lap top as a tv

Submitted: Monday, May 31, 2010 at 16:05
ThreadID: 78930 Views:2513 Replies:6 FollowUps:2
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Has anyone used thier laptop to function also as a tv while on the road.We are told it is possible with the right equipment,but have also had comments that it is not that reliable, reception wise.We have wireless broadband and are looking at upgrading our laptop in the very near future.Any comments would be much appreciated.
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Reply By: fugwurgin - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 16:28

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 16:28
hi wiroo

I have a laptop that came with a USB Digital Tuner that sticks in the side of the laptop (i hate this idea- it doesnt take much to bump it and snap it) i sometimes use a short USB extension cable. It is ok, but you need to have good reception to start with ie near a major town. The computer must also have a decent amount of RAM and video memory. I have also found when using it i cant have programs running in the background such as the internet, emails games etc as they tend to make it run slower. Im sure if your laptop is specced up with plenty of memory etc tis wouldnt be a problem. I also find my tuner gets very hot after a while and the reception gets erratic, drops in and out and freezes the computer. I wouldnt reccomend one. I mainly use a small 12 volt lcd tv with a tuner and dvd built in. Not quite as convenient but definetly works better. it cost $260 from dick smith. in perspective a USB tuner would be around $100, so for a little bit more money i get a dvd player and the tv has better speakers. Save the money and buy a cheap laptop sufficient for your needs, Let a TV do the job of a TV.

AnswerID: 418928

Reply By: Alloy c/t - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 16:39

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 16:39
Used a USB tuner for 6mths in 08 , biggest problem was sound thru the laptop speakers just does not get loud enough , V-Gear MobiDTV Trio bought from DickSmith , reception quality varied by antennae hight and direction.
AnswerID: 418931

Reply By: Rangiephil - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 17:16

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 17:16
I have found it VERY frustrating.
I use a laptop and dongle . Most are digital only and it is very difficult to find the transmitter unless you are in a caravan park and can suss out where the antennas are pointing. Even then you can find some caravans with their antenna in one direction and some in another.

Most of the laptop dongles do a search for channels and only save the ones they find, so it is not possible if you are new to an area to put the laptop on a channel and then move the antenna around as you would do at home.

I have a JAYCAR VHF/UHF medium zone Antenna which folds up and a mast head amplifier and I still have trouble. I put this on a tent pole in a fitting on my drawbar. I also have a pair of 240V powered speakers plugged into the laptop as the volume of the inbuilt speakers is too low..

My next move before my next big trip is to buy a JAYCAR signal strength meter which will at least give an idea of where the transmitters are , even though it has been pointed out that they do not discriminate between any type of signal.

There is a book you can buy and a website which gives the location of transmitters for every town in Australia, but even then , after working out the compass bearing and turning the antenna , finding channels is still bloody difficult.

I am considering buying a small LCD TV but wonder if it will have the same problems and they are fragile and bulky, as I have an offroad camper .
Regards Philip A

AnswerID: 418937

Follow Up By: Jenny M - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 20:01

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 20:01
we bought a 19" LCD digital from Harvey Norman for $200 in January. Its tough - has fallen about 5ft twice and still goes.
FollowupID: 689147

Reply By: Member - Peter E1 (VIC) - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 17:25

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 17:25
We use a Macbook with a usb tuner. At Laarnacoorie a few weeks ago it sucked in even HD channels with the small antenna that came with it. Only problem as has been mentioned is the small speaker on the laptop. We are getting a better antenna soon that we can mount on the pop-top for the fringe areas.
You can get the tuners for PC's which may be cheaper than the Mac, but the extra price for Mac stuff is the price you pay for something that just works and works!!
Every Macdonalds in the world now has WiFi so keeping connected gets better all the time. It even works in the car park so you can eat something else!
You can also use Iview from the ABC if you like the ABC.
Enjoy whatever you decide.
AnswerID: 418939

Follow Up By: Muddy doe (SA) - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 22:57

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 22:57
Using ABC iView on any sort of Mobile connection could become very expensive if you are not on a high level data plan!

I use Internode at home because it has iView as unmetered data but I am not aware of any 3G data providers that would provide unmetered iView access.

FollowupID: 689185

Reply By: StormyKnight - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 19:00

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 19:00
Along with the USB stick I use a 12V Amplified caravan aerial. It is omidirectional so you don't need to know where the transmitter is & works at home here about 30km from the transmitter. (Note it is at normal house aerial height & the transmitter is Mt Ulandra one of the most powerful transmitters in Australia...)

An amplified directional antennae (with ampliflier up in the aerial itself) & a suitable mast - Jaycar have them - should work as well as most home installations.

AnswerID: 418966

Reply By: daverobbo5 - Tuesday, Jun 01, 2010 at 01:13

Tuesday, Jun 01, 2010 at 01:13
Depending how long you travel for another solution is to record shows to DVD from a HDD tuner. I bought a Phillips 160GB HDD recorder for $400. I record 4-10 shows a week. I watch some and put the others on re-writable DVDs- about 2 3/4 hours per DVD. Pack of 30 disks was about $45 and they're reusble. When we travel for 4-6 weeks 10 or so disks keeps us going. catch the news in the paper/NRL at the club if ya want it.
AnswerID: 419041

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