How to Record TV Shows From Antenna

If you’ve wondered how to record TV shows from the antenna, you’ve come to the right place. 

Receiving TV shows and series from an antenna is an excellent solution, especially if you’re looking for something cheaper than traditional cable TV. 

And while recording from an antenna is more complicated than recording from cable TV, it’s doable. 

You have a number of devices to choose from besides the DVR. 

This article outlines different devices for recording TV shows and series from an antenna and how to use them.  

Table of Contents

Devices You Can Use to Record TV Shows From Antenna

Digital Video Recorder

(Caption: DVR)

Now, a cable box receives signals from a service provider and interprets them into programs for you to watch. 

In contrast, a DVR will record and save the programs for later viewing. 

What’s unique about the DVR is its ability to capture analog video sources on-site and video from a digital source. 

Also, it has multiple source inputs, like coaxial or optical inputs, enhancing recording. 

If you prefer, you can buy a separate antenna DVR or use a cable or satellite subscription. 

Even though the DVR is relatively costly, it comes with a timer. 

That means you can easily record any TV show anytime, even while asleep or away from home. 

For this reason, it stands out as the most efficient and high-quality option for TV show recording. 

Video Cassette Recorder

 Video cassette recorder

(Caption: Video cassette recorder)

Likely, you’re unfamiliar with the VCR as it’s one of the oldest recording systems. 

And with a resolution of 333 by 480, it’s no wonder a primary characteristic of the VCR is low-quality pictures. 

But there’s an advantage to this recording system. It has a timer so you can record TV shows even in your absence.   


Now, the DVD (digital versatile disc) can record TV shows using a DVD player. And it has a larger storage capacity than a CD. 

Also, it records decent-quality pictures, as long as you use an appropriate player, as not all DVD players will work. 

What’s equally great about the DVD recording system is that it’s cheaper than a Blu-ray disc. It employs a limited video life format (MPEG file).   

Blu-ray Recorder

You first record the program on the device’s hard disk when using a Blu-ray recorder. Then, for later viewing, you must burn it. 

So you’ll need a Blu-ray disc to store the file. Though relatively expensive, Blu-ray recording provides high-quality video in different formats.

 Note, though, that different stations have varying restrictions on how many times you can copy a program. 

TV Tuner and Computer

(Caption: TV tuner card)

For this method of recording TV shows, you’ll need a TV tuner card and a computer or laptop. 

With this computer hardware (TV tuner card), the computer can receive and convert them into a format it understands for display. 

A tuner and computer provide the best way to watch and record shows on a computer from an antenna. 

The thing with using a TV tuner is that you need a coaxial cable which you’ll connect to the computer. 

Then all that’s left is to connect the tuner to the TV via the USB port. And you don’t need to install any software because it comes already installed.    

How to Use USB Drive (Flash Drive) to Record TV Shows From Antenna

Before you can use a flash drive to record shows, first ensure your TV supports such a function. 

How? If the TV’s remote has a record button, then you know it does. After that, follow these steps: 

  • Connect the flash drive: First, locate the TV USB port and insert the flash drive or HDD. Usually, immediately after you insert the flash drive, your TV will automatically detect it. 
  • Format: If you need to format the flash drive, you’ll see the notification to do so on your TV.  
  • Record: Now, press the record button on your remote. But remember, videos with a high resolution, as is common with TV shows today, require a bigger storage space. Thus, get a flash drive with a high GB rating, preferably TB. Also, ensure your flash drive has a high read/write speed and sufficient spin speed. Also, ensure the cord is not too long for flash drives powered through their cable. Otherwise, it will slow down the recording speed and can cause performance degradation. 

USB Recording Playback

USB recording playback lets you play the recorded video files on your USB drive. 

Once you have connected your USB drive to your TV USB input, you’ll see the playback icon and can review and play your saved files. 

In some cases, you don’t need to do anything as the playback starts automatically. 

That said, first ensure that your TV offers recording and playback options, as not all models do.  

How to Use TV Tuner to Record TV Shows From Antenna

Usually, you’ll find that with many TV tuners, there’s the option to use a DVR for recording. However, we recommend using a computer. 

And as mentioned earlier, you need a tuner card. Otherwise, installing a reader is a complex process. 

  • Connect the tuner: First, you must connect the tuner to the computer. And to do that, plug the tuner’s cable into the computer’s USB port. 
  • Connect the antenna: Then, connect the antenna cable to the tuner. Thankfully, manufacturers include a cable coupler that can boost signal transfer, enhancing the connection. 
  • Search channels: After that, you can now search for available channels. Simply press on “Scan.”  
  • Open recording software: As mentioned earlier, most TV tuners feature video recording software. But if your tuner has no recording software, then you’ll need to install it. After you have the software, you can now open it and set the tuner to your desired channel. 
  • Start recording: Lastly, simply click on the record button of the video recording software to start recording. Just remember to save the file, although, thankfully, you’ll usually see a popup box prompting you to save the file. 

With video files stored on the computer’s hard disk, it gets a lot easier to manage files. Also, many TV tuners work with both Windows and Mac.

 So, thankfully, you need not worry about your computer’s OS.   

Best DVR for TV Antenna: Buyer’s Guide

With many DVR models available, it can be challenging to choose the right one. So, to make things easier for you, here are some features to look out for when buying a DVR for a TV antenna. 

  • Storage space: Because most TV shows and series are high-resolution and typically large, you need plenty of storage space. Consider a DVR with up to 1TB of memory. Free software: After purchasing your DVR, you don’t want to have to purchase or subscribe to recording software.  
  • Integration with streaming platforms: Another cool feature you want to consider is the DVR’s ability to integrate with TV streaming and broadcast services. Thankfully, you’ll find many OTA DVRs, and today many come with Plex TV.   
  • SkipMode or fast-forwarding: Undoubtedly, you don’t want to have to contend with annoying TV commercials. Thankfully, with the SkipMode feature, you can fast-forward through the ads and record only what you want to view. 
  • Saving in various formats: It’s most convenient if the DVR can save files in various formats. Also, some DVRs have several output options, such as antenna pass-through, composite, or HDMI.  


What Is OTA DVR?

It’s a type of DVR that will receive and record over-the-air television broadcasts on its hard disk for later viewing.  

Must You Leave TV On to Record TV Shows From Antenna?

The beauty of recording from the antenna is the convenience it offers in the ability to record even when you’re not home. 

But whether or not the TV must stay on in order to record depends on the type of device you use. So check the user manual to confirm this. 


Now you know how to record TV shows from the antenna. So now you can watch all your favorite local shows even when you’re not home while they’re on. 

As we’ve seen, you have several options to choose from besides the DVR. And if the DVR is what you want, you now know what features to look out for. 

Simply implement the tips outlined above and enjoy an excellent viewing experience. 

Leave a Comment