One of the biggest surprises for new truck drivers is how difficult it can be to live a life on the road. Being away from your family and loved ones is difficult. Add to that the pressure of delivery deadlines and having to fight traffic and it’s no wonder drivers are exhausted when they pull off the road at night to catch some rest.
In my opinion, it is extremely important for drivers to find a couple of activities that will allow them to unwind and disconnect from their day to day stresses. If you would like to see a list of various ways for drivers to entertain themselves while on the road, then take a look at this article I wrote. For this article though, we are going to focus on how drivers can watch TV in their trucks.
The cheapest option for your to watch your favorite movies and shows is to get a setup that plays DVD’s or digital content that you have already purchased. I went the route of watching DVD’s for several years and it worked just fine for me.
Buying new movies can get pricey. What I use to do was search on eBay for a particular movie and include the word “Lot”. You would be surprised at how many people sell the used DVD collections as a bundle. Many times you can pick up several DVD’s for the cost of a new copy of just one movie. I’m a big fan of the superhero movies. I recently did a search on eBay for “Spiderman +lot” because I needed the first Spiderman movie. I ended up getting about 8 Super Hero movies for around 10 bucks shipped.
The other thing I’d recommend is to look for your movie on Amazon and then look at the ‘New and Used” section. Often times, you can find used copies at an Amazon warehouse that will save you a few bucks.
If you have moved from DVD’s to a digital collection, there are options available for you. Going this route, will save you some space in your cab from having to store your DVD’s. In my opinion, the best media storage and playback option available is the Apple TV. You can pick up the 4K 64GB model here.
Not too long ago, watching TV in your truck seemed like something that would never be possible. Fortunately, the demand for portable TV reception has increased due to the rise in popularity of using an RV, camping and even tailgating before a sporting event. This demand has led companies to see a way to satisfy the need and in turn make a profit.
One of the best and easiest ways on the market right now to setup a satellite TV connection is using a device called the KING VQ4550 (Link Here). The price for these types of setups have dropped significantly over the past decade or so. In fact, I can remember a time when it would cost a couple thousand dollars to get something installed in your cab that would pick up a satellite signal.
The nice thing about the King VQ4550 is that you can use it as a portable setup if you don’t own your truck. If you do own your truck, you can install it so that it attached outside your truck which frees up some space by not having to store it in your cab.
If you end up going this route, you’ll also need to get a DISH Network subscription which you can get here.
Going with this setup is probably the easiest of your other options. This is especially true if you are able to mount the “bubble” to your truck. It should be as easy as pulling to the side of the road, letting the bubble find a signal and then watching your favorite show.
Cable TV (Option 2)
The other cable TV option that we’ve all seen setup at some point, is having a satellite dish setup somewhere around your truck. It then connects to a receiver in your cab which then feeds the TV. The satellite, tripod and cabling can be picked up as a set here on Amazon. You’ll need to make sure you tell your cable provider which satellite you are using to ensure they send you the correct receiver.
If you decide to go this route, I would highly suggest picking up a digital signal finder. If will make the process of finding the best satellite signal much easier. They are not that expensive as you can see here.
Over the Air Signal
The overall cheapest option for a truck driver to watch TV while on the road is the over the air (OTA) option. This option only requires a basic antenna that connects to your TV. The nice thing about these units are that they don’t look like the old antennas of the 80’s. They are simple black squares that suction to the window of your truck. Even more impressive, is the fact that models like this one can pick up signals up to 80 miles away!
If you prefer to have an antenna that goes out even further but doesn’t attach to the window of your cab, there’s this particular one that can reach up to 130 miles.
Other options that are available include streaming options. These setups will require that you have a wifi signal. If you already have a wifi signal in your truck, this may be the route to go because it will end up being cheaper that subscribing to a cable package.
Using a streaming option allows you to sign up with services such as Netflix, Hulu, Playstation Vue and Sling TV just to name a few.
One nice thing about subscribing to streaming packages is that you don’t get hit with all the fees and taxes that the cable companies will hit you with. I currently have the $49.95 package for Playstation VUE and that’s the amount I pay. No additional fees or taxes!
Streaming services can work in a number of different ways. If you have a smart TV, then you should check to see if the streaming package you are considering has an app already available on your TV. If so, you won’t need anything else once you sign up.
If you don’t have a smart TV, or it doesn’t have the streaming service app that you want, you will need to look into a way to get the streaming service to your TV. I chose to go with an Amazon Fire Stick and the PlayStation VUE streaming package. (Note: You do NOT need a PlayStation console to sign up for VUE service.) I’d suggest getting the newest 4K fire stick (Link here) if you go this route. The remote will control your streaming service and your TV (and sound bar if you have one). One remote for everything. That was a HUGE in the decision for me.
There are a few different options available for you if your truck doesn’t come with WIFI capabilities. One of the easiest options is to set up a hotspot in your cab using your cell phone. This is a great option if you have an unlimited plan. The general rule of thumb is that 1 hour of standard definition streaming television will use about 1 GB of data. That usage increases up to 3GB for shows that are displayed in high definition.
Many restaurants or truck stops will have WIFI available. The downside is that these connections will be extremely slow or expensive to use.
There are some satellite internet options available. The best that I’ve found that has a balance between speed and cost is by a company called Exed. I’m always looking for other options, so if you know of a better resource, please comment below and I’d to the list.
Another option to getting WIFI in your truck is to look to your cell phone provider. Straight Talk offers mobile hotspot connections that will put out a wifi signal in your truck that will allow you to connect your TV or computer to watch online.
Verizon offers a plan on their Jetpack service that provides a mobile hotspot and unlimited data for $80 a month. The first 15GB of data is at regular speed. Once you pass the 15GB mark, the data will be throttled at a lower speed. I’ve read where the service works really well.
As you can see, there are plenty of options available for those looking to watch TV in their trucks to unwind and relax from a long day on the road. Ultimately, it comes down to your budget and how easy of a setup you want when making your final decision.