Definition: Over-the-air or OTA refers to signals sent by a broadcast television station through the open air. OTA signals used to be all analog, but analog is slowly being replaced by digital. The FCC regulates broadcast stations. An antenna is used to receive OTA signals. A tuner, usually inside the television, decodes them. All over-the-air signals are free to use if from a licensed broadcast television station.
Also Known As: radio waves or transmissions
I needed to buy an antenna for my television so I could receive the OTA signals while my cable gets repaired. Because my cable is out, I wouldn't be able to watch television without my local TV station's over-the-air signal.