With NVIDIA SHIELD TV, you can pretty easily watch live TV, making it even easier to “cut the cord.” While apps like PlayStation Vue and Sling TV, are easy to use, unlike Live Channels, HD HomeRun, or Tablo TV, they’re not free. And of course, we HAVE to talk about Plex. Here, we’ll walk you through several different methods to watch live TV on SHIELD.
Every day we on the SHIELD team find ourselves arguing about the nuances of what exactly constitutes “cord cutting.” I guess that’s what happens when you’re passionate about something. The consensus seems to be that using pay services like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue isn’t technically “cord cutting,” but rather it’s what folks have come to call “cord shaving.” Either way, we love both services as they not only give you access to live, local TV, but you also get access to a plethora of cable channels.
Sling TV offers two levels of service, Sling orange ($20 / month) and Sling Blue ($25 / month). While both give you access to live, local TV the different packages boast different cable offerings. Sling Orange offers a plethora of great channels like ESPN, TNT, TBS, and many more, while Sling Blue is where you’ll find channels like NBC and NBC Sports Network.
PlayStation Vue came on the scene last fall, and similar to other live TV streaming apps, with PlayStation Vue, SHIELD owners can watch movies, sports, and “On Demand programming” from a wide range of channels including AMC, Comedy Central, Disney, ESPN, HBO, NFL Network, and SHOWTIME. PlayStation Vue plans start at $29.99 / month.
In order to watch live local TV, you’ll first have to get a TV tuner. For this article we used the $100 HD HomeRun Connect from Silicon Dust and the $70 Hauppauge WinTV-dualHD USB tuner. You’ll also need a digital antenna. Once you get the hardware setup, here are several apps that we use to watch live, local TV on SHIELD.
Plex is a must have app for cord cutting - which is why it comes installed on all SHIELD TVs. And any SHIELD owner would be remiss not to add a Plex Pass to their cord cutting arsenal. Thanks to Plex’s new live TV capabilities, SHIELD users now have the ability to watch and record free digital broadcast channels using a TV antenna along with a USB or network-attached tuner. Network television shows can be watched at up to 1080 resolution with 5.1 surround sound.
We also created a great FAQ that goes into even more detail on How to Set Up Plex Live TV and DVR on SHIELD TV.
Live Channels is a native Android TV app that’s already on your SHIELD. The weird thing though, is that you’ll have to add another app in order to make it show up in your apps list. For the sake of this how-to I installed Haystak TV. Once Haystack is installed you’ll now see Live Channels in your apps list.
Boasting a simple and intuitive user interface, with Live Channels you can effortlessly browse through channels, view program guides, and see programming details. Live Channels also lets SHIELD users DVR certain programs.
HD HomeRun is another app for viewing live TV that works great on SHIELD. Once your TV tuner is set up, go to the Google Play store and install the HD HomeRun app. In our case, the app found the HD HomeRun Connect TV tuner that we previously installed and we were immediately up and watching live, local TV.
HD HomeRun and Live Channels are more similar than dissimilar, and which one you choose to use comes down to a matter of taste. That said, while I like the visual aspect of HD HomeRun’s channel listing, I prefer Live Channel’s Programming guide. In addition to Live Channels and HD HomeRun, there’s also Plex. Our advice is to install all three and play around with them.
TabloTV isn’t new to the world of cutting the cord, but their latest entry into the space, the Tablo Engine app makes it a must try for SHIELD users, as their interface was redesigned to leverage SHIELD’s internal storage and the Tablo TUNER USB antenna adapter, instead of requiring users to buy dedicated, external storage and the original Tablo OTA DVR hardware. By connecting a USB tuner and HD antenna, the Tablo Engine app easily lets SHIELD users watch and record free, over-the-air HDTV!