One of the many things we haven’t figured out yet is The TV Question.
In our initial thoughts about trailering our way around the countryside, TV didn’t seem important. We weren’t going to live in the trailer for months on end — at least not in the foreseeable future — and the idea was to enjoy destinations and/or nature. But.
We spent our first two nights out at Belfair State Park, and… we looked at our smartphones a lot. Email? Text messages? Seahawks news? It surprised us a little, but surprises are okay, right?
Next trip, two months later (it is winter, after all), was to Grayland Beach State Park, on the coast. Though we had read campground reviews that applauded the park’s Verizon coverage, we learned that mobile coverage can be a campsite-by-campsite thing. Shoulda known.
Did I mention it’s winter? It is. So there’s more time spent inside Toto’s warm, comfortable shell. It gets dark (and cold) earlier, and huddling around the campfire is okay, but being inside feels pretty good. So there we are, inside for a few hours before bedtime, and we have our books to read and our doggies to supervise and games to play but… we found we wanted to watch some TV.
We ended up, on that trip, watching a couple of PBS dramas we like. There’s no TV in the trailer — yet — but I figured out how to use my smartphone as a WiFi hotspot, then connect to it with the laptop. Then we went to the PBS website and streamed Downton Abbey and Grantchester. Sometimes the show would stop, momentarily, because we were in that marginal mobile coverage area I mentioned. But we got through ’em, and they were fine, and what does this say about TV for Toto?
Next trip: three nights at a different beachside campground. NO. MOBILE. COVERAGE. We listened to music and solved the world’s problems. (Sorry, can’t remember the solutions now.)
For a few Canadian dollars (and even fewer US dollars), our friends at Escape Trailer Industries made Toto “TV-ready.” That means they set up a spot where we can connect our TV to a cable connection (when available from RV parks or campgrounds). There’s an AC outlet, too. We selected this option because we thought, even if we didn’t want to watch TV, this would be a good option to have for resale purposes.
Our ETI folk would have added, had we wished, a streamlined, rooftop tv antenna for over-the-air programming. No, we said, please, the price is already over the moon, help, HELP.
We don’t like live TV all that much, unless someone is landing on the moon or something. We are longtime DVR users who don’t want to have to settle for whatever garbage happens to be on at the moment. And we don’t think we’ll spend much time in the sort of places that have TV hookups. We like the illusion of nature if not the reality (see this post on snakes at Waikiki for evidence).
Fortunately for all of us, video programming can come to us all sorts of ways these days. We can go the aforementioned laptop-and-smartphone-as-hotspot route — IF there is mobile coverage. There are those networks (NBC, PBS) and streaming services (Netflix, etc.) that we can use that way.
BUT. We have an unused 19″ TV in the garage. And Dad gave us one of those stick-on-the-window flat TV antennae we could use if we want. And it’s possible to buy a dongle (who invented THAT word?) that lets you send whatever is on your smartphone or tablet screen straight to your otherwise abandoned, sad and lonely 19″ TV ($45 or thereabouts if you catch them on sale at Amazon).
So there is the possibility of mounting that old TV (from a kitchen in our previous home) on one of Toto’s lovely walls. Of course we’d have to buy a mount. And a dongle. And we would have to agonize over where to mount it. And then someone on the forum says GET ONE of THESE MOUNTS which provide dual mounting locations. And then even if we scare up the dollars to get all this stuff I still have to install it, and that sort of thing is fun, except my back is on the fritz and nothing much sounds like fun except painkilling opiates.
Just a few weeks from now we’re supposed to head out on an 11-night trip. Will we have TV? (Will we have a healthy-enough back to even go?) HOW WILL WE LIVE WITHOUT WOPNER? These are the kinds of crises I face in my life.
I think that makes me a very lucky fellow. But that’s me. How do you watch TV in your RV (or do you watch it all)? Or if you don’t have an RV yet (what?????), how do you think you’ll watch? I’d really like to know. Comments?Sharing is caring!
Following is daring.