How to watch TV on your PC
PCWorld|November 2021
There are several ways to watch live TV on your PC, some much easier than others. We walk you through your options.
BRAD CHACOS

There are thousands of options for watching shows and movies on your TV: Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max are just a few popular ones.

But what if you want to watch live TV, including local channels? You can watch live TV through your PC just as you would watch Netflix, or you can kick it old-school with a TV tuner and an antenna. Here’s how.

CHECK YOUR CABLE SUBSCRIPTION FIRST

Do you have a cable subscription? If so, you may already have access to live TV on your PC. Many cable companies offer streaming live TV as part of their standard cable package. Comcast’s Xfinity (fave. co/3m1TIRV) and AT&T’s DirectTV Stream (fave.co/3vL0pep) are examples of Internet-enabled cable packages that can stream to not only a PC, but also to mobile devices like an iPhone or Android device.

This is the best option for streaming live TV to your computer. A cable subscription will offer access to dozens if not hundreds of channels, including location television and live sports events.

The interface and apps offered by Xfinity, DirectTV, and similar services are mediocre, but they have the benefit of bringing your cable subscription to multiple devices. Most services will let you pause or record live television on a device and then pick it up later. You can schedule to record a favorite show from your PC, for example, and then watch it later on your TV.

What’s the downside? Price. Cable subscriptions typically start a hair below $100 per month, and more appealing subscriptions are well over that. With that said, a cable subscription is arguably the best value overall, as it will provide access to tons of channels and many live events.

LIVE TV STREAMING SERVICES OFFER À LA CARTE OPTIONS

Live TV streaming had a moment around 2015 to 2016, led by the introduction of Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. The pitch was simple: It’s like a cable subscription, but with a Netflix-like interface and pricing. These services failed to dethrone cable with the speed many anticipated (and PlayStation Vue has since shut down), but several great options remain.

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