Laptop/WiFi advice please

Al Dickson

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After spending last season failing to get much TV reception on the Clyde / West Coast Scotland we notice quite a few folk had Laptops which the kids used to watch DVD's, surf the net and generally keep themselves entertained of an evening while we talk nonsense to other boaties.

Can anyone give me some advice on what the best approach to this is - do I just buy a laptop and get a dongle ?

I have been told BT works best up here in the west

Thanks
 

Boatshed London

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A laptop and a dongle will work fine in most places (though check coverage in W of Scotland). I use a '3' dongle which costs £5 per month (for 1gb downloads) and works in most places. It works well with BBC iPlayer, 4-OD etc.

Most marinas now have wi-fi but the cost of access varies enormously.
 

rafiki_

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I have a vodaphone dongle, and this works OK where I get 3G coverage, which by no means is everywhere. I expect that you may only get decent 3G near Glasgow. It is very difficult to download anything where you only get 2G coverage. If you have a laptop with a DVD drive, at least you will be able to watch movies, but a cheaper way of doing this is with a TV with built in DVD, about £120 if you shop around.
 

Al Dickson

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We actually bought one of thoes wee 12v/mains TV/DVD from Tescos - Technica - good wee machine for DVD's but no use for watching TV - even connected to a Glomex.

There seems to be very little 3G coverage up the west coast if the various providers "coverage charts" are to be believed - Enough to use a mobile phone but that's about it.

Im wondering if in reality we just rely on Marina WiFi as a Dongle is a bit of a waste of money unless we are going to use the laptop northeast of Inverkip !
 

PaulGooch

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We actually bought one of thoes wee 12v/mains TV/DVD from Tescos - Technica - good wee machine for DVD's but no use for watching TV - even connected to a Glomex.

There seems to be very little 3G coverage up the west coast if the various providers "coverage charts" are to be believed - Enough to use a mobile phone but that's about it.

Im wondering if in reality we just rely on Marina WiFi as a Dongle is a bit of a waste of money unless we are going to use the laptop northeast of Inverkip !

We get by nicely with a laptop and marina wifi, (if flaky use mobile phone for internet, Vodaphone contract gives you PAYG internet at dialup speed for £1 a day, max). The laptop does internet, email and has plotter software and handheld GPS to double up a a backup plotter. Also handy for viewing the days pics or keeping documents on.

A handful of DVD's in case we want to watch a movie, which is rare, but would keep your kids happy. You could also load a game or two onto it for kids. It's also possible to download TV programs, we usually keep a few episodes of something or other in reserve.

A TV tuner dongle and antenna of some description can also be used for live TV. You can even get satellite tuners/dongles/dishes to connect to it.
 

Bojangles

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I think I'm right in saying that if you have an o2 dongle this gets you on the bt openzone wi-fi that Kip has for no additional cost. I know that iphones use the openzone wi-fi for web usage at no extra cost.

For tv (in the marina only) we use a Maplin satellite dish (cost about £60/70) which is really easy to set up and the picture is excellent (also loads of channels).
 

Thepipdoc

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Don't know if your are is a has a digital TV signal but when Devon went all digital our boat signal is nearly alway 100% crystal clear.
I say "nearly". There is still the odd area where a signal is difficult to get. i.e. Salcombe.
 

longjohnsilver

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Don't know if your are is a has a digital TV signal but when Devon went all digital our boat signal is nearly alway 100% crystal clear.
I say "nearly". There is still the odd area where a signal is difficult to get. i.e. Salcombe.

And the Yealm
 

martin

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some ideas

Hi ,

We have teenagers and similar experiences...this is my set up

We have a cisco wireless router that takes a vodophone USB stick dongle. That sets up a wifi across the boat that means ipods, laptops and everything can share.

We got one of the new Dell Inspiron PC's that runs all the entertainment on board namely:

Blue ray DVD player (If desperate and no signal on ariel or vodaphone)

Via the dongle if vodaphone 3g availble
Apple Itunes
Slingbox application to connect to home sky setup
Iplayer and all other web based channels

Via TV Ariel id digital signal
Connected to back of PC it records and plays back digital TV free to air programmes

The Dell is connectec by HDMI cable (via a splitter) to two of the cabins. These cabins have new 19" samsung TV's also connected to the boat Ariel.

The Dell has a wireless keyboard and mouse and an extra TV style remote control so you can navigate channels without the keyboard on your lap.

If the kids bring their laptops or ipods that can watch the media on that instead of the TV's

This means that "Most" of the time everyone gets to watch what they want and where they want.somehow!.
 

martin

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Some ideas

LOL

Sounds compicated but really its just a PC connected to a wifi router that has Vodafone dongle

TV's connected to PC and TV ariel
 

wakeup

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you might want to try a Mifi which is a 3g dongle but also is a wifi hub. it is about the size of a mobile phone and will run off its own battery and the best bit is you can place it in the best position for the 3g signal on the boat and then all your laptops and wifi enabled phones can connect to the network.
 

martin

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there you go :) even better

I didnt consider that.. but then i also wanted some cable connections and i have had to fix the router and the cables to the wall. BUt if you dont have to do that , its an even better solution!
 
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