Watch TV On A Mac - Best Apple USB TV Tuners

HDTV Tuner Hardware For Apple Computers

Watch And Record TV On A Mac

Shopping for an Apple compatible TV tuner? Sadly, the market for Mac TV tuners has significantly shrunk as free or low-cost online streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, iTunes and Amazon video downloads decimated the market for DIY television viewing and capture. It was simply far easier to just stream or download whatever you wanted, though at ongoing costs. Cable companies encrypted most if not all of their channels making recording cable programming to your computer much more difficult. What remains is a smaller market largely left to Mac compatible TV tuner sticks and boxes that capture free over-the-air ATSC antenna reception.

Best USB TV Tuner For Mac In 2019

The biggest player in the Apple compatible TV tuner market, ElGato, discontinued their television products. ElGato no longer supports ANY EyeTV hardware. However, ongoing support for EyeTV software is now handled by Geniatech who released a new USB HDTV tuner, the EyeTV U6, for the North American Market that supports free OTA Over-The-Air ATSC digital antenna reception.

Geniatech U6 Mac Compatible TV Tuner

Antenna HD Reception & Recording

Bundled with the latest version of EyeTV software for Mac OSX, the EyeTV U6 is compatible with MacOS 10.6.8 or later. You will need to provide your own un or amplified UHF-VHF indoor or outdoor antenna.

Best Network Connected TV Tuner For Mac In 2019

Of the remaining Mac-friendly tuner manufacturers, the HD HomeRun series of network-attached HD TV tuners from Silicon Dust is probably your best hardware choice paired with SiliconDust's own Plex HD HomeRun DVR App for Mac OSX or iOS.

Silicon Dust HDHomeRun HD

Dual Tuners With MPEG2 Video Compression

Featuring multiple tuners, the HDHomeRun series connects to an ethernet port on your internet router. Depending on the type of router you have, you can then access or record standard-definition SD or high-definition content wirelessly on your Mac, or stream it to an iPad or iPhone.

Lower-cost versions of the HomeRun used MPEG2 video encoding. Newer models use H.264 which offers higher-quality video compression and reduced file sizes when saving captured content to disk.

Other Apple-Friendly TV Recording Peripherals

You can still get Over-The-Air free TV shows and movies recorded - then imported and played back on your Mac - using an ATSC TV Converter Box with Recording Abilities and an indoor or outdoor antenna.

ATSC TV Converter With Recording Features

Save Shows And Movies To Disk

Above we see a complete ATSC HDTV converter box with recording abilities. The only thing that isn't included is a USB 3.0 external drive to save recordings to and transfer over to your Mac with.

Enjoy TV On MacBook, iMac, Mac Pro or mini

Watching TV on your Mac is easy as plugging in any USB device. These Mac compatible USB 2.0 Computer TV Tuner Sticks for USA television standards allow you to watch, record, edit, time-shift television - then export your favorite TV shows and broadcast movies for use with iPad, iPhone, iPod video or AppleTV.

Enjoy sharp, HD television on your Apple Macintosh with these Mac HDTV tuners. Keep in mind: High resolution HD content requires a FAST Intel dual-core chip Mac and ideally OSX 10.6.x is needed to best experience todays razor sharp HDTV programming.

The single best-selling and best TV Tuner choice for Mac - the EyeTV Hybrid - was DISCONTINUED. It's no longer listed on ElGato's site but you can still find used one's at Amazon. You may be also able to find an ATSC/QAM/Analog EyeTV Hybrid on eBay.

NOTE: If you're a North American viewer, you MUST make sure you get a NTSC - ATSC - QAM EyeTV Hybrid model for the most compatibility for TV signal standards in the USA! On eBay you'll also see DVT-B tuners listed that are for other International countries, but not North America.
br> CHOOSE CAREFULLY!!! Also you absolutely want to make sure a liscence code and and disc for EyeTV v2 or v3 or EyeTV Lite is explicitly included! Otherwise you'll end up paying $79 USD for the full EyeTV software available for download from Geniatec.

Other Apple Compatible TV Tuner

As an alternative to the now discontinued EyeTV Hybrid, if you want to record and watch Digital TV on your Mac we recommend this option from Hauppague/Pinnacle:

Digital TV Tuner For Mac

ATSC Antenna or QAM Cable

A once widely available Mac compatible USB TV tuner was the Pinnacle Micro PCTV For Mac. It's an All-Digital (non-Analog) tuner for ATSC HD digital antenna reception or for Cable users with Clear QAM Digital Channels available. It's bundled with the quite usable EyeTV LITE - which can be upgraded to the full version if need be at Geniatech's website. Inclues a remote and mini telescoping antenna for local ATSC stations.

Digital + Analog TV and Video Converter

Elgato EyeTV 250+ Hybrid with Hardware Encoder

Also discontinued by ElGato: Who the 250 Plus was right for: Serious Video folk who want to capture Analog video (VCR, DVD Player, Camcorder, etc) as well as access Digital and Analog Cable or Digital antenna reception - with all the bells and whistles of EyeTV 3 software.

Low-Cost Digital-Only AverTV Tuner

Volar MAX for Intel-Only Macs

Who it's right for: Those who want a low-cost way to explore watching and occasionally recording Digital QAM cable or ATSC Digital antenna reception. Works with Apple Remote.

Network Shared HDTV Tuner

ElGato HD HomeRun

Who it's right for: Home and Office network users to share it's Dual ATSC (Antenna) and Digital QAM (Cable) Tuners over Ethernet or Wirelessly. The newly redesigned HDHomeRun bundled with EyeTV3 for Mac - and works with Windows Media Center PCs as well.

Digital-Only QAM + ATSC Tuner, Remote + Antenna

Miglia's TV Mini HD Express

Miglia has sort of phased-out of the US TV tuner market, but you may find units still available. Who it's right for: Pure Digital Cable / Antenna folk to record, watch, schedule TV programming. Both ElGato's EyeTV and Equinux TheTube DVR software for Mac both supported this ATSC/QAM All-Digital tuner.


Whether using Apple's Mac OSX... or Cross-Platform with Windows Media Center Edition these HD TV tuners below come bundle with both PC and Mac DVR software for either Operating System.

USB TubeStick Hybrid is bundled with TheTube Software from Equinux
Tube Stick OSX Hybrid Tuner

The Equinux Tube Stick Hybrid Tuner for Mac and PC Tube Stick TV Tuner with TheTube DVR-PVR software in the U.S. Supports both Analog Television//Cable/Video Capture - plus ATSC and Unencrypted Clear QAM Digital via Antenna/Digital Cable. Bundled with BOTH Mac software & compatible with Windows7 XP-Vista Media Center PC drivers, was a good choice for not only Macintosh users, but particularly Intel Mac owners running Dual-OS Mac environments.

Pinnacle's ALL-DIGITAL Mini HD TV Stick w/QAM
Pinnacles micro HDTV USB tuner for North America US signals

DIGITAL HD TUNER STICK: Pinnacle's Tiny ATSC-QAM USB Digital-ONLY TV Tuner, the Pinnacle TV for Mac HD Mini Stick pinnaclesys tvmini hd is a bargain for those not needing Analog capabilities. The Mini Stick HD is noted for it's ultra compact size and signal-boosting technology for better reception. Comes bundled with remote control, ElGato's EyeTV Lite for Mac - and a high-gain telescoping portable TV antenna that extends up for better reception. For mobile Over-The-Air ATSC television with a MacBook laptop, or at your desktop connected to QAM Digital Cable - this is one of the more affordable choices. Also includes TV Center Pro 5 and VideoSpin software for Windows PC.


A Macintosh compatible TV tuner for your Apple computer enables you to watch - Time-Shift - and optionally record - television programs and movies on your computer's hard drive. TV tuner sticks, boxes and cards enhance your computer capabilities and can provide all the luxuries of a TiVo Digital Video Recorder (DVR) at an affordable price and with simple installation. Simply plug the tuner into your Mac, install the software and connect your coax signal source whether it be ATSC Antenna, Digital Cable or Satellite source.

Several types of DTV tuners exist: Some are strictly Digital for North American ATSC over the air antenna reception and QAM Digital cable . Others are Dual-Tuner Hybrid TV tuners support BOTH standard-definition (SD) Analog and high-definition (HD) Digital TV signals - and they also work as Analog video capture cards. Hybrid tuners allow not just the recording of television programs in either format, but the included Analog input connector cable can capture content from DVD players, VHS decks, Gaming systems and other S-Video or RCA Composite Analog video sources.

Most Apple friendly TV tuners are an external USB TV tuner stick or a small box that connects to the Mac. A high-speed USB 2.0 port - is required for computer tuners to provide for smooth, fast video at full-screen HD resolutions.

USB stick tuners are a compact, portable solution for MacBook or iBook users. Some tuners come bundled with a small portable antenna for ATSC reception, and often a remote control to complete the package. Add a good set of Hi-Fi Apple computer speakers and give your Macintosh laptop adequate volume, or desktop Mac the rumble of a mini home theatre system. The two most popular PVR programs bundled with tuners: TheTube and EyeTV -- records and plays Dolby Digital stereo sound, including 5.1 Surround Sound, and supports the Digital Optical audio output built into newer Macs and passes Dolby Digital 5.1 sound through to 5.1 capable amplified speaker systems.

Mac Compatible TV Tuner manufacturers include ElGato, Miglia, Equinux, Pinnacle Systems, Hauppauge, ATI, and SiliconDust. They offer tuners typically in the $75 to $175 price range. At the higher end, some Hybrid TV tuners include capture of Analog signals (like ElGato's EyeTV 250+). For Digital signals, the TV signal is already compressed and encoded, but it's higher 720p or 1080i resolution demands more computing horsepower.

System requirements for enjoying television on a Macintosh lean towards fast, modern dual-core computers - with plenty of memory to Time-Shift shows you're watching, and ample disk space to save recorded programs. Ideally your Macintosh requires DUAL G5's or a Core Duo Intel CPU to handle the demands of HD video and Analog compression. Displaying full-screen high-resolution HD 720p or 1080i video DEMANDS Intel Processors. A current, fast Mac helps speed up the CPU intensive compression to export to iTunes for a Video iPod - Touch - iPhone at a lower resolution and video file size.

Two of the most popular PVR - Personal Video Recorder apps for OSX include ElGato EYETV and Equinux THETUBE to manage viewing, channel changing and recording and video export functions. SageTV is also a Mac option for HTPC setups. PVR software typically includes an EPG - Electronic Program Guides for current program linueps, scheduling of recordings, channel management, and export options to burn TV shows to disc or view programming on a personal video player, iPad or iPhone.

Next to an iPod, nothing will transform your Mac computing experience like recording and watching TV on your Macintosh. See what you're missing! Enjoy Hi-Def DTV your Apple computer with any of the above NTSC tuners for US television standards. Add some quality speakers - and take your Apple media experience to the next level. You'll love having TV on your Mac!