How we added almost free TV

Discussion in 'Campsite Electronics' started by Kampus, Apr 30, 2019.

  1. Kampus

    Kampus Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    130
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    Location:
    Slate Belt, Pa
    This is going to be a little bit of a long read, but I figured other ATT, DirectTV customers may benefit.

    The DW and I enjoy the outdoors, but when the weather is bad or we turn in for the night, we enjoy a little TV. Previously we packed a small 8" TV and a thumbdrive with some downloaded shows on it that plugged into the TV....it worked pretty good until we were stuck inside for an entire trip due to the weather.

    We started thinking outside the box and found a way to get live TV in the camper using things we already had....we only needed to purchase a 150Watt inverter since we usually boondock ($16).

    So while it is not totally free, after the inverter purchase it cost us nothing additional.

    Here is what is needed:

    1. Be a DirecTV and ATT cellular customer. We have Direct TV at home and have ATT cell phone plans. This combination allows to the stream a bunch of live channels without using any data. Using the DirectTV app, you can watch the live TV on your phone for free.

    If you want to take advantage of this on a bigger screen...

    2. 19" LED flatscreen TV. This is the TV we normally use in out kitchen. It weighs nothing. We will just grab and pack it when we leave for a trip.

    2. Amazon fire stick (a Roku or Chromecast would probably work as well). We already own this and it is already connected to our kitchen TV

    3. a small wireless router. I cannot rave enough about the HooToo tripmate. I already owned this from when I used to travel for work. Not only is it tiny, its USB powered, and has a USB port and app you can use to access and watch downloaded content from a thumbdrive. Love it. Cost about $20.

    How to put it all together....

    The Amazon firestick is connected to the TV. Our phones (Samsung Galaxy 9 and 10) allow screen mirroring, as does the firestick. Both phone and firestick need to be on the same network to work. This is where the HooToo comes in. Connect the firestick to the HooToo, connect the phone to the HooToo, now they are on the same network. Make sure mobile data is turned on on your phone, turn on mirroring on both phone and firestick, open the direcTV app, watch your live TV fullscreen on the TV using mirroring. This has worked great for us so far.

    We added an inverter so we can run it off the deep cycle battery. As well as added a USB charger to run the firestick and charge the phone will streaming live. We mounted all this mess to the back of the TV for less clutter and ease of moving the TV between the house and the camper.

    It sounds like a process, but its really not....figured some others may get some use out of a similar setup.
    20190430_220538_resized.jpg
    20190430_220601_resized.jpg
    20190430_220442_resized.jpg
    20190430_213832_resized.jpg
     
    Orchid and Sjm9911 like this.
  2. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,438
    Likes Received:
    464
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    Keep an eye out for a tv that runs off 12v. They are out there and would be better on the battery than the inverter.

    I don't boondock so I always have power. We don't have cable at the house so we rely on downloaded movies from Netflix/Amazon. So far so good. I am looking at getting a Chromecast or fire stick though to experiment with.
     
  3. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,005
    Likes Received:
    641
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2016
    Location:
    King George, Virginia
    Those TV sets that use a 120V Brick will run on 12VDC pretty good as well... Found an adapter DC plug back when Radio Shack was still running... AMAZON will have the right adapter plug as well... Those TV Bricks put out around 15VDC or so that plugs into the TV set. It works great from the 12.5-6 VDC directly from the battery or from the 13.6VDC or higher smart mode DC voltages from the smart mode converters just fine as well...

    Of course if your TV is wired directly using a standard 120V Cable then the small wattage 'PURE SINE WAVE' Power inverter works good too like the OP here used... If you use one of those MSW type power inverters your TV sets Viewing and sound will be affected all the time... Works good on PSW type Power Inverters...

    In my case I do a lot of running different things in my OFF-ROAD POPUP so I have what I call 'MY DUTY' PSW Power Inverter that is always on. It is rated at 600WATTs AIMS MODEL from AMAZON... I ran two multi-tap extension cords from it with one going to the home entertainment area and the other one going back to the cabinet top near the TENT bed area where we sleep... Being always On makes it great to plug in anything to it and not worry about them going up in the infamous blue smoke since the Power Inverter is a PURE SINE WAVE model... Usually use up to 150Watts is about all we ever use at any given time... Nice having the reserve power if needed... PSW Power inverters are cheap these days as compared to some 10 or so years back...

    Great for running our Mr Coffee grinder when brewing bean coffee on our Coleman Stove Top Drip Percolator when we are too lazy to startup the 2KW generator to run our Cuisinart Grind and Brew bean coffee maker...

    Always fine a way to do things hehe... We camp off grid with no shore power almost 90% of the time...

    Being a Ham radio guy however one the downsides to using the small 'low cost' Power Inverters is they are known to put off a lot of Burrr's and RF Noise all over the HF Ham Radio bands that you have to deal with...

    We watch TV too when camping... I put up a BATWING ANTENNA on the side of my camper and use a 24-inch HDTV in the trailer... Most always fine a OTA station somewhere when camping off grid..
    [​IMG]
    Roy's image

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  4. xvz12

    xvz12 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    392
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2017
    Location:
    New Plymouth, ID
    We're generally far enough away from civilization that over-the-air TV is a no-go, but we have a small media box, a 19" monitor, & a USB stick that I've put movies & TV shows on for the times that we want to watch something...works pretty well, as long as the wife tells me what she wants to watch before we leave home....lol
     
  5. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,414
    Likes Received:
    1,605
    Joined:
    May 31, 2018
    Location:
    Nj
    I might have to get the small wireless router. I did think of using a fire stick, or roku stick. But forgot that it needed a router!
     
    Orchid likes this.
  6. erich82

    erich82 Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    70
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    All this and you can just get an hdmi adapter for most phones, and youd save on hooking up a router and a chromecast. Or just bring a laptop or a tablet, which actually has a battery vs a TV.
     
  7. Chloe

    Chloe Active Member

    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    42
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    This is a neat idea. We have DTV but our phones are on Sprint. I think we can still stream DTV... and we have unlimited data with Sprint, assuming we can get a signal, though.

    I load up my iPad with downloads from Netflix and also have stuff on my laptop (which is easier for 2 ppl watching).
     
  8. erich82

    erich82 Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    70
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    They also sell portable projectors (think pocket size) if you really want to go big and portable, although the image quality isn't top notch.
     
  9. Kampus

    Kampus Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    130
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    Location:
    Slate Belt, Pa
    Im not sure if my phone supports this....it probably does. I had that little travel router from when I used to travel for work....it was great having your only little hot spot in a hotel room. It was just sitting around collecting dust.
     
  10. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,378
    Likes Received:
    527
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    I tried running my 32" TV off of an old Radio Shack 150W inverter I had... It would power up, then down, up, down...

    I gave up on it but I pretty much think it is because it was a modified sine wave inverter. I might try again with a PSW inverter.

    I use the HDMI cable direct to HDMI on my TV now... it works GREAT! So SIMPLE. Plug it in to phone and either stream if we're in 4G service, or play downloaded video if we're not.
     
  11. erich82

    erich82 Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    70
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    I would bet more on the output capacity of your inverter. 150 watts isn't much for a TV (is that peak?). TVs in that size can range anywhere from 60 to 160 watts, more on the higher end if they are plasma. If you're planning on using a TV, I'd go with at least a 300W inverter.
     
  12. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    Messages:
    5,079
    Likes Received:
    1,718
    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    Florida by way of WV and MD
    We always camp with electric, so I'm going to have to figure this out. We have Direct TV, AT&T, Galaxy 8 phones, and a Firestick. We do have a 19" tv already in our camper, but it's an old piece of crap that came built in with our 2008 TT, so doesn't have HDMI port. We would have to upgrade to a cheap tv that has one.

    Thankfully, it doesn't usually rain very long here in Florida. We can play a quick game of Yahtzee and most rains will be over by then. Even so, may be nice to have cable in some situations. I'd rather have it available, and never use it, than need it for the grandchildren and not have to lose my mind keeping them busy in a pinch.

    Thanks for the idea, going to check the thrift stores for a suitable TV.
     
  13. Blackripley

    Blackripley Member

    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    28
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2018
    Location:
    Goleta Ca
    For non- hdmi you can get a cheep older roku 1 or lt
    [​IMG]
    They do ok mirror casting with Android
     
  14. Kampus

    Kampus Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    130
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    Location:
    Slate Belt, Pa
    now you tell me....gotta check ebay for one of them.
     
  15. Blackripley

    Blackripley Member

    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    28
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2018
    Location:
    Goleta Ca
    Start with craigslist! People are always upgrading. I would also ask friends and family that is where we got ours.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.