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Not so long ago, XBMC added a live TV option. The catch: it depended on you having a TV tuner card on your media centre computer, and a way to get a signal. This could mean using an antenna for free, over the air TV – or it could mean paying for a cable subscription.

But what if you live in an area with bad reception, and don’t want to pay for cable? You’re not out of luck. You have several options for getting live, streaming television on XBMC, and we’ve outlined the best ones below. Whether you’re hoping to watch the World Cup or relax with some sitcoms, we’ve got you covered.

Not sure how to get started with XBMC? Check out our complete guide to XBMC.

FTV Guide: Live TV, With Listings

We’ve shown you how FilmOn can let you watch live TV online, for free Watch Live TV Online, For Free, With FilmOn Watch Live TV Online, For Free, With FilmOn Watch TV, on your computer – without the need for an antenna, TV card or subscription. FilmOn is a free service offering a wide variety of TV channels in the US and UK. Read More . Now there’s an XBMC add-on that makes this even better. FTV Guide gives you an EPG for browsing, and watching, what’s on FilmOn (and a few other places) right now.

xbmc-live-tv-ftv-guide

The British channels show up first, but if you keep scrolling you’ll also find US channels – not to mention a few from Ireland, France and the Middle East. You can remove channels you’d rather not see, and customize the order everything shows up in. For example, I moved my favorite local channel to the top as the mountains interfere with TV reception. Streams are frequently HD, though this varies from channel to channel.

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You’ll need a few other add-ons installed for FTV Guide to work. These are:

  • FTV, which provides access to FilmOn channels. Geoblocking is mysteriously unsupported, meaning you can watch every channel – not just those from your own country. Annoying, right?
  • TVCatchup, a UK-only service for watching TV online.
  • USTVNow, a subscription service intended for US peoples living abroad.
  • SportsDevil, an XBMC extension for watching sports and other live television from a variety of sites.

This forum post provides a list of currently supported channels, and which plugin powers them.

OnTapp.tv: Another EPG Option

Another EPG setup for XBMC, On-Tapp.tv also uses a variety of sources to provide TV broadcasts from around the world. FTV is supported, as are a number of other XBMC addons, though you’ll need to add many of the stations yourself by pointing to the proper stream.

xbmc-live-tv-on-tapp

TV listings aren’t free, and the makers of OnTapp aren’t willing to steal them. As such, using this add-on isn’t free: you’ll need to pay for a subscription. This isn’t for the streaming itself: just the listings. Streaming comes from other add-ons, including the ones listed above.

If OnTapp looks similar to FTV Guide, that’s not a coincidence: FTV Guide was made as a response to OnTapp requiring a subscription. Of course, the subscription means the listings work consistently – something that can be inconsistent with FTV Guide.

Mashup: An Assortment Of (Pirated) TV Channels

MashUp for XBMC tries to be the ultimate XBMC add-on, combining a wide variety of video sources. You’ll find various sources for TV shows, movies and more than a few lists of live streams.

xbmc-live-tv-mashup

The streams offered can be confusing to browse, and vary in quality. Most of these streams are unauthorized, and not all of them work. You also can’t expect live TV listings. Still, if there’s only a couple of channels you want, you might find them here – but be aware of the legal implications in your jurisdiction.

World News Live

Are you mostly just interested in watching the news? We’ve shown you how to watch the news using XBMC How to Watch the News Online Using XBMC How to Watch the News Online Using XBMC Read More , and World News Live is the best way to watch live news stations.

xbmc-live-tv-world-news

You’ll find a few stations including BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera English.

Simple IPTV

IPTV is a protocol used in some Eastern European countries to provide live TV services. If you live in such a country, consider using Simple ITV Client. With it you’ll be able to browse stations using XBMC’s built-in live TV functionality.

There’s More!

There are a few more add-ons worth mentioning here.

xbmc-live-tv-iplayer

  • iPlayer for XBMC lets you watch BBC stations live, if you’re in the UK.
  • SportsDevil, mentioned above, provides live sports from a variety of (legally questionable) sites.
  • Addons like NHL Gamecenter for XBMC give you access to legal streams, if you have a subscription. Search for your sport of choice, there might be a legitimate option.

Do you know of any other ways to watch live, streaming TV using XBMC? Let your fellow readers know in the comments below, okay?

  1. marreaga
    August 22, 2015 at 12:18 am

    Hi All, I'm using XBMC(Helix version) right now and since IPTV Stalker is no longer public, I cannot find a new way to view live streams from The Weather Channel. Please note that I am not interested in other weather sources, I'm specifically looking for The Weather Channel network as I enjoy their programming. Has anyone found an Add On or other solution for this? I've tried Gorilla Streams, World TV, Phoenix, Mash Up, but no luck. Thanks all!

  2. Montana Burr
    July 30, 2015 at 4:08 am

    I have a question. I have an XFINITY TV subscription, and all I want to do is use my laptop and the free TV streaming I get with my subscription to watch cable TV on my TV. Is there a way to do this using XBMC?

    If not, does anyone know another way - one that doesn't involve putting my browser window on the TV?

    • Justin Pot
      July 30, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      So far as I know nothing from XFINITY works through Kodi, at all. They encrypt it.

  3. William Xu
    July 22, 2015 at 11:06 am

    XBMC is good, i think maybe a tv box can offer more help, now many tv box installed with kodi, xbmc upgrade version, support more channels, i bumped into one tronfy, saying it support 4k , xbmc full lioaded, 16GB, http://www.tinydeal.com/tronfy-px2wvb1-p-154403.html? should i buy one for gaming and videos?

  4. Chris Mullarky
    February 14, 2015 at 7:53 am

    Ime a total newbie
    To xbmc ime hard wired up every time I go to something it says no stream avail I've got woody and navi that's about it what do I press to stream other channels please help and make it simple
    Chris

    • Justin Pot
      February 14, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      NaviTV is basically a collection of pirated streams – and pirated streams get shut down. A lot. You're never going to have a simple setup with Navi, more or less – it's always going to be a hunt, and you're frequently not going to find what you want.

  5. focus
    January 15, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Mashup is available patched... against the authors request though. And sports devil still works for live NFL . Phoenix has tons of live tv as does Navi x

  6. bucky
    January 1, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    Long live Genesis. Available through the lambda repo.

  7. Placid7
    November 28, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Mashup is gone for good!

  8. ciprian
    November 26, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Hi,

    First of, did a little research before asking for help, yet newbie on the whole Android TV/XBMC bit. One major feature that triggered my purchase of such a box is the TV bit. I live in Romania and would defo like to have access to two channels in particular, Look TV and Look TV plus. Anyone else in here from Romania that could assist with some steps on getting this to work?

    Thanks&regards

  9. Humpty Dumpty
    November 2, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    How can I get the NFL Buffalo Bills game live on xbmc.
    Thank you

    • Justin Pot
      November 2, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      If you're in the USA, there's probably no legal option for you. Extensions like SportsDevil or Mashup could give you pirated access, but don't do that.

      If you're outside the US, or at least outside Buffalo, this offering from the NFL might work for you:

      http://www.nfl.com/watch-nfl-live

  10. Mr.C
    October 23, 2014 at 9:21 pm
  11. JustGeek
    June 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Interesting.
    And I'd like to watch Japanese broadcasts, even if I had to pay for it. Anyone knows where/how I could get that?

    • Mr.C
      October 23, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      Yeah, I have a subscription for hd Japanese television. Hit me up

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