4 Ways to Watch TV While Traveling

Traveling Doesn't Mean You Have to Miss Your Shows

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Many people are required to travel for their jobs and others simply enjoy travel. No matter what the case is for you, it's easier than ever to take your favorite TV shows with you. 

Of course, your DVR is faithfully recording these shows back at home but how can you get that on your mobile devices? Depending on the system you use at home, you have a few options for watching your shows while you're away.

Your Cable Company's Streaming Service

Most cable companies now offer a service that allows customers to stream programming on mobile devices and computers.

  • Many cable providers use a service called TV Everywhere that includes many of the most popular cable channels. It is common for this to be included with a cable package.
  • In addition to (or instead of) TV Everywhere, big cable companies also offer their own streaming apps. For example, Time Warner Cable uses both TV Everywhere and TWC TV apps  while Comcast uses their Xfinity TV app.

Services similar to these are becoming a popular add-on for cable providers and quite often it comes at no additional charge. You're already paying for it, so use it!

The great advantage to this option is that, in most cases, you can enjoy TV on the road while everyone at home enjoys TV uninterrupted. You cable login info also works with streaming sticks and devices like Roku.

Get a Streaming Stick

If you have cut the cord from cable and use a streaming service like Roku or Amazon Fire, you can take it with you on the road. Again, you will have issues if someone's left at home, but these devices are cheap enough so you can buy one just for traveling.

The Roku Stick and Amazon Fire Stick are two of the best streaming devices for travel.

They're very compact and can fit inside your suitcase. Best of all, you will not lose your programming preferences when you unplug it from your TV.

Most TVs in hotel rooms have an HDMI port, which both devices use. As long as the place you're staying also offers a WiFi network, it will be just like you're watching TV at home. You can even leave the remote at home and use your smartphone or tablet as a remote.

Slingbox

Slingbox is a good method that users can use to watch their programming while away from home. You can connect a Slingbox to your cable or satellite provided DVR, connect to the internet, and once setup, control your Slingbox from anywhere you have an internet connection. 

One advantage of Slingbox is that you have full control of the DVR so you can change menu settings or schedule and delete recordings. You can also stream live and recorded TV to PCs and handheld devices as long as your internet connections on both ends can handle it.

Slingbox does have one disadvantage. If you decide to watch live TV from outside your home, the people in your home have to watch the same program. This may be an issue for those who have one traveling member of the family. Some users get around this by connecting the Slingbox to a second TV box.

Plex

Plex is a cloud-based service that allows you to access and stream your media files from any connected device. It is a popular option that users really enjoy because it is fast and reliable.

There is a basic free account and you can opt for a paid account with more benefits if you find it useful. Plex is a fantastic way to manage your entire media library from anywhere and definitely worth trying out.

Windows Media Player

If you're a Windows Media Center user, you can use the streaming options built into Windows Media Player.

First, you'll want to ensure that you have the latest version of WMP installed on your PC.

From there, it's as simple as setting up streaming options and you'll be ready to go. Windows Media Player uses the same libraries as Media Center so as long as you've properly setup your Recorded TV library you should be all set.

Streaming from Windows Media Player isn't anywhere near the same as using a device like Slingbox. While Slingbox gives you control of your DVR remotely, WMP will simply grant you access to the files in your libraries.

This option gives you access to music, videos, pictures and other media such as recorded TV. It does not allow you to watch live TV and if your recordings are copy protected you won't be able to stream those either. 

Any open recordings are available and that at least grants you access to most network programming. It is not a perfect solution, but one that can help get you by if you are desperate to watch your favorite CBS show while traveling.

Also, the added advantage of being able to access your music, photos, and video collection can be nice. Especially if you've ripped DVDs to a hard drive at home. 

An Important Reminder About Data Usage

When you go mobile, you are relying on your mobile network for streaming and that may impact your data plan. Streaming will take much more data than simple tasks like checking email or social media accounts on your phone and tablet.

When you can, connect your device to a reliable, secure WiFi network while on the road. Many hotels offer this for free or cheap and it will save you from those nasty overage charges.

The other option is to get an unlimited data plan.

Either way, just keep your data in mind. Streaming TV is great, but it can cost more than expected if you're not careful.