As the title suggests, I am new to the TV missile. How exactly does it work?
In the centre of the screen I see a white box and a white cross. The cross moves as I move my mouse. Left click fires the missile. I have been told that I keep putting the white cross on what I want to hit and keep left clicking on the target. Maybe I'm just getting mixed up or I just need practice....
You got it right, just keep the crosshair on the target and keep clicking the fire button. The faster you click the more you can curve the missile behind objects or follow fast moving targets.
Hitting slow vehicles is pretty easy, the tricky part comes when you want to kill choppers and jets.
As you probably know, every object in Bf2 has a hitbox which is lagging behind the visible model. The amount of lag is usually your ping+enemy's ping, anything between 100 and 300 miliseconds. If a jet goes with a speed of "X" it travels "Y" meters/yards in 300 ms (roughly 1/3 second). The value of Y is the amount the hitbox is behind the model.
At the speed of 850 (tv missile top speed) "Y" can be a serious distance, even a full aircraft length. Video example, notice how far behind the jet does the TV missile explodes, hitting the actual hitbox instead of the visual model.
So the speed and ping of the target determines the distance you should aim behind it. If you ever saw a ghost car run in a driving game, you can imagine the hitbox as the slower version of what you see.
Shooting at the hitbox instead of the model is fairly basic knowledge in vanilla gunning and is relatively easy. The hard part is hitting a fast moving and manouvering object such as a barrel rolling chopper or a jet doing a tight turn.
The best thing is to lead the target as long as possible. The TV missile can't turn fast so you have to plan ahead and estimate the target trajectory and aim to where it will be. You will have to correct the filght path of the missile due to unexpected target movement by clicking. When the missile is close to impact just aim for the hitbox instead of the model.
The missile range is 450, but flag markers show the horizontal distance so you have to adjust using the Pythagorean theorem. I never did the math but if i fly around 200 i can shoot from 400 and reach the target.