How to Add Local TV Channels to Your Plex Server – Review Geek

The Plex logo over an outdoor TV antenna.

Reducing the twine doesn’t imply giving up on stay TV. Native channels are completely free and sometimes embrace content material that you simply care about, together with sports activities. However if you wish to make the antenna TV expertise a bit extra trendy, it is best to add native channels to your Plex server for a killer channel information, distant streaming, DVR performance, and extra.

How Does Native TV Work With Plex?

As we’ll clarify additional on this article, including native TV to your Plex server is an extremely simple job. After you have the {hardware}, setup takes about ten minutes, if that. However how does native TV work on Plex?

Nicely, Plex makes use of a TV antenna and a digital tuner to seek for native channels. All domestically obtainable content material results in a Plex channel information, with detailed descriptions, closed captions, and a two-week-long schedule. You may stream these native channels to any system with a Plex app, together with your telephone, pill, streaming stick, or sensible TV.

Any Plex person can add native TV to their server at no cost. However Plex Move members get further, extraordinarily helpful options. Not solely can Plex Move members stream video exterior of their residence, however they’ll use a DVR perform to report native TV straight to their server’s storage.

This DVR is extraordinarily versatile. You may set it to robotically report every new episode of your favourite present, for instance, and it may possibly even save over older broadcasts if a present re-airs at the next high quality. Plex may also delete (or robotically skip over) ads in recorded content material, which is kind of good.

Keep in mind that Plex affords a wide array Dwell TV channels at no cost, although these channels don’t embrace native stations. With a view to add native channels to Plex, you might want to observe the steps listed on this article.

Every little thing You Want

A photo of a digital TV antenna.

You want a pair items of {hardware} to get native channels on Plex. And sadly, this {hardware} will run you just a little over $100. I believe that the power to stream and report native channels is effectively well worth the cash, however if you happen to’re on a finances, chances are you’ll need to begin through the use of a digital antenna with only one TV before you purchase the tuner to pair it with Plex.

If you wish to see which channels can be found in your space, strive utilizing the FCC reception map or the Channel Grasp stay TV software. These web sites must also provide you with perception into sign energy, which is vital when choosing an antenna.

  • Digital Antenna: A TV antenna is required for this mission. Any digital antenna will work, whether or not it’s indoor or out of doors. In the event you stay in a rural space, strive utilizing the latter possibility to enhance sign high quality and broaden your collection of channels.
  • Supported Tuner: You want a digital TV tuner to course of data out of your antenna. I recommend utilizing the SiliconDust HDHomeRun, as it really works with all Plex servers no matter their working system or area. That stated, Plex affords a full checklist of appropriate tuners on its web site. (In the event you occur to personal a digital tuner with an Ethernet port, give it a strive, it’d work.)
  • Plex Move (Elective): Any Plex person can arrange OTA TV on their server. However if you need DVR performance or distant streaming exterior your house, you want Plex Move.

Keep in mind that some companies, resembling YouTube TV, provide native channels with none further {hardware}. However OTA TV on Plex is a less expensive, extra customizable possibility. Plus, setup with Plex is a breeze. In the event you managed to place collectively a Plex server, you’ll have zero issues with this mission.

Find out how to Set Up the Digital Antenna and Tuner

A photo of a coaxial cable.
zwola fasola/

Organising your digital antenna and tuner is shockingly simple. Mainly, we simply have to get these things linked to your house community—it ought to solely take a couple of minutes, except you might want to set up an out of doors antenna, after all.

First, take your digital tuner and join it to your router (not your Plex server) by way of Ethernet cable. When you’ve got a mesh Wi-Fi system with a number of “router nodes,” it is best to join your tuner and Plex server to the identical node for max reliability.

It’s best to now join your TV antenna to your digital tuner. Most antennas have a built-in coaxial cable, and out of doors antennas include tremendous lengthy cables, so that you don’t want to purchase something further.

Antenna placement is essential, as it may possibly enormously have an effect on your sign. In the event you use an indoor antenna, I recommend sticking it to a window or wall with painter’s tape as a substitute of the included adhesive—for now, no less than. This fashion, you possibly can simply transfer the antenna if you happen to discover that the reception is unhealthy (one thing we’ll talk about within the Troubleshooting part).

SiliconDust HDHomeRun

The SiliconDust HDHomeRun digital tuner works with all Plex servers no matter their working system or area. Simply keep in mind that it may possibly solely deal with two concurrent streams at a time.

Find out how to Allow OTA TV on Plex


As soon as your antenna and digital tuner are all arrange, you possibly can enter the Plex net app and allow OTA TV. Assuming that you simply’ve executed every thing proper, this could take 5 minutes or much less, although chances are you’ll want to attend half an hour for Plex to fill out the information in its channel information.

  1. Open the Plex Internet App in your browser and log in.
  2. Navigate to Settings (the wrench icon within the high proper nook).
  3. Scroll to the underside of the left-hand sidebar and click on “Dwell TV & DVR.”
  4. Click on the large “Set Up Plex DVR” button (even if you happen to don’t plan to make use of DVR).
  5. Plex ought to robotically uncover the digital tuner in your community (if not, test our Troubleshooting part).
  6. Click on “Set Up System,” enter your nation and postal code, and hit “Subsequent”.
  7. Plex will robotically scan for channels and ask if there are any channels you don’t need in your library—make your choice and full the setup course of.

The “Dwell TV” tab in Plex ought to begin populating with native channels. It might take round half-hour for Plex to fill out the channel information, because it collects airing occasions for reveals two weeks upfront.

As soon as the Plex channel information is populated, you possibly can stream OTA TV utilizing the Plex app on any system in your native community. In the event you’re a Plex Move member, you may as well stream this content material exterior your house or report video utilizing the DVR perform.

Urgent the pink circle subsequent to a present’s title within the channel information brings up DVR settings. From right here, you possibly can select the place the content material will probably be saved (often your “TV Channels” class). You too can inform Plex to robotically report all new episodes (or re-runs) of the identical present, which is kind of helpful. And if you happen to go into Plex Settings (beneath “Dwell TV & DVR”), you possibly can choose the standard of DVR content material and inform Plex to robotically take away advertisements from recorded video—this function is about 90% correct, in my expertise.

Troubleshooting and Ideas

Plex running on a smartphone.
Gary L Hider/

Most individuals may have no downside establishing OTA TV with Plex. However relying on the place you reside (and the standard of your antenna), chances are you’ll discover that channel choice or high quality doesn’t meet your expectations. And hey, that is Plex we’re speaking about, so chances are you’ll run into oddities on the software program facet of issues.

As I discussed earlier, you possibly can test which native channels are in your space utilizing the FCC reception map or the Channel Grasp stay TV software. If Plex is lacking channels that you simply care about (or the channels you get appear like crap), you most likely want to maneuver your antenna—that’s why I urged taping it someplace earlier than committing to a spot with the included adhesive.

Strive transferring your antenna to a window or wall elsewhere in your house and rescanning for channels in Plex (go to “Settings,” open “Dwell TV & DVR,” choose your tuner, and click on “Scan”). In the event you don’t need to play a guessing recreation, use the  FCC reception map to see which route (north, south, east, west) your favourite channels are broadcasted from. Pointing your antenna in that route (or putting it on a wall dealing with that route) ought to enhance the sign for these channels.

Now, let’s say that Plex doesn’t uncover your TV tuner. No massive deal, simply restart the Plex net app and check out once more. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to manually discover your tuner’s IP tackle and enter that into Plex. You may go to the My HDHomeRun to get the IP tackle from an HDHomeRun field, although you’ll must test the instruction guide if you happen to purchase a distinct tuner.

I must also reiterate that there are a ton of settings and choices for OTA TV in Plex, particularly in the case of DVR stuff. Open Settings and go to “Dwell TV & DVR” to robotically take away advertisements from recorded content material, regulate transcoder high quality, blacklist channels, robotically change recorded content material with higher-quality airings, and extra.

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