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Can I watch OTA broadcast TV on my phone?
Can I watch OTA broadcast TV on my phone?

Information on how to watch over-the-air TV on your phone, tablet or other mobile device.

Written by Free TV Project Staff
Updated over a week ago

Most people assume that an antenna will only bring you local channels on a TV set in your home, but did you know you can also watch them on a smartphone with a network-connected tuner? Two options are the Tablo and Air TV. Each one connects to your antenna and WiFi network, allowing you access to all of your local channels wirelessly on your smartphone.

Tablo offers free access to your local channels inside your home via WiFi but does require a monthly subscription if you want to watch anywhere outside of your WiFi connection. Air TV does not require a subscription to watch your local channels anywhere but doesn’t work as well as a DVR compared to the Tablo. Note that an external hard drive is needed to use the DVR function.

Amazon also sells a TV tuner dongle that can turn your smartphone into an actual TV tuner without the need for an internet connection. Reception with the included antennas is pretty limited to strong signal areas but it’s still a good option for traveling or camping. You can find out more in this video.

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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