TV Tuner Dongle for Smartphones: Are They Safe?

With the internet consuming millions of audiences around the world thanks to streaming on Netflix, YouTube and Twitch, you might think that TV is dead now. But in truth, it’s still alive and kicking. While some choose to go binge-watch Netflix shows like Umbrella Academy, there are some who want to kick it old school and watch a 24 rerun marathon on FOX, complete with commercials and Keifer Sutherland’s bad boy attitude.

But what if you wanted to mix in the old habits of watching TV and put in a convenient mobile device? The answer: a TV tuner dongle. However, the question now remains: is it safe?

In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the TV tuner dongle technology. We’ll discuss how it works and how it can or can be potentially harmful to you.

What is a TV Tuner Dongle?

Imagine having a TV converter for your phone. That’s how a TV tuner dongle works. Originally for the computer, manufacturers have made a dongle exclusively for mobile devices. Of course, it was inevitable that they had to make one for smartphones since more people have access to handheld devices than computers. It acts as a micro-USB attached with a mini antenna.

You can watch TV on the fly while relying on the antenna to receive transmission. In other words, you can only watch local channels. It’s usually good when you live in the middle of nowhere without internet and need a source of entertainment at some point.

But if local channels don’t make you happy, there are always some TV tuner dongles these days that include a cable input just like the ones on PC. However, of course, you will need a cable TV service for that.

Why Use a TV Tuner Dongle When a Modern Phone has Everything You Need?

So you may have the latest mobile device with you but the problem is that you’re craving for some tabloid news or watch a late night talk show. Maybe you couldn’t play games on your smartphone because all your installed games can only work with internet or probably because there’s 0 net coverage where you are.

If all else fails, the TV doesn’t. And if you have a tuner dongle with you, it’s always great to just sit back, relax and watch television in a convenient manner. However, keep in mind that a TV tuner will eat up a lot of your battery life. On top of that, you can’t use your charger and the dongle at the same time.

A TV tuner dongle may be an uncommon mobile accessory these days but it mostly targets the elder demographic. Pretty sure you won’t see a millennial or zoomer walking around with these things.

Now that we’ve covered some basics, let’s get to the nitty-gritty.

Does a TV Tuner Dongle Emit Radiation?

Have you ever heard of high-frequency radiation? It’s emitted from wireless apparatus including antennae and whenever you call on the phone. So yes, the TV tuner dongle does give off some radiation but do not panic; as long as you know the safety measures of watching standard television, then you’re alright. Besides, modern TVs still generate radiation anyway.

Basically, this means you shouldn’t watch mobile TV in very close proximity since the antenna’s radiation takes place. Gone are the days of CRT monitors and their dreadful x-rays but that doesn’t mean mobile phones are safe.

Since it’s a small device, you shouldn’t have to place yourself so far away from the phone. What you want to do is place it on a stand and watch it from a 2 to 3-ft distance. Yes, that means you may have to lean forward and squint which is a bit of a pain because of the small screen.

Are TV Tuner Dongles Electrical Hazards?

As long as you have a trusted manufacturer that doesn’t sell one for cheap, a TV tuner dongle won’t zap you. This only applies to cable-type TV tuner dongles, of course. And when you want to watch on your mobile device, please do not ever hold or place it on your lap when you do; it’s the cable wire that you should be worried about.


All in all, a TV tuner dongle doesn’t pose a threat in safety standards given that you treat your mobile phone as an actual television. Of course, you should get an actual TV instead but if you really want to dedicate your couch potato lifestyle to the phone, be our guest.