A reader is ready to cut the cord and wants to know if a device she’s seen advertised is too good to be true.

“I’ve recently seen several ads on Facebook and other websites for a device called EZ Digital that says you can receive 77 HD channels with no monthly fee. Is this genuine? I’m on a fixed income and my cable bill is exorbitant. Would I be able to receive Hallmark movie channel and CNN?”

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The EZ Digital device is genuine in that it is an actual TV antenna that, when hooked to a television, can help you receive whatever channels are available over-the-air where you live. If you live in a metropolitan area that’s close to other towns with local TV stations, you might be able to get 70-plus channels. These days, most stations offer three or four channels of programming on their signal. Usually the primary networks like CBS, ABC, etc… and additional channels that often feature reruns of classic shows, movies, or weather.  However, most people won’t be able to get that many channels. In the Toledo area, it would be more like fifteen.

There is no device that allows you to receive cable channels like Hallmark or CNN for free over the air. Those channels aren’t broadcast over the air. And even if someone can get you a hacked cable or streaming box that allows you access to paid service, you’re breaking the law and will be charged with theft if you’re caught. And they will catch you eventually. 

EZ digital claims that it is able to pick up channels that other antennas cannot. But keep in mind, that there are limits to even very good antennas. Modern digital signals are line-of-sight, if there are trees, large buildings mountains, or other obstructions in the way, you won’t be able to receive the channel.  Many of you are going to need to put an antenna on a pole to receive a signal.

You can click here for a handy guide that explains what channels should be available in your area and whether a set-top antenna like the EZ Digital will pick them up.