How to watch local live TV on Apple TV with an HDHomeRun + antenna combo

By , Jan 16, 2016

HDHomeRun Cut Cord

It is possible to legally watch free over the air terrestrial television via the Apple TV. This can easily be accomplished by connecting an HDHomeRun to your home network along with an ATSC antenna to pull in free over-the-air high definition local channels.

It’s basically the equivalent of connecting an antenna to your TV. TVs generally include a tuner built in, which allows the unit to display the channels pulled in from over the air. Wouldn’t it be cool, though, if you could broadcast all of those channels on your home network? By using an HDHomeRun, you can easily tap into free high definition television streams via the Apple TV and an app like Kodi. You can even watch live TV on your iPhone, Mac, or other devices.

In this video tutorial, I’ll show you how easy it is to get live local channels on your Apple TV. That means you can watch high definition streams for NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and more. There’s no monthly subscription involved, or anything like that, which makes this perfect for cord cutters. Have a look.

First, you’ll need an HDHomeRun box, it’s pricey, but there’s no subscription fees involved, which makes it a one time purchase. I recommend the HDHomeRun Extend, which includes a dual tuner that allows you to watch two simultaneous streams via Wi-Fi. You’ll also need an antenna. I skimped on my antenna, but it was sufficiently strong enough to pull in 30+ channels in my local area. If you live in an area where it’s hard to pick up a strong signal, you may want to invest in a better antenna.

Note: before you begin, watch the full video tutorial above to get a gist of the entire process. If you wish to use Kodi, you will need to sideload it using our Apple TV sideloading tutorial.

How to watch live high definition TV on Apple TV

Step 1: Connect your antenna to your HDHomeRun and power on the unit

Step 2: Connect the HDHomeRun to your router using the included ethernet cable

Step 3: Visit the HDHomeRun configuration page to search for and curate channels. You may need to reposition your antenna if you find that it’s not pulling in the local channels that you expect

Step 4: Use our tutorial to install Kodi on the Apple TV. If you don’t wish to use Kodi, you can use an app like Channels instead, which is available on the App Store. We will have a tutorial on Channels soon. You can also choose to use MrMC, which is basically Kodi without the third-party add-ons.

Step 5: Inside Kodi, go to Videos → Add-ons → Get More → HDHomeRun → Install

Step 6: Launch the HDHomeRun video add-ons, and enjoy free live TV on your Apple TV

Pause Live TV Kodi HDHomeRun

Yes, you can pause live TV

That’s all there is to it. Now you can enjoy high definition streams that are at least on par, or sometimes better than the streams that you get from a cable box. Best of all, after investing in the HDHomeRun and antenna, it’s free for life.

What do you think? Are you a cord cutter? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts.

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  • Vince Reedy

    Way too many steps and cash to watch free TV IMO

    • Yeah, but once it’s set up it’s pretty much done. It’s a great investment, and should last for a long time. It’s a no brainer for cord cutters. If you’re not a cord cutter, then it’s obviously less appealing. You probably aren’t the demographic that would need something like this.

      • Vince Reedy

        I appreciate knowing it’s possible, though. I have gone from cable, satellite and cord cutting at least twice on each. I am currently doing Hulu and Netflix along with a limited streaming package from my cable provider. I have about $50 a month in it which I can live with. Still love knowing about any additional functionality above stock.

      • Jon20

        @Jeff: is that HDHomeRun only good for one TV at a time?

    • The setup process is simple. But I agree with regards to the price range. Investing ~ $130 for a over the air broadcast is a little pricey. Especially since most cord cutter usually have access to Hulu and/or TV systems to watch the shows they’re interest in.

  • Icomefriendly

    Hi Jeff, I am new to Apple TV , the recent update bought me. But I don’t know what TV screens would best fit Apple TV.
    I have googled a list of such but I have not found much , I really like the kind of reviews you do here like best case for iPhone..etc.
    So I thought it might be cool of you to invest some your time to write a review that would help my case. Thanks in advance.

    • Are you talking about television set recommendations?

      • Icomefriendly

        Yes.
        Please forgive my English if it might had you confused.

    • I think he is suggesting a post with Television recommendations to be used with an Apple TV, like size or resolution or brand or panel.

      • Icomefriendly

        Thank you , that was exactly what I meant.

      • Hmmm, I’m probably the wrong person to ask. I’m sorry. I have a projector, and that’s all I have. I don’t actually own a traditional TV.

      • Mr.Coolfreak

        Just get any 1080p tv, it doesn’t really matter.

  • Milo Venables

    Is it US only or international also?

    • Yes, and no. The equipment will only work with HDTV standard ATSC, which is the american standard. The ATSC system is adopted in Canada, United States, Mexico and South Korea. So, if you’re in those locations, you will be able to use it just fine.

      However, in South America or Japan (ISDB system) or in Europe or India (DVB system), this transmitter hardware will not be able to capture and decrypt the digital TV signal.

  • Anonymous

    Will this work with the atv3?

    • No. Apple TV 3 can’t run Kodi, or any other app that lets you tap into the IP stream.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks jeff.

      • you can run plex via plexconnect and then use the HDHomerun plex plugin to access the stream.

    • Dan Andersen

      Not directly. I use Elgato’s EyeTV application on my Mac to access an HDHomerun tuner. EyeTV provides excellent DVR capability among other things. I AirPlay recordings (or live TV)—in original form, i.e. no transcoding step required—to my HDTV via Apple TV (gen 2, 3, or 4—all work fine) and control EyeTV playback from the couch using a Bluetooth keyboard.

      Totally reliable, original broadcast quality, and works like a charm.

  • Justice and Malice

    I literally don’t see any point to this. If you can just took an HDTV antenna up to your TV, why even bother using the Apple TV as a pass-through? Just seems like such an unnecessary and overly expensive stuff to take.

    • Robert Williams

      I guess the selling point is that you can watch TV on your computer and mobile devices. However, if I’m at home, I’m just going to watch it on the TV itself.

      • Justice and Malice

        But the point of the article is hooking it up to your Apple TV. Why would you do all of that work when you can just hook an antenna up to your TV directly, saving time and a lot of money?

      • I can see why you might think that at first glance, but think outside of the box a little bit. Consider the following half-dozen possibilities.

        1. Not everyone has a TV with a tuner (like me, I use a projector, and that doesn’t have a TV tuner that I can hook into).

        2. Not everyone wants to have to continuously switch inputs on their TV. If you have this setup, you can literally just keep the Apple TV input active, and not worry about anything else.

        3. You can access OTA TV not only on your Apple TV, but also on tons of other devices. Basically, if it can connect to your Home network and has a screen, it can probably get a broadcast signal.

        4. You can position your antenna in a more flexible place. Antennas aren’t always in an ideal spot behind your TV, or even near your TV. This gives you that flexibility.

        5. You can’t pause live TV with an antenna connected straight to your TV. You can with this setup.

        6. You don’t get the pretty programing guide, icons, and metadata with a standard antenna hookup.

        …I could go on, but I think that’s enough to justify the purchase to anyone who’s seriously considering this.

      • Robert Williams

        Oh I’m in agreement with you. It seems like a lot of work & money. I’m more inclined to hook an antenna up to the TV and watch it on the TV itself. Though I could see how this might be useful if you have a lot of people in the house (especially kids) who might want to watch TV on their devices in their rooms.

      • Morgan Freeman

        So that some company or government can access even more data about you- Mr. Fancy Pants Streaming Everything NOW INCLUDING Over The Air TV! Why you complaining broseph? It’s only $130! And advertisements will be even more in tune with what YOU want to see! Brought to you by Carls Jr.

  • FarmerBob_I

    What’s the difference between Kodi and XBMC? The Kodi UI in the demo is identical to my XBMC.

    • My Wasted Fantasy

      XBMC is the old name, they changed the name to Kodi. But they’re the exact same thing just different names.

  • daniel rivera

    I’m wondering if something like this would work in Mexico
    I have a cable box that goes from wall to the box (coaxial) and them from the box to my tv (coaxial). I don’t want to use an antenna, just the same box I already have (I want to stop changing the inputs).

    Thank you

    • therealjjohnson

      Yes, it will.

      • daniel rivera

        Thank you

  • Steve Norris

    Does anyone know if the surround sound signal is passed through Kodi from the home run HD thing?

    • -= J$@ =-

      I would thinks so…as long as you’ve enabled the audio output passthrough on Kodi in the System settings. Additionally, the actual TV signal has to telecast with surround (not all TV shows have surround sound)…

  • -= J$@ =-

    I use my HDhomerun with the Channels app on ATV 4…works like a charm!

    I do believe the Channels app is done by Silicondust as well…

  • Hotrod

    I sent my hdhomerun back to Amazon, I picked up more channels when I just connect to the Antenna directly to my TV

  • Fevostone

    I have a app all ready from the App Store that does this anyway called tv player I’m in the uk.

  • Guy Morgan, Jr.

    Oh come on. You have to be kidding? All TV’s have tuners, and a connector for an antenna. That’s why they are called ‘TV’s, not monitors. And why put it on your network? You don’t need Kodi, apple TV or any box. Hook up the antenna and turn on the TV. What planet us this post from?

    • Guy,

      You’re missing the point. Read my comments below.

    • therealjjohnson

      So what if you just use a monitor? Or a projector? I use both along with a TV. Put it on the network so I can hide the ugly antenna upstairs in the attic and use my apple downstairs without the eye sore. ”Oh come on” just because it doesn’t fit your set up, doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit others.

  • Brian W

    Can you hook the hdhomerun up to a htpc and use it with kodi that way? Without a hd antenna and Apple TV?

  • MMarquez661

    Is there a way to record the live tv? Cant remember?

  • schnooki

    Would be better if eyeTV could run on AppleTV with USB stick tuner.

  • Elizabeth Kent

    Thanks for the tutorial, it was really informative. I have a question, though. If we aren’t able to receive local channels with the use of the HD antenna alone, will the HD Home Run Extend pick up more than the antenna by itself? Thanks for the help!

  • Dan Stanley

    Doing what you did, my app gets stuck on the Fetching Guide. Any help?