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Old 02-03-2005, 08:49 PM   #1
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Tv alteratives

Today, I watched Rockford Files, on my laptop. I did this by attaching a product called WinTV usb. It is the size of a remote, and plugs into a spare USB socket. It has Coax input, S-video, and audio in, with an audio out. The quality was much better than I supposed so the experiment worked. What I was trying to achieve was to be able to leave the somewhat bulky tv at home, and instead use my Laptop, docking station and wall mounted LCD monitor. That way the table top where the TV sits will be free from the utter clutter of wires, and tv. The plus to it is also the clarity of LCD without the excessive cost of LCD TV - the cheapest of a size worth looking at is over $1,000 - a similar sized monitor is less than $400. The usb gizmo was all of $70, and I already have the laptop. Which has two very good dvd display programs.

The WinTV usb software allows for "taping" of a tv show, which is saved to a folder on the hard disk, as an Mpg file. I experimented for an hour, and taped a couple of excerpts from two shows, and edited out the commercials.. The quality of picture was pretty good, and improved with adjustment of the vision parameters.

I have no idea if anyone would find this useful, but for what it is worth, I submit it.

Theo
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Old 02-03-2005, 08:56 PM   #2
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You did it!

Umm, did you want anything, or were you just experimenting?
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Old 02-03-2005, 08:59 PM   #3
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I was experimenting, as I had tried 8 times to do it with this subject in it.. as you can see, I edited the thread to contain what I was unable to post earlier..

Theo
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Old 02-03-2005, 09:22 PM   #4
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Theo,

I have a similar setup with my Mac Powerbook 15 and EyeTV. EyeTV is an external box that connects to the computer through USB and to cable access. It also records shows and can be programmed ahead of time coupled with TitanTV.com programming. When I'm surfing the net I keep a small TV window open in the bottom right corner of my screen. EyeTV is by Elgato software.
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Old 02-03-2005, 09:30 PM   #5
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We watch TV on the laptop while we're on the road using a Pinnacle PCTV box which plugs into the USB port, and cable plugs into it. We did have a problem while watching an hour long program on the road one time though, the picture started to freeze up and then would jump ahead. Sometimes there was sound but the picture would be froze, it was pretty annoying.

We liked this setup because we are able to plug the audio out into the trailer speakers so we get decent sound, and we also play DVDs on the laptop and my entire music collection through iTunes.
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Old 02-03-2005, 10:48 PM   #6
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Theo: What was your program source? Did you hook up an outside antenna thru the coax input? Did you have a cable feed? Or something else? Were you plugged into 120 volts a/c via your laptop docking station? Could you use the WinTV in a wholly 12 volt setting in your laptop, as when bookdocking? Did you view the Rockford Files on your laptop screen or on a remote LCD monitor? Why do you need a remote LCD monitor if your have a decent laptop screen?

I'm looking for a simple VHS/UHF TV and AM-FM radio receiver only that plugs into a laptop USB port (or other port) and can be run wholly on the laptop's 12 volt power. No one seems to make such an simple thing. I don't need a remote or any time-shifting or recording software, but all the computer TV receivers seems to come bundled with that stuff anyway. I'm still recovering from the shock that Radio Shack no longer stocks twin lead. The young sales clerk looked at me like I was some creature from the past!
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Old 02-04-2005, 07:39 AM   #7
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So I say to husband "guess when we take Icky on the road we'll have to have laptop, a wintv gizmo..." He says " you realize that you just spent more in computer than you have in the Airstream itself". Geez, and I was trying to make it nice for him...
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Old 02-04-2005, 08:41 AM   #8
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We did something similar on our trip to Florida last year. We temporarily mounted a 15" LCD screen to the entertainment cabinet and ran it into our latptop which sat on the engine doghouse. Everything was powers by a single converter mounted on the cabinet. We setup WindowsXP for dual display and ran DVD's to the exernal LCD while we used the laptop screen for the GPS. Kids watch movies while Mom and Dad didn't get lost.

We also plugged the headphone jack into one of those tape player thingies for sound and had access to our library of MP3s for some serious road trippin tunes. I decided then and there that the PC Media Center concept on a hard mounted laptop chassis would be a great way to upgrade the entertainment, navigation, etc on the MoHo without spending a fortune for seperate devices.

We went so far as to purchase a refurbished Dell 17" wide screen LCD TV/PC Monitor. The plan is to mount this in/on the new entertainment cabinet, which will also house a laptop chassis which runs everything else.

I didn't even know about the USB TV Tuners. That would make a great addition to the setup.
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Old 02-04-2005, 09:46 AM   #9
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Handy gadget

For the last several years, I have used a USB TV dongle to watch TV on my desktop PC at home. It is especially handy for the news. I can work on something else and listen to the audio until I hear something that I want to see. Then, a click of the mouse brings the video to the top and I can watch.

I tried the USB dongle and laptop combination in the trailer, but ended up buying a 15" Sharp LCD TV for the rig (same unit as current Airstreams). Too often, my wife wanted to watch something on TV while I was busy mapping out the next day's driving, doing my email when in a RV park with wireless, or processinbg digital photos taken that day.

I first intended to mount the Sharp TV on a swivel, but found that the mirrors on the refrigerator wall were in the way of any reasonable swivel mounting. As a result, the Sharp TV simply lays on its face on a non-slip pad on the credenza while underway. When we stop, it is just a matter of standing it up and it is ready for use. It has never moved when underway, even under hard braking.

When we want to watch DVDs, we use my 17", wide-screen Toshiba laptop. It has enough audio volume to hear well and the wide screen fits the movie format better than the TV.
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Old 02-04-2005, 12:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theo
I have no idea if anyone would find this useful, but for what it is worth, I submit it.

Theo
Very useful and timely for me, thanks for getting the thread started.

Where did you purchase the WinTv unit?
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Old 02-04-2005, 12:31 PM   #11
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Where?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikrmikey
Where did you purchase the WinTv unit?
I bought mine at Fry's, but I have found them at Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Depot, etc. They are pretty common.
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Old 02-05-2005, 11:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 47WeeWind
Theo: What was your program source? Did you hook up an outside antenna thru the coax input? Did you have a cable feed? Or something else? Were you plugged into 120 volts a/c via your laptop docking station? Could you use the WinTV in a wholly 12 volt setting in your laptop, as when bookdocking? Did you view the Rockford Files on your laptop screen or on a remote LCD monitor? Why do you need a remote LCD monitor if your have a decent laptop screen?
Program source: satellite receiver.
The WinTV usb does not use any external power source - it is powered by the USB port. so yes, it will work 12 volt whilst boondocking (my favorite way)

I have a docking station on my lap top to allow for the use of a particular keyboard, so I have a monitor attached to that. I also disconnected the dock and viewed it on the laptop screen. Both screens showed a good picture.

I have a remote LCD as the Laptop screen is only 12" active matrix and difficult to see from across the trailer.

The unit I purchased was the bottom of the line one, it has a cutout for the radio, but no radio card. Their upmarket version has a radio card as well as a tv card.

I bought the unit online, on eBay - the site that has become my newfound source of entertainment..

Theo
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Old 02-06-2005, 07:09 AM   #13
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Mini Entertainment Center

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
Theo,

I have a similar setup with my Mac Powerbook 15 and EyeTV. EyeTV is an external box that connects to the computer through USB and to cable access. It also records shows and can be programmed ahead of time coupled with TitanTV.com programming. When I'm surfing the net I keep a small TV window open in the bottom right corner of my screen. EyeTV is by Elgato software.
Davydd,

We've been using EyeTV too. Basically our IBook is now our entertainment center. With the EyeTV we have TV / DVR, ITunes has 4 days of music loaded on it (better than lugging several hundred CDs), and we use a USB powered FM transmitter to broadcast the sound from the Mac to our stereo. Nice surround sound! Plus we use the Mac for our e-mail and web connection. Using it as a TV doesn't interefere, as we can just record the show we're missing if we're using the computer as a computer.

Both Mac & Windows are making more moves to "home entertainment" systems that cover all bases. There's the Windows Home Media Edition now, and for Mac Elgato just came out with the EyeHome system. The Eye Home box can now be connected to an Airport Express to send content from your Mac to another TV in the house.

Rich
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