How To Record TV Shows from Antenna?

How to Record TV Shows from Antenna? A Cord Cutter’s Guide

Welcome, fellow cord cutters, to the world of over-the-air (OTA) antenna TV! As someone who has navigated the seas of cable-free living for quite some time, I understand the importance of having control over your TV schedule.

So to answer your question, can you record TV shows from your antenna? The short answer is, yes! While it may not be as straight forward as recording shows from a cable or satellite subscription TV provider, it’s easy when you have the right knowledge and equipment.

In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of how to record OTA TV, providing you with the flexibility and convenience you crave. Who doesn’t want FREE TV right…let’s get started!

What Devices Can You Use to Record TV from Antenna?

What devices can be used to record antenna TV shows using basic dvr functions, such as Fire TV device.

There are several options that will allow you to record over the air TV shows from your antenna. Let’s take a look at what they are:

Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) – The Good ‘Ol Days

This is probably the most old-fashioned option your parents might be familiar with. You can simply buy a blank VHS tape and record your TV show with a VCR.

What is the downside? A VHS recorder is obviously a pretty old format so don’t expect a high-quality recording. You’ll get a much lower resolution (roughly 333×480 pixels) compared to modern formats.

So, if you are not that picky about picture quality, then it’s still a pretty adequate option if you only want to watch your shows. You can set a timer with most VCRs so you can record shows when away from home.

That said, it’s not 1980 any more, so let’s explore more modern DVR options.

Digital Video Recorder (DVR)

You can either buy a standalone DVR unit or use the one from your old cable or satellite subscriptions (If any). It will function just like a VCR recorder: simply set a timer and it will record shows for you.

However, you won’t have to purchase a blank tape to record, as a DVR unit will save your shows on its hard disk. Convenience and quality-wise, DVR is probably the best option, but DVR units might not be very cheap.

DVD Recorders or Blu-ray Recorders 

Another option is to get a DVD recorder (remember that not all DVD players can record). You have to purchase a blank DVD (very affordable nowadays).

DVDs can store videos with pretty decent quality, but it’s not the best according to today’s standards.

If you want quality, get a Blu-ray recorder instead, but both the Blu-ray recorder/player and a blank Blu-ray disc are much more expensive.

TV Tuner + Computer 

You can get a TV tuner card that you can connect to your computer (PC or laptop). Simply connect the coax cable from your digital antenna to the available port on the TV Tuner, and connect the TV tuner to your PC.

Typically they come with an included video capture software that you can use right away to save digital recordings to your computer’s hard disk.

What is the Best DVR to Record Antenna TV?

When it comes to a DVR that has the ability to record antenna TV, there are two solid choices we recommend:

#1. SiliconDust HDHomeRun Flex Duo 2

SiliconDust HDHomeRun Flex Duo 2 x ATSC Tuners - HDFX-2US

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This is the next generation HDHomeRun Flex Duo 2 network tuner. Get free-to-air TV through an antenna that allows you to send HD content anywhere in your home over a wired ethernet connection or over the WiFi from your existing home router. This means no more use of expensive cable box rental fees cable subscriptions.

Key Features

DVR Functionality

Similar to other lines of the HDHomeRun network tuner, SiliconDust HDHomeRun Flex 2 Duo has an optional antenna DVR capability. The recording is achieved by connecting an external USB hard drive. However, it requires a paid TV guide for the DVR recording function to work. You can record and watch 4K HDR and 1080P resolution.

Multi-Device and Multi-Platform Access

This Platform can be accessed through various platforms from PCs, tablets, phones, and surface running windows 10 operating system and Apple including iPads, computers, and iPhones to Android devices including smart media boxes, phones, and tablets.

Pros

  • It allows you to get free local channels using an OTA TV antenna and stream them to any smart TV or smart device in your home.
  • Easily connects to your existing home router via the embedded ethernet port.
  • It is one of the best over the air antenna TV streaming devices on the market with built in OTA DVR capabilities.
  • With 2 tuner, you can record OTA TV shows on one channel, and watch another.
  • Comes out of the box with screen recorder software to record antenna TV shows via an OTA broadcast.
  • Impeccable audio, video, and image quality.
  • Easy to get up and running

Cons

  • Doesn’t have any built in storage, therefore you will need to purchase an external hard drive.

Our Verdict

The SiliconDust HDHomeRun Flex Duo 2 should be your companion if you want a network tuner designed for user-friendliness. However, the unit doesn’t come prepackaged with a storage device or the LTE filter; you have to purchase it separately. Unfortunately, this makes the total cost higher.

#2. Tablo 2-Tuner OTA DVR

Tablo 2-Tuner Over-The-Air (OTA) DVR | Watch & Record Live Broadcast TV Networks & a Collection of Free Live Streaming TV Channels | Whole-Home DVR with Wi-Fi | No subscriptions | 2023 Model

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Discover, watch, record, pause, rewind, and livestream OTA TV programs using the included remote control or Tablo app.

Tablo TV’s optional guide data services enable advanced antenna TV recording features that allow you to manage and schedule recordings by just clicking a button. Using an optional premium lifetime subscription service, you can automatically skip the commercials.

Key Features

Includes a Dual-Band AC Wi-Fi

Being the only OTA DVR having WiFi built in, the Tablo 2-Tuner allows t you to position the TV antenna and DVR for the best reception of OTA TV signals. However, you need a TV antenna that is separately sold.

DVR Functionality

You can connect your Tablo 2-Tuner directly to your WiFi router rather than your TV to allow you to browse, live stream, or record antenna TV to any networked device anywhere and at any time. You need to have an active optional table guide data subscription sold separately to stream out of your home.

Multi-Platform and Multi-Device Compatible

You can enjoy your preferred network TV channels through the Tablo Application on your Android and iOS mobile devices or smart TVs running: Amazon Fire TV, Roku TV, Android TV Operating Systems, and computers.

Other devices include gaming devices like NVIDIA Shield TV, Android TV, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and other streaming media.

Subscription

All the basic live TV playback and recording are supported subscription free. However, advanced features like out-of-home streaming and automatic commercial skip require that you have a subscription.

Keep the DVR By Canceling The Cable

This antenna DVR will allow you to watch, pause, and even record two channels simultaneously. However, you need a USB hard drive that is sold separately. You can also browse the upcoming shows, manage and schedule recordings, rewind and fast forward recordings, or skip commercials.

Tablo 2-Tuner need a robust WiFi network and strong OTA signal from the TV antenna for optimal performance.

Pros

  • Comes with a built in digital video recorder, providing several OTA DVR options.
  • Allows you to record OTA TV and watch TV simultaneously on multiple devices in your home.
  • Cheaper compared to Silicondust HDHomeRun to record antenna TV.
  • Built in Wifi to connect easily to your existing home network.
  • Use your antenna to watch live TV, pause live TV, stream live TV and more.
  • Provides a high picture quality.
  • Easy to control and use.

Cons

  • No internal storage, so you will need to purchase a separate flash drive.
  • Some of the recording options are limited.

Our Verdict

If you aren’t tech-savvy and want a better live TV streaming experience, then Tablo 2-Tuner DVR would suit you. This network tuner also has multi-device and multi-platform support and comes with two tuners per unit.

The Tablo DVR Capability takes user experience to the next level. You can simultaneously watch, pause, and even record four live OTA channels with it.

Better yet, you can subscribe to a premium service that allows you to skip the commercials, ensuring that your TV streaming experience is uninterrupted. However, video streaming in Tablo is typically capped at 10mbps, leaving no room for pushing it further beyond its limitations.

Using USB Drive to Record TV Channels

Image showing flash drive and external hard drive devices to record programs.

If you have a TV set with a USB out port, then you can simply use an external HDD or a USB drive to record live TV shows from your antenna. A good way to check for whether your TV supports this is to check your TV’s built-in remote whether it has a Record button (or red circle) on it.

You can simply insert your USB flash drive or HDD into the TV’s USB port. Simply press the Record button on your remote, and it should start to record live TV. Your external HDD or USB drive will essentially function as a DVR.

Keep in mind, however, that you will need a USB drive with a sufficient read/write speed, and our recommendation is to get an actual HDD or SSD with sufficient storage size.

If it’s an HDD, make sure it has a sufficient spin speed of at least 5400 RPM (7200 RPM recommended).

Today’s TV shows can eat a lot of storage space, especially if it comes in HD resolution, so you might want to get an HDD of at least 500 GB or 1 TB in size.

Ideally, the HDD should have its own power source (i.e. it comes with an AC adapter), if the drive takes its power from the TV set via USB, then make sure the cable is short enough to prevent performance loss.

When you plug in your USB drive or HDD/SSD to the TV, the TV should let you know whether the drive is OK and supported, or whether you’ll need to format it first. If the drive isn’t empty you might want to first back up its data.

Playback Your USB Recording 

When the USB is connected to the TV, you may actually see playback options on your TV screen for newer TV models. If not, press the Source button on your remote, and select the USB drive from the option

Keep in mind that not all TV models offer recording and playback functions.

How To Use TV Tuner to Record TV Shows from Antenna?

Record antenna TV shows using a TV tuner card.

TV tuner cards might come with cloud DVR capabilities, have a built in DVR, or alternatively, you can connect it to a supported DVR device or your PC to record antenna TV shows.

We’d recommend connecting the TV tuner to your PC/laptop so you can easily manage the files and you don’t have to connect an external HDD/USB drive as the files will be stored in your computer’s hard disk instead.

To do this:

Step 1: Connect the TV tuner to your PC by plugging the USB cable from the TV tuner into your PC’s USB port. Or if you purchased an internal PCI tuner card, insert the card into an available PCI-e slot.

Step 2: Attach the cable from the antenna (or other signal sources like cable or satellite) to the TV tuner. Typically this will involve a coaxial cable with a coupler on the end. You can turn the coupler clockwise around the threaded jack to connect the coaxial cable.

Step 3: With the antenna connected to your tuner, perform a channel scan. There should be a “Scan, “Auto-Tune” or similar functions in the tuner software. If you’re having issues picking up channels read our guide here.

Step 4: Open the video recording software (that came with the TV tuner) on your computer. Your TV tuner might also support third-party recording apps to capture OTA broadcasts.

Step 5: Set the tuner to the desired channel you’d like to record over the air.

Step 6: Start recording by selecting the appropriate DVR recording mode in your video recording software.

Step 7: Click “Stop” when you are done the recording process. The screen recording software should prompt you with an option to save the recorded video to a file. Simply type a name for the file and click “Save” and save it to a recorded videos directory on your PC.

Conclusion

In conclusion, recording TV shows from your OTA antenna is a game-changing aspect of the cord-cutting experience. With the right antenna, recording device, and a bit of setup finesse, you can enjoy the freedom of creating your personalized TV schedule and eliminate the dreaded monthly fee associated with cable TV subscriptions.

Remember to explore additional tips and tricks, overcome challenges with resilience, and share your insights with the cord-cutting community.