We'll need to know a few more details like, what kind of TV do you have? An HDTV or an HD Ready TV or an analog TV? Depending on what kind of TV you have, you may need a digital-to-analog converter box.
Also, what distance are you from TV broadcast towers? You'll need to know this because it'll help you figure our if you can use an indoor antenna or outdoor antenna. You can determine this by entering your home address into the search at TV Fool. When you get the results, post the link here so we can recommend an antenna for you.
Anyway, here's a basic rundown of what you need:
1. An TV
2. An Antenna
3. Coax Cable (Long enough to connect the antenna to your TV, if you have a converter box, you'll need two pieces of coax cable - 1 to connect to the converter box from the antenna and 1 to connect from the converter box to the TV)
4. (Optional) Digital-to-Analog Converter Box
1. A digital television or analog TV with digital converter box.
2. An appropriate antenna.
3. If using a converter box with an analog TV you would need a piece of coax (usually comes with converter box) or (yellow, red, white) composite video and audio cable (prefered but older analog TVs didn't have the inputs).
5. Coax cable as necessary ( if you use an indoor antenna it will come with its own coax) to connect the antenna to the TV or converter box.
If your TV is marked HDTV (not "HDTV Ready") or SDTV it has a digital tuner and doesn't need a converter box. If not, it's probably analog, and will need a converter box.
Get an appropriate antenna (we would need the URL i.e. web address for your TV Fool report to help you select an antenna) and attach it to the converter box. Then attach the TV to the converter box using RCA/composite video - audio cables. The cable will have a red, white, and yellow plug on each end. Set the TV to the correct input and scan the converter box for channels.
On the other hand... Yes, you could get a new TV if that was in your budget.
If you're on a tight budget, you may be able to find a used Converter box on your local Craigslist, cheap. Once we see your TV Fool report, we will make antenna suggestions and again, you might find what you need on Craigslist.
That's an older TV you have, built sometime between 2004 and 2007. It may work ok, but, it's going to die eventually and it's an energy hog.
Right now prices are pretty good on new, energy efficient, wide screen HD 720p TV sets. You can get a TV thats a good replacement for yours for under $200. I found one at Walmart, a Haier 22" Class LCD 720p 60Hz HDTV, L22B1120, for $140. You're going to end up spending $30 to $60 for a converter box anyway, only to have to replace your old TV in a few years. And then, what are you going to do with that converter box? You'll probably save enough electric in a year or two to pay for it, not to mention the savings from NOT paying for cable. I also have to say, converter boxes are notoriously unreliable, they were cheaply made and have a high failure rate.
So, don't settle for a stop-gap solution if you can afford $150 to $200. Post us your TVfool, and start shopping for a new TV in the 22-27 inch range (you'll want it a bit bigger than your old TV). We'll recommend an antenna - it should cost under $50, a nd walk you through the process.
For an antenna, I recommend an outdoor antenna as much as possible. If the place you live in is a house, & you own it, then go that route. I also recommend that if you go with a combo antenna (UHF only needed if you live in the Madison, WI market, assuming the OP lives in Wisconsin, based on username), that it's the old-fashioned element antenna, but won't need one optimized for 2-6 (currently, no Wisconsin station broadcasts in the 2-6 range). So look for an antenna that's optimized for 7-51 (most are still made for 7-69, but won't hurt that it's optimized that high up), because except for Madison Wisconsin, all Wisconsin markets have at least 1 VHF station (7-13).
To dkreichen1968: You are wrong that older TV sets didn't have composite inputs. I have an RCA TV that was made either in 2002 or 2003, but bought in 2004, because at the time, my older RCA TV from 1994 quit working, & Walmart didn't have any smaller HDTV's, while Kmart in 2004 (where I bought my current RCA) didn't have any HDTV's available. Both my last RCA & my current RCA both have composite inputs. I also have a Samsung TV that is also analog (got that free from a cleanout job of an old Hollywood Video), & not only does that one have composite inputs, but outputs as well (this one has more inputs & outputs than my RCA TV). So you should have said that not all analog TV sets have composite inputs. That was usually found on higher priced TV's in the day. Now, at least 1 composite input, S-Video input, & VGA port are standard on all sets. I however haven't seen HDMI ports on the cheapest HDTV's.
When I said "older" I meant TVs manufactured in the 80s and 90s. I would consider anything manufactured after 2000 to be a "newer" analog TV. After all my parents are still using a 25" console TV from 1982. And, I've got an old Quasar 12" black and white from 1979 (my college TV) that doesn't even have a 75 ohm coax input.
My Grandmother had an RCA 25 inch TV (not a console) from 1986 that had a lot of inputs, a couple of outputs, plus S Video inputs. She also had both the 300 ohm & 75 ohm coax on her TV (not 75 ohm for VHF & 300 ohm for UHF, like some TV's from the day did, but 75 ohm for one input, & the 300 ohm inputs (separate VHF & UHF). She had a big remote for this TV too. I thought my on screen menu was complicated, her's was even more complicated. In the early 80's, I mainly saw all the composite inputs on rear projection TV's, but some of the bigger 19 & 20 inch models, plus a few consoles had them too (again, high end models). My Aunt Nancy was the one who bought the high end model TV's for my Grandma, instead of buying something simple.
BTW, I'm old enough to remember console TV's, along with tube TV's, & the earlier solid state TV's. I even remember when VCR's loaded from the top, & how bulky & heavy they were.
I ran the A/V department in my high School and we were really up to date. Beta Max! Good grief, those machines were heavy. We had a pretty good sound system for those days too, a Shure Vocal-Master 8-channel mixer / PA amplifier with four, Shure tower speakers. My School had a terrific Jazz-Swing band and we performed at Seattle Super Sonics basketball games. We sounded so good we were the only School in the region to be invited back for a second appearance during the same year.
I'm however not old to remember that one. I do remember my schools using sound movie projectors, & 35mm projectors for the still frames, & usually used a cassette player for the audio on those projectors. I'm a kid from the late 70's into the 80's, & was in my 20's in the mid 90's.
Gave up my Basic Cable! Got Converter Box and HDTV amplified antenna
I canceled my Cable too..could no longer afford it. My TV was purchased new back in 2007 and had only been used in a guest room..so it was like new. In 2009, you had to get a digital converter box in order for it to work, so that is when I just got Cable...When I was thinking about canceling my cable, I spoke to a friend of mine. He said I needed a digital converter box and Amplified Antenna. I got the converter box used from the flea market and then bought a new Amplified HDTV antenna...WOW! I get beautiful reception! Unbelievable..I get about 23 channels...which is fine with me.. I only watch the NEWs and pubic broadcast station... I have been paying for Basic Cable from local Cable company since 2009...only got 26 channels. I've got the Cable company monkey off my back!