Defenition TV or Digital TV - DTV). All you need is some kind of antenna.
The simplest kind of TV antenna you can imagine is an unfolded paperclip stuck right into tv antenna socket
With paperclip antenna, depending on the location of your house and your TV in the house, (close to the window, facing TV tower is the best) you may get couple of channels in moderate quality or at least convince yourself that there is something in the air.
Paperclip, while being technically an antenna is not the best antenna for your TV. There are at least two reasons: first - paperclip dimensions and geometry are not the best for the frequencies used to broadcast OTA TV (UHF/VHF). Second – TV itself is a source of interference (as well as computer or microwave oven) and having “antenna” right next to the TV is not a good idea. Never place your antenna on top of TV or anywhere near it.
OTA or Over the Air should not be confused with FTA or Free-To-Air television. FTA is a satellite signal one can also receive for free, but you'll need satellite receiver and satellite dish antenna - equipment way more sophisticated than just a paperclip or beer can. Unlike FTA, OTA is receiving a free signal from a local TV tower, not the satellite. We are talking good old OTA here.
So, now let’s build a real antenna from a beer can.
Drink do it yourself project
All you’ll need is an empty beer can (I would recommend to start with full one and finish it as a first step), piece of cable and something to put and hold the whole thing in place. I’m using some Ikea furniture and painter’s tape.
While paperclip has not, beer can apparently have a right geometry for a dipole antenna. Long story short – simple dipole antenna consists of two metal rods, each ¼ of the wavelength for a channel you are about to receive. 0.5 liter aluminum can of Mooshead beer is 16 centimeters (6.3 inches) tall and is a perfect match for TV channel 15. It is still capable of receiving all the other channels, but in theory the farther you go from channel 15 the weaker the reception would be. In practice – it all depends on how strong the signal for particular station is. I got the best quality on channel 9 (CityTV) just because it has a strongest signal, while my beer antenna is not designed with this channel in mind.
Start with cutting your beer can in half, then affix these halves with a tape/staples/nails to “the base” (Ikea chair in my case).
Now you have to connect the cable to an antenna. You may just strip-off one side of the cable separating inner copper wire from outside “screening” wires