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Old 04-14-2010, 12:53 PM   #1
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2002 27' Safari
Arlington , Texas
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HDTV on campground cable systems?

We're still beginners and up to this point we have only used our TV antenna. This summer we'll be taking a longer trip and expect to use the cable TV systems at a few campgrounds. We don't watch a lot of television, but when we do watch, we (especially I) like to have a nice high definition picture. My question is - do most campgrounds that offer cable give just a bare bones version that has no HDTV? Or is HDTV commonly available? I know I can take along satellite equipment, but I'd rather not mess with it if it can be avoided.

Mike & Diane

"The written word will soon disappear, and we'll no longer be able to read good prose like we used to could." - James Thurber
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:02 PM   #2
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Generally I avoid the kind of campground that has cable tv but, sometimes it is the only game in a given town. It has been my experience that most campground cable systems are standard definition and usually the equivalent of a standard cable package (i.e. no HBO, STARZ...).

I carry my Directv antenna with me as a) it is already paid for and b) I can use it pretty much anywhere. Once you'vce done it a couple of times you can be set up in minutes. You will need your trusty hand compass.

Have fun,


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Old 04-14-2010, 01:40 PM   #3
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standard cable is ALL i've seen in any campground since HD has been available...

otoh the ANTENNA and booster will pick up LOCAL stations that are broadcasting OTA,

and 99% of those ARE digital HD now.

typically 5 to 15 stations have been grabbed by the antenna depending on proximity to metro areas.

sometimes this means 2 network affiliates, 1 retroTV (oldies), 1 shopping channel, 2 PBS stations,

and 10 local evangelical gospel screamers...

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:43 PM   #4
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Most of the RV campgrounds where we have stayed that have cable TV only have DTV (digital TV), not HDTV. I think HD channels are still considered premium channels and cost extra, so they don't carry them. However, the regular broadcast network channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, etc.) might be in HD. If you can receive over-the-air signals, most areas have HD for the major networks.

If you are camped in the boonies, I think some of the older outlying stations are still operating on waivers, and still broadcast analog TV signals, although we haven't seen this where we have stayed.
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:58 PM   #5
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Free TV is High Def...

As 2Air pointed out, if you're anywhere near a city or town, your roof antenna will pick up OTA (over the air) signals and all the network stations are now broadcasting in HighDef HDTV.. You won't see ESPN or HGTV or other cable channels, but picture is great. We use 3 year old small flat screen TV and DTV converter box, and combination is fine if we're within range of any broadcast signals.. Plan to upgrade to compact flat panel with ATSC tuner and built in DVD player sometime in next year...

We've never seen commercial RV park offering HDTV cable package...Just plain old fuzzy digital, which works with older TV's or newer versions, but is not HighDef.. If you must have Discovery or ESPN or HBO in high Def, you'll need Sat Dish and receiver box...

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:17 PM   #6
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HD on Campground cable

Not going to happen. HD cable set top boxes are customer specific, and addressable, not to mention the signal is digitally encoded. You MUST have one of these to watch in HD, you wont find an HD broadcast over the good old analog cable line which is what youll find in a campground. Maybe a very high end camp ground would loan you one of their HD set top boxes, but this seems unlikely. If you want HD viewing, the only way that I know to handle this is to get a HD satellite receiver and dish, and use that set up instead of the campground's. Or use the OTA solution as outlined above. Or just turn off the TV, and enjoy your new found destination!
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:21 PM   #7
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Thanks as usual for the quick replies. The antenna does indeed do a good job here at home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with plenty of HD channels. Of course, there's nothing worth watching on most of them, but that also applies to every cable and satellite system I've ever been on. TropicGuy, you're right about turning off the TV and enjoying the destination. I should have no trouble with that, as the TV is off most of the time even at home. But I gotta have my NASCAR!
Mike & Diane

"The written word will soon disappear, and we'll no longer be able to read good prose like we used to could." - James Thurber
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:49 PM   #8
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While over at a friends house this weekend we plugged into their cable - local channels via Comcast were sent and decoded in HighDef on the Samsung TV in my unit (just as if they were captured via the air)...

A few other cable channels did as well (some shopping network & a sports channel) but obviously any PAY channel was not displayed.

Will report on what I get when I cam at Malibu RV in Malibu next month...
John "JFScheck" Scheck
2014 Itasca Solei 34T in Red Maple
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:00 PM   #9
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At Rivernook in Kernville, CA they have tons of channels that show up on our HDTV as 10-2, 10-3, 10-4, etc... That means they are at least put out on the coax cable with QAM digital encoding. I don't think any of the channels were in 1080p, but a lot of them are a digital signal. Still nothing worth watching on TV when you're camping on the Might Kern River though.

QAM (television) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:00 PM   #10
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I'm with TropicGuy. Turning on the TV just takes the enchantment out of your destination. Open the door and enjoy! The TV sucks you right back to reality fast!

In a perfect world, every home would have a dog and every dog would have a home.
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