Blog

Entertainment Communication Setup for Your Ontario Cottage

Setting Up Your Remote Ontario Cottage For
Communications and Entertainment


The following is a possible setup of entertainment and communication devices for a remote Ontario Cottage. Understand that this is just some possible scenarios and that there are a great variety of options that could be considered. If you have any insights or experience, please share. Very importantly, we would always recommend purchasing your device and testing it within the return period to ensure it serves your needs.

Radio / Music

At the cottage there might be some radio stations depending on the possible stations in the area. However, if you want a crystal clear reception and a wide variety of news and music, we would recommend the Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

The recommended listening system is the Starmate 8 Sound System Bundle Model#: ST8-BX3C. It allows for use in the car and any other location with the Boombox. Another system that would also work would be Stratus 7 Boombox Bundle Model#: SV7-BX2C. Both of these systems also have an Aux In to play an iPod/iPhone for a mp3 tie in.

You could also have these Sirius export out of the Headphone jack to another stereo system. Ideally any equipment should be good quality but a bit smaller devices, so they can be put away to deal with theft concerns and at end of season.

TV

Similar to the Radio, it might be possible to receive some digital TV stations with the right Antenna. However, for great clarity and variety of TV channels, the best TV reception is going to be acquired using a Satellite Dish.

Shaw Direct (Used to be Starchoice), Bell and Telus MIGHT have seasonal packages with a special deal when you have a separate system for your cottage in addition to a home Satellite system.

If you want to get a “greater” special deal, you could purchase a second satellite dish and then order an “extra receiver” for you home and just set it up at your cottage.

Once again, like the stereo system the TV should consider the optimum size for viewing and for removing the TV during long absences or over the winter season. There are some essential external connection inputs to consider such as HDMI, Composite and RCA jacks.

Internet

In rural areas, the choices for Internet are very limited and somewhat expensive if there is a high data use (web surfing a lot of pages). In addition, all options are fairly slow.

Three choices are as follows:
1) Portable Internet Stick
2) Tethered to a Cell Smart Phone with Data
3) Satellite

Looking at these three options, the one that we would recommend is the Portable Internet Stick. However, we will review the Internet options below.

For the Portable Internet Stick, the three major careers of Rogers, Bell and Telus all have plans. With download speeds in the best zones up to 42 Mbps. The plans and coverage is outlined on this Site.

The biggest issue here is ensuring the reception for the Mobile Internet Stick. The internet stick requires a signal from a cell tower. There might be a need to amplify or raise up the stick into the air if there is limited reception. Here are a few of companies that offer signal boosters, Wilson Amplifiers, Alternative Wireless and Cell Antenna.

A device we have used that will increase reception to a cottage for a Mobile Internet Stick and Cell Phone is Wilson 841263 DB Pro™ +65dB Home Signal Booster Kit w/Yagi Antenna, Multi-User Wireless (for signals as weak as “greater than -84 dB”). There are many options to choose from, this is just one choice. In setting it up you want the antenna as high as possible and pointing to the tower (can be found via testing) or by locating a tower relative to your location. This website is one of the sites that shows the tower locations in Canada.

NOTE: It is possible to locate the signal strength and location of a tower using your cell phone. Here is a method using a Blackberry Bold click Here.

Another option comparable to the Mobile Internet Stick is Tethering a computer from a Mobile Smartphone with a data plan (and a review of your roaming fees if applicable). However, the reception issues would still be same as the only Mobile Internet Stick option. So it would need a booster if necessary.

For Satellite service, the best choice is Xplornet, however the speed is only 1.0 Mbps download speed and 128 Kbps upload speed, with a monthly cost of $64.99 and at least a $300.00 setup fee. The cost and very slow speed of this option (take a look at the chart below) makes it viable only if there is no cell or mobile internet signal.

It is without question that you would not want to have a computer located at the cottage. You would want to use a Laptop (or possible Playbook for Blackberry) that you would bring back and forth from the city. The primary reason is that in the city you would be able to perform the major updates that would be too slow and expensive to perform at the cottage. Important to remember to turn off any automatic updating on your laptop so it does not engage data heavy internet access without you being aware.

Internet Speeds Comparison ChartInternet Speeds Comparison Chart

Telephone / Cell Phone

A cell phone is the obvious choice for a remote cabin. If no reception is available a signal booster could be tested, but the success would depend on the towers location. This website is one of the sites that shows the tower locations in Canada.

NOTE: It is possible to locate the signal strength and location of a tower using your cell phone. Here is a method using a Blackberry Bold click Here.

As mentioned above, a device we have used that will increase reception to a cottage for a Mobile Internet Stick and Cell Phone is Wilson 841263 DB Pro™ +65dB Home Signal Booster Kit w/Yagi Antenna, Multi-User Wireless (for signals as weak as “greater than -84 dB”). This is just one of many options.

eosFirst.com located in Oakville, Ontario. Garrett Hall and his team have set up communication and entertainment systems for cottages across Canada. Contact us today if you have any questions or would like us to get your home away from home technologically up to speed.

Written by

Garrett Hall is an online marketing & development expert with eosFirst AuroraCon. eosFirst is a website design, online development, online marketing and information technology consultancy.

2 Responses to “Entertainment Communication Setup for Your Ontario Cottage”

By Dotty - 18 August 2014

I’m not sure exactly why but this weblog is loading incredibly
slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end?
I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

By Chris Nelson - 12 November 2013

Hello Garrett:
We live in West Vancouver and are currently exploring how we might easily link our home, seaside seasonal cottage and boat for computers and entertainment. We are currently Shaw subscribers for tv/internet and have an installed (but not connected) US Direct TV Sat system in our boat. Do you know of any installers here on the west coast that you could recommend that might provide some advice and service to practically integrate the three locations, recognizing the seasonal use of two of the places? Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide. Cheers, Chris Nelson

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.