How to watch TV on your laptop or PC: Live and Catchup

Watching live TV on your laptop or PC is perfectly legal, provided you have a TV license if you are in the UK. There are two ways to do it: through your app or web browser, or by attaching a USB TV tuner if you don’t have an internet connection.

The first way is free, but you will have to spend some cash to buy a TV tuner. Luckily, they can be picked up from Amazon for as little as ten people.

The best online TV app

If you’re at home and for some reason can’t watch live TV on your actual TV, then you’re better off using broadband than spending money on a USB tuner dongle.

The fastest way to watch the five core channels is to open a web browser and type, then click on the channel you want to watch. It will start streaming immediately, and since it’s live, you’ll see whatever is currently being detected.

Despite the name, it doesn’t provide any kind of catch-up service – that is Live TV only. And you have to be in the UK for it to work or use a VPN.

How to watch TV on PC or laptop

In total TVCatchup offers around 30 channels including BBC One, Two, ITV, Channel 4, 5, BBC News, CBBC, Cbeebies, BBC4, Quest and many more.

But if you want to watch Dave, ITV 2 and other channels, TVCatchup won’t help you. In that case, switch to You’ll have to create a free account first, but then you’ll have access more than 60 channels, completely free. But you can pay an extra £6.99 per month to watch additional channels including Eurosport, Disovery, SyFy, MTV, Comedy Central and more.

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How to watch TV on PC or laptop

This Premium subscription also gives you access to HD streams where available, removes ads and lets you watch shows on demand.

In addition to watching TV via TVPlayer in your web browser, there are also apps for your phone and tablet – and also for your PC and laptop if you don’t want to use the browser.

There are apps for both sites that let you access the same TV channels on your phone or tablet.

TV app

Most channels have their own apps, and most are available for your PC, laptop, phone, and tablet. Almost all now require you to sign up for an account, but the benefit is that your activity is synced across devices – including smart TV apps – so you can watch what you’re looking for. what you’ve watched and the episode you’re watching.

Here are links to some of the most popular, including links to their websites, which you can view in a browser:

How to watch TV without an Internet connection

The latter option will cost you more initially, but may be more suitable for you if you don’t have an unlimited or fast broadband connection.

You will need to purchase a TV tuner for your laptop or PC. They cost around £10-£30 / US$10-30 and are relatively easy to set up if you opt for the USB model.

The Andoer tuner below is only £9.97 from Amazon and comes with a remote control.

How to watch TV on your laptop or PC

The tuner above won’t let you watch in HD, but at the top of the scale, Hauppauge’s WinTV-dual HD has two tuners so you can record one channel while watching the other. It costs £64.95 from Amazon.

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The downside of watching TV on your laptop or PC this way is that you are depending on the Freeview signal wherever you are. But if you happen to be near an outlet connected to the TV on the roof of your building, the signal won’t be an issue. (But we’d wonder why you wouldn’t turn on the TV and watch instead.)

The USB TV tuner should come with a compact drone, but you’ll need to attach it to a metal object like a radiator or car roof to get the best signal possible.

Once you’ve plugged in your tuner and installed the software that came with it, you’ll be prompted to search for channels – just like a regular TV – and then you can select a channel and start watching.

The software can also allow you to record TV for later playback.

TV tuner for phones and tablets

If you want to watch live TV on your phone or tablet but don’t use up your monthly data quota, you can buy a TV tuner. Obviously, the USB model won’t work, so you need a Wi-Fi model that’s compatible with your phone or tablet.

For iPhones and iPads, Elgato’s EyeTV connects to the Lightning port, but is expensive at £69.99.

How to watch TV on your laptop or PC

A cheaper option that works on both Android and iOS is August’s DVB-T405. That’s £39.99 from Amazon.

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