Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. Today he discusses upgrading an old TV.
Upgrading the RV’s TV
We have a 13-year-old Class A and need to replace the original TV. It’s bolted securely into its woodbox frame and we’ll need professional help fitting and installing a new model into the space. We also want a TV that can take the bumps and jolts of travel. Should we go to an RV service facility or to an electronics store to have this done? We’re not sure where to start or which one would have the most expertise. Thanks, Dave. —Ron
This is a fairly common upgrade as the older tubed TVs were stuck up in between the driver and passenger area because they were so deep it would take up too much room in the living area. Today’s flat-screen TVs are so much easier to place and the quality is outstanding. I have replaced a few over the years. One project was for a 1992 Itasca Suncruiser, where we replaced a 12” TV in the overhead with a 21” flat screen.
Options for the new TV location
We had limited options since the old TV was more of a square screen, called 4:3 aspect, and new HD TVs are rectangular, called 16:9. One option would be to remove the TV and install a cabinet door to match the two side doors for more storage and place the new TV somewhere else in the living room. We decided not to do that as we wanted to connect the entertainment center located in the right overhead compartment to the new TV. Putting it in the living room was too hard to wire. Plus, we would have a difficult time getting coax there from the antenna.
So, we decided to place the new TV in the existing area and had to decide how big and what type. I researched what brand RV manufacturers were installing. I even called Winnebago Owner Relations to see if they were experiencing any issues with the LG brand they were using. It seemed that was holding up well in travel and cold weather. So that is the brand we chose.. However, I do see several companies using Vizio and Sony. These are the brands I would recommend.
Choose the size TV
Next, we had to decide on size. We chose the 21” as it fit in between the two doors and used a telescoping mount inside the compartment. We used this mount as it could be pushed inside the compartment with the TV sitting flush to the opening. It could also be pulled out and the TV swiveled.
This is a fairly easy DIY project, so you don’t necessarily need to go to a repair facility or electronics specialist. Check out this video at RV Repair Club and decide for yourself.
Another option was to install a full wood face to the opening and install a permanent mount to the wood and the other to a larger TV and store the TV under the sofa while traveling. Then we could just pull out the TV and hang it up and have a full-size TV while stationary. The owner chose the first version!
Since you indicated it was mounted in steel, I assume it’s a Winnebago product, as it was one of the few to do that. This is good, as it gives you a solid frame to mount whatever you want. The existing coax will work with HD, and even the old “batwing”-type antenna will receive an HD signal. I would recommend upgrading that as well with either the Wingman addition to the existing antenna or, better yet, upgrade with the permanent mount Winegard model.
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