<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> HDMI and Netflix for RVers
Little Log


By Leo Everett (10/2011)

RV’ers may think they must view streaming videos or movies on the small screen of their laptops or listen to music via Pandora or Sirius on their limited laptop speakers; that’s not the case for those folks who have HDMI enabled PC laptops and TV’s. Production of devices containing High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) capability began in 2003 and escalated rapidly to an estimated 850 manufacturers selling millions of units each year since, so there is a good chance you all ready have this capability available if you purchased your equipment after 2003; although bare bone low cost models may lack it.

The HDMI port/connector will have a form factor that looks like that shown below only at greatly reduced scale: on PC’s it will usually be in a cluster of output pins containing such items as S-video and identified as HDMI. Apple products do not have this port and thus require a Digital AV Adapter – (see discussion below)

HDMI Schematic

If one finds you have this capability on both your TV and laptop, one simply needs to buy an HDMI cable (for less than $5* at Amazon or similar storefront) to connect your laptop and TV.

Apple products will not contain a HDMI port. However, Apple sells ($39)a Digital AV Adapter that contains two connectors – one for HDMI cable and the other that allows for sync and charge while using HDMI. See picture below. Simply plug the Adapter into the 30 pin port on laptop/iPad/etc and the HDMI cable into the HDMI connector on the Adapter and the TV.

Apple DVI Adapter

On the TV one must change input source setting to HDMI from TV (or other selection like AV) on the Source List in order to stream. The two devices will link up to each to other automatically. It is usually best to turn on TV first then laptop. The laptop screen will display in the TV but not in full screen. One will have to search for a tab on a video or movie for increasing to full screen mode. On Netflix a box appears on movie screen in lower right hand corner to click to do full screen format. See below

Netflix Screen

Sound will switch from laptop to TV speaker system automatically. Note –many TV’s have options to change both the Picture (from for example standard to movie) and the Sound mode among many other choices. In Sound Mode one can change to Movie when doing streaming videos/movies and then to Music when listening to Pandora or Sirius.

*Cable manufacturers make and sell HDMI cables which are much more expensive versions but in tests there is no real increase in quality to the average user. I purchased a 15 ft HDMI cable on Amazon for $4.58 and it provides excellent rendering of streaming videos and movies.


If you are using a campgrounds wireless local area network (WLAN) vs. other means of accessing the Internet, it is important to understand your impact on others trying to access the campground LAN for e-mail, browser searches and other routine activities. Many, if not all, campgrounds will have limited bandwidth to make available to their guests. Purchasing higher capacity bandwidth service to accommodate total demand may not be economically feasible but more likely it will simply be a case of unavailability from their Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Bandwidth is a shared resource between all campers at a campground and thus campers who stream may/will diminish performance of others or prevent others from accessing the Internet all together. For example, a remote campground may have ISP service of only 3 Mbps and this is the capacity needed to stream a movie in good quality, thus one streaming user could confiscate the entire campground available capacity. Software is available that can be used to throttle packet usage by each user, so that no one user can hog the entire, or even a major piece of capacity, but it is unlikely at this point that campgrounds have the sophistication and capability to do so.

In the meantime, campers need to be mindful of others and limit movie or long video streaming to times that are not likely to be periods of high usage by others. Our early research shows this to be during day until ~4 PM and after 8 or 9 PM. Note- short videos like many You-Tubes that take only a minute or two are not a real concern. One can get a good feel for LAN capacity by simply accessing a site like Google and seeing how fast it displays. Quick- one can assume campground usage by others is low Slow-halting it’s a good bet usage is high and streaming is not desirable or practical even if the movie provider, such as Netflix, senses the problem and automatically downgrades their streaming speed.