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He Sails

Watching a little TV

Amy and I have always been TV watchers to some extent and back in the day, when we were too poor to afford any other kind of entertainment, TV was something we enjoyed.  We wanted to take that entertainment with us.  I know, there are are some “purists” out there that disdain the idea of TV on your cruising boat – supposed to get away from it all, back to nature or something.  I think that’s great if that’s what you want to do but this is what we want to do.

So how do we get TV on the boat?  First, get a TV.  I bought one on Amazon, the NAXA  Widescreen Full 1080P HD LED TV DVD Player + Digital Tuner.  It has a built in DVD player so we can watch our favorite DVD’s (Captain Ron of course) or pick up new stuff from RedBox or even borrow some truly excellent stuff from friends.  The benefit here is we don’t need any internet connection for that to provide some great HD entertainment.  This TV was designed for RV use so I’m hoping it’s a little more sturdy than you average TV but who knows.  The real advantage of the RV use design is that it supports running off a DC power source.  That’s right, even at anchor, away from it all, we can still get our entertainment fix.

You also need a decent internet connection.  With that Wirie AP, we get pretty reasonable throughput – especially since the provider did some upgrades.  I understand more are in the works so it’s getting better and better.  As wifi continues to spread, hopefully we can continue to leverage this.

Next, a Slingbox.  This allows us to stream the TV from our fixed address in Central Texas over the internet to our boat.  Excellent for live sports events like National Championship games, Superbowl, Longhorn and Aggie games as well as getting current news outlets.  It’s literally like sitting at home watching cable TV although you sure won’t channel surf – it can take 5-8 seconds for the channel to switch, the stream to catch up, etc.  You kind of gotta know what you want to watch and put it on that channel and leave it.  The Slingbox even works with the DVR so we can watch shows we recorded.  Pretty nice.

That being said, the Slingplayer app on my iPad did not work that great.  Even on lowest resolutions it could get pretty rough with a lot of dropped connections, freezes or skips.  I was thinking it was just the limited bandwidth we had until we hooked up a laptop with the Slingplayer and things ran incredibly better.  That took me to the WD TV Live device.  This little thing connects to the wifi signal, streams Slingbox and works really well.  Watching live TV is so much better with this over the iPad.  You can even use a remote control.

As a added bonus,  WD TV has the apps for Netflix, Hulu and Vudu – even Pandora.  We have found these sources provide a much better viewing experience; higher resolutions, more reliable connections, etc.  Going forward, we’ll leverage these apps over the Slingbox whenever possible.  You can also use the USB port on the front to plays movies from a USB drive.  Gonna have to rip Captain Ron down onto that along with The Hobbit movies!  So much easier to store a few high capacity thumb drives than the box sets.


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