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What digital set-top box for an old portable tv?

(7 Posts)
plonker Sun 07-Aug-11 22:04:23

We have an old portable tv/dvd player that we plan on using in a tourer caravan.

We obviously need some sort of digital set-top box/freeview box in order for the tv to work, but does it matter which one?

It's for occasional use only so we don't want to spend a fortune, but in the same respect, we don't want to waste money by getting a cheapie that doesn't work.

Also, is there anything else we need (I'm assuming a scart lead?)
[technophobe emoticon]

Any advice? Recommendations/links would be great.

Ryoko Mon 08-Aug-11 00:53:12

No it doesn't matter which one really anyone will do.

NetworkGuy Mon 08-Aug-11 01:03:14

Yes, SCART lead would be handy (as few feed the TV via the ordinary 'aerial' cable).

You might need to check (before going away, while you have internet access) which transmitters are closest to your intended destination(s). Some signals will be horizontal polarisation, and others vertical (I suppose you will get a clue from TV arials in the area, but in some places there are signals from multiple areas, and if you want to check for strongest
signals, visit > digitaluk.co.uk <

Unfortunately you are asked for a postcode and house number so you might want to find some local B+B just to have a proper 'address' to enter. If you tick the box saying you are in the aerial installation trade, it gives much more detail, with compass directions and the expected signal strengths on different dates (as a lot of work is still being carried out in the different regions).

Hope you have a big aerial on the tourer that can be turned to give horizontal or vertical. Some areas have signals at the bottom end (20s to 30s) and others at the top end (55-65) so sometimes the aerial will be unsuitable for the signals you get in that location (unless yours is a wide band type, 'E' I think).

As for the box - I have seen some at 10 or 15 pounds in my local British Heart Foundation (they have a few shops doing furniture and electrical goods) but I am sure you will also find some on Ebay s/h. Do search for reviews of any model you see - some of the cheaper boxes (15 quid touch) at Tesco / Asda get critical reviews for resetting, locking up, etc.

plonker Mon 08-Aug-11 01:09:42

Thanks smile

I been reading through a few reviews on a cheapie one from Argos and one of the questions asked was regarding EHU. The answer was that it wouldn't work on low voltage confused
Do you know if there's any truth in this?

Networkguy - you've totally lost me on the ariel thing [easily done] but we have got an ariel and it worked fine with analogue tv, so do you think it will do the job with digital?

NetworkGuy Wed 10-Aug-11 10:45:07

The bit about aerials may be more important than you think... apart from the change from analogue transmissions to digital, the other major change is that the output power has also been changed. The signals I get are mostly 100 KW, though one is only 12.5 KW (compared with 500 KW when they were broadcasting analogue).

This means that there's going to be more chance of 'miss' in the 'hit or miss' of pointing your aerial, unless you are clued up before you reach the caravan site.

I've just searched for EHU and found threads on caravan sites but little about Freeview.

I did find > this < 13" combined Freeview / DVD / PVR but at nearly 200 quid might not be top of your list... also, to record some shows (at home, for viewing while away) I'd recommend a 16 GB or 8 GB memory stick.

NetworkGuy Wed 10-Aug-11 22:39:32

> This < inverter and an extension cable from your vehicle to the van may do the trick. I think most Freeview boxes draw under 20 watts but with luck this option might suit you (so long as you aren't TV-holics and drain the battery completely!

NetworkGuy Thu 20-Oct-11 13:07:17

Have just found that Ebuyer has some 22" and 24" very tin flat screen TVs that will run from 12V and priced from 120 to 150 pounds.

There are some on Ebay (marked as a deal for 'today only') and the Ebuyer website also has them listed. Search for Digimate 22" or DGM 22"

If the existing TV you have is old it might be worth spending the money to replace with a brand new set, and flog the current one via Gumtree / Ebay / car boot sale (as the new set will probably have a lower power consumption and therefore be less drain on any supply, whether car battery or site power), though I know you mentioned not wanting to 'spend a fortune'.

150 quid is perhaps a few tank-fulls of fuel to tow your caravan, so might not be all that bad. The TVs mentioned seem to have built in video recording facility (so you could record some good films onto USB sticks before you go away, and if the weather is rotten or TV reception is poor, you may then be able to watch something you'd recorded earlier... one of the benefits of a newer set with Freeview built in).

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