How to Record TV Programs With a Laptop Using HDMI

By James Clark

Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Computer TV tuner

  • HDMI cables

  • Source signal

Record shows on your laptop with a TV tuner and HDMI cable.
i laptop image by Dušan Zidar from

Hooking up a digital TV tuner and installing recording software in your laptop lets you use the computer as a digital video recorder for capturing television programs. Some computers have a built-in tuner, while others can be connected to an external tuner with a high-definition media interface (HDMI) cable that transfers video and audio in one connection. Internal PCI cards for desktops won't work on a laptop, so you will need an external, self-contained TV tuner box.

Install the recording software that comes with the tuner on your laptop, if the laptop is not already equipped with a recording program, such as Windows Media Center. Place the CD software in the computer and follow the on-screen directions for installation, which typically involves clicking buttons on the screen.

Connect the cable box or other source signal to the tuner with an HDMI cable, turning the plug on each end if necessary to fit the hexagon shape of the ports.

Connect a second HDMI cable from the tuner's output to a port on your laptop.

Turn on the source signal, the tuner and laptop.

Double-click the program used for viewing and recording television, either the software that came with the tuner or pre-installed software on the laptop.

Click on the channel you'd like to record on your laptop, using the small screen-shots of each channel that appear on the LCD. Click the "record" button with the circle in the center-bottom of the screen to record the TV show. Click the "stop" button with the square in the center when finished.

Select "File" and click "Save" to enter a name for the program and save it to the laptop's hard drive.


Sometimes you may find the video flashes on some TV recordings. If this happens, ensure you have the latest software from the TV tuner manufacturer. Disabling dynamic contrast on your graphics card may also fix the flashes.


Copyright-protected HDCP videos are usually not recordable using a TV tuner.