The term free to air or FTA has been used for years to describe the ability to get unencrypted, free and clear TV and radio channels.  The term is commonly confused with “Over The Air” or OTA or Terrestrial television.  Let’s take a moment to completely educate you on the two.

Wikipedia describes Free to air as: television and radio services broadcast in clear (unencrypted) form, allowing any person with an FTA receiver and a 30” or larger satellite dish + linear LNB to receive the signal and view or listen to the content without requiring a subscription or other ongoing cost. Free to air also refers to channels and broadcasters providing content for which no subscription is expected, even though they may be delivered to the viewer by another carrier for which a subscription is required like cable, satellite or the Internet.

Terrestrial television or what it is commonly referred to as over the air television (OTA) is a type a television broadcasting that does not involve a signal from a satellite or cables.  The TV signal is transmitted by radio wave and requires a digital antenna to receive the television programming.  As with free to air, there is no monthly bill or subscription required but you will need the correct size antenna and either a digital tuner set top box or a compatible TV with a terrestrial / ATSC tuner.