Can we watch TV on WiFi laptop?

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New member
Mar 14, 2006
England UK
Hi, we are British first-timers planning a tour around Florida in a hired rv.
Your forum is a goldmine of information - thanks!
But can any tell us please - can we can watch TV on our Wi-Fi enabled laptop?
We see some parks offer cable TV hook-up but what would we need to connect this to our laptop?? Or is that impossible.
We know nothing about cable TV at all.? And visiting for only three weeks we don't want an annual subscription to a service
(if that's what's needed).
Or maybe we can buy something in one of the electronic stores so we can watch tv on Wi-Fi without hooking up to cable tv?
We will be visiting rv parks where there is free WiFi or a small fee for short time use. Grateful for any information - thanks.
There are three answers to your question, Yes, Yes and NO.

Alas, NO is the most likely answer

The laptop, by itself, is not equipped to watch television, WI-FI makes no difference since it's for tossing data about, HOWEVER

You can get TV "Cards" for computers. in the case of a laptop I'd go with a USB TV tuner, this is a small box which connects between the park's cable feed and your laptop's USB port.  Usually works very well  I use an internal TV card on one of my larger computers.

The thrid way involves using more expensive hardware

Most RV's have a cable "input" that feeds the main entainerment center in the rig.  This is how cable TV is normally brought into the rig.  I can tell you where this input is on just one make and model (Damon Intruder 2005) but whomever you rented from should be able to point it out to you
Your rental RV will most likely have a tv in it and there will be a cable tv input connector somewhere on the rv.  At worst you may nave to buy a length of cable tv coax cable to connect from your rv to the cable outlet on the campsite - just a few dollars at a local store or maybe $5 in the campground store.  Coax tv cables are readily available everywhere in the USA.

If the rv doesn't have a tv in it, you can buy a small one for under a $100 in a Walmart or other discount store.
Welcome to our forum.

Like Gary, I'd assume there's a TV in the rental unit and you could use the cable TV hookup available at many campgrounds. You could even email them ahead of time to find out.

Just in case you decided to try the "TV card for the PC" option, don't buy your card in the UK because it probably won't be compatible with the TV system here. The cards are probably cheaper to buy here anyway.

One request - stay in touch with our forum and let us know how the adventure goes. Others following you will probably be able to learn from your experience. Thanks.
Thanks for your helpful and speedy replies, everyone. The rv company doesn't rent out TVs. So we will use the laptop.
Will look online at USA electronic stores for a TV card and USB tuner and buy when we arrive. If unsuccessful we'll get local and national news on the internet and buy/rent the occasional DVD.

Yes Tom we'll share our adventures.
Some things which may seem obvious in the USA are not clear to us Brits. I know that works the other way round too; we listened with amusement when our US friends told us of their first encounter on the road with a British roundabout.
Being first-timers in an rv we will have only that - no car unless we stay for a few days in once place and rent a car.? Some camp sites seem to assume that everyone has a car and list places to visit. But it would be helpful if they also included notes on what is within walking distance. Or - if we drive around during the day in our rv to visit attractions, will we find parking lots that allow rvs?
I guess the national parks will OK for a day ticket. But what about visiting public beaches such as Naples or Sarasota.
Hopefully most large food stores and electrical food have rv parking for shoppers. We have visited the USA several times but
have not toured in an rv before so have never noticed. Sorry - maybe my response belongs in a different section of the forum.

I'm not sure I'd use my coach for running around the stores or the beaches. But, yes, most shopping malls have plenty of room to park an RV.

We live in California, so I can't speak for Florida locations/attractions.
I second Gary's response: Buy a small t.v. Computers, especially laptops with their small speakers, don't generally make for good t.v. watching, and the tuner cards get very mixed reviews - mostly bad. T.v. reception around metropolitan areas is usually pretty good, so you might be able to get by with a plain old pair of rabbit ears. You may want to consider a set with a built-in DVD player for those times when you're out in the boonies and can't pick up anything over the air. Hopefully, the r.v. will have an inverter or generator to run 120 volt appliances (like the t.v.), but if it doesn't, you may want to purchase one of those too. Inverters are relatively inexpensive even for a fairly powerful (800-1000 watt) unit. Most t.v.'s nowdays are cable ready, so you can use them either from broadcast transmissions or from a cable hook-up at the park.
I ditto buying a small TV/DVD player to use while you're traveling. You can get TVs pretty cheap at Wal-Mart and other stores but since you're going to be in Florida to start out, you can probably get a real deal at one of the local flea markets. Watching TV and DVDs on a laptop is ok for one person, sitting on a plane, but not so great for 2 or more people sitting in an RV.
I also strongly recomend getting a small TV which probably won't cost much more than buying the card to allow you to watch on your laptop.

Walmart currently has 13 inch color tvs as low as $69.  You probably won't get a tuner card in the stores for anywhere near that price. Even buying though an online vendor they start at about $75 plus shipping. And the quality on a laptop screen is mediocre at best.
What do you mean? All of the advice was spot on 7 years ago ... which if you check the message dates is when the discussion took place.
chriskasey48 said:
Ok all of you guys , you should read more before gaving a wrong reply....

And you are responding to a topic that is nearly seven years old.  You could hardly expect any data discussed here to be up to date.

OOPS! I see Lou S. has beat me to the punch again. ;)
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