using a laptop as a tv

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 19:18
ThreadID: 76826 Views:2971 Replies:3 FollowUps:10
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I would like advice on the pros & cons of using a laptop as a tv while camping.
Don’t tell me I don’t need one – I know it’s wrong but the footy season’s just starting.
If it is common to use a laptop as a tv could you please advise if there are any tricks or things I should know?
Thanks in advance.
Myles.
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 20:00

Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 20:00
The simple bit is plugging a $30 HD tuner into the USB port. The harder bits are making do with a minimal antenna, and the barely audible sound from the laptop. The sound problem can be fixed by carrying some amplified speakers such as those used for your computer at home - you'll need some that either run from a 12V plugpack (cut it off and put on a cigarette lighter plug) or draw their power from a USB port.

HTH

John
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Follow Up By: Member - Myles F (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 20:40

Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 20:40
Thanks John,
Have you used this method? I’m guessing you can plug an aerial into the USB tuner. With a decent aerial and decent speakers I would have thought that a laptop would be a reasonable way for camper trailer people to watch their favourite team while away. I’m guessing there may be issues I’m unaware of, otherwise I thought more people would do it…. Mind you, I’ve gone thirty years camping without it. LOL
Myles.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 20:53

Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 20:53
Myles,

Haven't used it under low signal conditions but very impressed with TV performance. The aerial problem is that the little USB stick tuner only has room for a tiny aerial connector (like that on a mobile phone), and ours came with a tiny aerial to match - about 15cm high with a magnetic base. Works, but wouldn't be much good in a low signal area. Adapters are available to plug into a decent aerial as suggested above.

You will really need amplified speakers - again quite solvable.

The only real downside is that your TV now includes a sizeable aerial and speakers that both take up space. In our rig space is jealously guarded! The laptop does make an excellent TV though.

Cheers

John

J and V
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Follow Up By: Member - Myles F (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 21:09

Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 21:09
Beaut, thanks John. Still got a little room left so I'll investigate further.
Myles.
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Reply By: StormyKnight - Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 20:06

Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 20:06
I use a caravan 12V amplified aerial for my USB digital tuner & it works well. Its omnidirectional so it will pick up signals from any direction. I have the exact same setup at home for my computer & we are 30km from the transmitter & we get the signal fine albeit that transmitter I understand is one of the most powerful in Australia.

For more remote locations you will need some sort of yagi aerial (directional - like a normal TV aerial) & a video amplifier preferably a mast head one.

I would investigate caravan aerials & see how you go. They are designed to be compact but also have good reception.

PS go the blues!

AnswerID: 408702

Follow Up By: Member - Myles F (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 20:51

Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 20:51
Thanks StormyKnight,
I’ll investigate more now that I know it is being done. I didn’t know anyone using a laptop for a tv and wasn’t sure it was worth pursuing.

Origin 2009: Maroons make history
June 24 | Queensland became the first side to win four consecutive State of Origin series with their 24-14 win at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night.

Yep, I’m with you, hope the Blues make it a bit of a competition this year.
LOL
Myles.
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Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 21:40

Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 21:40
If you are watching a laptop to see the footy on - nothing wrong with that - why not use the sound source provided by the thing you use to transport the laptop in - the car radio. It is unlikely that radio reception would be an issue; if a pokey little tuner can get TV, think what the car radio will do in that environment.

Better commentary everytime. You then would have the best of both worlds, and save space/cords/extra gear/extra capital outlay.

Cheers
AnswerID: 408719

Follow Up By: Member - Teege (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 09:18

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 09:18
Rick
Without wanting to sound bigotted, the biggest complaint I had while touring Oz a few years ago was the constant blaring of car radios tuned in to football matches every saturday and sunday. I don't begrudge people their interests, but it's a bit much when every second car in a caravan park has the radio turned up so the owners can hear it wherever they happen to be. You see/hear it all the time - dad sitting in the annexe with a coldie. The car door wide open and the radio blaring.

teege
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Follow Up By: dbish - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 11:30

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 11:30
Yep & these same people would complain if you ran a Generator.
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Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 11:36

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 11:36
Teegee

Would the noise pollution from the car radio be worse than the TV?

I'd suggest that if pollution is an real issue, a caravan park is not the place to be.
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Follow Up By: Member - Teege (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 11:56

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 11:56
Rick
Most people don't have their tv set in the dash of their car. Therefore they don't have to turn the volume up so they can hear it in the annexe, or inside the van. Believe me, it becomes annoying. Only happens during the football season.

teege
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Follow Up By: stevesub - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 12:47

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 12:47
Our biggest problem is that our USB TV tuner is digital and in a lot of areas (as of last year) you could only get one or two digital channels, (ABC and or SBS) the rest were still on analogue. This problem will disappear over the next couple of years as analogue is phased out.

A good antenna is a must. Yo can watch a poor analogue signal on a small TV but you cannot watch digital with a poor signal.

Now movies on the laptop - that is another story. I now also have movies on my phone for Jetstar and Virgin flights.

Stevesub
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Follow Up By: woodie3 - Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 17:07

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 17:07
Hi, I ran TV from a laptop for some time both from a USB stick and also a built in card, the stick was a " Pinnacle Tuner" and had both analogue & digital, after some time decided rather than run an $1800 computer it would be much cheaper to burn out a much cheaper TV, the Scot in me won out, Bill
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