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Millennials Are Using This Unexpected Technology to Expand Their Content Choices

Lesley Rohrbaugh, Director, Market Research, Consumer Technology Association

Rabbit ears for your TV? Yep! They’re back in a big way and allowing users to view free content in HD.

According to CTA research, the use of over-the-air (OTA) antennas has grown over the past nine years from 20% in 2009 up to 31% in 2018. As cord-cutting continues to rise in popularity among consumers looking to spend less on cable and satellite services, 19% of household telecommunication decision makers report that their house is now “antenna only.” Interestingly enough, those who have not necessarily grown up using an antenna in their home are the most common users of this technology – among the 31% OTA users in the U.S., 45% of 25-34-year-olds indicate owning the technology compared to their older counterpart of 65-74-year-olds at 19%. 

Perceptions of TV content are similar when we surveyed OTA users and non-users. Both types of consumers agree that the cost of content is increasing, and the choices continue to be extensive. However, awareness of the benefits of OTA antennas aren’t necessarily known to non-adopters of this tech such as receiving higher-grade content like HD picture quality while not paying on-going service fees.

Non-users surveyed indicated they still believe the technology provides limited channel selection (78%) and is unreliable (67%). However, after adopting this technology, four out of five users have an overwhelmingly positive impression of content through an antenna.

Many OTA antenna owners are using the technology to supplement the vast content they already receive through their TVs or other devices such as smartphones and tablets. By using the technology alongside other delivery formats like streaming apps or the internet in general, users are still able to pick up local TV stations just as they would if they had a paid basic cable or satellite subscription.


Interested in learning more about OTA connections? Read the full research study Understanding Over-the-Air Antenna Use