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How to Use a Laptop as a TV? (Should You?)

As a laptop owner, I know the struggle of wanting to watch TV but not having a television set. I was frustrated and unsure of what to do, so I decided to do some research and find out if it was even possible to use a laptop as a TV. After researching and experimenting with various tips and tricks, I’m here to share how I successfully used my laptop as a TV and some other solutions I discovered along the way.

There are a few ways to turn your laptop into a mobile TV you can use to watch live channels anywhere. A simple way is to subscribe to one of the many live TV streaming providers on the internet.

Another way is to set up your laptop to receive satellite signals. That way you can play whatever channel you want on it.

Stream Live TV Online1. Subscription to a live TV streaming service1. Easy and convenient way to watch TV anywhere1. Watching experience may not be as good as with a regular TV
2. Reliable internet connection2. Live TV streaming services can offer a variety of channels2. Cost of subscription for streaming services can be expensive
3. Specific media player or software (if needed)
Use a TV Tuner1. HD TV tuner for Windows PC or macOS1. Allows for watching TV without an internet connection1. Watching experience may not be as good as with a regular TV
2. Indoor or outdoor antenna (if not included with tuner)2. Can record live TV shows and movies for later viewing2. Cost of additional equipment, such as a TV tuner, may be expensive
3. Installation of drivers and software for the TV tuner and channel scanning

How to Use a Laptop as a TV? The Two Simplest Ways

You can use your laptop as a TV in different ways. Some are straightforward, while others need a bit of setup.

Here are the most common two techniques to use:

  1. Stream Live TV on the Internet

You can watch countless live TV channels anytime on your laptop using live TV services on the internet.

This includes the channels of broadcast networks, cable TV, and even premium cable, depending on the service.

What Are the Requirements?

The requirements of these services are pretty simple. You’ll need to subscribe to the service and have a reliable internet connection.

In addition, you may need to install a specific media player or software. Overall, all these steps take at most ten minutes. 

Once you’ve subscribed, you can access the streaming website from your web browser. There you can choose between the hundreds of channels available, and watch them live as if you’re watching a TV. 

Who Are the Best Live TV Providers?

A bunch of brands offer live TV streaming services via the Internet. However, one of the best providers is AT&T’s DirecTV, which offers over 150 popular TV channels within its subscription. These channels include ESPN, NBC, FOX, and many more.

In addition to DirecTV, there are many other live TV streaming services. You can choose the best for you according to the packages they offer and the channels they support.

Here are the most popular live TV providers:

  1. Watch Live TV with No Internet

Applying this method will turn your laptop into an actual TV. This means your computer will play live TV channels directly by receiving satellite signals, not using the internet network. 

To set up your laptop for this, you’ll need the following tools:

  • HD TV tuner for Windows PC or for macOS
  • Indoor or outdoor antenna, if the tuner doesn’t come with one

Once you’ve got these two requirements, follow the next steps:

  1. Connect the TV Tuner to the Laptop

The tuner is the medium between your laptop and the antenna. So, first, you should connect the antenna to the tuner from one side. Then, connect the tuner to the computer using the USB port from the other side. 

  1. Install the Drivers 

For your computer to recognize and use the tuner, you need to install the tuner drivers. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Install Win TV application to your PC 
  • Once you’ve installed the app and chosen the language, you’ll get the “install drivers” option
  • Click “install drivers”
  • Wait for a few minutes, and the app will automatically detect the device and configure it
  1. Install the Win TV Player

After installing the drivers, the application will return to the main setup page. There you’ll find the option “install Win TV”, click it. Then follow the installation steps.

  1.  Scan for Channels

After installing the Win TV player, a window will open with some steps to carry out. Just follow the instructions on the screen to add channels to the system.

  1. Choose and Play Channels

After adding channels to the application, you can now open it, choose a channel, and play it. Use arrows in the interface to switch between channels.

Another great thing about Win TV is that you can record any live movie or show and watch it later.

Note that the previously mentioned setup step is for PCs. However, if your device is a Mac, you’ll follow similar steps.

Should You Use a Laptop as a TV?

If you can afford a good TV, it’s not a good idea to use a laptop as a television at home. 

After all, the watching experience on a +50-inch screen can’t be compared to any laptop’s experience. 

Nevertheless, it would be great to watch TV on a laptop if: 

  • You need a portable TV so you can watch anywhere
  • You can’t purchase a good TV at home currently 

Pros of Using a Laptop as a TV:

  • Easy and convenient way to watch TV anywhere
  • Live TV streaming services can offer a variety of channels
  • Setting up a TV tuner to receive satellite signals is relatively simple

Cons of Using a Laptop as a TV:

  • The watching experience may not be as good as with a regular TV
  • The cost of subscription for streaming services can be expensive
  • You may need to buy additional equipment such as a TV tuner

Wrap Up

How to use a laptop as a TV? There are a few ways to do that. One easy way is to subscribe to live TV services via the internet, like YouTube TV. 

Another easy way is to equip your laptop with a TV tuner to allow it to receive satellite signals. That way, you can play TV channels directly on it. Enjoy watching!