Tired of paying for expensive cable just to watch local news and network shows? The good news is you can cut the cord and still enjoy ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and more with just a few simple tools.
Let‘s look at how Kodi, OTA antennas, and TV tuners provide a budget-friendly way to stream local broadcast television.
Cord Cutting is on the Rise
According to eMarketer, over 50 million US households will have ditched traditional cable by 2023. That‘s up 46% versus 2019 levels.
People are fed up with paying 100+ dollars per month for channels they don‘t watch. Not to mention hidden fees and constantly rising rates.
The good news is you don‘t need cable just to watch local channels. An over-the-air (OTA) antenna can pick up ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and PBS in crystal clear HD – no monthly bill required.
When combined with a TV tuner and Kodi, you get a powerful cable-free media center for news and network programming.
What Exactly is Kodi Anyway?
If you‘re not already familiar, Kodi is a free and open source home theater software. It provides access to tons of streaming video, music, and pictures from both online plugins and your own media library.
Kodi began way back in 2002 as the Xbox Media Center (XBMC) project. It has grown into a hugely popular entertainment hub with over 45 million monthly active users.
The key advantage of Kodi is its versatility. As an open platform, a huge community of developers has created thousands of plugins knows as addons. This allows limitless possibilities for customization and content.
Some key things you can do with Kodi:
- Stream movies, TV shows, live sports and more
- Play music and view photos
- Watch and record live television
- Stream from local network storage
- Add skins, themes, and customize
But when it comes to streaming live local channels, Kodi does have some limitations…
The Challenges of Watching Local TV on Kodi
Since Kodi mainly uses internet add-ons for video, it can‘t directly access over-the-air local channel signals from an antenna. Those require a physical tuner device.
Most of the Kodi live TV addons in the past provided access to cable channels. However, many of those relied on gray area streaming sources and have been shut down.
Your options now are pretty limited:
- Pay for a streaming TV service – Costly and may lack all your locals
- Use a paid IPTV service – Video quality varies and availability limited
- (Most Popular) Use an antenna and tuner – Read on!
Thankfully, by pairing an OTA antenna with a tuner and Kodi, you can watch local news and shows 100% free.
Introducing OTA Antennas
Over-the-air (OTA) antennas plug straight into your TV and pull local broadcast signals from transmitters within range.
Today‘s antennas come in all shapes and sizes – everything from amplified roof-top models to simple indoor styles like the flat paper-thin Leaf.
The advantage of OTA television is getting access to major networks with a one-time equipment cost – no monthly subscriptions needed.
Here‘s a comparison of watching local channels via antennas versus cable:
|Cable||$100+/mo||Local + cable||HD||Yes|
|OTA Antenna||$50-150||Local only||HD||Yes*|
*DVR requires additional equipment
Antennas provide free access to limited channels while cable packages everything together for a monthly fee. With the right setup, you can get the broadcast networks without cable.
What is a TV Tuner?
On their own, antennas only connect directly to a single television.
This is where a TV tuner comes in – it takes the OTA signal and makes it available to stream over your home network.
Devices like smartphones, media players, and Kodi can then access live television without being plugged directly into the antenna.
One popular OTA tuner option is SiliconDust‘s HDHomeRun line. These handy boxes hook up to both your antenna and home router.
Once configured, the HDHomeRun appears as a tuner in media apps like Kodi. You can then watch and even record local channels on laptops, tablets, smartphones, media players, and more.
Let‘s look at setting up HDHomeRun tuners with Kodi…
Step-by-Step Guide to Streaming Local Channels on Kodi
By pairing an HDHomeRun TV tuner with Kodi, you can cut cable and still enjoy live local programming.
Here‘s what you‘ll need to get started:
- An Over-the-Air HDTV Antenna
- HDHomeRun Tuner (CONNECT, EXTEND, or SERVIO)
- Kodi media player (Fire TV, Android Box, Raspberry Pi, etc.)
- Router with an open Ethernet port
- Coaxial cable to connect antenna
Once you have the gear, configuration only takes a few minutes:
Position antenna and connect to HDHomeRun with coax cable.
Use ethernet to connect HDHomeRun to your router.
Plug in and power on the HDHomeRun tuner.
Ensure your Kodi device is on the same network as the router.
Launch Kodi and click on Add-Ons > Package Installer icon.
Select Install from Repository > Kodi Repo > Video addons.
Choose "PVR HDHomeRun Client" and install.
Access the addon from Video Add-ons and choose your HDHomeRun tuner.
After a quick channel scan, you‘ll see a channel guide just like cable TV filled with local programming.
Sit back and enjoy ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, and others in crystal clear HD – all without monthly fees or subscriptions. DVR features are also available with premium account upgrades.
And when combined with Kodi‘s massive library of addons, you get the ultimate cable-free media center!
Don‘t panic if you don‘t see all your expected local channels after setting up HDHomeRun initially.
Here are some troubleshooting steps:
Rescan for channels in the HDHomeRun app – this often finds ones it missed.
Try repositioning your antenna in different directions to improve reception.
Consider upgrading to an amplified outdoor antenna for more range.
Verify network connections – HDHomeRun needs both ethernet and internet.
Reboot your router, HDHomeRun tuner, and Kodi device.
Check HDHomeRun and Kodi forum support for other users‘ advice.
With a little tweaking, you should be able to reliably receive all major local stations. Be sure to check antenna range maps for your address online.
Alternative Options for Local Channels Without Cable
While HDHomeRun with an OTA antenna is one of the most popular solutions, there are a few other ways to stream local TV without cable:
Locast – Streaming service offering local channels in some regions for free.
YouTube TV – Live TV plan with local channels, DVR, for $65/month.
Hulu + Live TV – Hulu‘s live plan has locals, sports, on demand for $70/month.
Sling TV – Add AirTV and antenna for locals plus Sling‘s cable channels.
fuboTV – One of the cheaper cable alternatives with plenty of locals.
These services can provide local programming through streaming. But they come at a monthly cost of $50-70, with some limitations.
For those looking to completely eliminate cable bills, OTA antennas and tuners are the way to go. With Kodi acting as your media center hub, you get free access to broadcast TV.
Top 10 Must-Have Kodi Addons Beyond Local Channels
Once you have local news and networks setup through your antenna and HDHomeRun, Kodi really opens up access to premium movies, shows, sports and more.
Here are 10 of the best Kodi addons that every cord cutter should install:
The Crew – Movies, TV shows, sports replays, and live TV
Umbrella – Huge library of shows, docs, and movies
The Oath – Large catalog of movies, episodes, and live TV
Venom – Great for movies, shows, sports, documentaries
Numbers – Clever import tool for Real-Debrid catalog
Seren – Feature-rich video addon with Real-Debrid integration
Send Files To TV – Allows sending media from your phone to Kodi
YouTube – Official app for YouTube videos and live streams
Tubi TV – On-demand movies and shows 100% free
Plex – Stream your own media library over local network
With these addons combined with OTA local channel capability, Kodi provides everything cable offers without the ridiculous cost.
Let‘s recap the key takeaways…
Conclusion – Enjoy Cable-Free Local TV with Kodi
Tired of paying for channels you don‘t watch or want? Take control with these key insights:
Modern OTA antennas deliver free HD local channels at a fraction of the cost of cable.
TV tuners like HDHomeRun bring antenna signals onto your home network.
Kodi can then stream live local programming through tuner integration.
Following the setup guide, you can be watching local news and networks through Kodi in minutes.
Combining OTA channels, streaming addons, and your own media library makes Kodi an unbeatable cord cutting platform.
Kodi technology has come a long way in turning ordinary devices into home media centers. Take the plunge and cut the cord on cable bills for good!
Let me know if you have any other questions on setting up live television with Kodi. I‘m happy to help you free yourself from expensive cable TV. Feel free to contact me anytime.