Walmart promoting TV antenna advertised with multiple false claims

Walmart either is or was running what appears to be a sponsored Facebook ad promoting an indoor television antenna from an unknown manufacturer that makes multiple false claims. It is not known if Walmart is still running the ad. A screengrab of the ad was posted on the Antenna Man YouTube page by the operator of the YouTube page, who is a TV antenna installer in Pennsylvania.

I will note multiple misleading claims about the antenna that Walmart was promoting.

First off, the antenna claims to pick up television stations broadcasting over-the-air from 960 miles away.

While over-the-air television stations can, under certain abnormal atmospheric conditions, be received from hundreds of miles from the transmission sites, it is not normal for an over-the-air television station to be received from beyond the radio horizon due to over-the-air television stations being broadcast on either VHF or UHF frequencies, which transmit line-of-sight. The radio horizon for the tallest TV transmitter in the United States, the 2,063-foot transmitter for KVLY-TV, the NBC and CBS affiliate for the Fargo, North Dakota area, is a little over 64 miles. Most U.S. over-the-air TV transmitters are not as tall as the KVLY-TV mast; for example, the height of the full-power TV transmitters in my area range anywhere from 926 feet to 1,316 feet, yielding radio horizons anywhere from a little more than 43 miles to a little more than 51 miles. An over-the-air TV transmitter capable of a 980-mile broadcast radius would have to be at least 480,570 feet tall, or a little over 91 miles tall, which is nearly 233 times as tall as the tallest real-life U.S. broadcast television transmitter. It is sometimes possible, with a large outdoor antenna mounted high above the ground, to reliably receive stations as far as 80 or 90 miles from the transmitters, although I can’t guarantee any level of reception of any broadcast TV station with any antenna from beyond the radio horizon.

The antenna that Walmart is promoting is a flat indoor antenna that is a fairly common design for indoor TV antennas in the digital era. These antennas are not really optimized for reception of any kind of over-the-air broadcast signal. Furthermore, an indoor television antenna is typically not going to receive signals reliably from more than 20-25 miles or so from the broadcast transmitters, due to the fact that the walls of houses and other dwellings tend to attenuate broadcast TV signals.

Secondly, the antenna claims to be able to receive ESPN, Fox Business Network, and CBC News Network over-the-air.

This claim is absolutely false, due to the fact that those networks do not broadcast over-the-air. ESPN and Fox Business Network are cable and satellite television networks in the United States, and require a U.S. cable or satellite television subscription that includes those channels in order to be received. CBC News Network is a cable and satellite television network in Canada, and requires a cable or satellite television subscription in Canada in order for that channel to be received.

Thirdly, the ad features scantily-clad women on a TV screen.

While I strongly oppose body-shaming, this is not something that would be expected to be broadcast by an over-the-air television station licensed in the United States. The FCC, which is supposed to regulate television in the United States, doesn’t permit anything deemed pornographic in nature to be broadcast on an over-the-air television signal.