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Old 06-10-2021, 03:28 PM   #1
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Smart TV on camper?

At a campground last week I realized that I could only receive about half of the 100 or so channels on the park's HD cable system. I inquired in the office, and they said it would take a smart TV to receive all the channels.

I have always figured that if I hook the coax up to the camper, I'd get the same channels as everyone else. Is there something I can add to my 2018 dumb TV in order to receive all the channels?

Has anyone else run into this at a campground? I've been visiting private campgrounds for decades and was totally surprised by this.

All of the stations on the channel guide loaded onto my TV when I did the scan but would not come up. My friend in the next site had the same thing happen, but he could get audio-only on the phantom channels.

Another friend showed up with a new Grand Design that came from the factory with a Roku TV, which picked up all the channels. We were all baffled.

You might say I should be happy with 50 channels, but to complicate things, the channels available to my poor TV were scattered throughout the 100 listings, so I had to surf the entire list to see which ones would come up.
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Old 06-10-2021, 03:40 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mjones12 View Post
At a campground last week I realized that I could only receive about half of the 100 or so channels on the park's HD cable system. I inquired in the office, and they said it would take a smart TV to receive all the channels.

I have always figured that if I hook the coax up to the camper, I'd get the same channels as everyone else. Is there something I can add to my 2018 dumb TV in order to receive all the channels?

Has anyone else run into this at a campground? I've been visiting private campgrounds for decades and was totally surprised by this.

All of the stations on the channel guide loaded onto my TV when I did the scan but would not come up. My friend in the next site had the same thing happen, but he could get audio-only on the phantom channels.

Another friend showed up with a new Grand Design that came from the factory with a Roku TV, which picked up all the channels. We were all baffled.
The campground is wrong. Any over the air signal or unencoded cable signal can be received by any TV with a ATSC tuner (all TV's manufactured after 3/1/2007 have ATSC tuners). A smart TV is only required to receive streaming services which are delivered via internet not cable.

Make sure your TV antenna booster is turned off to use the campground cable signal. Once it is off rescan for cable channels on each TV.
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Old 06-10-2021, 03:55 PM   #3
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Steve is correct. Campground doesn't know what they are talking about. TV is such a wasteland of commercials, I can't even stomach it anymore, cut cable years ago. Stream only. If I can't stream, I sit outside and listen to music. What I do normally anyway. TV is not a camping activity. Only use it when stuck inside due to rain and I'm too lazy to read.
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Old 06-10-2021, 04:05 PM   #4
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Are you sure that your TV was set to Cable and not Air when you did the channel scan?
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Old 06-10-2021, 04:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
Are you sure that your TV was set to Cable and not Air when you did the channel scan?
Yep. Antenna booster was off and tv set to cable when scanned. A lot of experienced campers did the same thing with same results.
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Old 06-10-2021, 08:59 PM   #6
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A shore campground I went to in Delaware end of last season actually handed you a little cable box you had to connect to TV and plug in. Lots of channels on that thing. you had to remember to return it when you check out, or you paid for it!
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Old 06-10-2021, 09:58 PM   #7
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The quality of some Tv tuners are better than others as far as receiving signals. If the signal is marginal, the scan function may skip the channel completely or may only play the signal it gets (audio only) & give you the message. Also, if your cable connections built into the RV are marginal (and many RV's have this issue), the same thing can happen.

I have a friend who had the main Tv not pick up 4 of the first 10 channels no matter how many times we scanned & checked cable connections while the bedroom Tv picked up all available channels.
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Old 06-10-2021, 11:03 PM   #8
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We were at a campground a couple years ago and had a similar problem. Our main living room tv picked up the cable channels just fine but the bedroom TV, that we installed ourselves, would not play the cable channels no matter what we tried. In researching this, I found first- that there are "digital cable" systems, which this campground had. Your TV has to have a QAM receiver to receive that type of cable is what I was told. And apparently our cheap bedroom TV didn't have it.
Only happened in that one campground and has not been a problem anywhere else we have camped with a cable hookup. But just to make sure, I purchased a new TV that specifically says QAM receiver. We are going back to that same campground later in the fall, so we shall see!
Just my 2 cents and experience. Happy camping!
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Old 06-11-2021, 04:05 AM   #9
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Yep. Antenna booster was off and tv set to cable when scanned. A lot of experienced campers did the same thing with same results.
Sounds like you need a set top box for that cable system. DW is forcing me to choose campgrounds based on that. Many in FL seem to require them (think snowbirds).

Caused us to change the TVs to smart TVs so we can stream, which seemed to work surprisingly well, even through the wifi ranger. Campground was not crowded, that might change if they were crowded.
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Old 06-11-2021, 05:03 AM   #10
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Another option is to use a Firestick with your TV. I use my iPhone with an HDMI adapter. If you are subscribed to any streaming service, you can get any channel that is offered. No cables, no antennas, and a clear picture. For the little amount of time that we watch TV while camping, itís a great option for us.
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Old 06-11-2021, 05:10 AM   #11
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Maybe the campground is overstating the number of channels they receive from their provider?
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Old 06-11-2021, 06:43 AM   #12
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You can buy a ROKU stick at your favorite WM if that helps.
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Old 06-11-2021, 07:32 AM   #13
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Adding a Roku box to your TV will not get you better cable TV reception. It will enable your older TV to use streaming apps though.

I think the much more likely culprit to the poor reception is the campgrounds CATV distribution system is in need of repairs. The cables are run underground (can be damaged by water intrusion), and the connectors are typically exposed to the elements and have seen many, many campers making use of them.

To me, Campground Cable TV falls into the same category as Campground WiFi - it’s usually more of a pain than it’s worth! For my rig, I have my own internet mobile router and stream TV off that. For local news/weather, I use my antenna.
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Old 06-11-2021, 08:05 AM   #14
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I had the same problem but with a smart TV. I hooked up the cable to the TV and after it scanned I only got 3 channels. lol I am sure that something was wrong with the settings because I was connected directly to the campsite cable connection.

I've read about a lot of people using their cell phone's hot spot to stream videos to their TV. I tried to do this but the lag was terrible.
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Old 06-11-2021, 08:19 AM   #15
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Folks- we are discussing smart (and dumb) TV vs campground cable systems.
Let's stay on topic please!
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Old 06-11-2021, 09:35 AM   #16
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It should be noted that since smart TV's stream wifi signals...you should NOT be using them in the VAST majority of campgrounds which do NOT have the bandwidth...NOT SIGNAL STRENGTH....to support live video on their wifi. Unless you are in a campground that advertises ultra wide bandwidth you are STEALING access from your fellow campers and just a few streamers can severely impact most campground wifi. Only stream using your cell phone data plan/hotspot unless you KNOW your campground says they can handle it.
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Old 06-11-2021, 09:54 AM   #17
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Smart tvs are branded so because they can utilize internet services (either via WIFI or an ethernet connection)

Picking up CABLE services has nothing to do with the tv being smart but it has everything to do with how well the tuner in your tv operates. For most digital HD cable services you do need a QAM tuner in your tv. Even with that, some tuners work better than others.

Many so called 'smart' tvs do in fact have QAM tuners (only because they are newer tvs) but other than that, there is no correlation.

The mentions of ROKU and Firesticks (or anything else WIFI) are not relevant in this discussion. They DO NOT help you receive the campground's cable services.
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Old 06-11-2021, 11:03 AM   #18
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Smart tvs are branded so because they can utilize internet services (either via WIFI or an ethernet connection)

Picking up CABLE services has nothing to do with the tv being smart but it has everything to do with how well the tuner in your tv operates. For most digital HD cable services you do need a QAM tuner in your tv. Even with that, some tuners work better than others.

Many so called 'smart' tvs do in fact have QAM tuners (only because they are newer tvs) but other than that, there is no correlation.

The mentions of ROKU and Firesticks (or anything else WIFI) are not relevant in this discussion. They DO NOT help you receive the campground's cable services.

X2 & X2. As I also stated. In some cases, the quality of the Tv & its' tuner makes a difference.
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Old 06-11-2021, 11:25 AM   #19
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Campground operator may have been referring to an old technology called CableCARD, a special-use PC Card device that allows consumers in the United States to view and record digital cable television channels on digital video recorders, personal computers and television sets on equipment such as a set-top box not provided by a cable television company.

It didn't catch on.

https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...te=1&p=2576449
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Old Yesterday, 06:27 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
It should be noted that since smart TV's stream wifi signals...you should NOT be using them in the VAST majority of campgrounds which do NOT have the bandwidth...NOT SIGNAL STRENGTH....to support live video on their wifi. Unless you are in a campground that advertises ultra wide bandwidth you are STEALING access from your fellow campers and just a few streamers can severely impact most campground wifi. Only stream using your cell phone data plan/hotspot unless you KNOW your campground says they can handle it.
Not true. Smart TVs do not receive internet over cable.
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