Tip!: Setting up and using a DVR or Live TV is a premium feature and requires an active Plex Pass subscription.
Cable and satellite TV subscriptions can be expensive and many people often forget that broadcast television is still free “over-the-air” (OTA) in most places. Anyone who wants a cheap and easy way to get programming from major and local networks can make use of digital TV. To make use of Plex DVR with OTA broadcasts, you’ll need both a DVR tuner device and an antenna.
If you do have cable service (and your cable provider uses CableCARD), though, you can still make use of a DVR tuner that supports CableCARD to let you view unencrypted/unprotected/DRM-free content! (Be aware that support for unencrypted channels can vary widely by cable provider and even by location within the same provider.)
Plex Media Server Platform Support
The DVR functionality is currently available when running Plex Media Server v1.4.1 or newer.
Be aware that if you run your Plex Media Server on a low-powered NAS device that doesn’t support transcoding, many apps will be unable to play recorded content. Over-the-air broadcasts are often in MPEG2 or other older formats, which few devices or apps can play directly (and would thus require transcoding in those cases).
Related Page: NAS Devices
Supported DVR Tuners
Supported DVR tuners can vary by region and operating system or device. Please refer to the following charts for tuner and operating system/device compatibility for Plex Media Server in different regions. The tuner names in the tables will link to the manufacturer’s website for each device. Some tuners below may require the most recent Early Access & Beta Releases of Plex Media Server.
North America (ATSC /QAM)
The following DVR tuner devices are supported in North America, where signals use the ATSC/QAM format. This refers to compatibility with the system running Plex Media Server.
|SiliconDust HDHomeRun (all models)|
|Hauppauge Digital TV for Xbox One|
|AVerMedia AVerTV Volar Hybrid Q|
Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia (DVB-C/DVB-T/DVB-T2)
The following DVR tuner devices are supported in regions where signals use the DVB-C, DVB-T, or DVB-T2 formats, such as Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia. This refers to compatibility with the system running Plex Media Server.
|SiliconDust HDHomeRun (all models)|
|Hauppauge Freeview HD TV for Xbox One|
|DVBLogic TVButler 100TC|
- Ensure your tuner device firmware/driver is up-to-date.
- For over-the-air broadcasts, a weak television signal can interfere with both DVR and live TV viewing.
- USB/PCIe tuners require Plex Media Server v1.7.2 or newer.
- Linux compatibility is based on Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS. See this page for kernel and driver information for Hauppauge tuners.
- WinTV-quadHD: This device will show up as two dual-tuner devices. You can simply add it as two devices to a single Plex DVR to make use of all four tuners.
- TVButler 100TC: Please verify TV Butler compatibility with the vendor. Some NAS such as WD EX2 and Seagate have experienced issues.
- Windows: “WinTV 8” (for WinTV tuners) or “AVerMedia TVBox” (for AVerMedia tuners) software might conflict with Plex Media Server’s use of the tuner. If you have issues tuning channels, please remove this software, install only the driver for your tuner, then attempt to scan channels again.
- The “Xbox One” tuners must be plugged into the computer running Plex Media Server, not into an Xbox One.
Related Page: Hauppauge: Running WinTV Tuners under Linux
You will need to connect your DVR tuner to an antenna to be able to pick up the free digital over-the-air broadcasts.
Plex will work with any digital antenna, regardless of manufacturer. The best antenna for you can vary greatly based on a number of factors, including: your particular location, channels availability, and distance/direction from the broadcast sources. An “amplified” antenna may provide improved reception and allow you to reach more distant stations, particularly when using an indoor antenna.
Both the Mohu and HD Frequency websites have information about the different types of antennas that are available. There are also many other resources for great information and tips on choosing the most appropriate antenna for you, including the following.
Related Page: The Wirecutter: The Best Indoor HDTV Antenna
Related Page: Lifehacker: How to Choose the Best Over-the-Air Antenna for Free HDTV
Related Page: Over the Air Digital TV: Choosing an Over the Air TV Antenna for Free HD Channels