Now that, the onus of antenna ownership is back in the hands of individual HDTV owners. (Note: that's you.)
In other words, if you want to watch (and possibly record -- see below) local programming, you'll need something like this: For a limited time, DealFisher has the refurbished Mohu Leaf Ultimate amplified antenna for $34.99, shipped. Price for a new one (now known as the Leaf 50): $69.99.
First things first: If you already have an old set of rabbit ears, give them a try. Depending on where you live, they might work quite well. If not, an amplified antenna can make a big difference. And, frankly, something like this is much less of an eyesore in your living room.
The Leaf is a head-scratchingly flat piece of plastic that's black on one side and white on the other. (Face it whichever way is easiest on the decor. Or even paint it to match!) Just connect it to your TV and you should be able to tune in local stations.
Where I live, about 35 miles outside of Detroit, the Leaf Ultimate pulls down most of the major networks. I cannot stress enough, however, that your mileage may vary. And that's really kind of the frustrating thing about this, though at least DealFisher offers a 30-day return policy.
In any case, something like this would pair really well with one of the new breed of over-the-air DVRs -- namely the Simple.TV 2 or . These can take up residence nearly anywhere in your house, meaning you can put them wherever the antenna gets the best signal.
There are similar OTA antennas out there, but for what it's worth, the Mohu stuff is made in the USA. If you've tried this version, hit the comments and let your fellow cheeps know how it worked out.
In the meantime, have a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend, and I'll see you back here on Monday!
Bonus deal: Speaking of tricking out your home theater, DailySteals has the Sony STR-DH130 2-channel stereo receiver for $99, shipped. It's new, not refurbished, and sells for $150 most everywhere else. Just plug in a pair of speakers (even the ones from your old '80s stereo will do) and enjoy vastly superior sound from your TV. User reviews for this model are in the 4-to-5-star range pretty much everywhere.