Live TV can be one of the hardest things to give up for cord cutters, especially if you’re a big sports fan. You can always sign up for something like DirecTV Now or Sling TV to replace it, but it’s becoming increasingly popular to simply drop an antenna into your set up and use something like Plex to watch and record OTA channels in your area. You’d be surprised at how effective it can be.
There are a few steps to get everything set up and functional, though, so Talk Android is here to get you off the ground and watching live TV on your big screen without your cable provider.
There are a few things you’re going to need to get this setup functional, although you probably already have some of them if you’re cutting the cord or have particular media streamers or a PC.
- PC or NVIDIA Shield for Plex Media Server
- Plex Pass subscription
- Digital antenna for OTA channels
- Network tuner for putting those channels on your network
- Router with sufficient connectivity or ports
- Ethernet cables, power cables, hard drives, etc.
Ready to roll? Let’s get started.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is get your antenna and network tuner set up, which sounds much more complicated than it really is. If you’re going with an amplified antenna (which is a good idea) you’ll need two wall outlets: one for the antenna’s amp, and one for your tuner.
Most of these devices will have instructions in the box, but you’ll connect both devices to a power outlet, then connect your antenna to the network tuner, and finally connect the network tuner to your router or ethernet switch. Unless you bought something particularly fancy, you’re pretty much done with installation here, besides any cable management to keep things looking tidy.
Some tuners, like the HDHomeRun boxes, do offer their own apps and services so you can stream live channels to a myriad of devices. That’s a great feature and something to keep in mind, although we won’t be messing with any of that in our guide since Plex can handle it for us.
Speaking of, now that the hardware is out of the way, let’s head over to Plex and whichever device you have PMS installed on. Head to settings and scroll down to the bottom of the list to find the live DVR settings.
From this entry you’re going to want to click Set Up DVR and let Plex work its magic. It will scan all of your locally available channels and download guide information for everything, which may take a little bit of time. From here on our Plex will periodically scan and grab more guide info so you’ll be able to immediately turn on your Plex client and start watching. You can also adjust some other settings that will transcode your recordings to a more universal format and automatically trim commercials out of your recordings. Those settings are experimental and can sometimes require a beefy CPU, so test them out and be careful.
If you’re planning on watching on your PC or NVIDIA Shield, you’re pretty much done. If you want to watch on other devices or your smartphone, you’ll simply need to download the client on your device of choice, sign into your Plex account, and let the app find your server. Fortunately Plex makes this pretty painless and automatic.