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Old 06-11-2007, 03:53 PM   #29
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I'm still trying to understand why I should pay $2400 for a MacBook pro that will only last about 5 years, and then mess around downloading movies that I have to pay more for . . . that's more money then a large LCD, Kenwood KVT-817DVD (which the manufacture recommended - he sent me email), and nice speakers combined.

I understand versatility, and the whole iPod/Mac thing: I make my living working with computers. But I already have a computer, and am having a hard time convincing myself that a computer, which must be taken out of the trailer when not in use, is better than a fully installed entertainment system.

In the not-to-distant future, that MacBook will be a thing of past, yielding to a iPod sized computer. So it’s not like I will be anymore modern just because I decide on a MB Pro.

Help me here folks . . . what am I missing?

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Old 06-12-2007, 11:32 AM   #30
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I guess it depends on what your looking to accomplish. I used the Video IPOD so I don't have to carry a ton of cd's and dvd's. I already have several small color tv's so one stays in the camper. I also use a high end speaker system from an old PC, 2 small midrange and a subwoofer, for the audio. Once again, stuff I had.

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Old 06-12-2007, 11:46 AM   #31
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I'm not sure what the big deal about the MacBook is. I'm using a Dell Inspiron I bought 4 years ago for $700. I upgraded the harddrive and memory last year and I think it has a few more years left in it. It does fine for what we need it for. Maybe the screen is a little small for some, but in the Caravel you're never too far away from it

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Old 06-12-2007, 06:55 PM   #32
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The MacBook is a big deal in this thread because that's what the OP asked about. The basic MacBook with 2.0GHz Core Duo (not the current Core 2 Duo) is what I have and its 13.3" 16:10 800x1200 display will natively handle 16:9 720p HDTV. The MacBook Pro is an issue here because the latest 17" model offers two (glossy and matte) optional 16:10 1200x1920 displays that will natively handle 1080i or p.

You certainly don't need to use a Mac to have a Home Theater PC (HTPC). I've done that with a Dell 8600 Inspiron with 1200x1920 15.4" display. In fact, there is a wider selection and videophile-grade software available for Windows (which you can run on a Mac).

You also don't need much processing power to decode MPEG2 off standard-definition DVDs. Nor do you need a lot to RECORD the 19.2Mb/sec of an ATSC television broadcast. But when it comes to playing back that recording, decoding and dividing the subchannels in its MPEG2 stream, the story is a lot different. Much more intensive.

When you're watching ATSC live, you're recording and playing back simultaneously (for Tivo-like functions such as pause, rewind, ff). This drives the 2.0 Pentium M in the Dell 8600 up near 100% utilization, and with all the disk activity, eventually causes the fan to race full speed and the processor to start stepping back in speed, which causes dropouts and eventual loss of control. My Dual-Core MacBook doesn't have this problem, despite the fact it uses Intel integrated video. Nor should a similar speed PC notebook with equivalent cooling.

Where it REALLY gets intense is playing back 1080p QuickTimeHD and WMVHD videos with the heavier compression, MPEG4 for Quicktime. I haven't played with HD-DVD or Blu-Ray yet, but these will present the same heavy load. My 1.66GHz Core Duo Mac Mini starts dropping frames in detailed scenes with a lot of motion (for example, a school of small fish darting about). That's why I'm upgrading its processor to a 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo.

Why a notebook HTPC instead of a dedicated DVD player system? The money put toward it can do other things, like web browsing, email, word-processing, running a business, navigating with a plug-in GPS, etc. As noted above, it can be a TV with a USB tuner. In addition to holding your entire music collection, it can store ripped full-featured DVDs at 5-8 GB each, or the main features compressed to 2-3 GB each at good quality, a big space savings over having to carry individual DVDs. Even a small 13.3" 16:10 display viewed from 2 feet has the apparent size of a 50" 16:9 display at 8 feet. At 4', it's the same apparent size as a 25" 16:9 at 8 feet. Of course, a 15.4" (my Dell) or 17" appears larger. You can use it when you aren't using the Airstream, and it won't be there to be "Gone in 60 Seconds", possibly with collateral damage, in a break-in. Most notebook repairs, especially Apple or Dell, can be done at a local shop in many places, where an automotive DVD player will probably have to be shipped back to the manufacturer.

Yes, computers eventually become less state of the art, but so does video gear. Does that dedicated TV have an ATSC tuner, or is it going to stop tuning February 2009? Does it have HDMI input? If so, is it HDMI 1 or 2? Or is it from an earlier time when DVI-HDCP was the standard? Or from before that when analog Component Video was state of the art?

Different strokes for different folks.
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Old 06-12-2007, 07:48 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by kitchenclose
Hi Everyone,

Help me Pimp Up My Airstream. I have a 66' Caravel - 17 footer. In the front of the trailer is an overhead cabinet. I'm thinking of installing an entertainment system in the cabinet.

What should I buy?

I didn't take the OP to necessarily mean MacBook Pro . . . It appears the options were out on the table for most anything.

That said, the issue of theft is a solid one - something that has been discussed before.

I jumped on the post because I understood Karen to be seeking an answer to the same question I have: put everything on the table - MacBook Pro and all (anything else). What's the pro's and con's, what do you recommend and why?
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:48 AM   #34
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Thanks for that Moe.
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Old 06-24-2007, 07:51 PM   #35
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We use a regular 20" TV with DVD player built in and use the audio out to a power amp & receiver. Power amp has about 100 watts rms not so much for volume but for accurate reproduction of the low end even at low volume (it sucks up them watts!) - keeps the sound clean unlike low power, transistor radios... Use JBL's & a Klipsch sub. Hi end freq. are directional, low end is omni-directional (meaning is doesn't matter where you put the sub for the most part). So speaker placement for the mids & high's is pretty important. As a drummer, I know what each drum-cymbal are supposed to sound like... most systems muddy 'em up. This one doesn't. I hear clean delineation between instruments. Don't even use an external EQ... though I'm a hankering for one...

Movies come from either NetFlix or private stock. Music I burn at home and put on CD's. Have exterior plugs for speakers whilst standing by the fire outside... nice to listen to the old radio shows (circa 30's & 40's) on CD... old sci-fi's are the best! We can keep volume low so as not to bother others and still have a clean sound. None of the A/S audio-video is high end ('cept for the Klipsch). Matter of fact, a few good garage sales could probably set you up just fine. Shop carefully.
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Old 06-24-2007, 09:02 PM   #36
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External Speaker Plugs?

Originally Posted by Jaxon
Have exterior plugs for speakers whilst standing by the fire outside....
Where can I get some external plugs and how are they installed? I have a 2nd set of speakers on long sloppy speaker wire to listen to outside.
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Old 06-25-2007, 04:46 PM   #37
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External Plugs

Originally Posted by Marshall
Where can I get some external plugs and how are they installed? I have a 2nd set of speakers on long sloppy speaker wire to listen to outside.
Marshall - You could go to a local electronics supply place or even Radio Shack and pick up a couple of 1/4" jack sockets. I use 12 gauge speaker wire. Wired from the amp (spkr. out, R&L) that's in the cabinet to the right side of the dinette. Ran it into the belly & to the curbside where I drilled out openings to mount the sockets (hinge-side of the door). Have a pair of old 1/4" jacks that I plug in when not in use to protect the sockets (shortened the end part and attached together with a small chain which attaches to the side - don't loose 'em that way). Just extending your outputs about 10' or so... Would of got outdoor sockets with spring closures on 'em if they had 'em in stock but this works well, too.

Been thinking of moving each socket to somewhere at each end about 3/4 way up on the side of the A/S and mount a bracket "L" hook to hang the speakers on... haven't mustered up the energy yet to do that though... At least this way, I can place them where ever I want them, which also has it's merits.
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:16 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by kitchenclose
Hi Everyone,

Help me Pimp Up My Airstream. I have a 66' Caravel - 17 footer. In the front of the trailer is an overhead cabinet. I'm thinking of installing an entertainment system in the cabinet.

What should I buy?

Should I buy a MacBook to play DVD, Music and WiFi?
What kind of speakers did you buy?
Should I buy an iPod but I understand you can't hook it up to a TV?

How did you pimp up your trailer with consideration to space?

We are in the process of doing the same thing to our two Airstreams. A 22 foot Flying Cloud from 1959, and a 25 foot Tradewind from 1972. Here are some thoughts I have to share, and would love to hear some feedback from others as what they have found works and what just failed.

First as we do the planning we have to keep in mind the power needs of each item you really want to use in the Airstream. With AC and the Frig a large percent of your AMPs are going to be already in use.

These are the things we are looking at:

A pc running media edition 2005 or newer. This will allow for Internet, tv, DVDs, and music. Everyone brings their own laptops here, so its not really in use for much Internet.

My teen son uses a X-box 360 Live in the Tradewind instead of a PC. Again this takes care of games, DVDs, and Music. He keeps a gaming chair in there too.

The hard drives from the pc and xbox hold about 7000 songs.

A 20-26 inchwide screen LCD HDTV with be used with either of the above as the monitor. Keep in mind this is big in a Airstream with limited space, and distance to view.

The cable with be run to the tv direct, or through the pc.

A wireless router to run with the X-box, pc, and laptops. Run an external antenna to pick up park wifi when offered.

A slingbox set up at home to use with the system, and maybe one in the Airstreams to use with the laptops.

Decent but small speakers, keep in mind being a such a small space you dont need to blow the windows out.
Wired outside outlets for outdoor speakers. Under the awning it becomes a outdoor family room.

Wired Video outlet outside the Airstream for video projector, used with the outside speakers its like going to a drive in with lawn chairs.

Wifi phone like what offers, or VOip phone tied in with the router.

Microwave for the popcorn everyone forgot how to make on a stove top.

Upgrade from 30 AMP to 50 to cover all the power needs.

All this said, we dont plan to live in the Airstreams when we use them. Its important to get out and have fun. But with the the extras to PIMP a Airstream I would suggest a better matress and a small but decent BBQ, and a outdoor hammock. Listen to some soft music and relax.

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Old 06-28-2007, 10:44 AM   #39
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All good points made in this thread and so many choices. I like the simplicity of the IPod video w/ TV but want Internet access when I travel more next year. I don't want to lug all the DVDs/CDs etc with me.

I guess my first stop will be to the Apple store. See what they got. I checked Bose and their smallest system is too big for where I want it to go.


Stef - I'm thinking of installing the entertainment system in the overhead cabinet of the Caravel. By the front section / dinning area. See you at the BB IV.
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Old 06-28-2007, 03:34 PM   #40
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We have a wall mounted 20" LCD HDTV, a Bose 3.1 and JVC DVD player. The Bose and the JVC are on top of the credenza or whatever its called and the sub woofer is below in the liquor cabenet. There is still plenty enough room for the spirits, although I did have to remove the shelf in the cabinet so the sub woofer would fit. The satellite speakers are mounted up high on the bulkheads out of the way with the wires tucked out of site under the welting on the ceiling. I have the JVC DVD player because it has component output and use the Bose for audio CD's and sound from the DVD player. I take my 17" laptop from home for WIFI and other computer uses such as programming my handheld Garmin GPS, looking at the digital pictures I just took, etc. We have CD storage boxes on end in one of the cabinets over the couch as well as a bin to hold DVD's. There is just enough clearance in there to keep everything in place during travel. I mounted a wire and wicker letter box on the wall below the thermostat to hold the remotes and currently playing CD. It all works out great for us!
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:49 PM   #41
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Mac Mini trailer pimp

I like the pimp my airstream thread. Maybe we could get MTV to run a series on it.

I originally purchased our 16' 07 Bambi without the Video Upgrade package because $2k for a cheap lcd tv and some wiring seemed well overpriced. After much deliberation I decided to go for a mac mini to run all of the AV and run it through the existing Sony Stereo.

My configuration:
Mac Mini 2.0 GHZ 1MB. RAM
100GB HD
Bluetooth . Airport Wifi
Wireless keyboard/ mouse
Dell 20" LCD monitor (15lbs)
Elgato Hybrid USB TV tuner
Apple wireless remote
Blackberry 8830 (for wireless internet access through verizon when no wifi exists)

I originally considered a dedicated used mac mini for the trailer but settled on idea of dedicated LCD panel and new mac mini to run our home system which I could just take on the road which makes syncing much simpler. I use the mac mini as my primary home PVR with 750GB attached storage device and when we travel I pick a set of movies / recorded tv shows from our archive for the road and optionally bring the tv tuner.

The reason I went the mac mini route is because it can run all of our music, movies, TV and of course you can connect to the internet. Plus with the front row software and the wireless remote it is dirt simple to use which is important for my wife. Also - the Mac Mini doesn't use a ton of power between 25-100 watts depending on what you are doing and its small so it can be moved easiliy between the house and trailer.

I mounted the TV with the base plate ordered from airstream ($45) then added a peerless 19" articulating ($70 ebay) arm so we can watch tv in bed or from the couch. I mounted the mac mini below the TV using a (H-Squared - Home) H Squared mount. The LCD is connected via the DVI port and the sound is run through the sony stereo (via the XA-300 switching device - included as part of the Airstream Audio upgrade)

I will post some photos.

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Old 03-16-2008, 07:48 AM   #42
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That sounds dreamy. The Mac mini is a great option since you get the flexibility of a bigger monitor.

I'm holding out for a MacBook Air

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