How to Watch Over The Air Live TV Channels on a Computer

By | June 22, 2024

How To Watch Over The Air Live TV Channels On A Computer PC
Watching movies and TV shows with an internet connection is the most common method to watch free content. Using one of the many free online streaming services is quick and easy to do.

But what about watching free live over-the-air antenna TV on a laptop or desktop computer?

Watching live antenna TV channels is easy to do with a small USB TV tuner.
How To Watch Over The Air Live TV Channels On A Computer 2020
TV transmissions switched to digital broadcasting in 2009, which small USB TV tuners can pick up for free and display TV channels on a computer.

Most TV tuner dongles also come with an SMA connector to hook an antenna up and pick up more channels from a distance.
How To Watch Over The Air Live TV Channels On A Computer Wireless
Software such as WinTV is used on a computer to scan for channels and watch them along with controls.

How Many Stations Can You Pick Up?

How many stations are received depends on the location; big cities will usually have more stations than rural areas.

Small towns usually have at least 40-50 channels that are broadcasts over the air, while big cities often have many more.
How To Watch Over The Air Live TV Channels On A PC
The only way to know for sure is once an adapter is set up to scan for available channels.

The terrain is also a factor, such as mountains and trees, which can block a signal.

There are many good units available, with some of our favorite picks below.

As always, be sure to read the reviews on Amazon or elsewhere to be sure a unit is a good fit for you.

*This site contains affiliate paid links for which a commission earned.

Our Picks for Best USB TV ATSC Tuners for a Computer

  1. Hauppauge WinTV 1595

  2. Available Here on Amazon

    Hauppauge makes the WinTV 1595, which is an older TV ATSC Tuner dongle that still works well.

    There is a Hauppauge 1682 that is newer and best for those who want the latest and greatest, but the WinTV 1595 still works very nicely.

    It also costs less and is a good unit for those on a budget.

    The adapter comes with a small antenna, remote control, and manual.

    Like most units, it connects to a USB port and converts an ATSC TV signal to a PC.

    It uses software called WinTV that will scan for TV channels and display them with controls.

  3. Hauppauge 1682
  4. How To Watch Over The Air Live TV Channels On A Computer 2020 HAUPPAUGE
    Available Here on Amazon

    Hauppauge makes many good units for converting an OTA signal to a computer.

    The Hauppauge 1682 is one of their newer units and is one of the more popular options.

    It plugs into a USB Type-C port and has many features, such as TV tuning and Video recording.

    A small antenna is also included, along with a remote control.

    The Hauppauge 1682 is a good unit that works well, connecting an OTA signal to watch with a laptop or PC.

  5. Diamond Multimedia
  6. How To Watch Over The Air Live TV Channels On A PC Diamond
    Available Here on Amazon

    This OTA USB TV tuner plugs into a USB port and allows a user to watch OTA TV on a computer.

    The end has a port for a coaxial signal from an antenna for a better signal.

    It comes with a small antenna that works well if close to the TV transmission towers but may need a better antenna for those farther away.

  7. AVerMedia AVerTV
  8. Available Here on Amazon

    This USB TV tuner from AVerMedia AVerTV works much the same as the other units.

    It can run on a Windows computer as well as supports Android TV 7.0 and above.

Watching over-the-air TV signals is easy to do with a good USB converter.

There are many available that work well, picking up and converting an ATSC signal to a PC.

The adapters usually will come with a small antenna that may need an upgrade.

While the units can convert a signal for a computer, they still need a good signal to convert.

This sometimes means upgrading the antenna along with possible signal boosters.

4 thoughts on “How to Watch Over The Air Live TV Channels on a Computer

  1. Robert Nicholls

    Hauppauge works great. It has a very good picture. I would recommend it to any who wants to watch over. The air tv on a pc

  2. Mary Lang

    All I need is at least one major network in the event of power failures and cable out! I already know that 35 mile antennas do not let me get ABC or PBS … What is the range?

    1. Anonymous

      Range is based on the antenna. So if you can get 15 channels now you should get the same with this device if you use the same antenna setup. It is dependent on the signal strength from the antenna


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