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Old 06-11-2021, 04:15 PM   #1
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Can you get cable TV without cable box with smart TV

Here is the question: I have a smart TV in the RV. Everywhere we go we must get a cable box from the park office, pay your deposit, go through the machinations of hooking it up. This is repeated in every park, IF they have cable boxes. Is there any way when the park offers Wi-fi that your smart TV can receive a cable signal without the cable box. This could be a Canadian problem, as we have noted in many American parks they still have the standard coax hookup where you connect the cable to an outside post and you have reception without a cable box.
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Old 06-11-2021, 04:38 PM   #2
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Can't comprehend the problems of your smart t.v. not being cable ready? As far as wi-fi goes, the t.v. has to be "wi-fi capable". The wi-fi has nothing to do with antenna, cable or satellite reception.
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Old 06-11-2021, 04:48 PM   #3
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Cable TV without the box

At last a voice from the wilderness. Perhaps I do not explain myself. I have a smart TV. The park has Wifi. My question is: will the "smart TV" hook up to the wifi, thereby allowing me to download cable or watch TV throught the wifi. I have heard that people actually download movies from the park wifi, which will often overload the wifi capabilities of the park. I do not wish to do this, but what I would love to learn how to do is make the wifi connection with the smart tv and not have to bother with a cable box.
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Old 06-11-2021, 05:28 PM   #4
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Is there any way when the park offers Wi-fi that your smart TV can receive a cable signal without the cable box.
Many cable TV setups have scrambled signals that require the BOX to descramble it to view... preventing someone to illegaly hookup to the cable and watch for free... this BOX also allows the cable operator to monitor what you are watching and bill to whoever owns the box any premium content that might be offered.

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Is there any way when the park offers Wi-fi that your smart TV can receive a cable signal without the cable box.
Most not all but MOST park WiFi are hooked like a telephone party line... as more people try to watch or "stream" TV from the WiFi signal, the slower the delivery and the more interruptions to EVERYONE on at the same time... The bottle-neck is the BANDWIDTH of the signal the park is subscribed to from their internet service. This might be great for 2 or 3 people at the same time, but get a dozen then everyone gets slowed to a crawl.

The best way to get WiFi signal to your smart TV is to have a data service thru your CELL phone service... you can make your cell phone into a hotspot with a password. Then your smart TV can hook up to your cell signal which will provide ONLY you a WiFI signal where you can then stream movies, up to the limit of HI-SPEED data that your cell provider gives with whatever plan that you subscribe too.

AND FINALLY... internet TV and CABLE tv programs are two different services... sometimes they overlap a little but NEVER are the same...

Have you thought about purchasing an outdoor antenna and watching over-the-air FREE TV? Lots of commercials and you have to be within LINE-OF-SIGHT ( no mountains) and 100 miles of a city. I have gotten as many as 40 channels when close to a metropolitan area... it is FREE but LOTS of commercials, and LOCAL news/weather.
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Old 06-11-2021, 05:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by flugelboneman View Post
At last a voice from the wilderness. Perhaps I do not explain myself. I have a smart TV. The park has Wifi. My question is: will the "smart TV" hook up to the wifi, thereby allowing me to download cable or watch TV throught the wifi. I have heard that people actually download movies from the park wifi, which will often overload the wifi capabilities of the park. I do not wish to do this, but what I would love to learn how to do is make the wifi connection with the smart tv and not have to bother with a cable box.
A Smart TV is a TV with 2 things.

1. Built in WIFI (wireless) and/or Ethernet (wired) - this is how the TV gets the internet.

2. Applications or Apps that make it possible to stream (send over the internet) programming. Generally each service (channel) has their own app.
an example is if you can look through the offerings (you might need the internet connection first) You will likely come across Netflix, Hulu, Amazon prime. Think of the smart TV as a computer designed to do one thing. deliver entertainment. Some like Netflix allow you to download things but you need a computer or table as it needs some storage space.

Each of these providers require you have an account (pay) to watch their content. Which means you have a user name and password to enter into that App. Though I have seen Samsung offering quite a few free items over the internet for their TVs. More than i thought they would give away.

Cable TV is like you described, a coaxial cable that gets screwed into the rig somewhere. The reason you may or may not need a cable box is whether or not the cable company has scrambled (encoded) their system to prevent theft. If it is scrambled you need a box. Not scrambled no box.

Besides the internet and smart TV also consider some sort of over the air antenna. I have a Bat Wing antenna with an amplifier on mine. picks up HD channels sometimes 50 miles away.

Also Satellite is an option too . Dish Network i heard has a travelers plan for around $50 a month. You can turn the billing on and off as you need or don't need. you need a dish of some sort ( roof mount , ground mount, roof mount that can tune it in while you are moving ( called in motion). And you need a Dish Box, somewhere around $100.00

I could go on and on. You also don't need to rely on parks for WiFi.
Your phone could be used if its new enough and can be put on the right plan.
Jetpacks also, little boxes you get from the cell company that let you connect multiple devices including your phone, TV and anything else you have.



Hope this helps
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Old 06-11-2021, 05:42 PM   #6
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RV TV without cable box

Thx so much RS Data, that makes sense to me. I will see what our cell phone will offer. We do have an outside antenna with a booster. We live on Vanvouer island and our major TV stations are all located at the bottom of the island e.g. Victoria and Vancouver. When we are up island it is impossible to get much on the antenna. In areas where there are large urban centers the antenna works fine. Its when we are in the boonies you gotta have a cable box, that is even if they offer one. Some of our local RV parks seem to be doing away with the cable box and offering some form of reception through antennae spread throughout the park. They look like Wifi antennae and I suspect that is what they are. We were told when hooked up we will be able to get cable directly from these. With all electronics, we seem to be in an ever changing state due to new innovations. Its hard for us old guys to keep up.
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Old 06-11-2021, 05:56 PM   #7
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Some of our local RV parks seem to be doing away with the cable box and offering some form of reception through antennae spread throughout the park. They look like Wifi antennae and I suspect that is what they are. We were told when hooked up we will be able to get cable directly from these.
very possible that the park is converting the cable signal and offering that signal thru their own WiFi setup, although I wonder if that signal will also provide internet connectivity also? That is where I believe the difference is...

well anyway... you are learning and that is always a good thing ... always something NEW to learn these days...
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Old 06-11-2021, 09:55 PM   #8
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I have never been to an RV park that had WiFi that could handle more then a few people streaming at one time.
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Old 06-12-2021, 10:36 AM   #9
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I'll suggest that a good site to learn more about cellular service and devices is the Mobile Internet Resource Center. They have many introductory and more advanced videos to explain WiFi vs. Cellular capabilities and the associated devices. Cherie and Chris are long time full-timers in both RVs and Cruisers (boats).

At this point, I'd suggest you stay away from low-bandwidth campground WiFi. The one campground you found that offers TV via WiFi is an outlier. Think about concentrating on the following (ranked in order of cost/investment):

Campground Cable - If your campground offers cable, it is usually at no extra cost. However, based on your location, it may require an equipment deposit. We've never needed a box for it but YMMV.

OTA (over the air) - This is what rsdata was suggesting. It is the most cost-effective solution though there are range restrictions. I've downloaded the "TV Towers" app so I know where to point the external directional antenna. The downside is that OTA usually doesn't broadcast the cable specialty stations like CNN, Discovery, H&G, MSNBC etc. An OTA rig will include a directional antenna, mast, securing hardware and coax cable. Figure about $150USD as a onetime cost.

Satellite TV - This is what Trialrun85 suggested. Your initial investment in the dish and receiver may be less than $350USD. There are subscription costs for the content, but they can be activated/deactivated. Depending on the channels you require, the monthly subscription cost ranges from $50-$100USD. An important note: The dish needs an unobstructed view of the sky toward the southwest (and, perhaps, other directions depending on the content server). That means that you can't have the dish under a forest canopy or blocked by a large tree.

Cellular Internet - This is where you can leverage the "smart" features of a television/Roku device, Apple TV, etc.. You need a "hotspot" device (mobile phone/Jetpack/router) that connects to a cellular provider through via a SIM-card provided by them. The hotspot device uses the cellular signal to connect to the internet and then transmits/receives data to/from your TV via WiFi and "relays" it to the cellular signal. At its least expensive level, you can use an existing 4G phone with the hotspot feature activated. However, there is usually a very limited amount of hotspot data (~5 gigabits) provided by your cellular provider. This may mean that all your allotted hotspot data will be consumed in a very short time!

For a greater monthly data allowance, you'll probably need a data-only device (Jetpack/router) and subscribe to a data-only cellular plan. A Jetpack is in the $200-$300USD range and a data only plan may cost you $50-$60USD every month for around 30-50 gigabits/mo. Unlimited plans are pricey.

Mobile Starlink - This isn't available yet but is is on the way in the next 12-months or so. It may be the most expensive option but will offer an internet connection many, many times faster that cellular internet and (initially) with unlimited data. However, the same need for an open sky (but in a northern direction) like the satellite tv option will exist. As more Starlink satellites are launched/positioned and satellite-to-satellite laser connectivity is rolled-out, the amount of open sky needed will be reduced. However, a forest canopy will not allow its use.

HTH
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Old 06-12-2021, 10:46 AM   #10
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Is there any way when the park offers Wi-fi that your smart TV can receive a cable signal without the cable box.
Wireless "cable" if you want to call it that, would be satellite. That will make you independent of what the park provides.

If the park's cable requires a box and management doesn't provide one or you don't want to jump through the hoops, the only option other than satellite is streaming. That requires Wi-Fi, for which few parks offer decent service, or a hotspot which is potentially expensive and sometimes has no service.
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Old 06-12-2021, 10:10 PM   #11
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Cable TV without the box

Hey Chris that is what I think I am looking for. streaming through wifi. But how do I stream the wifi into my smart tv. Forgive my thickheadedness on this stuff. I suspect I must subscribe to something or someone to do this.
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Old 06-12-2021, 11:03 PM   #12
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Hey Chris that is what I think I am looking for. streaming through wifi. But how do I stream the wifi into my smart tv. Forgive my thickheadedness on this stuff. I suspect I must subscribe to something or someone to do this.
You have to connect the smart tv to the campground wifi, through the tv's settings. You don't stream the wifi, you use wifi to stream content to the tv. Just like you would connect your phone or tablet or laptop wifi at your home. Only your tv is the device this time.
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Old 06-12-2021, 11:26 PM   #13
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Hey Chris that is what I think I am looking for. streaming through wifi. But how do I stream the wifi into my smart tv. Forgive my thickheadedness on this stuff. I suspect I must subscribe to something or someone to do this.
Something you may have noticed from several poster's is that WiFi service from 99.9% of all campgrounds is lacking the ability to put enough signal into your TV to get any streaming capability at all.

Think of trying to drink a milk shake thru a cocktail straw... not much flow? of course not... you need a McDonalds wide straw to get any shake into your mouth. Well all you can get from a campground WiFi is the cocktail straw.

YOU MUST SUBSCRIBE to a cell service... i.e. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc... at a monthly charge for X amount of DATA, and data is what the TV requires ( smart TV) to show movies and programs. The amount of DATA that you subscribe to is subject to the amount that you pay per month to the cell service provider.

There are various devices, including your smartPHONE that can TURN cell data into WiFI data that your TV can use.

It all depends on what you want to pay, AND where you live and travel to. You HAVE to be in a strong cell signal area to be able to do this. The further into the wilderness you travel the less cell tower signal you will have.

PART TWO... Once you supply a WiFI signal of your own ( cell service) to your TV, then for the most part you then have to subscribe to the channels that you want to watch. The DISCOVERY Channel is a popular subscription service that gives you quite a few diverse channels similar to what you would get with cable or satellite at home. Most subscription services like Discovery charge anywhere from $5 to $15/month to be able to watch the streaming service that you have provided via your CELL Phone provider and the device that you chose to use to make your own WIFI service that would be capable ( unlike weak campground WiFI) of allowing you to stream to your TV.

I suggest that you look at youtube videos on the subject for further information that will help explain. Search 'streaming TV to my RV' for appropriate videos like this one...
https://youtu.be/2PlUcwRHpqM
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Old 06-12-2021, 11:57 PM   #14
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Since we rarely find any campground wifi that's any good, we use our cellphones as hotspots. We then use our Dish Anywhere app to access our home dvr. That way we can watch the same shows we would watch at home and our recorded shows. We can also stream Amazon Prime or Netflix to our smart tv.
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Old 06-13-2021, 05:49 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by whj469 View Post
I have never been to an RV park that had WiFi that could handle more then a few people streaming at one time.
X2 - normally park-provided WiFi is pathetic at best...unbearable at worst.

I have a 4G modem/router that provides my WiFi at home - not blazing speed, but not bad. I generally get 40-50 Mbps down and about 6-8 Mbps up.

But, it is portable and when we load up the RV to head out, it comes with us.
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Old 06-13-2021, 08:12 AM   #16
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As many have stated, if you are going to rely on your cell phone as a hotspot, you are going to require a pretty decent data package on your plan. That gets pricey, especially here in Canada. Then most cell service providers, throttle you down once you reach a certain data limit. With streaming it won't take long to reach that limit. Telus for example offers unlimited data plans, but once you reach a certain number of gigabytes used, you get slowed down to a crawl.
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Old 06-13-2021, 09:06 AM   #17
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{snip}...But how do I stream the wifi into my smart tv...{snip}
Smart TVs have a radio receiver/transmitter built into them. Thus, they recieve WiFi via radio signals. Some Smart TVs may also have a wired connection that connects to a device called a "router". Both allow an internet "source" to connect to your TV.

It is that internet source that sends (streams) internet content by radio (WiFi) or wire to your Smart TV. However, the source needs to be a "node" connected to the internet. Therefore the question "how do I stream the wifi into my smart tv?" should actually be "how do I connect to the internet from my RV?".

To answer that question, please watch this introductory video by the Mobile Internet Resource Center:
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Old 06-13-2021, 09:57 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by flugelboneman View Post
Here is the question: I have a smart TV in the RV. Everywhere we go we must get a cable box from the park office, pay your deposit, go through the machinations of hooking it up. This is repeated in every park, IF they have cable boxes. Is there any way when the park offers Wi-fi that your smart TV can receive a cable signal without the cable box. This could be a Canadian problem, as we have noted in many American parks they still have the standard coax hookup where you connect the cable to an outside post and you have reception without a cable box.
Can't testify to other providers but we have had Dish before and they have an app you can use to stream their content.

Also, we are currently Spectrum (formerly known as Time Warner) cable subscribers at home and there is a smarty TV app that we use to stream all the Spectrum channels on the road that we have at home. Works pretty well except for the inability to go directly to a specific channel. You have to scroll through their list to find higher channels like CNN (around 200 I think).

Note that we are accessing this via the HDMI dongle for Roku, not using the somewhat outdated built in TV apps from Vizio. This is an amazing piece of $40 technology!
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Old 06-13-2021, 01:38 PM   #19
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Smart tv in rv

Hi, what is the spectrum smarty tv app?
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Old 06-13-2021, 02:56 PM   #20
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