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Old 07-01-2006, 03:52 PM   #1
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Will A Laptop Do It All?

My Moho Does Not Really Have A Good Place To Mount A Tv And I Have Decided To Buy A Laptop That Will: 1. Do Normal Laptop Stuff; 2. Work Wireless When In A Service Ares; 3. Serve As My Tv With Signal From Cable Or Dish Or Ant.
I Think I Want A 17". If I Put Out The $$ Now Before Vista, Will I Be Sorry What Ya Think?? Don't Get To Technical On Me
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Old 07-01-2006, 04:52 PM   #2
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laptop

I just got an HP Pavilion dv8235nr w/17'' screen.I have had it for 2 weeks and it is great.Also I am ordering a new 24''vinyl cutter from Summa because it seems that he is lonely and needs a friend.I will be taking these things with me when I travel around.
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Old 07-01-2006, 04:56 PM   #3
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There are lots of workarounds for t.v. on computer... however why not consider a 15-17" LCD monitor / tv combo?
I have a 20" LCD on my wall that is primarily a monitor but acts as a great t.v. with a built in t.v. tuner.
You can even hook up your laptop to the monitor for enhanced viewing of the computer functions.
Check out www.tigerdirect.com for computer and LCD bargains.
Also check out ebay.com for open box returns. My LCD was purchased form 1st Wind in Columbia SC for a less than half price bargain three years ago.
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Old 07-01-2006, 05:09 PM   #4
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I would not worry about Vista, as Microsoft is always pushing it back. Besides when it comes out it will have a zillion screwy errors that will need to be fixed through updates and service packs.
Maybe an Apple Powerbook?
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Old 07-01-2006, 05:59 PM   #5
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A Laptop That Will Serve As My Tv

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Alan
My Moho Does Not Really Have A Good Place To Mount A Tv And I Have Decided To Buy A Laptop That Will: 1. Do Normal Laptop Stuff; 2. Work Wireless When In A Service Ares; 3. Serve As My Tv With Signal From Cable Or Dish Or Ant.
I Think I Want A 17".
Should work for TV and DVD movies.
If AC is not always available, then you will want a vehicle power adapter.
A wireless card or Mobile Office Kit cable from your cell phone service provider will give you Internet access in more places than you can find WiFi.
Get a laptop with Windows Media Edition operating system and be sure to look for what video in ports it has.
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Old 07-01-2006, 06:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Alan
I Have Decided To Buy A Laptop That Will:

1. Do Normal Laptop Stuff;
2. Work Wireless When In A Service Ares;
3. Serve As My Tv With Signal From Cable Or Dish Or Ant.

I Think I Want A 17".
17" flunks laptop 101. it's really not very portable - but maybe that's OK? I'd hate to have to stuff it in my briefcase....

Consider getting a smaller screen and sitting closer.
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Old 07-01-2006, 06:44 PM   #7
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David,

You may want to check out almost anything from Apple. The 17-inch is especially nice and about half the weight of the Windoze machines. Way cool too. We always bring ours along for music, dvd, email, internet. Don't use it for TV yet but that can be done too.

Also, all the Apple computers except the Mini come with built-in cameras for free video chats with friends and family. We use this feature almost every day. Very, very nice.

Don't bother waiting for Vista when you can have a more mature version with the 5-year-old Mac OS. From all reports, Vista tries and mostly fails to do what Apple has been doing for years. That's not just an Apple fanatic talking; it's the reality that you can verify on numerous postings on the web, if you like.

And, if you should ever need a DOS program, the Mac can run DOS too. The same can't be said for any HP, Dell, etc.
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Old 07-01-2006, 07:18 PM   #8
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David,

Another thought. You might want to browse on Gadget's Digital RV web site at http://digitalrv.net/blog/. You might find the guidance you need there or in his book.
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Old 07-01-2006, 09:33 PM   #9
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yea! another Apple fan. I love my mac.
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Old 07-01-2006, 09:55 PM   #10
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I just switched too a Mac from my old 2005 Dell.
I am full time and use mine for banking, internet and movies. Mush better than carring all those DVD' around.
I second the Digital RV book.

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Old 07-02-2006, 12:43 AM   #11
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If you get one now, and opt for one operating Windoze XP, get the XP Professional version. Pro seems to have less bugs, and less security issues, mainly because fewer people are using it, hackers go after the biggest "audience" they can. Also, if you get a Windoze unit, make sure you get one that will be updateable to Vista whenever it comes out. They seem to keep changing the requirements, but the last time I checked, it needed a minimum of 2 Ghz processor, and 512 Mb of Ram.
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Old 07-02-2006, 08:41 AM   #12
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We have no TV in Chummy just a lap top. We can use it to watch movies but rarely ever do, I suppose it could be used as a TV but why do you need TV when you are camping. What I really do need is something to write on and check e-mail once in awhile. I use a cell phone hooked to the lap top and patience, slow but works. Once again we are away from home and should be relaxing.
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Old 07-02-2006, 11:57 AM   #13
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Got one from Toshiba 3 yrs ago that does it all. It has a built in tuner. It sure is nice having a computer that does it all. I bet I won't be saying that if it ever has to be repaired. If I had to do it over I would buy separate tv/dvd and a separate computer.
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Old 07-04-2006, 06:16 AM   #14
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Thank You For Your Imput To This Question. It Has Been A Big Help. I Ended Up With A Dell E1505 Duo With Xp Media Center 2005 And A Tv Tuner. For Wireless It Has A Dell 5700 Mobile Broadband (cdma/evdo) Express Card For Verizon - Whatever That Means. I Opted For The 15.4 Screen Over The 17". So Now I Can Play Solitare On These Long Trips.
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Old 07-04-2006, 11:02 AM   #15
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17" Mac is portable

17 inch not portable? Maybe the 17s from Dell, Hp, whomever.

I have a MAC PowerBook 17 that is about 3 years old. It has well over 50,000 airline miles and god know how many car miles.
While it is a little haevier than one smaller it can be carried with realitive ease.
I am currently typing this on that machine aitting in my Classic 31 in an RV park in eastern Oregon.
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Old 07-04-2006, 03:28 PM   #16
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The problem with using a notebook for digital TV is the heat. The station transmits all its "channels" in a 19+ mb/sec mpeg stream that has to be split, then decoded for viewing. Digital tuners don't do that, so the processor has to, and processors get hotter as their utilization goes up. Notebook cooling is often marginal (especially with Macs), and the result is they have to run the fan(s) at higher, louder speeds, and eventually start decreasing the processor speed. This increases the percent of utilization and the result of that is dropped frames and pixelized images... and even sometimes a computer locked up at 100% with no cycles left to handle mouse and keyboard inputs to stop it.

The heat problem is also compounded by the hard drive. For PVR function (pause, FF), even if not recording, the software is writing the mpeg stream to disk, and with live viewing, reading it back for decoding and display. Not only is this hard on the little 2.5" notebook hard drive, but it generates more heat for the marginal notebook cooling system. A 3.5" desktop drive in an external case is more rugged and can relieve the heat problem.

I've been through this with a Dell 8600 and might note that I was glad the tuner wasn't internal when our outdoor antenna was struck by lightning and it fried the tuner, but not the notebook.

In the long run, our Airstream will probably end up with a Core-Duo Mac Mini on a matching 500GB stacked drive, and with an El Gato Firewire HDTV tuner. I plan to build an oak coffee table in front of the couch to contain them and with room for a 32" or 37" tunerless Westinghouse 1080p LCD monitor sitting on top. Whether that would serve adequately as a computer monitor, with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, remains to be seen. It might just be better to also have an Intel MacBook on the writing table as well.

The Mini handles heat pretty well. I've driven both cores to 100% for over 10 minutes, and the cpu never got above 83C nor did the fan speed up and get loud. It also handles 1080p H.264 movie trailers pretty well, and since the cpu is socketed, there's the option of going from a 1.66 Core Duo to a 2.33 or faster Core 2 Duo once they're released and the prices come down a little.
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Old 07-29-2006, 07:52 AM   #17
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Wireless Internet Service

I ended up with a Tosiba 17 " with Windows XP media operating system. I had ordered a Dell but they kept slipping the delivery date. The Tosiba is a demo unit I picked up on the internet.

Heres my quesition?? what is the best wireless internet service to use? I only want it when I'm traveling on long hauls - 30 to 90 days at a crack, For example, in September, I'm planning a fall trip from Florida to Maine. So a prepay or non- contract service is important. A service called "My Connect" included a ad in the documentation supplied with the computer but I have no experiance with wireless. HELP
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Old 07-29-2006, 11:40 AM   #18
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Hi, David. I'm sure someone more qualified to answer will jump in here, but in my opinion there is no single BEST wireless provider. Verizon has restrictive terms of service that limit what you can do on their network to web browsing, email, and remote office software. Sprint's terms are less restrictive and do allow streaming (music, movies) but they'll send you the LETTER too, if your consumption gets so high it affects the network. Cingular isn't the biggest player, but this month (July) they were supposed to start cooperative roaming with Alltel. I haven't heard whether that's in effect or not.

I have a Verizon wireless card - a 5740 that I got free from Verizon for a 2-year contract. It's the only wireless card sold that doesn't have an external antenna port, and that's not so great in an Airstream. It works okay up front in the middle of all the windows on my '79, but it doesn't work at all in the rear bedroom. Typically, I take it outside when I want to use it.

Even on the maximum battery performance power setting on my Thinkpad, I can watch the battery percentage go down about 1 percent per MINUTE when using the wireless card.

So, my Thinkpad wants to be plugged in when doing wireless. I bought a little Belkin DC-AC inverter for it and an Adaptec external hard drive enclosure with a (faster) 160 GB in it that I use for storing movies and music. I also have a little gizmo Targus USB 2.0 adapter that turns the Thinkpad's two USB ports into four. I carry all this in a Targus bag that I bought at Staples. I had a USB TV tuner for it, but it was the one thing that I failed to unplug during a thunderstorm, and the factory smoke got out of it. (It's very hard to put the factory smoke back in.)

I wasn't all that happy with the USB tuner anyway. The CPU utilization was terrible.

Instead of using the laptop for TV, I got a little LCD TV that I plan to mount on the wall next to the fridge. It runs on 12 VDC, but I need to find the funky little power plug for it and find out what's what on the pins. I'd like to wire it directly into the trailers 12V and get rid of the power brick.

Anyway, this setup gets me wireless and wifi. (Wifi at McDonald's and Flying J is not always faster than wireless.)

As for what carrier, go to evdoforums.com. They have links to the coverage maps for every carrier. You can check them out along your route and see who has the best coverage.

Lamar
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Old 07-29-2006, 11:55 AM   #19
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Lamar - Thanks For The Help. Good Information To Start My Homework. I Have A Tv Tuner In My Home Computer And It Works Great. Thats What Got Me Into The Laptop Idea For Tv
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Old 08-12-2006, 07:55 PM   #20
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I know this is kind of old, and it looks like you already have your solution, but...

I do exactly what you describe in my B190. I'm not exactly burdened with extra space in my B190, so I use my laptop to watch DVDs, and I bought a USB external tuner (a Hauppage WinTV USB 2 PVR model) to use as a TV tuner for it. (The unit will also work as a DVR, which may not be that useful for camping but it can be useful at home. )

I had installed a new Pioneer stereo in my camper, with a Sirius tuner, so I sprung for the $30 auxiliary input feature. This allows me to plug a cable into the laptop's speaker output and run it through the camper's sound system so I'm not pounding on the laptop's speakers. I sometimes get a ground loop hum though - I haven't quite narrowed down the exact circumstances - but usually with enough fiddling I can get it to go away.

Honestly, in my B190, I'm not even sure where I'd mount an LCD panel and TV tuner - pretty much every likely spot would block at least one cabinet, or would be uncomfortable to watch from the couch. Plus then I'd also want a DVD player too. That runs on 12 volts. Yeah, the issues start to add up fairly quickly.

I suggest getting a 12-volt power adaptor for your laptop. You can probably get them from Dell for something like $100 or off eBay for $30. That way, you can still charge your laptop even when you're not plugged in.
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