The Super Bowl has been streamed free on the internet since 2011, allowing cord cutters and people who have never had a cable or satellite subscription to watch the game—and the commercials. However, there’s always been a way for people to watch the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl without paying for it: rabbit ears.
While most people watched their cable and satellite feeds, TV antennas, which cost as little as $7, have advanced significantly. Today, they can receive the whole suite of network TV in crisp HD via UHF and VHF frequencies, unless you’re in a rural valley.
Connecting them is easy. The vast majority of TVs have coaxial inputs that accept these antennas, which are easy to attach and tune.
For cord-cutting sports fans, it’s a free way to avoid dealing with some of the most hated companies in America. Each year during the run-ups to certain events like New Year’s Eve, March Madness and the Super Bowl, sales for rabbit ears TV antennas heat up.
“We see an uptick in our RCA and Terk antenna sales prior to major sporting events such as the World Series, March Madness, and particularly the SuperBowl,” Voxx Accessories CEO David Gleise told Yahoo Finance.
RCA’s model is the most popular pair of rabbit ears on Amazon (AMZN), selling for just $7, but modern window antennas with a modern flat design have become the most popular sold these days. However, testing by Consumer Reports in 2013 showed that cheaper ones had an edge.
Using the antenna to fill the gaps left by cable that streaming can’t fill is a smart way to save a significant amount of money. If your viewing habits can be covered by a Netflix or Hulu subscription and network TV you can get over the air, the switch from a cable subscription to antennas could save you the better part of $1,000.