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Old 22-03-2008, 22:07   #1
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Laptop / Entertainment

Hey Folks -

When I move aboard, I plan to use my laptop as the sole entertainment devide - music, video, etc. I won't have a stereo or anything else. I'm sure I'm not the first one to have this brilliant idea so I have a couple of questions...

1 - I'll be getting some headphones for use in places where silence is golden. Good idea?

2 - I want to get some speakers for playing dvds and music. Am I better off with something wired with a 1/8" or USB plug? Or should I get something bluetooth that would make remote mounting easy?

Thanks for your input...

- Jake
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Old 23-03-2008, 02:25   #2
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This is a good question as I've seen some crazy prices for pre-installed video/stereo entertainment units on yachts. I'd be curious to see what most other people do as well. But I do agree that a laptop is a pretty good all 'round option now a days.
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Old 23-03-2008, 02:45   #3
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I am the only one who watches tv at home. I have been using a wireless set of Seinhauser headphones for the past couple of years. The only downside is that I sometimes end up tuned into my neighbors cordless phone calls. (I can change frequencies on the transmitter to get away from the phone)
The headphone transmitter needs 110 ac but I thought I saw a set on eBay a few days ago that ran off batteries.
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Old 23-03-2008, 06:23   #4
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A CD/DVD player for a car is a much better choice, and will wire in to your 12V perfectly, and use LOTS LESS juice to run. Also, unlike a computer, the drive is made to withstand the vibration in a moving vehicle. Less skips etc. Most also accept Ipods as well.
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Old 23-03-2008, 10:50   #5
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Originally Posted by waterworldly View Post
A CD/DVD player for a car is a much better choice, and will wire in to your 12V perfectly, and use LOTS LESS juice to run. Also, unlike a computer, the drive is made to withstand the vibration in a moving vehicle. Less skips etc. Most also accept Ipods as well.
A VERY compelling argument. I will definitely have to rethink this. Thanks!
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Old 23-03-2008, 11:19   #6
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We find a laptop just fine for watching dvds, watching tv (broadcast, cable or over internet depending on where we are) and playing music. Screen size is less of an issue as you can only sit so far away. If I wanted a bigger screen, I'd probably mount and LCD to the wall and connect with a laptop.

Even without internet your hard rive can store a lot of entertainment:

-PDF books. (We scanned all our boat manuals)
-Audio books.
-Movies, ripped or purchased.
-Email
-RSS feeds
etc.

As for vibrations, even with the diesel running we've never really noticed skipping. Biggest problem is crappy condition of rental disks.

I work 8 hours a day on my laptop, and in 4 years of heavy use on a boat I've yet to have a failure. Though we are very careful. We keep our laptops on custom cut Dri-Dek squares while in use, so any spills or condensation harmlessly runs under the laptop. When not in use we have a Pelican case bolted down that will fit all three we have + camera, etc.

For sound I would suggest good wireless headphones and a car stereo setup with one of those wireless connector thingies plugged into the back (or just a long wire). I haven't done this yet, but plan to. That way you can output to the boat's sound system or use the headphones.
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Old 23-03-2008, 11:23   #7
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I am liveaboard and my laptop is it. I watch DVDs and enjoy not getting sucked in by television. (btw, there's a kit avail for abt $100 to convert the laptop to terrestrial tv, but i've avoided it.)

I don't listen to music much, though certainly I could. Mainly, I am hooked on free pod-casts. I'm a big fan of public radio's "This American Life" and the Ted.com site.

No stereo, no tv. Not only do I avoid the expense, but all I do is stash my laptop when I'm ready to go sailing.
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Old 23-03-2008, 12:40   #8
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Jake,


What size boat do you have? How much room? We are cruising a Nor'Sea 27 and my info is based on it.



I would not go with a laptop for all your entertainment needs. That makes for a single point failer.
We have a car type radio we built in. It had a cassette deck in it and an attached 12 CD changer. We ran our MP3 player through it with a cassette adapter. Last summer in the Sea of Cortez, the cassette deck failed. That made our MP3 players much harder to use, but the CD player still worked. We wired it so the front speakers were in the cabin and the rear speakers are in the cockpit. This works very well for us.


We now need to get the deck fixed, or replace it (bummer). We are now visiting our son in Az and found what may be a fine boat radio. It plays CDs, and has slots in it for a thumb drive, an SD card and an external jack for our MP3. AND, it's only US$ 79.99.


We do watch DVDs on our laptop, BUT we also have a nice Panasonic DVD player. I was not going to get it, but it turned out to be VERY good! We can watch 2 movies between charges! Something I can NOT do with our laptops. AND, it uses a lot less power.


If I was starting out gain, I would get a low cost laptop (I am typing this note from my Eee PC) and a car type stereo, and a good portable DVD player. I think you can shop smart and get all of that for less than a mid range laptop. And you will not have a single point failure point.


Greg
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