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That long drive home can get less lonely if only you could watch TV in your car. If you are going on a road tour with your family, finding ways of watching TV in the car will make the trip more interesting, and your kids will be occupied the entire time. Let’s face it: many advantages of watching TV in the vehicle, but most people do not know how to achieve this.

Deloitte’s digital democracy survey established that although satellite and cable subscriptions are the preferred methods of watching television, millennials, baby boomers and generation X prefer to stream live TV. Whether you are watching over the internet or on air, the truth is that you are watching. Television has also moved towards mobile devices over the past few years, and Netflix has steered this shift.

Well, all these trends translate from the living room to the road, where you have the luxury of picking any of the many ways of watching live, recorded or time-shifted television content. Here are six ways to watch television in the comfort of your car:

Local Broadcast Television

If you are into live television and the classic TV shows, you will be happy to know that you can watch local broadcast television in your car. You will have to go through some trouble installing it, and you are also bound to deal with interference from other vehicles and buildings, but that’s all part of the adventure.

You will require three things to broadcast TV in your vehicle: a display, a tuner and an HD TV antenna that can pull in local stations.

As long as you can find a 12V television that suits your needs, it’s easy to find a display and tuner. However, finding the right antenna can prove to be difficult. To achieve the best results, you should mount it on the external part of your car, which is something that many people are not willing to do.

If you do not mind to do a little digging, you can find suction-mounted automotive HDTV antennas. For high-quality images and sound, you should opt for a high-quality antenna that is made for RV use. The only demerit would be that driving with the vast antenna might look funny to your fellow motorists.

DVD/Blu-Ray

You are probably wondering whether DVDs are still a thing, but they are. Having a car DVD player is the easiest way of enjoying your favorite TV shows in your vehicle. Even though research indicates that most users prefer renting content rather than buying it, there is a lot to say about the convenience that a car DVD would have to offer. If you are traveling with your children, you can slot in their much-loved television series into a low profile disk and play it on your way.

So, what do you stand to gain by using a Blu-Ray or DVD to watch TV shows?

  • High quality- Because of their large storage capacity, they can hold high audio and video data, making it possible for high-quality audio and video.
  • Low cost- The price of a Blu-Ray disk is very affordable
  • 3D – You can watch your preferred shows in 3D

Although watching TV on a DVD is not live, and you have to run around with physical media like in the classic movies, car DVDs are easy to come by nowadays. If you don’t feel the vibe of purchasing new hardware for this, you can always plug in an old laptop into a mounted display and enjoy the show.

DVR

 If you are wondering whether it is possible to record a live streaming show or video from your car, you should go for DVR. That way, you can record a video and watch it on your way home. However, not all streaming services allow recording, such as Netflix. DVR will enable you to watch time-shifted shows.

Rather than saving the shows on your gadget, the services store their recordings in the cloud, such that you can access them, from anywhere. The only shortcoming would have to be the bandwidth because you will require the mobile data connection to enable it.

Before you get on the steering wheel and start streaming, you ought to do some research into how much data you will require to access the cloud DVR. Some data plan providers treat different kinds of data differently, so you need to know how they handle it to avoid spending more than you should.

Another option you can choose is a physical DVR to take with you wherever you go. To use it, you will require wiring an inverter in your car and then using it just like you would use it at home. Therefore, make sure it is functioning before connecting it to a cable to avoid disappointments when you head out.

Streaming Video Services

This is another option for people who like watching live television. Streaming services are popular across all generations because they offer the convenience of on-demand video. You get to watch everything, including live TV shows and the latest movies. Considering a large amount of content you receive from streaming services, the amount you pay for them is worthwhile. Service providers like Hulu, Netflix, Prime, and Amazon are probably the best in the industry. You can subscribe to these services or any other and enjoy your preferred shows while on a long road trip.

The best thing about watching live video is that you do not have to stick a large antenna on your car roof. You will not require an array of hardware devices to enjoy your preferred shows. Some of the providers allow you to watch shows later, even after they have been aired on TV months ago. This means that you can still watch the news an hour after leaving the office. The only downside is that video streaming services use up a lot of data.

Satellite Television

If you want to broadcast satellite television in your car, you will need to buy a mobile satellite antenna and subscribe to a paid TV service. Satellite TV  hit the market in the 20th century and has since evolved. Most people have the small dish in their homes, and you will be happy to know that you can use it in your vehicle too. Unlike broadcast TV, the satellite uses a wireless system to deliver television programming into your house or car. Broadcast stations use a powerful antenna to send radio waves to the surrounding regions. Viewers can then pick the signal using the dish.

The good thing about satellite is that service interruptions are not likely to occur, so, you are guaranteed of smooth flowing services at all times. If you are traveling long distances where the local broadcast is expected to be unavailable, get a satellite dish because the chances are that you won’t experience any interruptions. The drawback here is that you might not receive the signal if you are amidst tall buildings like it is the case in busy towns.

When buying a satellite dish for your car, look for one that is designed for an RV but is slimmer and flatter. However, you will have to place the dish on the roof of your car, so, if you don’t like the publicity, this might not be for you. Anyway, the convenience is worth the effort.

Sling Live Television

Services like the Slingbox allow subscribers to stream live TV from whatever their location, which means that you can use the service to watch television from your car. To enjoy the service, you will require two things: a mobile internet connection and a Slingbox (or any other similar gadget). The Slingbox is then attached to your satellite or cable connection.

Sling only allows one stream at a time. If you are watching TV on one device then another person uses your subscription on another device, the service will ask you to select the single device to continue streaming. The other device will be blocked from streaming TV. Although the restriction can be a hassle for families who want to watch different shows at a time, it is the reason behind Sling’s low cost.

If you want to use Slingbox in your car, you can connect it to one screen, from where everyone can watch. Its advantages include low cost and versatility. The service also offers extra packages such as Hollywood and Heartland. If you wish, you can prescribe to premium channels like HBO, EPIX, Cinemax and Showtime.

That car trip with your family doesn’t have to be silent and lonely. Rather than browsing the internet from your devices, you can install a TV in your car and enjoy watching together as a family. The long drive home does not have to be quiet and boring; now, you know six ways to watch TV in your car. With all these options, you are bound to find one that works perfectly for you. Consider your options carefully and make sure you choose one that offers convenience for the long run.

Sources:

  1. You can now get a Netflix-like monthly subscription for cars – New York Post

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