Methods to watch local channels on a samsung smart tv [2023]

Did you buy a new Samsung TV and want to watch some local channels but don’t know how to get them? 

Don’t worry; in this article; we’ll explain how to get local channels on Samsung smart TV with or without subscribing to cable TV.

How-to get local channels on samsung smart tv

Here are four ways to get local channels on Samsung smart TV:

  1. Connect an antenna to your TV via a coaxial cable
  2. Install a third-party streaming app and access local channels
  3. Stream a live feed from social media networks
  4. Subscribe to cable TV

Here are the various methods you can use to watch local channels on Samsung smart TVs.

Method 1: Connect an Antenna

Outdoor TV antenna
Outdoor TV antenna

Using an antenna or using a cable are the only two options you have to get local channels on a non-smart TV.

Of course, this also works on smart Samsung TVs.

For this, you’ll need to:

  1. Install an antenna. You have an option between an indoor antenna or an outdoor antenna, which has a better range but is more expensive and probably not an option if you live in an apartment.
  2. Connect a coax cable. One end of the coaxial cable should go into the antenna and the other into the ANT IN (Air) port in your TV.
  3. Press the Source button on your remote and select TV.
  4. Select Settings (All Settings).
  5. Go to Broadcasting.
  6. Select Auto Program.
  7. Begin auto-programming by choosing Start. Select Air (for the antenna).
  8. Wait for the TV to scan for local channels and select Close to complete the process.

Should You Buy an Indoor or an Outdoor Antenna?

When choosing an antenna for your smart TV, you have two options:

  1. An indoor antenna
  2. An outdoor antenna

Here are some pros and cons of each:

Pros of indoor antenna:

  • Indoor antennas are cheaper. Most indoor antennas cost around $20-30.
  • They’re easier to install. Most indoor antennas are “plug-and-play.”
  • If you live in an apartment, an indoor antenna is probably your only option.

Cons of indoor antenna:

  • The signal is much weaker than on outdoor antennas. Indoor antennas have a range of about 20 miles. However, if you live in a city, the broadcast tower will likely be within that range already.
  • Concrete walls or other electrical items can block the signal, so it’s important to carefully consider where you place the antenna in your apartment.

Best indoor antennas:

Gesobyte Indoor TV antenna
Gesobyte Indoor TV antenna
  1. Gesobyte Amplified HD Digital TV AntennaCheck Price on Amazon
  2. Antier Amplified Indoor Digital TV Antenna – Check Price on Amazon
  3. WGGE TV Antenna – Check Price on Amazon

Pros of outdoor antennas:

  • Outdoor antennas have a much better range. While an indoor antenna has a range of about 20-30 miles, an outdoor antenna signal easily reaches 100+ miles. As such, outdoor antennas are much better if you live in more rural or suburban areas.
  • You’ll get a stronger and better quality signal. Since nothing is obstructing the signal between the antenna and the broadcast transmitter, you should also get a better quality and more robust signal than is the case with indoor antennas.

Cons of outdoor antennas:

  • They’re more expensive. While an indoor antenna will cost you $20-30, don’t expect to find a good outdoor one without spending around $100.
  • Outdoor antennas are more difficult to install. Since an outdoor antenna will go on your roof, you should probably hire a professional to install it. This will cost you a few extra bucks in addition to what you paid for the antenna itself. Of course, you can put it in the attic (and get a weaker signal that way) or grab some ladders and do it yourself if you’re feeling adventurous.
  • You’ll need to waterproof it. While the rain or snow won’t affect the antenna itself, you’ll still need to weatherproof the exposed coax cable, as the water and moisture could diminish the signal. Also, you might need to use weather sealants on the holes you drilled for it, or you’ll have rain inside as well as outside.

Best outdoor antennas:

Winegard Outdoor TV antenna
Winegard Outdoor TV antenna
  1. Winegard Elite Outdoor – Check Price on Amazon
  2. Channel Master ULTRA – Check Price on Amazon
  3. Direct ClearStream 4V TV Antenna – Check Price on Amazon

Method 2: Install a Third-Party Streaming App

Plex TV
Plex TV

For this method, you’ll need three things:

  1. A smart TV. This method won’t work with non-smart TVs.
  2. A stable WiFi connection — here’s what to do if your Samsung TV has issues connecting to WiFi.
  3. A streaming app or service. Keep in mind, however, that some streaming apps will only work in the US.

To install a third-party streaming app on the Samsung smart TV:

  1. Open the Menu.
  2. Select Apps.
  3. Search for a streaming app by using the search bar in the top-right corner. For instance, you can search for Plex.
  4. Click Install.
  5. Once the download is completed, close the window.

Method 3: Watch a Live Feed on Social Media

YouTube TV
YouTube TV

This method is great if you only want to watch a specific feed from a local channel but otherwise don’t need it.

For instance, you might want to watch a game or another program that is only available on that local channel and nowhere else.

In that case, you can simply find their live feed on the channel’s YouTube, Facebook or other social media page where they’re broadcasting it.

Method 4: Subscribe to Cable TV

Finally, if you don’t want the hassle of installing the antenna, there aren’t streaming services in your region or you don’t want to rely on catching a live broadcast, your fourth option on how to get local channels on Samsung smart TV is by subscribing to cable TV.

The good news is that there is no lack of options in the US when it comes to cable providers, as you can choose between Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and other providers.

Two important things to consider when choosing a cable provider to subscribe to are how many channels it has available in a plan and the monthly cost of that plan.

For the first consideration, at the minimum, you should have at least 100+ available channels, although some providers have more than 400 available channels.

When it comes to cost, cable TV can cost you anywhere from $20 to $150 or so, depending on the plan.

Again, if you’re using a non-smart TV, then this (cable) and the antenna are your only options to watch local channels on your Samsung TV.

Why is my tv not discovering local channels?

Sometimes you might encounter some problems with your smart TV not discovering local channels.

Let’s take a look at how to solve this.

Switch the cable slot

The first reason why your Samsung smart TV doesn’t detect local channels is that you put the antenna or cable into the wrong slot of your TV.

There are two RF slots:

  • ANT 1 IN (Air) – This is for the antenna
  • ANT 2 IN (Cable) – This one is for cable

So, if your TV doesn’t detect local channels, simply switch the cable from one slot to the other.

Soft reset your tV

The previous method (switching the RF slot) should work in 9 out of 10 cases, but in case it doesn’t, it could be an indication of a more serious problem.

Luckily, most problems with smart TVs can be solved with a simple restart.

Here we’re talking about a “soft reset” and not a “hard reset.” Check out our guide on resetting Samsung TVs to understand the difference and how to perform both.

The easiest way to restart your Samsung smart TV is to:

  1. Press and hold the Power button on the TV remote while the TV set is on.
  2. Once the restart process begins, let go of the button.
  3. Wait for the process to finish.
  4. Press and hold the Power button on the remote one more time.
  5. Wait for the TV to turn back on.

Hard reset your tv

If even the restart option didn’t work, it’s time for the “nuclear” option then, and that’s the “hard reset” or “factory reset.”

Why is this the “nuclear” option? Because it will delete any settings and configurations that you previously had.

If you still want to do it, here’s how:

  1. Shut down the TV by holding the Power button on the TV remote.
  2. Access the Main Menu by pressing the Menu button on the remote.
  3. When prompted, enter the key by using the navigational up/down keys on the digital keyboard.
  4. Go to Support.
  5. Select Self Diagnosis.
  6. Locate Reset and press Enter.
  7. You’ll be asked to enter the PIN. The default is 0000.
  8. Select Yes and confirm with Enter on the next pop-up warning.
  9. Now, wait for the reset to complete.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Samsung TV not picking up local channels?

There are a few reasons why your TV doesn’t detect any local channels, such as:

You are too far from the broadcast tower. Antennas have a certain range in which they can pick up a signal. For some, this can be 60 miles, for others, 150 or more. However, if you are outside that range, you’ll either get a lower-quality signal or no signal at all.

You don’t have a clear view of the broadcast tower. Let’s say you are within the range of the broadcast tower but still can’t get any signal. One reason for this is that something is disrupting it. If you are using an indoor antenna, this could be a wall or another electrical device, while on outdoor cameras, this can be a hill, for instance.

You put the coaxial cable in the wrong slot. Remember, there are two ANT IN slots on your TV. The Air is for the antenna, while the Cable is for the cable.

Your cable is damaged, corroded, or loose. If your cable is physically damaged, this will probably weaken its signal and cause you to not receive any local channels, so make sure to inspect the cable for damage.

Your cable is too long. If your coax cable is too long, it will lose some of its signal quality, so if you need to use a long cable, get a pre-amplifier to boost the signal.

The station you are looking for is broadcasting on a different frequency. Most TV stations broadcast in UHF, but some use VHF signals. Get an antenna that picks up both.

Does my Samsung smart TV have a built-in antenna?

As a rule of thumb, Samsung TVs (smart or not) don’t come with built-in antennas, so you’ll have to purchase the antenna separately.

However, some newer models made after 2020 have internal antennas, although these will be much weaker than commercial ones.


There you go. Now you know how to get local channels on Samsung smart TV.

To recap, you can:

  1. Get an antenna (indoor or outdoor)
  2. Install a third-party streaming app
  3. Join a live broadcast on the channel’s social media pages
  4. Subscribe to a cable TV service

Enjoy watching your favorite programs!

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About Melissa

Hey! I'm Mel, I write the occasional article for Spacehop, amongst other things. I love meeting new people and chatting, so if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

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