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Old 09-19-2014, 09:26 AM   #1
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tv antennas, mifi... how do you hook up mobile?

time for some entertainment on the bus.

i'm wanting to connect tv and internet......

is rabbit ears still the best with all the new techy stuff....... lots have changed since i've thought about this stuff.

thanks for any insight

turf
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Old 09-19-2014, 10:57 AM   #2
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Re: tv antennas, mifi... how do you hook up mobile?

It depends on where you are and how deep your pockets are. Millenicom seems to be the hotspot provider for the RVers. It seems to have the best priced plans. I may switch over to them before we leave NM. The thing is, the choices as to which is best, keeps changing as technology changes, get better and become available. What was a good solution a year ago could be a poor solution today.

RIGHT NOW.... I use the park cable and the park wifi except when the park wifi doesn't work. At that point (like right now due to the large amount of rain park wifi is down YET AGAIN) I use my $20 per month (1GB) Netzero Hotspot. I am not terribly thrilled with it. The steel body of the bus may have some reason for that. It seems slow. On the park wifi, I have to use an Alpha (AWUS036H) Long Range Wireless USB Adapter with a big paddle looking antenna. Again, I think it has someting to do with the large chunk of steel we live in. The adapter works quite well for when we stay in a parking lot. I can usually pick up the store's free wifi and log on that way. My laptop did not come with wifi nor do I look for one that was wifi enabled. I need the USB antennas too much. I'm hoping the hotspot will work better once we head back east. Cellphones and such tend to do poorly in Roswell (NM). I don't know if it's the lack of cellphone coverage or if it has something to do with the military base messing with the signal.

For future use...
I've been looking at the little satellite antennas. We have a old DISH 500 in the wet shed and an old box but given the problems we had pointing it, David wants something less time consuming. We used to have a C band dish that we set up ourselves after every move back when we lived in houses. So we aren't total newbies to dish pointing. Plus we moved our DISH 500 several times back east. BUt David (and I) want something that requires less setup time. I'm looking at possibly a Winegard Pathway X2 ("Seamlessly view different channels on two TVs (second receiver needed) using the same satellite. It's larger reflector (18") allows you to pull a stronger signal.") with DISHForMyRV's monthly programming (I can turn it on/off monthly with no hassles). We will get the dish and programming (Top 250 with HD) shortly before we leave in Sept 2015. We have a DISH installer currently parked next door to us in our park. David asked him about the DISH internet. Seems that is spot beamed to your FIXED location and is not a candidate for mobile use I may get it for homebase use though). He is watching TV on a DISH but internet is from CableOne. Be careful on the DISH programming. If I read it correctly the HD channels bundled into the programming packages will cost an extra $10 per month to watch in HD. I may be reading that wrong, but I don't think so. I need to get David to visit with the DISH guy again and clarify that.

You can still get local over the air (OTA) channels. You do need a digital antenna in most cases as most locals have gone the digital route. We stopped watching "locals" back in the late 80's when we got a C-Band sat dish. I get my weather from weatherunderground.com and NOAA (Forecast Maps, Storm Prediction Center and I watch the Spaghetti Strings to predict where a hurricane will land. Not really needed now, but we do plan on moving to the Gulf Coast area... somewhere. We have a CB radio with a weather alert on it. When David finishes up the front bulkhead over the window, the CD/AM/FM radio get reinstalled along with the CB/Weather Alert radio. Both will be wired to run off of the house batteries.
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Old 09-20-2014, 12:42 AM   #3
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Re: tv antennas (Over-the-Air)

For over-the-air TV, there is usually* no difference between a "digital antenna" and I suppose the marketing opposite would be an "analog antenna." They both pick up radio waves the same. The digital or analog decoding is performed in your TV or digital converter box, not the antenna. Calling an antenna "digital" is usually a marketing ploy to get you to throw away your old antenna and buy a new one.

It's like marketing "digital headphones." How many of us have digital ears? Can you hear a stream of ones and zeros, or does that just sound like white noise? Headphones reproduce the sound from a stereo, whether it comes from a digital MP3 or CD, or analog Vinyl albums, cassettes or 8-tracks. Antennas capture radio waves from the air on specific bands, and send them to the tuner circuits.

What is important in a small OTA antenna in fringe areas is to select one with a preamplifier at the antenna, before you start suffering cable losses. An indoor amp at the TV end may do no good recovering a weak signal already lost in the cable. Antennas with a preamp will have a small "power injector" or control box that goes onto the cable near the TV to send DC power up the cable to the preamp at the antenna.

An antenna marketed as a "digital antenna" is much more likely, but not guaranteed to have a preamp in it. Standard RV OTA antennas are available either with or without a preamp.

*Note: During the transition period from analog to digital, stations actually used two seperate transmitters on different TV channels. Most of the vacant channels used for the digital version were in UHF (Channel 14 and up). So some "digital antennas" left over from the transition period are tuned for UHF only, figuring they will hit most of the channels without people noticing that VHF Channels 2 to 13, which require more metal to gather the waves, don't come in quite as well.

On the day analog died (except for a few very low-power specialty stations), each big station had to choose to either stay on the new digital frequency (but with the old analog channel ID on the digital stream), or turn off the new channel and install a digital transmitter on their old frequency. Most stations did not look back. Only one station in our market went back to its actual analog frequency.

CBS 6.1 went back from UHF to VHF Channel 6
ABC 10.1 stayed on Channel 26
NBC 13.1 stayed on VHF Channel 12

PBS 17.1 stayed on Channel 34
FOX 23.1 stayed on VHF Channel 7

So a UHF-Only antenna would not get NBC well at any time. It would get the old FOX analog and the temporary CBS digital on UHF before the turn-off date. After the turn-off, the only major networks still on UHF here are ABC and PBS.

The bottom line is, get an antenna with a preamp (or buy a preamp "bullet" to insert in the coax at the antenna terminals. And make sure it is rated for both VHF and UHF, not just UHF.

To find the actual OTA (as well as virtual) frequencies used in any area, go to http://www.antennaweb.org and enter the local zip code.
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Old 09-20-2014, 06:08 AM   #4
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Re: tv antennas, mifi... how do you hook up mobile?

too bad we cant turn the side of the bus into an antennae.
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Old 09-20-2014, 07:28 AM   #5
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Re: tv antennas, mifi... how do you hook up mobile?

we have gone with downloading movies (legally of course) to our hard drive on the laptop, we then just use an HDMI cable to the tv and use the mouse etc on the TV, (with tv being a larger monitor)

Works great for movies and tv shows, if we watch anything, news I get from a couple forumns I am on, it's there before news channels release it
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:49 AM   #6
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Re: tv antennas, mifi... how do you hook up mobile?

my gf just started streaming netflix and using a google chromecast to stream the signal to the tv.

apparently that is only through the smart phone and the chromecast dongle on the the tv. (the instructions say) but in hooking it up, my house wifi seems to get involved too.

the set up would be great traveling.....but because my tv and my home wifi are never apart...i havent seen it work like described yet. wondering if anyone uses it? and mobile?

it would seem as though you can just put a tv in there and stream from some entertainment center?

for an absent minded RV builder like me.... the wireless aspect is a dream! but maybe so are my expectations.
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Old 09-21-2014, 06:30 AM   #7
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Re: tv antennas, mifi... how do you hook up mobile?

we have had signal good/fast enough one time so far.....thus why we now download at home and bring with us
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