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Old 01-10-2005, 06:27 AM   #29
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Thumbs up Mac as an Entertainment Center

Being total gadget junkies we actually use our Mac IBooks as our 75% entertainment center. I say 75% because we use our Airstream's on board radio to get us the rest of the way.

This summer I spent a month in WV on a contract, so I took the Airstream along as my home away from home. Before leaving I considered what to do for a TV on board, as we had none. We'd used our Macs to play DVD's, and music through the ITunes program (4 days of music loaded which saves a lot of space in CDs). Plus it is my portable photo lab!

I knew Windows had a Home Media Edition for XP, and I figured something similar should be available for Mac. Sure enough we found the Elgato Eye TV USB box for Macintosh. It connects to the Mac and allows you to view TV on the Macintosh. You can hook it to the antenna, or Cable connection. They also have one available for satellite.

The Eye TV also turned our Mac into a DVR (like Tivo). Worked really well. Didn't miss any episodes of the Amazing Race!

Our whole setup works out to be very small. I have a 12 inch Mac, my wife has the 14 inch. With a USB powered FM transmitter we broacast our sound to the radio already in the Airstream (our surround sound). My wife prefers using her Mac for the larger screen when we watch TV or DVDs.

Hope this is helpful in your quest.
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Old 01-10-2005, 06:32 AM   #30
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Second Photo

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliforniaStreamin

Anyone with news on a recent successful install idea would be great, and pics are much appreciated

Barbara

Here's what the setup looks like on an ICurve stand....
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Old 01-10-2005, 08:51 AM   #31
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We are planning on a 15 inch screen laptop with wireless modem from Cingular. That will get us full time connection to the internet anytime whe have GSM coverage. That will let us play DVD's for the kids while driving. It will also be hooked to the Fuel injection diagnostics port to real time monitor the engine. Our GPS will also be linked to our Laptop for navigation needs. TV tuners are available to hook to computers and if we don't go with a cheap TV for the camper we may go that route.

Personnaly I would skip VHS. The players are large. The tapes take up a lot of space. I could fit about 15 DVD's in a case the size of one VHS tape. Most rental places now have as good of selection of movies on DVD as they do VHS. DVD's are also going to fair better sitting in a hot car.
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Old 01-10-2005, 09:02 AM   #32
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Smile Use of laptop

59toaster,

That sounds like an interesting setup. I'm probably going off topic here, so send a private message if you like.... How are you hooking up the system to the Fuel Injection Diagnostics??? That sounds pretty slick!

There are many options of DVR connections for Macs & Windows now, so you really can wrap many of your needs up into a computer.

I agree on the VHS. We've done away with our VHS player at home. DVDs fit is a small amount of space, and if you're on a long trip space is usually at a premium.

Rich
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Old 01-10-2005, 09:35 AM   #33
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My gosh, you folks are advanced! Just last year we managed to upgrade from nuthin' to having a tiny 12-volt black-and-white TV with a 5 inch screen for our trips! The actors on CSI look a little different in B&W (and s-m-a-l-l), but it's still well worth having the TV along, at least where a signal is available.

Lynn
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Old 01-10-2005, 12:40 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gadgetat
Being total gadget junkies we actually use our Mac IBooks as our 75% entertainment center. I say 75% because we use our Airstream's on board radio to get us the rest of the way.

This summer I spent a month in WV on a contract, so I took the Airstream along as my home away from home. Before leaving I considered what to do for a TV on board, as we had none. We'd used our Macs to play DVD's, and music through the ITunes program (4 days of music loaded which saves a lot of space in CDs). Plus it is my portable photo lab!

I knew Windows had a Home Media Edition for XP, and I figured something similar should be available for Mac. Sure enough we found the Elgato Eye TV USB box for Macintosh. It connects to the Mac and allows you to view TV on the Macintosh. You can hook it to the antenna, or Cable connection. They also have one available for satellite.

The Eye TV also turned our Mac into a DVR (like Tivo). Worked really well. Didn't miss any episodes of the Amazing Race!

Our whole setup works out to be very small. I have a 12 inch Mac, my wife has the 14 inch. With a USB powered FM transmitter we broacast our sound to the radio already in the Airstream (our surround sound). My wife prefers using her Mac for the larger screen when we watch TV or DVDs.

Hope this is helpful in your quest.
Wow, great use of your Mac! I have the 15" G4 powerbook but never considered it for TV, heard these units worked best with PC's so good news here if we go for this set-up. Do you get good reception with this unit, and does it explain how to record & copy? I have super drive so if instructions come with EyeTV great, but if not maybe you could pm me? Also do you have a remote with this unit?

Only issue with our Bambi and Mac is not much room to put it on deck above fridge, it has to hang off to view it in bed. If I could find a sleek fold down metal shelf for wall facing bed, this may work great though.

Would also love to know about the FM transmitter, brand/set up etc,....that's an awesome idea. I have 3.3GB in iTunes as well, this would be pretty complete for a small set up!

Thanks so much for this info & pics!

Barbara
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Old 01-10-2005, 01:11 PM   #35
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I want one too!

Barbara,

I've been wanting a Powerbook for a while, but the IBook still works well...so I'm waiting.

The reception with the Elgato is very good. Works with the Antenna, and with Cable if it were available. I went with the cheapest one which connects via USB. For each hour of recording 650 MB gets used up. So an hour long show can be burned to CD. Since my Mac has a 20 GB drive space is at a premium, especially after I load trip photos!

They make several different units. Newer EyeTV units come with FireWire connectors, remote controls, the whole 9 yards. Each hour of recording with these takes more disk space though, but the video is even crisper.

I've had no complaints viewing shows. If you get right up on the screen you'll see some pixel noise, but sitting a few feet back from the screen doesn't feel any different than watching a regular TV (a 12 inch TV with my screen).

The setup of the EyeTV is very easy. Load the software, connect the EyeTV box. The program immediately boots. You can tell it if you're using an antenna, cable, or satellite if you get one that supports it. It then offers to "scan" active channels. When complete it gives you a channel list of what it found. Also, the company offers a free web site with show listings so you can set schedules like a Tivo. There is literally a record button on the screen, and the program has a "calendar" feature if you want to schedule shows to record in advance. Very user friendly in general.

Their site is Elgato.com, and they list all of the different models available.

We have a 25ft Six Sleeper, and there is a fold down mirror on the wall that is also a TV stand (think it holds up to 40 lbs). Usually I set it up on our credenza near the couch though. I'm sure you could find a fold out or swing arm set up where you could set the power book though.

The USB powered transmitter we recently bought is the Griffin Road Trip. It is actually designed to be used with newer IPods (we've got an original one, so no use there yet). It has a cradle to set the IPod in, as well as a unique DC "stand" for in the car (acts as a power supply and a stand). The kicker is that the transmitter can detach from the cradle and connect to any USB port (Mac or Windows) and be used to broacast from your laptop or desktop. All I wanted was the transmitter, and I got a whole lot more.

Hope this was helpful!
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Old 01-10-2005, 03:26 PM   #36
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Rich, this is great info and VERY helpful, I can't wait to check it all out

The Griffin Road Trip sounds awesome for this dual use, as my iPod/car set up now only works with a free fm frequency and in San Diego there are none! I tried my audio book and heard the "buzz" the entire drive, which was annoying....especially for $100.! This unit works great in more remote locations, but that doesn't do the trick in town so glad to hear of this product.

The EyeTV sounds perfect and love the fact I can record at home too. Can you record shows/movies on HBO? I have huge HD, this Mac a 50th B-day gift so I went for it but since I keep for 5+ years will get every penny worth...esp for these other uses in the AS...WOW!!

Also is fold down mirror a stock AS accessory? If so maybe I can order one as that might not look bad there if it's big enough to hold all this stuff. I wish there was a fold down shelf instead of magazine rack by bed too...no place for a coke but afraid to poke holes in aluminum

Thanks so much for all this info

Barbara
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Old 01-10-2005, 04:22 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gadgetat
59toaster,

That sounds like an interesting setup. I'm probably going off topic here, so send a private message if you like.... How are you hooking up the system to the Fuel Injection Diagnostics??? That sounds pretty slick!

There are many options of DVR connections for Macs & Windows now, so you really can wrap many of your needs up into a computer.

I agree on the VHS. We've done away with our VHS player at home. DVDs fit is a small amount of space, and if you're on a long trip space is usually at a premium.

Rich
http://www.customefis.com/winaldl.html
http://winaldl.joby.se/

That will work with most early GM EFI and asome of the OBD1 There are simular set ups for Ford. Just hit some of the big ford sites and ask around if you have a Ford product.
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Old 01-10-2005, 06:49 PM   #38
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Sharp Aquos w/Laptop as DVD Player...

We went with Sharp Aquos LCD flat screen TV that mounts on wall facing couch alongside refrigerator in our Excella 25.. Had a 13" Combo TV/VCR that took up too much room, required 110V, and tapes are hard to find these days anyway.. (We didn't have to solve problem of satellite or second setup in bedroom...) Prior Owner had upgraded basic stereo unit to Sony Auto-style AM/FM/CD Music player...

TV works well on 110V, and will work equally well on 12V using plug-in Inverter (ours is rated at 100 Watts), though as switching power supply we are thinking we may have to shield antenna cable from power converter when running off 12V power. Laptop has DVD player, and video output that plugs into bottom of TV if we want to watch movie, and laptop also has 12V or 110V power options... Sharp folks were adamant that even though TV runs on 12V from their transformer, there is no cable offered and they do not support running TV directly from 12V source... ( I assume this is due to lack of conditioning inside TV that makes traditional "12V" sources -which range from 13+ Volts to barely 12) too variable for TV logic circuits..)

We mount ours on industrial hidden hook and remove and pack carefully when in transit, but VESA mounts are available at Sears or computer stores for $40 and up, depending on degrees of movement and flexibility. Look at mounts for LCD Computer Monitors as well as TV's because monitor mounts are simpler and cheaper, but have same physical dimensions and mounting system as TV mounts...

John McG
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Old 01-14-2005, 04:27 PM   #39
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Our situation is a little different, but maybe our solution will help someone. We use a satelite system, with a box in the front right credenza. We have a 15 inch LCD with a built in DVD that we moved from credenza to bedroom when needed. The kids use a 12 volt TV/VCR in the pickup camper. While we were in Indiana this summer, the cable between the credenza and the bedroom stopped working (dont know why, dont want to tear walls to figure it out.) We bought an AV transmitter to hook to the sat box, and 2 receivers so the kids can watch sat tv wireless also. One drawback is the one transmitter means both TVs have to watch one channel, but we have to make some concessions for "roughing it"
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Old 01-15-2005, 09:17 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trumpwer
Our situation is a little different, but maybe our solution will help someone. We use a satelite system, with a box in the front right credenza. We have a 15 inch LCD with a built in DVD that we moved from credenza to bedroom when needed. The kids use a 12 volt TV/VCR in the pickup camper. While we were in Indiana this summer, the cable between the credenza and the bedroom stopped working (dont know why, dont want to tear walls to figure it out.) We bought an AV transmitter to hook to the sat box, and 2 receivers so the kids can watch sat tv wireless also. One drawback is the one transmitter means both TVs have to watch one channel, but we have to make some concessions for "roughing it"
Sorry to hear your connection from the credenza to the bedroom stopped working. You're right, don't go tearing into the walls yet to figure it out.

There are "Network Testers" available to trace lines. The Promax TC-471 should be able to trace your connection to see if the cable is good or not. It has a transmitter side & receiver side. Plug into the cable that runs from the bedroom to the credenza with the transmitter on one side, and use the receiver on the other side to see if you get a tone. If you do the cable is good, and something else is the problem. No tone and it points to the cable as your problem (then comes possibly getting into the walls). Could be as simple as a loose cable on your connection plates, or something severed somewhere in the walls.

Unless you're in telecommunications it probably doesn't make sense to go out and buy one of these test units (expensive). But if you have a friend in computer networking or telecommunications chances are they'd have one in their test equipment set. Or with luck your dealership might have one to trace out the line for you.

Good luck finding the trouble.

Rich
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Old 01-15-2005, 09:53 AM   #41
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I'm in favor of laptops because one unit solves many needs. You can get a 15.4" wide screen laptop in the $900-$1500 range. It will do all of the forementioned functions plus you can also purchase navigation software including a GPS unit for about $150 and use it in your TV to find your way to campgrounds, restaurants and gas.
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:42 AM   #42
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I suggest using a laptop computer with a DVD drive - computer, DVD player, and screen all in one unit. 12V adaptors are readily available for laptops. You can add a TV receiver using a PCMCIA card or USB device.

Skip the VHS - the machines and tapes are too bulky.
How does that PCMCIA card or USB device work? I like the idea of a Laptop PC for watching TV in an AS
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