An over-the-air (OTA) DVR is a great way to watch and record TV shows from your local channels. With all of the free streaming apps available online, is there a way to record from them?

Subscription-based live streaming services like Sling TV, Philo TV and Frndly TV have DVR options. Free apps like Pluto TV and Stirr do not. The only way to record from these apps is to connect an external streaming device (such as a Roku or Firestick) to an HDMI recorder and record what’s being viewed onto a flash drive. Here is an example of an HDMI recorder that also has a player built in.

Note that an HDMI recorder will only record what’s currently being shown on a streaming device. You cannot use it to record upcoming shows. You can use it to record a show that you’re watching but not to record a future show unless you keep the app on while the show airs.

Getting started

Watching free, over-the-air TV with an antenna is simpler than you may think. In many cases, you can take an antenna out of the box, connect the cable to your TV, run a channel scan and voila! You have dozens of local channels to surf.

The number of channels you can access and how clearly they come in is based on a number of factors, including your distance from the point of broadcast towers, the type of antenna you have and where it’s located in your home.

Not sure what kind of antenna you need? Take our simple quiz to help narrow down the options. You can also find a general list of recommended antennas here.

Pair your antenna with an OTA DVR device to record your favorite shows

Did you know you can use an antenna similarly to how you watch cable? Ditch the costly subscription fees, but keep the cable capabilities (record, pause, rewind and fast forward) with an OTA DVR device. Here are the products we recommend:

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