How to Record Live TV Using a PC

Updated February 21, 2017

A computer, unlike a television set, is able to record television programs that are displayed on its monitor. With a TV tuner for PCs and the software that comes with the tuner you can watch and record TV shows on your computer. The recording will be saved to the hard drive, where it can be accessed at any time. An external digital TV antenna or a connection from a cable box or satellite receiver is needed to receive a TV signal.

Plug the USB TV tuner's connector into a USB port on your PC. Plug in the power cord to the AC socket for power if the USB TV tuner does not take its power directly from the computer.

Double-click on the installation disc's icon. Double-click on the icon of the installation program inside of the installation disc’s window that has appeared. Follow the instructions presented on the screen to install the TV tuner program onto the computer's hard drive. Eject the installation disc from the disc drive when done by right-clicking on the icon and selecting “Eject." Remove the installation disc. Restart the PC to avoid any conflicts that might occur with the Windows operating system.

Plug an external digital TV antenna into the antenna socket on the USB TV tuner, or plug one end of the HDMI-to-mini-jack cable into the HDMI output of the cable box or satellite receiver and the other end into the mini-jack input of the USB TV tuner.

Launch the TV tuner software by selecting it from the “Start,” “All Applications” pop-up menu.

Follow the set-up commands to configuring the TV tuner software for your location--this will include entering your zip code into the proper text field and selecting a hard drive to save recordings. Click on the “Save settings” button when you are done configuring the program.

Click on the “Live TV’ button on the TV tuner program. Click on the “Record” button on the program’s main screen to begin recording the live TV broadcast. Click on the “Stop” button on the program’s main screen when you are done recording.

Click on the “Save” button on the program’s main screen to save the live recording to the computer’s hard drive. Quit the TV tuner program when you are done using it by selecting “Quit” from the “File” drop-down menu at the top of the screen.


Television channels can be changed directly from the TV tuner’s software if an external antenna is being used.

Things You'll Need

  • USB TV tuner
  • HDMI-to-mini-jack cable
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About the Author

Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology maven with more than 15 years of editorial experience. A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography with a Bachelor of Arts in photographic arts, his editorial work has appeared both domestically as well as internationally in publications such as "Home Theater," "Electronic House," "eGear," "Computer and Video Games" and "Digitrends."