Don is a retired engineer and shares his experiences and knowledge with his readers to help them as technology gets more complicated.
A typical Satellite Dish Receiver
Wireless RV TV Service
Yes, There are now ways to convert your RV TV Reception to Digital and even HD (or High Definition) quality, without having to get into the chore of rewiring all of those coaxial cables, AV (Audio Visual) selector boxes.
Up until now, in order to find out about the latest and best available technology on the market, you had to search through a wide sampling of manufacturers and distributors.
You often have to read RV magazines, consult with your RV manufacturer tech department, and do even more, in order to figure out what you need to do in order to upgrade your TV and it's Satellite/Antenna service thats in your old RV.
But today, there are other simpler tools available to help you expand your options for receiving movies, TV shows, and Music, from satellite equipment vendors.
I Upgraded my Home TV and Wireless system
I recently moved my home base from South Carolina, to South Florida, and a key part of my move was my desire to update my home TV and WIFI to the latest technology available.
In my present home, after taking an honest and critical view of my equipment, I had to accept the fact that I had a system of technical chaos that I had built over the past decade.
Add the fact that I also have 4 different generations of Satellite boxes, an old DVD player, a first generation Blue-Ray player, and an old WIFI modem, as well as an ancient wireless printer that was always locking up, and you can start to appreciate my problem.
Then add the world of cables, you know, HDMI cables, coaxial cables, A/V cables, audio cables, HD Video cables, and USB cables.
And of course power cables and surge protectors.
Essentially what I had was a personal technological mess spread around my home. I called over a friend and we had a serious and unbiased look at the mess as I was packing, and I decided that the move was the perfect time for me to take that leap into a major upgrade of our entertainment systems in our Florida home.
So, being the tight, penny-pincher that I am, I cried for a few days, and then decided that a lot of this old stuff had to go, and I needed to purchase some new and better "stuff".
With great pain and anguish, I first designed what I considered my "perfect system" on paper. Then, I started getting rid of the older equipment, by giving it to family members and charities such as Goodwill.
And I started my process of selecting and purchasing the pieces of my new and better home system.
Learn about New Equipment you can use
Now, I won't go into my system and it's components I selected, but rather I will try to describe what I learned, and how it can be used in upgrading your RV entertainment equipment.
Wireless TV's are now available from almost all of the major manufacturers. Some have the wireless transceiver components built in, while others, have a USB port that you can plug a wireless module into.
Once your TV is accessible via your home/RV wireless system, a wide variety of additional entertainment options become available to you on your TV.
Many even provide you the capability to access such popular packages as; Facebook (a social network), Pandora (a popular web-access radio service), YouTube (a video service), and many more such web packages built into what was beginning to be called "Smart TVs".
There are even some Apps such as iTunes that allow you to store your movie purchases often (up to 1000 HD movies). And there are other services which provide space for you to store your favorite movies on their "cloud", then they are there for you to watch at your convenience.
Also, the major satellite services and even the better cable services, were finally offering new and more flexible interface boxes, with HDMI outputs, and some even offer wireless slave boxes for sending satellite movies and shows to a “slave” receiver for another TV somewhere in your RV.
What I have in my RV
In our RV, both my wife and I use our own PC's (one main Laptop PC and 2 iPads specifically), along with a wireless printer/scanner/copier.
For my RV wireless service, as we travel around the country, I have a popular vendors modem card that gives me access to the world via the web, regardless of where we travel and stop in our RV.
We utilize ATT for our Cell phones and we use Verizon Wireless for our web access. I figure I have increased my chances of having some kind of service in my RV regardless of where i travel.
So that more than one person at a time could use the modem card, I purchased a cheap wireless router that my modem card could link to, and with this, I ended up with a relatively cheap, but quite functional personal wireless network in my RV.
But, just recently I upgraded this to a all-in-one wireless data Modem/Router that provides me with a small package (as small as a credit card) with 4G LTE service.
Now my wife and I can both access our email, and we could both shop, plan our travel routes, do our research for our writing, when needed, and I could write and manage my Blogs, Hubs, and books over the web.
Great WIFI router for the serious user.
Go Wireless with a Smart TV
But, our TV’s, although I had replaced both with the latest HD digital models, still had to get their input either from the old crank-up antenna for local stations, or from the hard-wired satellite antenna and satellite decoder box.
With the introduction of the new wireless TV's, and now the availability of the new satellite boxes, it is time, in my opinion to take the next step to having wireless RV TV.
Think about it. If you need to upgrade your RV TV anyway, why not go ahead and install a wireless version of the TV, or in other words a "Smart TV"?
That leaves you with only one more technical step to take, and that is to get a new satellite receiver that has wireless output to slave receivers and through those to your TV's
OK, your satellite box will still be hard-wired to your satellite antenna, so do your research and make sure that you can do this simply and without any re-wiring.
Your old main (Front) TV will be hard-wired (HDMI) or Coax) to your satellite box.
But once you have a satelite box with wireless connection to your TV, you can mount your additional TV’s wherever you want in (or outside) your RV, with one of the new “slave” satellite boxes.
Of course, you still have to run AC power to your newly positioned TV, but that is a lot easier than running the signal cables.
And look at what you now have. Not only do you have your local antenna and satellite programs available the same as before, but you now have more entertainment options available via the web; Movies, TV shows, videos, radio stations, custom music channels, and more.
NOTE: Be aware though, that your older satellite antenna systems will not be designed for HD, but your signal will be so much better once you upgrade your older equipment that you will really enjoy the improved images.
For those of you that want to have true HD, all the way, you need to look into upgrading your Satellite antenna system for your final step.
Some WARNINGS for the Novice Wireless User
Please keep in mind that, along with this new access to the web, you must remember that while using the web for all of those services that I mentioned, they are not free.
When you download or stream a movie, or a video, or whatever, you are also using up your Modem card’s allocated monthly data capacity from your carrier.
With a capacity that is limited, depending on your contract with your carrier, must be managed judiciously. You need to shop around and get the maximum capacity available for your personal needs, at the lowest cost.
And, really, that is the only real drawback to having wireless in your RV that I can see.
Otherwise? It's here, and it’s ready for you to install and enjoy the new flexibility and variety of wireless TV in your RV. Today!
Campgrounds and Free access.
As a note, when traveling in the RV, I always compare the cost of using my (limited) personal data card with the cost of free, or low-cost, generally unlimited wireless access available in many campgrounds.
Often, I will take my PC and my storage hard drive up to the campground lounge area, link into their system and download myself a few Netflix movies to watch later that night on my RV TV. This way, I get my nights entertainment free.
Technology is Changing Rapidly
I have to add this warning also. Technology is changing so dynamically that you have to accept the fact that whatever I mention here, and whatever is on the market today, will be obsoleted relatively soon, and the newer stuff will always be better, more flexible, and cheaper.
Accept it! You just need to do your research diligently, and at some point, “bite the bullet” and grab what will best meet your entertainment needs now, install it and use it.
You see, if you wait forever, you will always be that guy sitting up in the campgrounds public TV room, arguing with the others like yourself over what channel to watch, every night.
Whatever you decide, the options are exciting and ready for you right now.
Wireless Hotspot Demo
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Robert Loescher from Michigan on July 20, 2013:
Don-You are absolutely right. Sometimes I forget that not everyone is a geek like me. I use bandwidth controls, multiple wireless routers, etc to get by the shortcomings of the ROKU. One thing to note is that not all the streaming services are available on other Wi-Fi devices. The ROKU is compatible with over 650 channels...many of which are free. Last week I watched two lectures from the MIT channel. (Free)
Robert Loescher from Michigan on July 17, 2013:
I noticed you didn't mention the ROKU box as part of your solution. The ROKU box supports the older TV equipment so you don't have to necessarily throw out (or donate as you suggested) your old TVs. Careful though, the new ROKU 3 doesn't support old equipment but the ROKU ONE or ROKU TWO does support RCA cable connections. It is great having a TV in any room without having to worry about cables. As long as your wireless router is working then your Roku is working. The Roku 2-XD is only $79.
Ronnie Sowell from South Carolina on May 25, 2011:
I got the old version myself and it sure comes in handy! Be careful out there.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 25, 2011:
Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, my wife has an iPad, and I just got an iPad2 for myself. I carry it everywhere. Look around and there I am, the old Geek sitting in the corner, or park, or coffee shop typing away. I can stop and type an idea or a few short lines on something whenever the urge or inspiration hits me. I recommend having one! As to moving? I am renting my house in SC, and going to FL for a few years, hopefully for more varied inspirations??? Take care my Friend!
Ronnie Sowell from South Carolina on May 25, 2011:
Very informative hub! Two ipads? Did you get the iPad2 yet? Sorry you're leaving the state but as long as you don't go North......