OTA HDTV stands for over-the-air high definition television. Before the development of cable and satellite infrastructure and television service, OTA services were the only ones available. These services were all provided in standard definition (and in earlier cases, even less than this). However, with the advent of high definition television, OTA HDTV is now made available by using a new digital transmission service that far outstrips the potential definition from analog transmissions, alternatively called DTSC transmissions.
Though much of the television watching market has switched to either cable television providers or satellite providers, there is still quite an interest in OTA reception. This is because, unlike the cable and satellite services, OTA is completely free from subscription fees or any fees at all. The only cost is decided by the consumer by how complex they wish their antenna set-up to be. This is ideal for those who wish to have a selection of television broadcasts from a few local networks or large networks, rather than a great deal for a subscription price. Since many television networks broadcast in a variety of bands and frequencies, and do so much like they have for fifty years or more, there are always signals to receive with a well set-up antenna system.
Perhaps one of the most interesting features of OTA High definition technology is that it has maintained its do-it-yourself sensibility. The antenna systems can be a quite intricate roof based parabolic combined UHH and VHF receiver or a system that resembles traditional television mounted rabbit-ears. The benefit is that the television signal that the customer receives is free, legal, and high-definition at the same time. This is ideal for hobbyists, enthusiasts, and discerning television viewers.
Though not all high definition televisions are set up to directly receive OTA transmission, newer HDTVs should have a SCTV tuner which will allow for instant OTA setup, even with a rudimentary antenna system.