Play It Back: How to Record Live TV Without Cable

As the cord-cutting revolution continues, there are more options than ever before that help you do away with high-priced cable subscriptions. Of all the features of cable television, perhaps one of the best has always been the ability to record live video via a DVR box. Luckily, this feature is available beyond cable packages.

When looking for an over-the-air (OTA) DVR there are a few things to keep in mind before you purchase. There are some OTA DVRs that cannot be connected directly to your television. This type of OTA DVR is known as a "Networked DVR" and is designed to allow you to use one device for all TV's in your house. This could be a good option for those who are technically capable of setting up this type of device on the home wifi network and ensuring that the network is reliable enough to support HD video. For those looking for something more simple to set up directly to each TV, the Channel Master Stream+ or the Tivo will be better options.

Let's look at how to record live TV without cable.


The Stream+ by Channel Master is as good as it gets in this category. It offers the ability to record over-the-air broadcasts while also providing access to hundreds of streaming applications. The Stream+ is slick in design and flashes a price that is competitive and reasonable.

This easy to use device lets you save and watch all your favorite TV shows with the option to record by connecting an external hard drive to the device. When connected, you can record one live program while watching another or you have the option to record two live programs at the same time while you watch a previously recorded program.

The device comes equipped with an on-screen 14 day channel guide which allows users to schedule either a one-time recording or an entire series. What sets the Stream+ apart from the competition is that the device offers freedom and the convenience to navigate between live TV, DVR, and popular streaming apps without the need to switch devices.

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You surely remember the constant commercials for TiVo from years ago. Well, it is alive and well and you can use it to record your favorite television shows. With TiVo, you can even record up to four displays at the same time. That means that you can be sure you are never missing a beat. The features are excellent, however the price does not favor the consumer. At nearly $400, you are paying quite a bit to have your shows recorded.

Amazon Fire TV Recast

The Amazon Fire TV Recast has 75 to 150 hours of recording time and two or four tuner options, as well. The ability to record without cable, of course, comes at a price. The Fire TV Recast is currently priced on Amazon at close to $230 and that's not it, you will still need to have a Fire TV Streaming Box or Stick in order to display the recordings on your TV. The device is a good option for those who already use an Amazon Fire stick, but the price tag can be a little intimidating. This solution is much more complicated to setup than the Channel Master Stream+ and the TiVo requiring a very robust home wifi network and additional devices that connect to the TV. What is great about Amazon products is that they complement one another when you buy products that are meant to be paired together. Perhaps that is one of the upsides of purchasing this addition if you already own an Amazon TV Fire Stick. If you feel you will get a lot of use out of this, it's worth a look.

Tablo 2 Tuner DVR

Tablo 2 Tuner DVR can help you record broadcast television with the touch of a button but it falls in the same class as the Amazon Fire TV Recast which is more complicated to set up and requires a robust Wifi network. With the Tablo you can schedule and manage recordings as well as access your Tablo online to watch recorded shows on your tablet or mobile device. The features here are admittedly great, but the product is for those willing to deal with a more complex setup, not to mention the price tag currently sits at nearly $260 on Amazon. It's not surprising that the investment has people looking for other options.

If you are a PC user you might ask yourself how to record live TV without cable? The answer is simple. There are a few apps you can download that make recording live TV possible. It is important to note that you must have a supported tuner card on your Windows desktop to make recording possible.

The Choice is Yours

Now you know how to record live TV without cable and it is up to you to make sure you can do it as inexpensively as possible. It is time to cut the cord and start taking advantage of all the excellent options that are available to viewers today. You do not need to continue to pay those hefty cable bills when you can purchase a product once and reap the benefits for years to come.

With a reliable recording device, you'll never have to pay another cable bill or miss your favorite shows again!