How to watch live broadcast TV on the Mac

Want to watch live TV on your Mac? The HDHomeRun is a magic box that puts OTA TV channels onto your home network, and viewing them on your Mac is super simple. For the purposes of this guide, we're using the HDHomeRun tuner. There are alternatives, but the HDHomeRun has the best global availability so it applies to more people for what we're explaining here.

Products used in this guide

How to setup HDHomeRun


HD HomeRun Connect connect power source

Once you've unpacked the HDHomeRun and you've gathered all the parts that came in the box, follow these steps.

  1. First, connect the HDHomeRun to a wall outlet.
  2. Connect your OTA TV antenna to the back of the HDHomeRun.
  3. Use the included Ethernet cable to connect the HDHomeRun to your router.

How to set it all up on the Mac

Once you see a green light on the back of the HDHomeRun, head on over to your Mac.

  1. Head to in Safari.
  2. The site will now detect your hardware.

  1. At first setup, you'll need to click on detect channels for any HDHomeRun you installed on your network.

  1. To view TV, download the HDHomeRun for Mac software.
  2. A terminal window will open and check for any firmware updates.
  3. Open the HDHomeRun app from your Launchpad or Applications folder.


The app is what you'll use to watch TV and interact with the HDHomeRun DVR service, if you subscribe to that. The DVR service is excellent value at $35 per year, and once set up you'll be able to watch recorded shows on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV with the use of the third-party app, Insta TV.

The app will also automatically take care of any firmware updates for your HDHomeRun hardware. At any time you can rescan your channel lineup, check on the system status, firmware and tuner status from within the web app. So it's a good idea to stick it on your favorites bar.

Using Kodi


If you have loftier ambitions for your Mac when it comes to TV and home media, Kodi might be of interest. The free and open source media center application is up to version 18, Leia, and has a version for the Mac.

Kodi has support built in for the HDHomeRun, all you have to do is enable the HDHomeRun PVR add-on from Kodi's TV add-on browser, and the software will pull in your TV channels and guide data into Kodi's native interface.


If you just want to watch TV, then using the HDHomeRun app will be an easier solution. But if you want to build a true media center with TV just a part of it, then perhaps explore using Kodi and see what it can do for you.

Our top equipment picks

If you want to watch OTA TV on your Mac, the HDHomeRun is easily the best piece of kit for the job.

It supports just about every platform you can think of and is easily one of the most versatile products on the market for anyone interested in cordcutting or home media centers. Pair it with the DVR service and you get to save your favorite shows to watch back whenever you like.

Additional Equipment

If you're looking to make a home media center from your Mac, there's no better choice than the Mac Mini. And Kodi might well be the software you're looking for.

Mac mini

Apple Mac Mini (From $799 at Apple)

The Mac Mini makes a great home media PC for the living room thanks to its small size.

Kodi for Mac (Free at Kodi)

Kodi is an amazing piece of software to build a home media center from, and it has built-in support for HDHomeRun.

ClearStream 2MAX ($60 at Amazon)

The ClearStream 2MAX can be mounted outdoors or indoors (like in an attic). It includes a 20-inch J-mount mast, and a 20dB amplifier.

Richard Devine

Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy. Follow him on Twitter and Google+