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How to watch mobile TV from your car

Wireless TV options

What to Know

  • An antenna, a TV tuner and a video display are required to view local broadcast television from your car.
  • You will need a satellite dish to view satellite TV from your car. This is very expensive.
  • You will need both a mobile device and a cellular connection to stream content from your car. However, this can eat up your data.

multimedia entertainment is the best way to travel in style, whether you’re in your motorhome or with your family. Mobile TV, music and DVDs (or Blu-ray discs if so inclined) are great options.

Don Mason / Getty Images

Live streaming television in a car

Although services like Sling TV and YouTube TV are not designed to be used in cars, they offer the most convenient way to view live TV on the road. These services require a cellular-data connection. Watching too much television can quickly consume your monthly allowance.

It’s as simple as signing up for a streaming service such as Sling TV, YouTube TV or PS Vue and then downloading the app to your smartphone or tablet. Then you can watch the live stream on your smartphone or tablet, or cast it to a larger roof-mounted display if you have one.

You’ll have access to content from services such as Xfinity Stream or DirecTV Now.

Local Broadcast Television in Your Car

Three components are required to view the same local television broadcast in your car as at home.

  • One type of video display
  • A television tuner
  • An antenna

It’s easy to watch live TV in your car with a mobile camera system. Your display should be set. You just need to verify that your screen can accept additional inputs. You will need an external splitter or input selector if it doesn’t. Many video head units can support multiple inputs, including roof- and mounted screens.

The tuner is the component which receives over-the-air signals and converts them into something your screen can display. You will need an ATSC Tuner to receive digital broadcasts in the United States.

Built-in antennas are available on some tuners, making it the most convenient way to receive TV while traveling. An external antenna pulls weaker signals. An external antenna with omnidirectional capabilities is essential if you live in an area without broadcast antennas. There are many places you won’t receive any OTA signals.

OTA TV signals have a limited range, just like terrestrial radio. These signals may not be available for long distances, so depending on where the station is located relative to your route, it could take up to an hour to get them.

Satellite Television in Your Car

Satellite receivers are the next option to watch wireless TV from your car. Satellite receivers offer all the channels that you would get with a satellite subscription, without the need to travel far from the station.

You will need a special satellite dish to view satellite TV from your car. This is a major drawback. These dishes were originally only available in large dome-shaped configurations that could be used for RVs.

You can get a mobile satellite dish that is flat and can be attached to any vehicle’s roof, in addition to the traditional dome-shaped dishes. Flat satellite dishes can be purchased for thousands of dollars. This is an expensive way to get TV in your car.




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