4th Generation 4-Tuner Tablo Total System Now Available

The latest Tablo news along with tips to maximize your free TV experience. 

How Do I Get a TV Guide for my Over-the-Air (OTA) Antenna TV?


One of the big questions new cord cutters have when switching to an Over-the-Air antenna is how to access TV guide listings without a cable box. Thankfully, there are many options for TV viewers wanting a TV guide for OTA TV, but the quality and availability of those guides will vary depending on the type of data being provided and the equipment you’re using.

Tablo How To Get a TV Guide for Over-the-Air TV

What are the types of TV Guides available for OTA TV?

PSIP TV guide versus paid TV guide

Before getting into how cord cutters can access a TV guide, let’s talk a little bit about the two main types of Over-the-Air TV guide data available: PSIP and enhanced third-party data.

 #1: In-Broadcast Data (PSIP)

TV Guide Data PSIP

All Over-the-Air TV broadcasts are supposed to include basic TV Guide data embedded within the broadcast stream that your antenna picks up. This is called Program and System Information Protocol (PSIP).

PSIP data usually includes basic program title information but episode and season details are often missing and availability of this data for a specific channel rarely extends beyond 2-3 days in advance.

Although it’s free, because PSIP data is so basic, sometimes unreliable and abbreviated, it’s not terribly useful for applications like Over-the-Air DVRs that rely on more robust data to set recordings.

#2: Enhanced Third-Party Data

Enhanced Third-Party TV Guide Data
There are two major companies in North America – Gracenote (owned by Nielsen) and Rovi (owned by TiVo) – that offer TV Guide data aggregation and delivery as a paid service.

These companies work directly with broadcasters and TV networks to gather and create enhanced TV Guide data that includes episode and series synopses, cover art and metadata, like whether the episode is new or a rerun. The data is generally available two weeks in advance and is updated periodically as TV networks adjust their schedules. This rich guide data is then sold to cable companies, television and DVR manufacturers and other entities.

How to Get a TV Guide for your OTA TV?

watching TV

There are several options for cord cutters seeking TV Guide data for Over-the-Air antenna TV. Some are free, some are paid and some may require additional equipment, but there are options for every situation and budget.

 #1: On Your Television

Roku Smart TV Grid Guide

Many flat screen television models will display basic PSIP data as you flip between channels.

If you have a newer Smart TV like the Roku-enabled one above, you may be able to access a Live TV grid guide with enhanced third-party data when your television is connected to the internet. The cost of this third-party data is baked into the price of many new Smart TVs as it in turn provides valuable viewership data to the TV manufacturer and its advertising partners.

 #2: Online Listings

TitanTV Online Listings

If you’ve got a computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can access good quality TV listings for free via sites like TitanTV.com. Titan provides third-party data paid for via advertising and sponsorships on its site. You can even customize your TV guide lineup.

#3: Via an Over-the-Air DVR

Tablo DVR Live TV Grid GuideConnecting your TV antenna to a compatible DVR is the best way to enhance your Over-the-Air experience with a TV guide and other features.

Quality OTA DVRs like Tablo use third-party data, even for customers without an optional TV Guide Data Service subscription. This ensures that the data shown in the Tablo interface is as complete and accurate as possible so the DVR will reliably record your specified content.

For example, advanced Tablo features like one-touch series recording use the metadata provided by metadata in the TV Guide Data Service to automatically set all new or all recordings of a specific series, no matter when it airs. Tablo DVRs will even remember to record a specific TV series when it comes back for a new season after a hiatus.

However, cheap ‘converter boxes’ and lower-quality DVRs will instead often rely in PSIP guide data. Not only will this make it harder to set recordings on your DVR since you won’t know what’s airing beyond a day or two, but it can lead to failed or incorrect recordings if the program changes time slots or airs an extended episode.

It will also make it much harder to avoid filling your hard drive up with re-runs.

As you can see, there are many ways for TV viewers to access a TV Guide for Over-the-Air antenna TV. While not all TV Guides are created equal, unlike with cable you’re free to choose the version that fits your needs and budget.

Liked this article? Check out these other related links:

Related Blogs

Get the latest from Tablo.

Signup to get the latest product and over-the-air TV  news delivered right to your inbox. 

How to restart your phone/tablet

Sometimes, just restarting your smartphone or tablet can clear up issues with apps. The links below will provide detailed instructions on how to force close your Tablo app. 

Apple iPhone

Android smartphones 

Most Android smartphones and tablets can be restarted by holding the POWER button and then selecting RESTART or POWER OFF and RESTART from the POWER OPTIONS menu.

NOTE: Newer Samsung devices require you to hold the POWER/SIDE button and VOLUME DOWN to make the POWER OPTIONS menu appear. On the Google Pixel 6, hold the POWER and VOLUME UP buttons.

How to force close your Tablo app?

Sometimes, just restarting the app can fix things. The links below will provide detailed instructions on how to force close your Tablo app. 

Apple iPhone/iPad

Android smartphones/tablets 

Need help with the final steps?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  Follow the steps in the video below for a full walkthrough of the remaining parts of the Tablo setup process.

Tablo Logo White

Please enter a valid address. 

We recommend entering your full address for the most accurate results. 

Sorry, no results. Please check your zip code.

Getting your channels...

You can get channels for free!
( over-the-air channels and streaming channels )

This is an estimate only. Actual broadcast TV channels received may vary based on TV antenna location, reception, topography, and other obstructions. Streaming channels require an internet connection. View the Channel Details Report for specifics of each channel and to help determine what antenna is needed. 

Reception alert:  Based upon the location you entered, you may not get many of the major networks.  As a result, Tablo may not be the best fit for you.  Please enter your full address above for best accuracy. 

Major Local Broadcast Channels

Major networks you know that have live sports, major events, local news and more. 

Entertainment and Lifestyle Channels

Sports Channels

News Channels

Movie Channels

Family and Kid Channels

En Español

Additional TV Broadcast Networks

Internet Streaming TV Channels

Internet-based free streaming channels .