5 Ways to Watch Cable TV While Traveling

Traveling doesn't mean you have to miss your shows

While your DVR is can faithfully record TV shows back home, you may want to get some of the same content while traveling. Fortunately, it has never been easier to take your favorite TV shows on the road, whether through a laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

Depending on the system you use at home, there are a few ways to watch your shows while away. In this guide, we'll tell you how to watch cable TV anywhere.

Your Cable Company's Streaming Service

Most cable companies now offer a service that allows customers to stream programming on their 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 often come at no additional charge.

Mobile TV Watching
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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. Your cable login info also works with streaming sticks and devices like Roku.

Get a Streaming Stick

If you don't have a cable subscription and use a streaming service like Roku or Amazon Fire, you can take it with you on the road. The Roku Stick and Amazon Fire Stick are two of the best streaming devices for travel. They're 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 require. 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.

Get a Slingbox

Slingbox is a convenient way to watch programming while away from home. You can connect a Slingbox to your cable- or satellite-provided DVR box, connect to the internet, and once set up, 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.

Sign Up for 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 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.

Use Windows Media Player

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

First, you'll want to make sure 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 set up 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 only grants you access to the files in your library.

This option gives you access to music, videos, pictures and other media, including recorded TV. But it does not allow you to watch live TV, and if your recordings are copy protected you won't be able to stream them. 

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 you get 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.

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 media consumes far more data than simple tasks like checking email or social media accounts on your phone or tablet.

When you can, connect your device to a reliable, secure Wi-Fi network while on the road. Many hotels offer Wi-Wi 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.