Over-the-Air TV in Newfoundland – Can I Get Free TV?

Once upon a time, using an antenna to watch TV shows was very common. It’s surprising that nowadays, many people do not even know that this is possible. Free, over-the-air (OTA) television is still a viable, cheap, legal, and high definition option to watch sports, news, and even new shows. So, can you use an antenna to receive free, over-the-air TV in Newfoundland? Yes, you can, and it’s simple!

What channels can I get for free in Newfoundland?

Both local TV channels in St. John’s, NTV and CBC, can be received over-the-air with an antenna. The local CBC channel has the call letters CBNT-DT. NTV is an independent channel with the call letters CJON-DT and a great theme song. CBC is on channel 8.1, with NTV on channel 21.1. In addition to these two TV channels, you can also receive the OZ FM radio station (CHOZ-FM) on channel 21.2.

Where can I get free, over-the-air TV in Newfoundland?

The province was once covered with television transmitters that provided coverage to almost every populated area. However, the transition from analog to digital signals in 2011 changed everything. Most transmitters were required to be converted from analog to digital, but luckily, this costly process did not apply to rural areas of Newfoundland and Labrador. Not long after through, both local Newfoundland channels decided to shut down their analog transmitters due to maintenance costs.

Now, the only places to get over-the-air TV in Newfoundland are St. John’s and the surrounding area.

Both channels can be easily received in most areas of St. John’s and Mount Pearl with a simple indoor antenna. The whole northeast Avalon has the possibility to receive the broadcast with an indoor antenna as well. Even communities on the northwest Avalon, such as Bay Roberts and Carbonear, can receive the channels with some indoor antenna adjustments.

Outside of these areas, receiving the signal will be quite difficult. You’ve only got a shot at receiving free TV in Newfoundland if you live in the coverage area. This area includes most of the Avalon, and extends out to Bonavista, Clarenville, and even Marystown. Mind you, the signal is very weak in these places and will require a roof-mounted antenna (and some luck) to give you any chance of tuning in.

To determine how the signal is in your area, check out the CBC map and the NTV map below.

CBC signal map for over-the-air TV in Newfoundland

NTV signal map for over-the-air TV in Newfoundland

What antenna do I need?

If you live in an area with a strong signal, like St. John’s, a simple indoor antenna like this one is probably all you need.

Living further away from the city, you’ll need something a bit more robust. You could try a more powerful indoor antenna – ideally mounted in a high area of your home – such as this one (you may need some extra cable, too).

If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to try an outdoor antenna like this. You can expect the best results if mounted to your roof, but even mounting it to your deck or in your attic might be all you need. If you’re too far from the transmitter, then you’re going to be out of luck no matter what type of antenna is used. In that case, your only options (aside from internet streaming) would be your local cable provider or one of the two satellite TV providers. Some local programming is also available live and on-demand directly from the channels, such as NTV news.