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Old 01-05-2004, 10:51 PM   #1
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Installing TV, DVD, and VHS in your trailer

My 1974 25 foot Tradewind is a new trailer to our family. We would like to have a TV, DVD, and VHS plaver for entertainment while we travel. What suggestions do you have for us as we consider what we should buy? Regular TV or LCD model? Seperate DVD and VHS or a combined unit? What size TV? I bought a Coleman 400 watt inverter form Costco to use with my single battery. Is that enough power for the TV etc. I have absolutely no knowledge in this area so any advice you can share would be very helpful. This is a great site. I have spent a lot of time over the last 3 months reading your suggestions. It is really very helpful to a new Streamer. Thanks to All. Shelby

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Old 01-06-2004, 07:47 AM   #2
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I use Wal-Mart for all my entertainment needs. Just picked up a nice 4 head Stereo VHS, for $49. (mono was $38)They have nice compact DVD players for $42. I think the combo units are still over $100.

A helpful hint when purchasing a DVD player. Try, if you can to get one that plays Video CD's or VCD format. The reason being, there is a lot of VCD format software that comes with digital still cameras. This allows you to put your digital pictures on a CD and view them as a slide show. You can add music or commentary also. The newest DVD's will also read JPEG and Kodak Photo CD formats directly off a standard CD. This is a great way to share photos with friends and family!

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Old 01-06-2004, 07:49 AM   #3
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I personally dislike the all in one units, if one part goes bad you have to buy another whole unit even if it isn't all bad. I am using a Laptop with a DVD in it, for the Televison I have a Samsung 15" LCD monitor with the television tuner built into it, best of both long as wife doesn't want to watch soaps while I am surfing the net We also have a smaller AC/DC powered television that we can use. Check the wattage of the unit you want to power. Seat of the pants says the 400 watt won't be big enough to run more than one small item at a time. My television pulls around 700 watts running.

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Old 01-06-2004, 07:50 AM   #4
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Since space is always a premium, I bought a small Panasonic TV/VHS combo TV. It has a front jack for video and audio so we can plug in Patty's portable DVD/CD player, or my video cam.

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Old 01-06-2004, 08:19 AM   #5
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If satellite is going to be a part of the system, you're going to need an inverter. Sat receivers are only 120VAC because they supply the antenna with DC higher than 12V.

If you're gonna need an inverter anyway, may as well not worry about 12V on the DVD player, or VHS if you're gonna have one of those.

I'd still like the keep the TV 12VDC (and LCD) for several reasons. One, you still have broadcast TV if the inverter goes out. Two, an inverter is inefficient, wasting some power as heat and the TV is going to be the biggest power draw most of the time. Three, most 120VAC TVs have an automatic degaussing coil that fires everytime you turn it on. This means you need a larger inverter than you'd normally need to use just to run the TV.

I'd recommend getting one of those switching centers that you get for a computer system that sits under the monitor and has switches for CPU, monitor, printer, aux, etc. and plugging that into the inverter. That way you can turn on only the device you want, i.e. sat receiver, DVD, VHS, etc and not have the parasitic load that all these units have when they are off.

Let me add something else. In two years, January 2006, NTSC analog TV broadcasting is supposed to shutdown leaving only ATSC digital broadcasting. If you buy a TV now, you will then have to buy an external tuner for the ATSC, just the way we did for VHF TVs back when UHF came out. Main difference is that we still had something to watch if we didn't buy a UHF tuner. The ATSC tuner/converters will likely only be available for 120VAC.

I would spend as little as possible on a TV now and get a good 12V one with ATSC in a coupla years.
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Old 01-06-2004, 08:53 AM   #6
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just bought a DVD Home cinema set
Radio DVD CD Mp3 plus the amp all in one
will get a LCD tv soon
No need for VHS this was used in the past all DVD now
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Old 01-06-2004, 10:05 AM   #7
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I am not crazy about all in one units either. With our rig, space is not a real problem. We have just moved retired, but servicable 13 in TV, VCR, and DVD from house to AS. Got a small inverter, just big enought to run TV and VCR or DVD, because we like to "primitive" camp. The kids do have a 12 v TV/VCR combo in the camper shell for while we are on the road.
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Old 01-06-2004, 10:12 AM   #8
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We wanted to have tv in the bedroom and in the lounge. I ran cable from the refrigerator access panel opening to the lounge area and to the rear bedroom using a two way splitter. I then ran cable from the antenna booster outlet mounted on the refrigerator area wall to the splitter in the access area. I had to drill two holes in the access area wall to run the cables.

The cable to the bedroom runs behind the refrigerator, under the closet floor, under the double bed to the curb side of the unit. I connect the dvd/vcr player (Wal-Mart $109) to the cable. The tv is hooked to the dvd/vcr player. That takes care of the bedroom.

In the lounge, I took out the radio and it's holder to make room for a receiver. I hooked the stereo receiver front speaker outlets to the speakers installed on the Airstream front walls. I then got a DVD and a VCR from Wal-Mart for about $50 each and a 15' tv for $89. I can now play everything through the trailer's speakers which I find are very good even after 25 years.

Back at the access area where the splitter is located, I hook the antenna to the input side of the splitter. When we are at a park or anyplace where we can hook into cable, I run a cable from the source to the splitter. I close the door to the refrigerator access and the cable protrudes from the bottom.

In the whole installation, cables are run out of sight.

In the lounge the components are stacked. I put double sided tape on the bottom of the DVD and VCR and stuck them together on the corner stand. The tv is placed on the floor for travel.

When we don't have shore power access, I use the Sony VAIO laptop for playing DVD's and CD's. I have another set of speakers set up that hook to the laptop.
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Vic Smith
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Old 01-06-2004, 10:28 AM   #9
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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.
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Old 01-06-2004, 10:35 AM   #10
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re: VHS

Yeah but I have over 800 movies and tv programs on tape.

All Star Trek the original series and all of the Next Generation. I am gradually migrating to DVD.

OOPS! Did I give away my penchant for Star Trek?

One other thought. Laptops are expensive and fragile in that they are not going to last for years, usually. Every hour you use the laptop is one hour closer to a costly failure. My VAIO cost about $1700. I installed components in both the lounge and bedroom for under $400. I would rather not use a costly computer when I can get the same quality for a lot less and leave the computer for the important tasks .
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Old 01-06-2004, 11:38 AM   #11
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With space being a major consideration, especially in smaller trailers, how about a lap top with a good video/TV card? You have a PC for internet use, HD monitor for DVD's and TV use, all in one small lap top.
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Old 01-06-2004, 11:53 AM   #12
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I'd also go with a laptop. They are more durable than you might think and getting cheaper everyday. I've seen new laptops with DVD combo drives and 40gig hard drives as cheap as $700.00 this season - not great machines - but servicable. Some of the most durable laptops are made by IBM for field use. Try an IBM Thinkpad with a titanium case - consider used (refurbished). Other virtues:

They can be easily moved from one end of trailer to the other.
THey are small, easy to stow and when put out of sight - the tempatation to vegitate is removed....
You can collect your e-mail.
A laptop will run (limited time) on battery power.
Your kids can play computer games or...
Your kids could do homework.
Your kids MAY think you're cool.
You can keep a running record of how much you spend on your rig.
You can surf the AS forum!

As for the collection of VHS tapes...... buy a dvd recorder for your home. It's time to face the fact that VHS tape is going the way of the BETA format..... live long and prosper.
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Old 01-17-2004, 06:40 PM   #13
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HI Everybody,

I am new to the forums, so I am starting with a topic I know very well.

LCD monitors are getting cheaper everyday. For about $300 you can get a 15-17inch LCD computer monitor with a tv tuner. Light weigh very small foot print and can be mounted any where with a VESA mounting arm. $100 bucks for the VCR/DVD combo means one cable to hide. For the ultimate in style get a new apple laptop TO go along with it. They have a aluminium case that can be polished to match the airstream. I have converted all my DVDs to an .AVI file and keep them on a removable firewire harddrive. depending on the size of the drive you can fit over 250 movie in DVD quality in the space of three DVD cases.
The only thing to watch for, make sure your inverter or generator has a sine wave filter and a regulated power supply.
with out these features any electronic device will have a sort life span.
Patience is a virtue, and I have no time for impatient people.
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Old 01-17-2004, 09:06 PM   #14
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I solved the issue as cheaply as I could with a $120 TV/VCR combo from Wal-Mart.

Neither television nor computers are a priority for me when I go camping.


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