Caravan TV

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 14:31
ThreadID: 19260 Views:20604 Replies:9 FollowUps:2
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I am looking at buying a TV for my offroad van to run on 12V. However, it seems that the best way to go may be to buy a laptop computer and fit a TV card. These cards seems to gain power through the computer, so no problems if the laptop is running through 12V connection. My van has solar and deep cycle batteries fitted. I would have to buy an aerial, such as an Antsig or like which seem to come with an amplifier and run on 12V. Has anyone had experience with such a system. I assume reception may not be as good as a dedicated TV but there are many advantages I can think of such as GPS connectivity, internet access, home office use and so on. I have looked at recent posting concerning aerials etc.
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Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 14:39

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 14:39
laptops are a pain to fit a few people around as they are hard to see from the side but would be ok if by yourself. I dont use it often but I have an old b/w 12/240v tv with a 25-30cm screen never flattened the battery with it. Other thing to consider is that towns broadcast differnt channels on different frequencys. eg my tv is uhf so in yulara I cant get tv as (I assume) it is vhf same as in darwin and katherine where I could get one channel but not others. Nearly all towns are the same
AnswerID: 92427

Reply By: flappan - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 14:59

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 14:59
GEEZ , that craps me . . . wrote up a big reply . . . missing . . . freakin thing.

YES , I have done it. I bought an external TV tuner , not a TV card. Plugs into the USB port. Its analog , but you can buy digital ones.

I found the major problem was the software. I couldn't get a decent size picture without it freezing up. best was about 3 inch by 3 inch.

Changed software , now full screen.

Personally, a dedicated TV IS better , my parents have an Orion 12v tv , but , I already had the lappy , so spending $135 rather then several hundreds of dollars suited my requirements.
AnswerID: 92433

Reply By: Member - Banjo (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 15:05

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 15:05
Other posts here suggest laptops are very expensive to repair - one that travelled a lot might well peg out sooner and need attention. I use my employer's laptop virtually every day of the year and you have to be at 90 degrees to the screen to get a good view of anything ! People I know have recently bought a flat screen TV for their caravan - looks a bit like a laptop - probably 17 inch - from some electrical retailer - built for travellers I think - was quite pricey - I know no more.
AnswerID: 92435

Reply By: Member - Ross P (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 15:26

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 15:26
I bounced my standard TV off the caravan floor on a recent trip and hunted arouind for an alternative. Would have love a flat screen LCD job that had a tuner and could be a PC monitor but the price tag of $1000.00 scared me off.

Ended up buying a Chineese made Dick Smith Electronics (DSE) $290.00 in thge Isa. Runs on mains and can be switch selected to run on 12V DC works great.
I have a Windmere (spelling???) wind up antenna with a 12V operated amplifier. My system seems to work better than most when I've done a quick comparison in a couple of parks. Windmere was about a $600.00 option when I bought the van
AnswerID: 92438

Follow Up By: Matt (W.A.) - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 15:48

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 15:48
I just took delivery of my 15" LCD/PC/TV off ebay only paid $455 + Postage set it up in the Back of the Paj last night and watched part of a dvd and played my ps2 on it also just trying to find a decent aerial for the TV side of it now.
FollowupID: 351314

Reply By: locallaw - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 15:51

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 15:51
Gidday, Ever thought about setting up a satellite system running off a small inverter.You get 8 FTA channels and it is cheap to set up.You get TV anywhere in Aus(I stand to be corrected on that).It only takes minutes to set up.All your gear can be bought off E_Bay as I did and its not dear to purchase.
Just my bit,
Seeya Locallaw
AnswerID: 92444

Follow Up By: David Au - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 17:52

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 17:52
You can buy decent gear cheaper than eBay
You need to know what you are buying in the way of satellite receivers as there are many that are unsuitable and many that don't travel well.
FollowupID: 351357

Reply By: Magnus - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 16:30

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 16:30
I just went round this loop and ended up with a portable DVD player with a TV tuner. 7 inch diag screen. Plays CD r and mp3 discs so doubles as a music center and of course DVDs. Battery life of around 3 hours. Rechargeable from either 240 or 12 volt. L-ion battery. External speaker jack for better speakers but the inbuilt ones will be fine in a low ambient noise environment like camping.

The TV is really good. Great side viewing angles much better than my laptop would be.

Price $450 from WOW in Brisbane. It is an Orbit and it had good references from the Internet.

All I need now is a decent antenna. Any suggestions. I have an Austig circular antenna with 12 volt booster. Useless. Paid around $70 and it is about to be junked. Have had it a year and used or tried to use a number of times. Think it is probably OK as a marine Antenna but not goos on land that's for sure.


AnswerID: 92448

Reply By: David Au - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 18:21

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 18:21
BazzaG I have both laptop with USB TV adaptor self powered, and LCD TV. I have no issues whatsoever and can view the laptop screen at all angles on my Toshiba.

I seldom to never use the laptop as a TV except if I want to record something while on the road. My laptop takes up to 13.0 amps on 12vDC when charging the battery and around 9.0 amps when fully charged. With the vulnerability of a laptop taking it in and out, up and down, I do not use it much as a TV. I do use my laptop a reasonable amount, but take it out, use it and then put it away safely. I certainly would not buy a laptop with the prime criteria of using it to watch TV.
Out of all the USB TV adaptors the Pinnacle is well ahead of other brands in all ways. Going price is $199.00.
I only have a 5.6" LCD Lenoxx TFT600 in my camper as you are sitting reasonable close to it and really like it. I thought it would be to small, but as we are only sitting a metre away it is great. Lenoxx 10" Tube TV with DVD player is also a good looking unit. I saw one of these in a store. From memory, it was also $299.00.
I have satellite TV and do not watch DVD's. My Toshiba laptop has a DVD burner and player if I want to watch a DVD.
TV aerials for a caravan/camper are a pain. The DSE L3054 and the Kingray Kingray MHW34GLV amplifier is the overall best all round caravan antenna. All the caravan antennas are at best mid-range aerials. If you have a look at the same website, there are maps and PDF files showing you all the TV transmitters and stations around Australia. They are $10.00 honourware donation use to the Salvation Army or RSPCA.
AnswerID: 92479

Reply By: Member - Craig M (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 22:33

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 22:33
I have just been doing the sama as what you are thinking of doing.
I went with the laptop and a external Leadtek TV Tuner that just plugs into the USB port. This gives you whatever TV ch that are available and it also has FM radio. All of which can be easily tuned in.
I havent tried it out in the camper as yet. (leaving on the 8th Feb)
But while I am sitting here typing this the tv is running as a small screen in the right hand corner. You can also use it as a DVD regorder (that are currently selling for over $1000) just depends on the size hard drive you have.
As for viewing the screen that comes down to the quality of the laptop. I was using a cheap DEll Laptop and you couldnt see anything unless sitting right in front.
The one I bought to take away is a metabox and you can sit to the side a fair bit and still see the pic, the other is my sons Sony Viao which you can be on any angle and still see it.
Price wise Dell, $1400, Metabox $2500, Sony $4,000.
Just depends on how much you have to spend will determine how much of an angle you can sit.
The leadtek Tuner has been great easy to install easy to operate and even comes with a remote. I picked up mine from Ebay for $155.

AnswerID: 92538

Reply By: Chenj3 @ Brissy - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 23:29

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 23:29
Just post my 2 cents experience on this particular topic.

6 months ago I was wondering what was the best solution for a in-car TV system, after some extensive study I found most 7" -10" LCD TV are useless as you will have sore eyes after 30 minutes not to mention watching it while on road. Laptop was in my consideration but I thought I will be on holiday and do NOT wnat to spend 20 minutes just to setup the bits and pieces on the Laptop TV. also given laptop was NEVER designed as TV, the overall cost of using Laptop as TV is much higher than a proper LCD TV.

the end, I bought a 17" LCD PC monitor with TV tuner built in ( A$700 from eBay with 3 years on site warranty), I used it as my computer monitor at home (95% of time) and as a TV set with a A$70 DVD player beside it when on road (5% of time). The DVD player never skips even on rough roads. A 300Watts inverter ($85) suppplies 240 volts to all the gear just perfectly.

in recent 4000K around Snowy Mountain trip all my kids just quitely enjoyed the "Blue planet" DVD from BBC. I do recommand this setup as small screens LCDs are really useless even more costly given 5% of time used for TV.

my 2 cents opinion.

AnswerID: 92554

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