Over-the-air TV is still there in most major metropolitan areas in the US. All it needs is a tv with a new technology tuner and a new-technology antenna. Think: rabbit ears, the next generation.
The problem with digital over-the air is that when reception is bad, instead of a snowy picture you get pixelated freeze-frame TV -- impossible to watch. So the antenna needs to be a little bit (not a lot) better, and you may need to point it in the right direction. There are charts available online that show the compass headings for each station in major metroplitan areas.
This is not a computer problem. Getting your computers involved is needless complexity.
I've been reading that the advances in over the air digital anteneas are so good now that they rival and in some case surpase the quality of cable companies TV quality! The one I was reading was called the Leaf by Mohu.
It amazes me that the cable companies have done such a good job of brainwashing that there is now a whole generation that believes you can only get TV through cable and cable offers superior quality to anything else.
The fact is cable will never match the quality of OTA (over the air) via an antenna (there is no such thing as a "digital" antenna). That's because they need to compress the signals to stuff all of them down their pipes (that includes Verizon optical as well). Yes, broadcast signals are compressed too. But not nearly as much as cable.
They have an amplified and non-amplified one and from the report (by CBS News!) it said the non-amplified (and half as costly) was depending on your area often all you need!
This article was written in 2010 so I'm assuming there have been advances in anteneas since then and wonder if anyone has had experience getting TV without going through a cable or phone company and paying a fortune.
There have been few advances in antennas in the the past 80 years. What worked then will work now. I've built my own 4 and 8-bay antennas prior to the switch to digital. The technology use has been around since the last century.
Many people have switch to antennas after getting past the cable brainwashing and never looked back.
Last time I had full cable I was paying over $170 EVERY month. I'm not doing that again! Also the article was focused more on your TV versus your computer. I have a 30" monitor which is like having a TV attached to my Mac Pro. I also have a hometheater system which I'm not using much these days. But it does have a BluRay attached to it which has Netflix and CinemaNow and VuDu
If you want to watch TV on your computer you should look at the Elgato products. One of their simplest products is a little unit (looks like a thumb drive) that allows you to connect a antenna to it and it to a usb port.
(Full disclosure, I do have AT&T U-verse cable but I use my antenna for the locals for HD since I refuse to pay additional for HD -- I don't pay additional separate fee for color so why should I do it for HD? I can get over 80 channels with my antennas -- I have two -- but I block over 40 of them since they are foreign language, religious, or non-interesting channels.).
Another point -- the link I posted to a picture of one of my antennas is in the AVSForums. I recommend it for all questions relating to audio and video. My post(s) there is in the antenna build forum. But there are many other forums there all related to audio and video.
Last - to find out what OTA channels are available in your area go to TVFool and enter your location info (the more accurate the better the results). It will show you what you can get and where to point an antenna to get it.