Summer months are coming when you’ll start planning those trips to maybe that vacation home by the beach or on the lake or just away from it all. Sure we’d all like to say that we’re the intellectual types who don’t watch TV when we’re on vacation because we’re so busy enjoying nature or reading Ernest Hemminway, but let’s be honest with ourselves. On those rainy days or nights, sometimes you just want to kick back and watch a ball game or reruns of Seinfeld that you religiously DVR. Am I right?
The problem most vacation home owners face is that you have to pay for TV service at two separate locations which can be really annoying. You try and only buy service for the months you’re at the vacation home, but sometimes you forget to cancel it or turn it on. Then you’re paying through the nose because it’s not an annual or bundled package that you’re buying.
So I thought it was time to share my secret trick for getting TV service at your vacation home during the summer months. It will cost you about a one time fee of $300 to buy equipment, but after that you won’t have to deal with any monthly charges. Here’s how to do it.
1. Get internet service at your vacation home.
This is the biggest and most important thing to make this work. You have to have decent Internet service at your vacation home. Chances are you’ll want it any way to check Facebook, make reservations, or if you have to, check emails. You may say, “Well if I have to pay for Internet, then can’t I just watch TV online?” Sure you could, but you’d probably have to pay for some kind of service on top of that through either a Hulu Plus subscription or whatever. The idea here is to avoid additional monthly fees and be able to watch LIVE TV (like baseball, NBA Playoffs, etc.) so that’s why I’m not suggesting that plan of attack.
2. Buy a Slingbox 350 ($178 on Amazon.com)
There are a bunch of similar boxes and options that do the same thing, but the Slingbox 350 in my opinion is the best option. Slingbox devices let you stream live TV to pretty much any internet connected device. The Slingbox 350 streams in HD and is extremely easy to setup at home. Once you buy the Slingbox 350, you’ll connect it to your home Internet connection. It works wirelessly, but for best results I recommend a hard line connection from the box to your router so you get optimal Internet speeds. Once the Slingbox 350 is connected to your Internet, then you’ll connect it to any TV in your home and you’ll be ready to watch live TV from your iPhone or iPad using the Slingbox app. Now you should be ready for step 3.
3. Buy an Apple TV ($95.99 on Amazon.com)
If you don’t already have an Apple TV, you need one. For $100 you can watch movies and TV shows from iTunes plus access video centric apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus on your TV. But the reason I’m saying you’re going to want an Apple TV in this instance is because of the AirPlay feature. AirPlay is an inherent feature on any iOS device (iPhone/iPad/iPod) that will let you stream audio and video between devices. So in this example, you’ll be using your Apple TV to display video streaming from your Slingbox app on your iPhone or iPad.
Now you’re able to basically watch your TV at home on your TV in your vacation home by streaming the video from the Slingbox app on your iPhone or iPad to your Apple TV. The great part about this is that it also gives you access to the On Demand features from your home TV and anything stored on your DVR. You’re basically watching your home TV through the cloud.
The catch is the strength of your Internet signal at home and at your vacation home. If they’re both at decent speeds you’ll have a great quality picture and no issues. That’s why I recommend a hard line connection to your Slingbox at home to make it the most optimal connection as possible.
There you have it. You don’t have to buy cable TV twice and you’ll have the luxury of using your home DVR and On Demand programming from the comfort and luxury of your vacation home.