Over the air TV antenna versus hotspot and "watch" apps

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by RickB, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. RickB

    RickB
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    We currently camp for less than a month a year, non-consecutively. Our TT has a nearly worthless omni-directional antenna that rarely receives even one TV channel and picks up FM channels within 30 miles. The two options we are considering are:
    1. Purchase and install a good over the air antenna.
    2. Using our cell phone as a hotspot.
    We would like to view the evening news, an occasional sporting event, movie, or TV program.
    We camp mostly in Oregon, usually more than 50 miles from the originating TV signal. Thanks!
     
  2. Onemoretrail

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    Here is a list of TV stations in Oregon. With a good antenna you should be able pick up at least a few of them subject to trees and terrain. I had a Winegard Sensar IV that picked up stations up to 75 miles away. That was over flat terrain. I have a King digital antenna now and so far it hasn't be as sensitive.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_television_stations_in_Oregon
     
  3. RickB

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    With your King antenna, are you able to pick up Eugene stations at the coast? FYI, if you're not an Oregonian, the distance from Eugene to the coast is 50 or 60 miles and the terrain is rugged.
    Our omni-directional will pick up Eugene stations from our driveway just fine (40 miles away with flat terrain). Our omni won't receive any channels when we camp at the coast, not even the local low power station for the Newport area. Thanks.
     
  4. NYDutch

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    A good directional OTA antenna like the Winegard Sensar IV (batwing with Wingman add-on) plus the Winegard Sensar Pro amplifier/signal finder/power injector, will give you the best chances of picking up distant OTA channels of any RV mounted antenna on the market today. The common saying among radio geeks is that an omni antenna is "equally bad in all directions." :)
     
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  5. Onemoretrail

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    I haven't had a chance to use the King on the Oregon coast yet. The Sensar IV picked up a couple of Eugene stations that were on local transmitters out of Coos Bay. The coast has plenty of of these LPTVs as you can see from the list. No need to tune in to the originating location of the TV station.

    The only reason I use a King antenna now is that it came with the new motorhome. I have satellite as well so I make do with the King.
     
  6. RickB

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    Thanks for the info on the OTA side.
    Has anyone used their cell phone as a mobile hot spot and streamed a live program?
     
  7. drfife

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    In rural areas we find the hot spots are adequate for Internet surfing but not streaming movies. Plus, streaming uses a lot of data. If you don't have unlimited data, you probably will incur extra charges.
     
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  8. docj

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    With Verizon 4G/LTE we never have problems streaming-rural/urban makes no difference. We do have an unlimited account so we do this often and we are very familiar with the performance.
     
  9. drfife

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    I have Sprint and my wife has AT&T. Sprint only gets 4G/LE in urban areas near major highways. We camp in very rural areas of Texas. It is not uncommon to have no phone service, let alone data.

    My wife's AT&T service is better in rural areas, but signal strength inadequate for video streaming. I bought a cell signal booster. It helps, but not a miracle.

    My Sprint phone is free with my job. I will replace my service with Verizon soon. I hope I can get 4G/LTE in the rural areas we frequent.
     
  10. docj

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    Many (if not most) full-timer RVers use Verizon because its network provides the broadest coverage of the US. It's not that there don't still exist dead areas, but they have shrunk in size to the point where I no longer worry about them. Furthermore, over the past year I can say that we've had 4G/LTE service everywhere we stayed the night.
     
  11. drfife

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    Unfortunately, there are still large sections of Texas that aren't covered by any carrier.
     
  12. docj

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    We've traveled over 50,000 miles across North America over the past 5 years and, with the exception of Death Valley, we've never stayed the night in a location without Verizon service. We don't boondock and every town we've stayed in had adequate service regardless of whether it was in Ely NV or Wall SD or similar rural locations. I don't deny that areas without service exist, but, as I said, they've become smaller and less significant each year.
     
  13. RickB

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    We also carry Verizon service and most places we camp have the 4G/LTE (according to their map anyway). I'll look at our data plan but I'm pretty sure we have limited data. I'd hate to spend even one penny more for cell service!
    I think for me the solution will be replacing our omni directional with a Sensar IV and adding a good quality FM antenna.
     
  14. NYDutch

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    Rick, since the Sensar IV serves the lo-VHF band as well as hi-VHF and UHF, it will also serve as an effective FM radio antenna. The FM frequency band sits right next to lo-VHF channel 6.
     
  15. RickB

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    Thanks Dutch! I'll look into it.
    Rick
     
  16. RickB

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    I ended up installing a Sensar IV in place of the omni-directional. I'll post my results. Maybe it will quit raining here in Western Oregon eventually :(
     
  17. NYDutch

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    Sounds good, Rick. Let us know how it works out for you. And keep your powder dry! :D
     
  18. RFCN2

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    "We would like to view the evening news, an occasional sporting event, movie, or TV program."

    We have a good over the air antenna, an HD Direct TV, and Verizon unlimited data plan that we use for hot spot. We don't use the Direct TV any more. We watch most TV using the hot spot. In most of the USA Verizon has a signal good enough to use. If not we use the antenna. Here is the thing though, if you want local news hot spot is usually not a good way, or local sporting events. What you will get is Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Apple TV, Hulu, and so on. We find plenty to watch from that menu. But if you are used to having cable or an antenna you may not find what you want with the internet. Plus if you don't get an unlimited data plan it will cost you a bundle to use it for TV.
     
  19. RFCN2

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    We also have a Verizon unlimited plan and mostly watch TV using my iPhone 6S as a hotspot. And yes it works well in many areas. But if you have been able to travel 50,000 miles in the US without any exceptions to being able to stream TV using Verizon you must travel to different places than we do. The last two RV campgrounds we have stayed if have been problems. 1. Lake Skinner just east of Temecula. Signal not strong enough just using phone. Tried Wilson amp and did not improve enough to even do emails. 2. High end RV park in Palm Springs that gets a 10-10-10 rating from GS. Verizon signal is intermittent. Sometimes works fairly well, and other times too slow to use for email. We were able to watch a TV show with it last night, but the night before, no. Park wifi totally hopeless.
     
  20. docj

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    All I can say is that Verizon has worked for us. We've only been avidly streaming for the past ~3 years of the 5 we've been fulltiming, but only occasionally do we have "rebuffering" issues. I guess you must stay in more "out of the way" locations than we do.
     

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