In this article I’m going to show you how you can watch live TV on your computer or laptop or any other smart device for that matter. This is a lot easier than you may think! That said, you are going to require a little bit of setup and hardware in order to be able to stream and watch live TV on your computer or any other smart device in your home.
As you can see, I am streaming the “Family Fued” live on Fox using my Windows 10 computer and it comes complete with a channel guide!
How am I doing it you ask??? Keep reading and I’ll tell you everything you need to know in order to stream crystal clear HDTV to any computer, TV, laptop or smart device in your house!
How To Watch Live TV On Your Computer – Network Tuner
In order to be able to stream free live TV to any device in your house you are first going to need to invest in at least one network tuner. I highly recommend the SiliconDust HDHomeRun EXTEND HDTV (2-Tuner) for your setup. Once you pick up one of these guys up and pair it with an HDTV antenna, you’ll be streaming live TV to your computer and every other smart device in your house.
If you want to see my exact setup, I did an article The Best HDTV Antenna Set
Back to the hardware… So you’re going to need to pick up at least one SiliconDust HDHomeRun EXTEND HDTV (2-Tuner) for each antenna you have or plan to have.
Yes, sometimes it is advantageous to have multiple antennas pointed in different directions. The advantage of having multiple antennas is that you will not have to reposition your antenna to pick up different channels from different broadcast towers.
In fact, I have two! Living in the Buffalo area I have one antenna pointed towards Jametown NY and another pointed towards the CN Tower in Toronto Canada.
However, at no point do I split these signals. Both antennas run directly into their own SiliconDust HDHomeRun EXTEND HDTV (2-Tuner). This means not only can I keep the antenna runs short, but I can also ensure I have maximum signal strength because I’m not putting them into a tuner.
How To Watch Live TV On Your Computer – Antenna
If you don’t already have an HDTV antenna, then you are going to need at least one of these as well. I’ve reviewed many on this site! Depending on your geographic region and whether or not you need to go with an indoor antenna or an outdoor antenna, I will list a few top performers here. When at all possible
I highly recommend an outdoor antenna. The fewer obstructions, bricks, mortar, trees, mountains, valleys you have in your way the better. So here are the antenna I recommend for both indoor and outdoor.
Recommended Indoor HDTV Antennas:
The Mohu Curved HDTV Antenna will allow you to access all HDTV channels and will be ready to receive 4K OTA Broadcasts in your area within a 50 mile range without the need for cable or satellite subscription. This list of channels should include local stations plus all the major network channels such as, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and Fox. This antenna is also backed by a 1 year limited warranty, so if there are any issues or you’re not satisfied with the performance, simply return it for a full refund.
The ClearStream Eclipse has one of the best performance ratings in its class and grips to your wall using its Sure Grip technology for easy installation (no screws or fasteners required). It also comes in multiple colors (black or white) so you can color coordinate the room you will be placing it in. The antenna is supplied with a 20dB In-Line Signal Amplifier, 15 ft. Coaxial Cable, 5 ft. USB Cable and USB Power Adapter.
Even though this indoor antenna is rated second on my list believe me, it’s a very close second (I have a few AntennaJunkies.com friends who disagree with me on this one…sorry guys my website!). Just like the Mohu, this antenna will pull in all the local and major network channels such as, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and Fox, in your broadcast area. It should be noted also that this antenna is backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
As is the case with most Indoor HDTV Antennas, the ChannelMaster Flatenna will receive crystal clear HDTV signals from all directions and its non-intrusive design makes it a nice addition to a living room wall or window, and will be ready to receive 4K OTA Broadcasts at a range of 35 miles.
Recommended Outdoor HDTV Antennas:
Like I said above, when at all possible, in order to ensure you receive clear, crisp HDTV Antenna signals there is really no substitute to installing an outdoor antenna. Giving your antenna a clear, unobstructed view to the broadcast transmission towers in your area, free of walls, bricks and mortar, will pay huge dividends when it comes to the number of channels, picture quality and reliability you will receive.
Okay, so let’s list the top 3 antennas we’ve rate here on AntennaJunkies.com so you have a shortlist that is sure to satisfy any Outdoor Antenna installation need.
I just love this little RCA Yagi Antenna. It continues to rank in the top spot on Amazon and any other reputable review site (including ours) on the internet today. The reason this is such a great little antenna is that it will easily pull in all your local HDTV broadcasts within a 60-mile radius. It’s fold-out and compact design makes it a cinch to rooftop, chimney, attic or fascia mount.
This little guy, that will not take up more than a few feet in any direction, will pull in all local and major network channels in your area such as, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and Fox. The RCA Yagi Antenna utilizes a cross-phase, multi-directional design that will deliver nothing short of stunning HD picture quality, noise mitigation and a beam pattern that will pick up broadcast towers from multiple directions.
At well under $100 for this antenna, it goes unmatched in its class and is my top pick and it will be more than ready to receive 4K OTA Broadcasts.
If you need a little more range, then look no further than the 8 Element Bowtie Outdoor HDTV Antenna from Antennas Direct. I have a small little cottage that is 80+ miles from the nearest broadcast tower and this guy pulls those HDTV signals with ease and I can be rest assured that this antenna will be ready to receive 4K OTA Broadcasts.
I should add that this exceeds the 70 mile range advertised and I can only surmise that this is likely due to the fact that I’m on a lake (lakes generally are flat!!!) and slightly perched up on a point. In addition, I have it mounted atop a 30′ mast with no viewable obstructions.
Third on my list is the ClearStream 4 Outdoor HDTV Antenna by Antennas Direct. This is another solid choice if you need a little more range than the Yagi antenna listed above. This antenna just looks cool and is a solid performer capable of pulling in high quality HDTV signal from 70 miles out and of course will be ready to receive 4K OTA Broadcasts when they’re available.
How To Watch Live TV On Your Computer – Connecting It All
Now that you have your antenna installed connected into your SiliconDust HDHomeRun EXTEND HDTV (2-Tuner) you’re ready to connect the tuner to your router! I recommend you consider the location of all these devices. The nice thing about these tuner boxes is they don’t need to reside anywhere near your computer, television or other smart devices in your home. For my install I’ve actually put the tuners in an upstairs office closet to keep my antenna coax runs as short as possible.
To power them I just ran an extension cord with a power bar. The next thing you’re going to need to do is run some Ethernet cable from your router into the back of the tuner boxes to have a solid “wired” connection. This is why I said that careful planning should be taken. It may not be easy to run the wired connection and still keep your antenna coax run as short as possible.
Just for your information, for RG6 cable, you can expect losses as follows for every 100 feet:
Channel 2 (approx. 60 MHz) …………… 1.5 dB/100’
Channel 13 (approx. 216 MHz) ………. 3.0 dB/100’
Channel 24 (approx. 536 MHz) ……….. 4.5 dB/100’
Channel 51 (approx. 698 MHz) .…..…. 5.6 dB/100’
So clearly keeping these shorter is better! So at the back of your tuner you will have a spot to connect your antenna, a power cord and an Ethernet cable that will run out to your router. Make sure all of these connections are made as shown.
How To Watch Live TV On Your Computer – Software Setup
If you’ve been following my recommendations and have picked up one of the SiliconDust HDHomeRun EXTEND HDTV (2-Tuner) and installed your HDTV antenna, and connected the tuner box to your router, you are ready to install the software and configure it. I’m going to be showing you how to watch live TV on your computer, and for me that means Windows 10.
To download the software navigate to the HDHomeRun website. Here you will be able to download the correct software for your device. If you’re like me and setting this up at least initially on Windows 10, then choose that option.
This will allow you to download the app to your computer and install it. Once installed you’ll want to navigate to the HDHomeRun Setup tool. This will allow you to scan for channels, and update firmware (more on this later).
When you first launch this application it is going to scan your network automatically for available tuners. Like I said, I have two SiliconDust HDHomeRun EXTEND HDTV (2-Tuner) and each one of them has two tuner.
This means on each antenna I can watch and record two different channels at the same time! Now navigate to the “Digital Antenna” tab, choose your tuner device and click the scan button. This will pull in all the channels you are receiving from your antenna with good quality.
These tuners also have built-in DVR functionality. Simply navigate to the DVR tab and tell and check the box to “Use this PC for making recordings” or if you prefer a NAS (which I recommend so you don’t have to leave your computer on all the time) choose the “Use Network Attached Storage (NAS) for making recordings. For a top-of-the-line NAS device, I recommend the Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+.
You will need to buy the hard disk drives separately for this unit and I recommend you go with a minimum of two WD Red 2TB NAS Hard Disk Drives. If your budget can afford it go to a 4TB or even a 6TB. The nice thing about this NAS device is you can implement RAID technology, which means you can have data redundancy and it can double as a file storage device as well!
For the “Advanced” tab, I generally don’t change anything in here so you can just skip that tab. Now click “Apply” and “OK” and the configuration will be updated to your tuner. Sometime a picture (or video in this case) is worth a thousand words. Check out my YouTube video where I go over this as well as some cool tips and tricks that allow you to do some additional configurations.
How To Watch Live TV On Your Computer – Additional Setup
If you watched the entire video above then you likely already know where I’m going with this. Once everything is installed and on your network navigate to the following url: https://my.hdhomerun.com/. This will allow you to perform some additional configurations such as update the firmware, turn on or off channels for a particular tuner box and set the trans-coding configurations.
How To Watch Live TV On Your Computer – The Results
If you followed along with everything I have recommended in this article then you should be able to watch live TV on your computer, laptop, or any other smart device that is supported by HDHomeRun…which is pretty much most of them! Simply navigate to the HDHomeRun App on your start page and launch.
The initial launch screen will go out on your network to find your available tuners and you should be able to watch live TV on your computer in crystal clear HD!
How To Watch Live TV On Your Computer – Final Words
I hope you’ve found this article useful and I have answered the question, “How to watch live TV on your computer”. The last thing you may want to consider is purchasing a VPN. VPNs provide fast, safe streaming while online and can get around certain geo-blocked content. If you’re in the market for a rock-solid VPN, check out my recommendations below.
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And if you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out my Top 10 Antenna Picks for this year and leave me a comment!