A growing collection of facts, thoughts and events from a 80-year-old man and his family, friends, and the characters that he has met along the way . . .


Many of you already know this, but for those of you who do not here is why you might want to be able to do this, and how you can:  First of all, if you live in an area that is prone to power outages like we have here in Florida, especially during the hurricane season, it would be truly great to have an alternative source of weather and world information; something better than an ordinary “Weather Radio.”  Of course battery-operated television sets are on the market, but a set with a decent sized viewing screen is rather expensive, and even they won’t work in most locations without a good antenna system (cable, satellite, or dish).  And what if you have to evacuate?  Will the battery operated TV work in your car, RV, or shelter?

OK; I think I have found the perfect solution.  Most of us now have decent laptop computers in our possession, and you can buy a small and relatively inexpensive (probably $60 to $80 U.S. dollars) USB TV TUNER.  I have an HP Laptop with a Windows Vista operating system, and I was able to buy an HP USB Tuner designed to work with my operating system through Amazon.com (less expensive than buying it directly from HP, of course).  The tuner (which is just slightly larger than an ordinary flash drive) came in small box complete with installation software and a miniature antenna (and a small remote control that I have not figured out how to use yet) – AND IT WORKED!


When I connected the USB TV Tuner for the first time, I was offered the option of connecting to the Internet and downloading a TV user guide, which I did.  I tested the tuner using the antenna that was included with it and – although I live in a mobile home with a double metal roof – I was able to view Fox News loud and clear!  That in itself is rather remarkable since I can’t even use a cell phone inside of this tin can that I currently call “home.”  Since I also have an external pole-mounted antenna system (I do not have cable and I no longer subscribe to DirecTV since they keep raising there rates on me), I then connected my laptop to the outside antenna – and immediately was able to watch any of the 30 or so channels available to me.

Antenna for HP USB TV Tuner

Laptop TV Tuner Antenna

When I first started thinking about the possibility of being able to watch TV on my laptop computer, it occurred to me that once my computer’s battery drained, I would be – so to speak – “dead in the water.”  However, I quickly found a solution to that problem, too.  For an additional $25.01 I was able to purchase a 12-volt Power/Charger for my little blue Chevy Aveo, and I just tried that out to.  I can power up my laptop with the battery removed and still watch and listen to TV programs while in my car, and when I replaced the computer’s battery, the charger began charging the battery.  This opens a whole new ballgame.  Now, not only could I conceivably use my car to charge my computer’s battery, I could – if necessary – sit in my car and watch the news (or any one of a number of other programs).  That’s when the light bulb went off!  Not only would I able to watch TV outside of my home, I could in all probability maintain contact with all of my friends in my email address book and/or on Facebook!  Don’t you need an Internet connection to do that, you ask?  Well, of course you do.  A few of you may be fortunate enough to own vehicles that have a built-in Internet port; I don’t!  But the world is filled with Cyber Cafes and Internet Cafes and libraries and many other places that make available Internet connections these days (often free).  Even my friend, Barb, who lives in Mexico, has sent me photographs of a cyber café in her area.  And, although I do not condone using it, when I turn on my computers and check for Internet connection, I usually find two or three unprotected sites that I can connect through.  For this reason, I keep my modem well protected and safe-guarded.  However, someone once said “any port in a storm!”

I now regard my laptop computer in an entirely different light than I have in the past.

(For the record, HP is not the only company that offers USB TV Tuners for sale; the name “Hauppage” is one that I see frequently mentioned, and there are probably others.  Although the tuner that I purchased is designed to work with Windows Vista, I do believe that it might also work with Windows 7, although I have not tried to use it on my desk top PC yet, and I have no doubt that other tuners are available that will work with Windows XP, etc.  I have also discovered an array of auto and RV TV antennas for sale on the Internet).


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