One way to make your RV feel and sound like home is to upgrade the audio and video components. Smaller LED TVs have really come down in price and are a vast improvement over those heavy, power hungry tubes. Yup…we had one too. If you enjoy watching movies and listening to music like we do, you might also want to install an inexpensive sound system in your RV.
Over the years, we have made several upgrades like removing the old tube TV and adding crisp high definition video and audio. Our RV is almost 8 years old and came with two TVs, a 12 volt LCD in the front and a 13 inch tube TV in the back. As new technology began dropping in price, we knew it was time to upgrade.
It is important to first clarify how we watch TV, how we roll you could say.
We do not watch much broadcast TV or sporting events. Our RV is wired for a satellite dish, but we not have a need for one. We mostly enjoy watching movies.
We also put digital content (movies and other shows) on a USB thumb drive or hard drive which can then be streamed through our TV or media player.
Watching Movies In the Bedroom
I started with the tube TV in the bedroom. It was tucked away in a little cabinet which I liked. I’m not a big fan of the articulating arm hanging off the wall and prefer a built-in look.
Once I removed the small tube TV from the cabinet, I realized that there was quite a bit of space in there. I found a 22inch LCD that would fit inside the cabinet for around $180.
I made a wooden frame and secured it to the inside of the cabinet with some 2×2 pieces of wood. Finally, I mounted the TV to the frame using an inexpensive universal flat screen mount. I also angled the TV down for optimal viewing from bed.
With the extra space behind the new TV I had plenty of room to store my DVD player and other things.
For audio, I decided to make use of two car speakers that were mounted above the bed. The speakers were connected to the chassis stereo on the other end of the RV. I’m not sure why it was setup that way, but we never used them. That was until I devised a plan to connect them to the TV.
I found the wires that ran to the speakers and plugged them into a cheap mini amplifier I found on Amazon. All that was left was to run speaker cable from the TV on the other side of the room. That project proved to be more challenging that I had planned, but I carefully got it done. I ended up running the cable from the TV, down through the wall, under the RV and back up to behind the bed.
With the speakers right above our head, watching movies in BED is really awesome now.
Watching Movies In The Main Living Area
I planned on spending around $250, but ended up splurging a bit to get a smart TV, I wound up buying a VISIO 32 inch LED Smart TV for around $350. My next challenge was to figure out a way to mount it to the existing motorized arm designed for a smaller TV. My new 32 inch TV would have to sit outside the existing cabinet.
I found a way to extend the mount a few inches and attach the TV outside the enclosure using this universal swiveling mount that I found on Amazon. It is highly adjustable and worked out perfectly, with only couple minor adjustments for alignment.
I put some rubber stoppers on the edges of the TV so it quietly rests against the cabinet during travel.
We picked up a cheap Blue-Ray, surround sound, stereo combo system from Walmart for around $150. I put the subwoofer under the couch, and wired surround speakers through the cabinets around the room. Within the RV living area, the sound is outstanding.
TV and Audio Equipment Info
Find a 32 Inch LED Smart TV
LED TVs have full HD displays and use much less power than other TVs.
DC Powered LED Flat Screen TV
A DC powered TV runs directly off of your RV’s 12 volt system enabling you to watch TV when not plugged into shore power or powered by inverter. Our previous TV was a DC powered unit which the kids used to watch TV or play video games while on the road. Read more reviews on Amazon
Universal Flat Screen TV mount
There are lots of options when it comes to mounting your flat screen. Find one tha fits your space. You may have to add an additional strap or clasp to secure it during travel.
Swivel Full Motion TV Mount
This is the swivel mount I used to extend the TV from the existing motorized swing mount. You could also mount this directly to a wall or hinged door.
Compact Blue-Ray 5.1 Surround Home Theater
You don’t need much to get great sound in your small RV space. I used this type of Blue-Ray/Surround combo unit. It comes with the DVD, amplifier, sub-woofer and 5 surround sound speakers. For a few more bucks you might also consider a wireless surround system. Read more reviews on Amazon
15 Watt Compact Stereo Amplifier (12 volt DC)
This inexpensive compact amplifier is exactly what I needed to power two small speakers mounted above our bed.