How to make my laptop receive TV from the air

Written by adrian grahams Google
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How to make my laptop receive TV from the air
Use your laptop to watch over-the-air TV from any location. (laptop closeup image by Tasha from

Whether you're at home in bed or sipping a latte in a downtown coffee shop, you can keep up with all your favourite television shows by setting up your laptop computer to watch TV. There are several ways to enjoy over-the-air television on your laptop, including TV PC cards and adaptors that plug in the USB port on your laptop. All Windows-based computers ship with Windows Media Center, software that connects to your laptop's TV tuner, allowing you to view, record and store television shows.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Broadband Internet connection
  • USB TV adaptor
  • PC TV card

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  1. 1

    Buy a USB TV tuner adaptor for your laptop. Plug in the adaptor and install the supplied software on your laptop computer to access all local "over-the-air" television stations, including high-definition stations (if your laptop is equipped with high-definition display).

  2. 2

    Equip your laptop with a TV tuner PC card. This works in the same way as a USB adaptor, but offers improved stability, because the connection to your laptop is quicker. Like USB adaptors, TV cards ship with software, allowing you to tune to "over-the-air" stations. TV cards often include a remote control handset.

  3. 3

    Connect the supplied antenna to the USB adaptor or TV card. This will receive "over-the-air" TV signals if you are within 10 miles of a high-powered television transmitter. Alternatively, plug in the cable from your main outdoor television antenna, satellite dish or cable television system for better reception and more stations.

  4. 4

    Use the media centre software that shipped with your TV card, USB adaptor or laptop computer to schedule and record TV.

Tips and warnings

  • A range of TV tuner cards and adaptors is also available for Macintosh laptops and computers.
  • You can also watch TV over your high-speed broadband Internet connection, either through the free, online services provided by the major TV networks or by paying a monthly subscription fee to video-on-demand providers, such as Hulu and Joost. (See References)

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