Plugging a TV antenna into your television is the most efficient way to get free local channels.
But there is a way to make those channels available across your home WiFi network. A number of over-the-air DVRs can turn just about any screen in your home into a television.
These kinds of DVRs are made specifically for TV antennas. They are not designed for cable TV or recording shows on Netflix.
OTA DVRs made by SiliconDust, Nuvyyo, Amazon and AirTV all provide different ways of broadcasting local TV channels in your home. Broadcasting your local channels over WiFi is a good solution if the best location for your TV antenna is not near a television.
The added benefit is that you can watch live or recorded TV on a smartphone or tablet. You just open the app for the DVR to watch a local weather forecast or NFL football game.
Table of Contents
- Broadcasting Local Channels Over WiFi
- Can a TV antenna feed be transmitted to a second TV?
- Can a TV antenna be connected to a tablet?
- Can a TV antenna be hooked to a computer?
- Getting Over-The-Air TV over WiFi
Broadcasting Local Channels Over WiFi
Each of these OTA DVRs all have built-in ATSC TV tuners. You are connecting the TV antenna to the DVR, not the television.
In most cases, you will end up watching live and recorded TV through the DVRs app.
There are some important differences among OTA DVRs. Some models require being connected directly to a Wifi router with Ethernet. Other models can wirelessly connect to a WiFi router.
Let’s cover some other basic questions about watching antenna channels over WiFi.
Can a TV antenna feed be transmitted to a second TV?
Yes. For example, if you were using a HDHomeRun with two internal tuners. You could watch live TV on two televisions in your home at the same time. You can do this with either a Smart TV that supports the HDHomeRun app, or a non-Smart TV that is connected to a streaming device that supports the HDHomeRun app.
Most OTA DVRs that are capable of broadcasting local channels over WiFi have more than one ATSC tuner.
You can also watch live TV and record another channel at the same time. For example, if an OTA DVR has two internal tuners, then you can watch or record live TV on up to two channels at once. You could also watch one channel live, while recording a program on a different channel.
Can a TV antenna be connected to a tablet?
Yes. A few OTA DVRs operate with apps that are supported on Android and iOS software. So once your TV antenna and OTA DVR is set up, you can watch live TV on an iPad or Android tablet.
Can a TV antenna be hooked to a computer?
There are a couple of different options for watching local channels from a TV antenna on a computer.
The easiest to watch over-the-air channels is to use an OTA DVR that broadcasts channels over WiFi. But it’s not your only option.
A USB TV tuner plugs directly into your PC. Much like other OTA DVRs, a USB TV tuner has a built-in ATSC tuner. You can also buy an internal TV tuner that you install into your PC.
Getting Over-The-Air TV over WiFi
You can use one of the following over-the-air DVRs to get a digital TV antenna signal to be broadcast over WiFi. These DVRs require a TV antenna, which is plugged directly into the unit.
- HDHomeRun through the HDHomeRun app or Plex.
- Tablo OTA DVR through the Tablo app.
- AirTV 2 and Air TV Anywhere through the Sling TV app.
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Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble