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The Digital TV I Just Bought For My Conversion Van Is Useless

by Sharon
(Richmond, Va.)

How to improve the HDTV Reception in a Conversion Van

How to improve the HDTV Reception in a Conversion Van

Oh my, I have wasted about $680 with a new digital TV for my 2003 Ford Econoline van. I wanted to have it for a trip to Cape Cod and did not do my usual diligent research.

Nothing comes in at all while driving so the passenger can watch a show like my old analog TV. It just says "no signal". I probably can't get my money back. Are there any antenna upgrades I could use to make this work? Is a TV to listen to the news or shows while driving an RV a dinosaur?


ANSWER: Hi Sharon, let's see what I can do to help you get a signal. You do not say if the TV you have is a 12 Volt Digital TV or a 120 Volt Digital TV that you have hooked up to a 12 Volt To 120 Volt Inverter power inverter in your van. You also do not tell me if you are trying to use the antenna that came with the TV or if you are using an external antenna on your van.

The first thing you need to know is that receiving Digital TV Signals going down the road is not as easy as receiving the old Analog TV Signals going down the road. With analog signals you could bring in weak signals, sure the picture might be snowy and the sound distorted, but you still got a picture. With Digital TV Signals you either get the full strong signal or no signal at all, there is no in-between. When you are not getting a strong signal on digital TV the picture either freezes or pixelyzes and disappears altogether.

The best way to even have a chance to receive a Digital TV Signal in a moving vehicle is to have an external Amplified Omni-Directional TV antenna on top of the van.

If you want to improve the Digital TV Signal even more you can install the PCT 1-PORT BI-DIRECTIONAL TV SIGNAL BOOSTER The reason I recommend this booster is because it is highly rated by people who own it. It boosts both Digital and Analog signals, It is easy to install and can be used on systems that use an
antenna to receive signals as well as cable TV systems. It also supports pay-per view and video on demand. The most important factor is that it can improve signal strength by up to 32 times (15 dB). If this does not get you a better signal then nothing else will.

The Digital Signal Booster I recommend above requires 120 volt electric to power the amplifier so you would have to have a 12 Volt To 120 Volt Inverter to provide power to it.

A couple of things to remember when using a Digital TV while traveling down the road is that once you get out of range of local TV stations, you have to go into the TV's setup menu and perform a channel rescan to pick up new closer Digital TV Stations.

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I know that I have recommended a lot of products you can use to pick up Digital TV Signals in your van and I know that you have already spent almost $700.00 for a Digital TV. So if you feel that this whole project is beyond your budget but, you still want to provide some form of entertainment for your passengers; you might consider purchasing a reasonably priced In Car DVD Player System. For far less then $200.00 you can get a dual monitor DVD player for the van and use the new Digital TV in your house or while your van is parked.

Your questions on Digital TV are among the dozens I have received over the past several months. This subject has become so popular that we have dedicated a whole section of our website on Digital TV Information. So you may want to visit our Digital TV Tips For RVers section. That section has information on installing Digital TV Converter Boxes in RVs, Improving Digital TV Signals in RVs, Troubleshooting problems with TV reception, etc.

Hopefully the above information has been helpful to you.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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TV Signal
by: RCAircraft

First thought - test the TV in your home. Based on my experience just yesterday with our new digital TV, the programming of your TV could be required. I was also receiving the "no signal" while connected to our over the air (OTA) digital antenna. From the programming menus I selected "air" for the signal source. The "no signal" issue continued so I then selected the option "DTV". That did the trick after the "scanning for channels" task was completed. For my Redwood 5th wheel RV there are two new digital TV's that work very well with the OTA and satellite while there there is another older digital TV that requires an analog to digital converter to receive OTA TV.

If your van TV works at home without an converter than programming the TV via the DTV option could be a solution and assuming your van is withing range of local TV signals.

DTV doesn't work in moving vehicles
by: Asicmod

Popular Science Article

See that link above, DTV is known not to work well or at all in moving vehicles. Its a problem inherent to the technology and the receiver ICs in most DTV sets.

Do some googling about the topic and you'll see other confirming sources.

i need help too
by: angel

im having almos a similar problem my tv on my 2003 GMC safari doesnt get no signal. will i get singna just by buying the anttenas mentioned or will i need to buy a convertor box or a digital tv?

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