How to Record TV Shows on a PC: 7 Methods That Work | MakeUseOf

If you want to record TV on a computer, what options do you have available? A lot depends on how you're receiving the video in the first place.

In this article, we're going to introduce you to a selection of apps, devices, and services that'll let you record TV on your PC.

You can choose from one of three ways to receive a live TV signal on your computer screen.

An OTA antenna can pick up any free-to-air channels in your area. You can pick up cheap OTA antennas at your local supermarket, but for a high-end option, check out the ever-popular Mohu Leaf.

To let your computer read the TV signal, you'll need to buy a TV tuner.

You can also watch your cable TV package on your computer, but it's more difficult than for an OTA signal.

Like OTA, you will need a TV tuner. TV tuners come in many forms; the most common are internal Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) cards, external USB cards, and network-attached devices. A network-attached device---such as the HDHomeRun---is the preferred option.

Getting a cable TV signal onto your computer is further complicated by the channel encoding format. It is called Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM). QAM frequencies vary between cable providers; it can be difficult to establish the correct frequencies for your provider.

Many online services now offer live TV streaming. Some of the best live TV services include Hulu, Sling, YouTube TV, and Fubo.

These services are the easiest way to get live content on your computer, but they are the most complicated to record. You will need to decide whether the tradeoff is worth it.

Plex offers a premium service called Plex Pass. The subscription costs $4.99 for a month, $39.99 for a year, or $119.99 for a lifetime.

One of the best features of Plex Pass is access to live TV. If you pick up an antenna and a digital tuner, you can watch any OTA channels in your area. The content is displayed on a full electronic program guide (EPG).

Plex Pass has a DVR feature. It means you can use the EPG to set programs to record. When the recording has finished, it will be available on your Plex server. You can watch it on any of your Plex apps.

If you don't want to use Plex, you might instead buy a subscription from one of the web-based live TV providers.

Most of the leading streaming services now offer some form of DVR functionality, either for free or as a paid add-on.

Using the providers' services has both advantages and disadvantages. You won't have a physical copy that you can take with you anywhere, but you will be able to access your recording on any device via the services' apps. Keep an eye on time limits---some providers only make recordings available for a limited amount of time.

If you set up a TV tuner that doesn't have a built-in DVR feature, you could use a screen recording app to grab the footage. In theory, you can also use screen recorders to grab live TV from services like Sling, but more and more the providers using security features that prevent such recordings.

The Movavi screen recorder works well. It has a customizable capture area, so you won't have any of your other desktop clutter in your video.

When the recording is over, you can convert the file into the format you want at the end of the process. There are other options to consider for recording your screen, including OBS Studio and Screencast-O-Matic.

Remember: It is illegal to distribute footage you record using the above method.

Let's look at the problem from a different angle.

The two solutions we've discussed above both assume you want to record TV footage that's coming through your internet connection. But what if you're not a cord cutter? What if you still have a cable subscription and want to retain copies of shows, just like we used to do with VHS cassettes? You will need a Hauppauge 1512 HD-PVR 2 Personal Video Recorder.

Setting up the device is relatively straightforward. You need to connect component video and audio cables between your cable box and your Hauppauge device, then connect the USB cable from the PVR to your computer.

Install the necessary drivers and software on your machine, then follow the on-screen instructions to start recording. You can configure the audio and video settings, the recording format, and the bitrate.

Once you become proficient in using your new setup, you can perform more advanced tasks such as scheduling recordings, burning Blu-ray disks, and digitizing old VHS cassettes.

You can record TV on a PC with the HDHomeRun. It's a TV tuner, so you will need to pair it with an OTA antenna to receive channels. HDHomeRun devices come in either a two-tuner or a three-tuner model. Both have the ability to record footage.

However, like SlingTV, HDHomeRun requires a subscription in order to use the DVR features. The subscription costs $35/year but also adds a 14-day TV guide, the ability to pause and rewind live TV, and a way to watch live TV while simultaneously recording another channel. There are even a few quirky options, such as being able to set your favorite sports team and automatically record all its games during a season.

HDHomeRun recordings can be managed from your computer or through one of the mobile/smart TV apps. Unfortunately, it's not possible to remove your recordings from the cloud and share them offline.

Tablo is an HDHomeRun alternative. It's a standalone box that offers DVR capabilities when you attach an aerial. Again, you can access your recordings through the company's apps, but you can't take your recordings offline. Tablo only works with OTA television.

One of Tablo's most popular models is 2019's Quad. It has an internal hard drive so you don't need to worry about dongles and external hard drives to save your recordings. It was one of users' biggest criticisms of earlier models.

There is one other way to record live TV on your computer, but it's not user-friendly.

MythTV is a free, open-source video recorder. It started life back in 2002 as someone's pet project but has since grown to become a usable alternative to the now-defunct Windows Media Center.

The feature list is impressive. You can record analog and digital TV, pause live shows, automatically skip commercials, and even deploy parental controls.

So, what's the downside? Well, the installation process is a nightmare. You will need to compile the app yourself as the developers don't offer an EXE file. Explaining the process is beyond the scope of this piece, but you can check out the instructions on the app's official wiki.

We've shown you several different ways you can use your computer to record live TV, each of which will appeal to a different type of user.

For example, some methods will create an offline version of the show which you can watch anywhere, while others don't provide you with portable copies of your recordings. As always, it's about finding an app that meets your usage needs.

Maybe, you are familiar with Raspberry Pi. Then, you can build a DIY DVR and record live TV using a Raspberry Pi.


How to Change Your Xbox One Password and Add a Passkey

Are you wondering how to change your Xbox One password? Perhaps you've just finished gamesharing on your Xbox and don't want the other person to have your password. Or you've decided to set a stronger password to keep your account safe.

On Xbox One, your Xbox Live account login is tied to your Microsoft Account. Microsoft doesn't provide a specific way to change your password directly from your Xbox One, but it's still easy to do. Here's how, along with instructions for supplementing this password with a passkey.

How to Change Your Xbox One Password

Microsoft advises changing your Xbox One password through a browser on your desktop or phone. These steps still work using the Microsoft Edge browser on your Xbox, but they're not quite as convenient.

To change your Xbox One password, open a browser and head to, which is the Microsoft account login page. If you want to do this from your Xbox, open Microsoft Edge and browse to there.

Sign into your Microsoft account using your email and password. If you don't know your current password, use the Forgot password? link for help recovering it.

Once you've logged in successfully, you'll see your name, email address, and profile picture at the top-left of the account management page. Click More actions next to this, followed by Change password.

You'll then likely have to confirm your current password. After that, enter a new password and confirm. That's all you have to do to change your Xbox password. Keep in mind that your console may ask you to enter the new password next time you log into it.

Make sure you use a strong password, preferably one created by a password manager, to keep your account safe.

How to Set a Passkey on Your Xbox One

Changing your Xbox One password as above changes it for your entire Microsoft account. This means you'll need to use the new password for Skype, Office, and other logins.

If you just want extra local security on your Xbox One then a passkey is a better option. A passkey is like a PIN for your Xbox account; nobody can sign in without it. It's useful if you want to protect your profile from children, roommates, or similar.

Follow these steps to add a passkey to your profile:

  1. While on the home menu, press the Xbox button on your controller to open the Guide.
  2. Scroll over to the Profile & System section (which uses your avatar as its icon) and choose Settings.Xbox One Open Settings Guide
  3. Go to Account > Sign-in, security & passkey.
  4. Choose the Create my passkey box and set a six-digit password using your controller. You'll need to enter it again to confirm it.

Now, your passkey is set. You can choose Delete my passkey if you want to remove it in the future. To change your passkey, simply delete it and set a new one.

Protecting Your Xbox One With a Passkey or Password

After setting your passkey, you'll then need to tell your Xbox One to restrict certain features with it. To do this, select Change my sign-in & security preferences from the same screen you're on. This presents you with a couple of security presets to choose from.

Pick Ask for my passkey and your Xbox will ask for your code whenever you sign in, make a purchase, or change settings. If you want to restrict some but not all of these actions using your passkey, select Customize from the right side for granular control over what to protect.

For maximum security, you can instead pick the Lock it down option. This makes your Xbox ask for your Microsoft password whenever you sign in, buy something, or try to change settings. We don't recommend this, because typing a strong password will become tedious. A passkey is a much more convenient method that still offers security.

If you ever forget your passkey, enter an incorrect combination three times and you'll see a prompt to sign in with your Microsoft account. After doing this, you can set a new passkey.

Change Your Xbox One Password for Improved Security

Now you know how to change your Xbox One password and pair it with a passkey for greater convenience. Because your Microsoft account password protects so many services, we recommend setting a strong password for that and keeping it in a password manager.

If you're worried about people making unauthorized purchases on your system, a passkey is a great defense against that. It's just one of the many handy Xbox One settings available to you.


How to Set Up an Android Phone or Tablet for Kids: 6 Key Tips for Children

Every kid wants their own smartphone or tablet, and they're now getting their first devices at increasingly younger ages. If this makes you nervous as a parent, don't worry. There are plenty of settings and tools that can ensure your child uses their phone safely. They also give you control even when you aren't able to supervise them directly.

Let's take a look at some of the best ways to set up your child's Android phone or tablet.

Children need to be of a certain age before they can have a Google account. In most countries, this age is at least 13 years old. They must be 14 or over in Spain and South Korea, or 16 and over in the Netherlands.

Parents often avoid this problem by creating an account for their children using a fake age. This works, but breaches Google's terms and conditions and can potentially lead to the company suspending or closing the account.

To address this problem, Google offers a service called Family Link, which is the equivalent to an Android kid's mode. It's one of the most effective surveillance tools to monitor your children.

Parents can use it to remotely control what apps their kids use, what they can search for online, how many hours a day they can use their devices, and to lock the phone at night.

To get started, download the Family Link app for parents from the Play Store. Walk through the first few screens, then create a Google account for your child when prompted. You'll need to verify your payment method during this process. A $0.30 charge will be made to your credit card, which cancels as soon as it's confirmed.

Now log into the account on your child's phone and install the Family Link app for children on it. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the setup.

Once you're done, you can use Family Link to:

  • Approve app downloads, meaning you'll be prompted to allow or deny every app your child wants to install.
  • Limit screen time by setting a daily usage allowance in 30 minute increments.
  • Set a bedtime, after which the phone will not work.
  • Monitor your child's app activity with weekly reports, and temporarily disable apps they're using too much.
  • Set up child-friendly filters to limit what apps, games, and movies they can download, and also apply safe searches in Chrome.
  • Track your child's phone to keep an eye on where they are.

Family Link only works for under-13s (or whatever the legal age is in your country). When your child turns 13, they'll be able to take control of their own account, so you might need to start using some of the other options below.

For more help, check out how to protect your child's Android phone with Google Family Link.

If your children are 13 or over---or have accounts that say they are---or you don't want to use Family Link, then you'll need to use the built-in parental controls in the Play Store.

This lets you limit what apps, games, movies, and TV shows your child can download, based on an age rating. You can also restrict books and magazines through a safe search filter (which may not be 100 percent foolproof), and music labelled Explicit is also off-limits.

To set up parental controls, open the Play Store app and go to Settings > Parental Controls, then toggle the switch to On. You'll now be prompted to set up a new four-digit PIN.

Next, go through each type of content and set an age limit, or activate the explicit filter, and hit Save when you're done. Your child won't be able to buy or play anything that falls outside these settings.

Note that you apply parental controls to individual phones and tablets, rather than the account. If your children have more than one device, you'll need to set them up on each one.

To protect your child from some of the nasty corners of the web, you can apply the safe search filter to their web browsing. This works mostly in Chrome, since they're logged into that browser. If your child uses a third-party browser, then this setting won't necessarily apply.

Pair this with the restrictions on app downloads above to help prevent your child from using a different browser. To activate it, open the Google app. Go to More > Settings > General, and set the SafeSearch filter option to Active.

Family Library is a service that lets all the users in your household maintain their own Google accounts while sharing paid Play Store apps and content with each other. You can also share a single payment method.

This means that you don't have to buy the same apps or movies more than once. Thankfully, you can do this selectively, allowing you to keep some of your own purchased content away from your kids. Using this also allows your children to use your credit card to buy items through the Play Store, though you get to approve every purchase.

To get started:

  1. In the Play Store, go to Account > Family > Sign up now.
  2. Choose the payment method you want to share with your family.
  3. When prompted to share your content, select either Add all or One by one.
  4. Finally, invite family members to your group by adding their Gmail addresses when prompted. They'll each need to accept the invite.

By default, all family members under 18 (according to the age set in their Google account) will need approval when they try to buy anything. You'll get a notification on your phone to allow or decline the purchase. This applies to in-app purchases as well.

Many kids live spend a ton of time on YouTube these days, but there's a lot of content there that you probably don't want them stumbling upon. To make an Android tablet or phone kid-friendly, you can replace the YouTube app with YouTube Kids, an official, family-friendly alternative with curated content.

First, disable YouTube by going to Settings > Apps > YouTube and tapping Disable. This will hide the app's icon so that your child will not be able to access it.

Then install YouTube Kids in its place. Through the settings for this app, you can turn search on or off, place limits on the amount of time your kids can spend watching, and flag any inappropriate videos that have gotten through by accident.

If your kids are too old for that, you can set the standard YouTube app to Restricted Mode. This hides videos that other users flagged as containing adult or inappropriate content. YouTube filters some mature content algorithmically as well.

To activate this, open YouTube and tap the Account icon in the top-right of the screen. Now go to Settings > General and toggle the Restricted Mode switch.

Although there is no specific child mode on Android, a combination of the Family Link and Family Library services does help to make devices safer for kids. It's also worth checking if specific apps have options to reduce access to explicit content.

Keep in mind that no parental control tool is perfect. Be prepared for your children bypassing parental controls in ways you might not expect.


How to Delete Profiles on Xbox 360 and Xbox One | MakeUseOf

Do you need to delete a profile on your Xbox One or Xbox 360? Perhaps you used to share a console with a friend or sibling, or maybe you don't need your old account anymore. Either way, deleting a profile will do the trick.

This also comes in handy if you sign in on a friend's console to play an online game together and want to make sure you don't leave it logged in afterwards.

Whatever the case, you can easily remove old profiles and accounts on your Xbox console. Here's how to delete profiles on Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Before You Delete an Xbox Profile

First, let's quickly look at what happens when you remove an Xbox profile.

This process only removes the saved account from your Xbox console. It does not delete the account completely, so anything saved in the cloud, like Achievements or saved data uploaded to Xbox Live, is safe. You're free to sign into the account on another Xbox using its sign-in info.

If by chance you do want to close your Microsoft account permanently, see Microsoft's account closure page for details.

Otherwise, if there's any local data on your Xbox that you haven't synced to the cloud, you should do that first before removing the profile. Make sure your Xbox is online and that you have backed up your game saves before you proceed. Otherwise, you may lose data that hasn't synced.

How to Delete Profiles on Xbox One

To delete a profile on Xbox One, here's what you need to do:

  1. Press the Xbox button on the main menu to open the Guide.
  2. Scroll over to the Profile & system section (marked with your profile icon at the top), then choose Settings from the list.
  3. Navigate to Account > Remove accounts.
  4. Select an account to remove, then choose Remove to confirm it.

How to Delete Profiles on Xbox 360

To delete a profile on your Xbox 360, do the following:

  1. Head to Settings and select System, then choose Storage.
  2. If you don't have an external storage device connected to your system, select Hard Drive. In case you do use external storage, select All Devices instead.
  3. Choose Profiles and pick the profile you want to delete. Select Delete.

You'll then have to choose what type of deletion you want. Choose Delete Profile Only to keep the account's saved games and achievements. If you choose Delete Profile and Items, the process will completely remove everything associated with that account.

It's Easy to Delete Xbox Profiles

Now, you know how to remove profiles on your Xbox One and Xbox 360. Whether because someone moved out of your house or because you need to get rid of your old secondary account, it's easy to do.

While you're tweaking your Xbox, you should learn about some other useful settings that can help you get more from the system.


7 Cool Online Thrift Stores to Save Yourself a Fortune

"Times are tough." We all likely say that more and more. So saving a buck here and there is always a huge help. Luckily, there are not only great online shopping deals nowadays, but online thrift stores too.

Here are three terrific options for finding a hidden gem or just saving some of your hard-earned cash. If you aren't satisfied with these, just know that there are plenty of other awesome online thrift shops out there!

ShopGoodwill’s online shop offers items through auctions, much like eBay. Choose a category from the home page and browse everything from antiques and art to travel and wedding products.

On the long list of items, you’ll see the current price, minimum bid, and how much time is left to bid. You can filter the category by search term, seller, subcategory, price, or attribute. Or, select an item to get full details including the number of current bids, shipping and handling costs, condition, and the seller information.

Like any other online auction site, it’s a good idea to use solid searching and bidding practices to find what you want and get the best price. But for a terrific way to find all sorts of items at great prices, ShopGoodwill might just be the one-stop-shop you need.

If it’s clothing you seek then ThredUp is your store. Browse by categories like women, shoes, kids, or accessories on this easy-to-use online thrift and consignment shop.

After selecting your category, you can filter products for sale by style, discount, size, price, condition, and more. Like most online stores, you’ll head to the product details page once you select an item.

With deals on shipping based on how much you spend, suggested products from the same seller, and similar items, you can assemble an entire outfit at an affordable price. And as a bonus, you can clean out your closet and sell or donate items of your own on ThredUp.

You probably think of Etsy as more of a shop selling handmade items, but there is a thrift store section with plenty of goods to browse through. Whether a book, bowl, blue suitcase, or bag of buttons, you might just find that perfect item.

When you land on Etsy’s thrift store, you can filter by price or shipping option and sort items by relevancy, price, or reviews. Get all of the product details you need and then add the item to your cart or message the seller if you have a question.

If you want to narrow down the product you’re looking for, use the Search tool at the top. You can enter things like “online thrift store desk” or “online thrift store bird bath” which makes finding what you want an easy task. So if you’re an Etsy shopper already, be sure to check out the thrift store.

Another excellent online shop to visit for secondhand clothing, accessories, and home decor is Poshmark. Similar to ThredUp, you can both buy and sell on Poshmark. If you’re a buyer, select a category like women, men, or kids, handbags, shoes, or makeup, or head to the home section for storage, décor, or office products.

Filter your results by subcategory, brand, color, price, or condition. Then review the product details, view photos, check out item discounts, and mark items you like for later when you have more time. You’ll also see similar items near the bottom so you can easily shop for more than one related product.

Poshmark deems itself a social marketplace, so you can join a community of shoppers just like yourself. And be sure to check out the mobile apps for Android and iOS if you want to shop on the go.

Looking for a thrift store that sells electronics, toys, and sports gear in addition to apparel, accessories, and home goods? Check out Mercari. Another of those sites that lets you buy and sell items, you can find some spectacular deals on this one.

Shop by category or brand, filter results by color, price, or condition, and sort products by newest, price, or the number of likes. Of course, you can use the handy Search box if you’re looking for something in particular.

Each item information page gives you full details with photos and a quick Add to Cart button. You can also contact the seller if you have a question, check out seller reviews, and see similar items. From computer desks to toilet paper dispensers to wedding gowns, you’ll be surprised at what you can find on Mercari.

Maybe it’s vintage clothing that catches your eye. Thrifted is the hot spot for men’s and women’s apparel and accessories that you won’t find at JCPenney or Kohl’s. Find those retro oversized sunglasses to go with the Benetton jumper or that vintage beanie to match the Puma sweatshirt at Thrifted.

Start by selecting from men’s or women’s products and then choose from essentials, designer, clothing, or accessories. You can click a photo for the Quick View which gives you the price, size, condition, and a brief description. Or head to the full product detail page for additional photos and information.

See similar items, sign up for email updates, and share your favorites on social media. And be sure to check out The Edit blog for some fun articles surrounding that vintage gear. If you can wear it and it’s from the 80s or 90s, you’ll find it on Thrifted.

One more fashion-based online thrift shop you’ve got to check out is ReRuns. ReRuns lets you buy and sell "pre-loved" clothing with a portion of all sales going to charity. Each seller selects the charity they’d like to donate to and you can see which organization they choose on the item detail pages.

When you land on ReRuns, click the Start Shopping button to begin. Select from categories for women, men, girls, boys, baby and toddler, or boutique. Then narrow your choices by brand, size, price, or color. You can review additional product details including more photos, shipping costs, seller information, and user conversations.

You’ll see some items on ReRuns are new while others are gently used, but all are priced with great discounts that will save you a ton. And you can’t beat it when your shopping helps needy non-profits around the country.

These cool online thrift stores are wonderful for getting deals on items you’re looking for and even those you didn’t know you wanted. Take your time to browse, bookmark your favorite shops, and keeping saving that cash.