Which is the best TV for a motorhome!?

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Which is the best TV for a motorhome? Now this is a discussion that has been raging on across social media platforms and forums for years.

For those of you that are in the Motorhome & camper van facebook group, you may have noticed me throwing my 2 cents in whenever this topic comes up. For those of you that are not familiar with this group, you should be….

Anyways, the reason I have written this article is because this is a question that comes up A LOT and every time the recipient is bombarded with everyone’s “bias” opinion. A bias opinion that 9 times out of 10 isn’t backed up with any facts.

So in this post I will try my best to scrape together all the relevant information, cut through the BS so that you can decide which it the best motorhome TV for you.

What makes the best TV for a motorhome?

Before you can decide which is the best motorhome TV for you, we need to look at some of the selling points that may interest you. After all, everyone is looking for different specifications and features.

Below I have listed some of the most popular features that TV manufacturers cram into modern TV’s. In my opinion some of them are useful and then on the other hand some of them are just worthless gimmicks.

Anyone that knows me or has been a long term reader of this blog will most probably know I’m a man of logic and practicality, and I HATE gimmicks!! Right, let’s get into it:

Weight:

Not normally something you would really take too much notice of if you were looking for a new TV for your living room at home. Well, unless you were planning on mounting it on a flimsy plasterboard wall using nothing more than those terrible curly plasterboard fixings.

When choosing a TV for your motorhome you’ll need to take the weight into consideration. To stay legal on British and European roads you’ll need to stay below the maximum payload for your motorhome.

People driving a huge tag axle motorhome with a GVW of 4500kg probably don’t need to worry about an extra kilo or two. The rest of us who are plated at 3200kg, a few extra kilos might make all the difference.

As well as staying on the legal side of your payload allowance there is also fuel economy and how to fix it to the not so strong motorhome wall to consider.

Size:

Obviously, it goes without saying, you need to decide what size screen you would like but that is not what I’m talking about when I say size.

Space inside a motorhome is at a premium, (well, unless your the guy with the huge tag axle) we spend time and money trying find ways to get the most out of the little space we have. Everything must be neat and efficient.

TVs, especially TVs of old would have say a 21″ screen and then a 4″ wide speaker either side. That to me is just 8″ of wasted space/something to bang your head on.

A TV with a very narrow frame is the way you get the most out of your space. It’s not hard to find a TV with a frame of around 1″ these days.

Is it 12v?

It is pretty common knowledge that most motorhomes leisure battery system or “house batteries” are 12v. So, surely it makes perfect sense to get a 12v TV? Doesn’t it?

This to me is not a necessity. You could buy a pure sine wave inverter and just use that 240v TV that has spent the last 3 years gathering dust in the spare room. Fair enough, 9 times out of 10 the 12v will be more efficient than the 240v TV running off an inverter but by how much?

Most 12v TVs consume around about 2 amps or 2A x 12v = 24w. (That’s a very general rule of thumb). What about the 240v TV?

I use a 240v standard household TV and it consumes 25w plus 6w to run the inverter (31w total). So yes, 6w or 0.5A less efficient. In real terms its not worth thinking about!

Also, a lot of people spend all of their time on EHU where you have constant 240v and absolutely no need to buy anything that runs off 12v.

Some of the more expensive TVs even come with the capability of running off 24v. In most situations it’s just trucks, buses and people with huge battery banks that run on 24v so for the most part its not something you should pay extra to have. If you don’t need it then its just an expensive gimmick.

The gist….

12v TVs are SLIGHTLY more efficient than 240v TVs and 24v TVs are pointless unless you live in a bus…

12v can be bought for a comparable price to a normal 240v TV until you go over 24″ where they become hard to find and a lot more expensive.

Sound quality:

These days with pretty much all new TVs being flat screen LED type ones that doesn’t leave much room for quality speakers and many TVs have very “flat or tinny” sound. That’s comes down to the fact that to create deep, rich sound you need bass and normally bass is created using bigger speakers and bigger magnets.

These slimline TV’s don’t do a great job at accommodating quality acoustics. With that said, better quality TVs have still managed to shoehorn some decent speakers into their slimline TVs.

One way to get around this is to stump up some more cash and buy a soundbar or if you’re tight like me, buy a 5m long 3.5mm double ended headphone jack and plug it into the stereo.

The gist….

Cheaper brand TVs seem to have lesser quality speakers. Ideally, buy in a shop where you can test it out or read lots of reviews. Crap quality speakers is a subject that normally comes up on reviews.

Picture quality/viewing angle:

You buy a TV to look at it. Nobody wants to spend countless hours of their lives staring at something that’s just terrible.

Pixelation and motion blur are on one side of the coin, on the other is viewing angle. The normal set up in your living room at home means every seat is not too far away from a right angle to the screen so all is well.

Some cheap TVs are known to have a very narrow viewing angle which you might not notice in a shop because you look at that shiny new TV from directly in front of it. However, move 50-60 degrees to one side and the screen may just disappear.

A good viewing angle is a MUST HAVE quality in a motorhome TV. The TV I have has a 178 degree viewing angle and the picture quality is fantastic.

The gist….

The higher the resolution and higher the viewing angle the better. Simple!

The ability to record live TV

Some TV’s even offer up the facility to record live TV. This means you can record Dragons Den on one channel, while the wife is engrossed in Coronation Street on another.

As well as being able to record one channel while you watch another, you can also record your favourite programs while you’re out exploring and have it to watch when you return.

Depending on the TV, some have built in hard drives while with others you’ll need to buy a separate USB memory stick if you wish to record.

A satellite tuner

Tuning into satellite TV gives you access to more channels and services but you’ll need a satellite tuner to do it.

If your motorhome has a satellite dish mounted on the roof or you have one of those small portable ones, then your TV having a Satellite tuner is a big win.

Satellite dishes need a special tuner to decode the received transmissions. This can be either a separate “set-top box” or built into your TV.

A digital tuner

A digital tuner in needed to pick up and decode standard digital TV signals. So if you want to watch your bog standard terrestrial TV then you need a TV with a digital tuner.

Pretty much every TV made in the last 20 years has a digital tuner. Ever since the death of analogue broadcasts it has been necessary for every TV to have a built-in digital tuner.

With that said, manufacturers still try and sell it as a feature, it’s not, it’s very standard!

A power button

Another feature someone may tell you that your motorhome TV needs, is a power button. But why?

In the name of efficiency and power saving, a power button physically disconnects the internal workings of your TV from the electricity supply thus saving power.

A TV left on standby (red light still on), still consumes power and if you’re wild camping/not on hook up then you’re just wasting the energy stored in the leisure batteries for nothing.

How much power it saves you all depends on the individual model but truth be told on most models these days, the standby power draw of modern TV’s is very little. Maybe 2-3w.

At that rate it would take roughly between 200 and 300 hours to run a 100ah leisure battery down to a safe discharge level of 50%.

Also, you could just turn it of at the plug…..

Robust build quality

As with anything you buy, you want it well built and strong! A TV that will spend it’s life in a moving vehicle definitely wants to be well built.

General rule of thumb is that a better branded TV will have a better build quality.

Easy to tune

This is definitely one that goes towards making the best TV for a motorhome. Let’s face it, nobody likes tuning their TV in, its an annoying chore at the best of times.

In the world of a motorhomer, tuning in your TV is something that you’ll spend more time doing than you’d like.

Every time you move on to your next location the TV will need re-tuning. Having an easy to use, intelligent interface is definitely a big plus. Some models even boast single button tuning.

There are 3 different types of TV for your motorhome

Right, so that’s all the different features and capabilities explained. Now when you visit the TV store you should have a good idea what exactly it is you’re looking at/for.

With all of that out of the way, let’s look at 3 main types of TV readily available on the market. As a generalisation, I’ve categorised them into categories:

  • Big motorhome brand 12v/240v TV (Expensive)
  • Budget 12v/240v TV (Average price)
  • Standard household 240v TV (cheaper end)

Each of the TV’s reviewed below have 24″ LED screens and are suitable for mounting on your motorhome wall using a standard 100mm TV bracket.

The market leading Avtex 12/24/240v TV

Maybe market leader is the wrong term. I guess, the big expensive brand that’s aimed at motorhomers would be more apt.

Certainly at the higher end of the price scale but there’s many motorhome owners that rave on about Avtex TV’s but are they worth the money!?

Price: £444.99 (the most expensive here)

Dimensions (without stand):  w534 X h334 X d46mm

Weight: 3.5kg (average)

Features of the Avtex L249DRS-PRO 24“:

The Avtex L249DRS-PRO 24″ is pretty much the flagship model available from Avtex. At nearly £450 it needs to be good. So what do you get for your £450!?

  • EDGE TO EDGE frameless design – It’s actually a 5mm frame but it cuts down on wasted space. (maybe a slight gimmick)
  • Multi-tuner – Watch on channel with the option to record another.
  • Built in DVD player – You can watch a DVD while you record live TV.
  • Pause live TV – You can pause live TV if your using a USB memory stick. (not supplied)
  • HD tuner built in – Ability to tune into freeview HD channels. (standard for most TV’s)
  • HD satellite tuner built in – Ability to tune into satellite HD channels. (handy if you have a satellite on your motorhome)
  • Low power consumption – 40W to be exact. (not too good)
  • AQT one button tuning – Tune in the channels using just one button. (Apparently it just takes you to the channel settings screen)
  • 2 x HDMI inputs – Plug in laptops or gaming system. (standard)
  • 2 x USB slots – Watch or record on USB input. (Standard)
  • 12v/24v/240v compatible – More working voltages. (12v and 240v are useful. 24v isn’t of any use for most people. Just a gimmick).
  • On screen battery meter – Check the voltage/state of charge of leisure batteries while you watch TV. (gimmick because it’s not really possible to rely on the battery voltage as a charge indicator unless the batteries have stood not on charge or being discharged for at least a few hours. Only then you can use the voltage.)
  • Can be wall mounted(200mm x 100mm bracket not included)
  • 3 year warranty – According to the internet and people I know, the Avtex 3 year warranty is amazing. If your TV malfunctions while on a campsite they’ll send a courier to pick it up off you and send a courier to bring it back to you normally within a few days.
  • 176 degree viewing angle – Not as good as the Blaupunkt but still excellent.

You can read the full data sheet here.

The buyers opinion:

Right, now you know what kind of features you can expect on this, the top of the range Avtex L249DRS-PRO 24″ but what do the buyers think of it!?

I personally have never owned an Avtex TV so I’ve trawled the internet to see what people who bought the Avtex TV think about it.

The most reviews I can find is on Amazon where 132 people have reviewed the Avtex L249DRS-PRO 24″. Here’s the gist of all those reviews:

Out of the 132 reviews on Amazon the Avtex was given an average of 4.5 out of stars.

The pros:

Many people thought it was an excellent TV with great picture and good viewing angle. The few people that had a faulty TV said that upon contacting Avtex the service was second to none.

The cons:

While most people think the TV is good, even if a little overpriced, there are a handful of people who weren’t keen on the Avtex.

When I say weren’t keen, I mean really did not like the Avtex. The main complaint was that the speakers were VERY weak and the screen suffered from motion blur. “Don’t expect to watch tennis” is what one buyer said.

Another buyer said that the menus and interface were very dated and that the TV guide would struggle to load what was on now and next. Most of the time the slots were blank.

The cheaper Cello C24ANSMT 24” 12/24/240v TV

Another one of the firm favourites among motohomers. Claimed to do pretty much everything the Avtex will do but at less than half the price.

Cello isn’t know in the TV world for being the best quality. It’s known for being cheap. Although, with that said, if you find the right Cello TV and it’s suitable for your purpose then most of the buyers seem to be happy.

Price: £209.99 (middle of the road)

Dimensions (without stand): w560 X h348 X d66mm

Weight: 2.7kg (very good)

Features of the Cello:

Once again, I’ve chosen one of the better models from the manufacturer. Again, this one will work on 12v, 24v or 240v and is a 24″ screen. As a plus to the Avtex above and the Blaupunkt below the Cello C24ANSMT 24” 12/24v/240v TV is a smart TV.

So let’s see what you get for roughly half of the price of the Avtex…

  • Smart TV – Connect to the internet via wifi. This gives you the ability to browse the net as if you were on a laptop and also, the ability to download apps like Netflix, Youtube ect. (The only smart TV here).
  • 2 x HDMI port – Connect external devices
  • 2.0 USB port – For recording live TV and watching saved media.
  • Pause live TV – You can pause live TV if your using a USB memory stick. (not Supplied).
  • HD tuner built in – Ability to tune into freeview HD channels. (standard for most TV’s).
  • Multi-tuner – Watch on channel with the option to record another.
  • 12v/24v/240v compatible – More working voltages. (12v and 240v are useful. 24v isn’t of any use for most people. Just a gimmick).
  • Can be wall mounted (200mm x 100mm bracket not included).
  • 4GB built in hard drive – Useful for storing downloaded apps and recording TV. (Only one here with built in memory).
  • Low power consumption – 25w to be exact. (Good)

The buyers opinion:

The Cello has 23 reviews averaging 3.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Once again I have read all the reviews I can find and the gist is as follows:

The pros:

To be honest nothing really stands out about the positives of the Cello. Buyers are just saying that the picture quality is excellent and it’s up to the job of caravan TV etc.

Seems people think it’s OK for the price.

The cons:

This is where the Cello really falls down. Reports of the “smart TV” side of the cello is terrible at best. Buyers are saying that some apps like Amazon prime just will not work on the Cello.

Once again, people are reporting that the sound quality is just “terrible” and that a sound bar is needed if you want to use for music channels.

The standard 240v Blaupunkt BLA-236/207O-GB-3B-EGDP-UK 24-Inch LED HD Ready TV/DVD Kit with Freeview HD – Black""” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener” aria-label=”Blaupunkt BLA-236/207O-GB-3B-EGDP- TV (opens in a new tab)”>Blaupunkt BLA-236/207O-GB-3B-EGDP- TV

240v TV’s, not really what is popular in the world of motorhomers. But should they be!?

Blaupunkt have been around for decades and ever since I was a boy I can remember them having a decent reputation. An above average brand at the cheapest price in this comparison. Well worth a think about.

Price: £144.99 (CHEAP!!)

Dimensions (without stand): w560 X h340 X d40

Weight: 4.1kg (A little weighty)

Features of the Blaupunkt:

Now we have the bog standard household 240v TV. Not designed in any way for a motorhome but it’s the one I have. This TV does not work on 12v so if you like the look of it then you’ll need to factor in the cost of an inverter if you don’t already have one.

  • Built in DVD player – You can watch a DVD while you record live TV.
  • 2 x HDMI inputs – Plug in laptops or gaming system. (standard)
  • 2.0 USB port – For recording live TV and watching saved media.
  • low power consumption – 25w plus 6w for the inverter. 31w total. (Good)
  • JBL speaker system – JBL are a well known acoustics company that have teamed up with Blaupunkt to give this TV “DTS Trusurround” for outstanding sound quality.
  • No rear facing inputs – This is handy if you want mount flat to a wall to maximise space.
  • HD tuner built in – Ability to tune into freeview HD channels. (standard for most TV’s).
  • Pause live TV – You can pause live TV if your using a USB memory stick. (not supplied)
  • 178 degree viewing angle – This screen won’t disappear when you’re sat to one side of the screen. (Excellent)

You can read the data sheet here.

The buyers opinion:

The Blaupunkt has 199 reviews on Amazon with the average of 4.1 stars out of 5.

I also have this TV and would have to rate 4 out of 5.

The pros:

Most of the reviews are raving about the picture quality being exceptional, the menus being easy to navigate and the sound being better than most flat screen TV’s on the market.

The cons:

The cons are that the speaker aren’t really up to the job if purchased for a large room in a house as this is a 240v TV.

One of the other gripes that people have is the build quality isn’t the best and they have to get them replaced. I’m guessing this TV would have sold in massive numbers with it being a household TV.

All I can say on that matter is that mine has not missed a beat!

And the gist of all that technical data….

Well that ended up longer than I had expected when I started to write it.

So to wrap it all up as simply as possible:

240v TV’s should not be dismissed as being too inefficient as they are as efficient as most 12v TVs and a hell of a lot cheaper.

Avtex are very expensive for what you get and Cello are cheap but not the best quality. If you are just looking at 12v TV’s then your choice is very limited.

Be willing to invest in a 240v TV and inverter to run then your choice of the best TV for a motorhome increases dramatically.

What about mounting the TV in your motorhome?

External motorhome walls are made out of a very thin plywood and polystyrene sandwich and are pretty weak at best. Although hanging 3-4kg off them probably wouldn’t be completely out of the question, you’ve got to remember that your motorhome moves.

Go over a speed bump a little too fast and that 3-4kg is now a 15-20kg jolt that’s capable of ripping a chunk of wall out as your TV crashes to the floor.

The most secure way to do it is to fix to either the underside of the upper cupboards or to the side of a wardrobe type cupboard using a good quality TV mounting bracket.

I use the one below and is does an excellent job. It’s made out of pretty thick steel and if you tighten the nyloc nuts up tight and it is solid!! No worrying about the TV swinging around on the corners.

That’s it, my explanation on what characteristics make the best motorhome TV. If you have any pointers that you think I’ve missed please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.


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2 thoughts on “Which is the best TV for a motorhome!?

  • August 22, 2019 at 6:48 pm
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    I think the universe read my mind and made you write this post. We are planning a several month long trip across Europe (We’re from Finland) and I’ve been thinking about building a compact biogas camper van. Just the other day I had the thought that we need a TV for it! I’m not familiar with 12V TVs so I figured I would have to get a big enough inverter but it seems I can draw power straight from the battery if I choose a correct model.

    We are still not sure if we can go by car though because our dog doesn’t really like traveling in the car and we would really like to take her along. Our other options are traveling by train or leaving her at home with relatives and fly to the south (Portugal, Spain maybe) and travel mainly by train. I’ll definitely bookmark this in case we decide to build the van! So wish us luck for training the dog to enjoy car travel 🙂

    Reply
    • August 22, 2019 at 8:10 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Jukka, haha I’m glad it helped. This compact biogas campervan sounds very interesting, if you do end up making it i would love to see some photos and here how you fitted it out.

      As regards to the TV, they only take very little wattage so any pure sine wave inverter will do. As you stated, if you don’t need the inverter to run anything else then maybe a 12V TV is the way to go.

      Shame your dog doesn’t like travelling by car. But hey, it would still be an amazing trip by train. We have plans to travel South into France, Spain, Portugal and maybe even Morocco this November. I can not wait!!!

      Thanks for reading.

      Reply

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