diycampervan.co.uk

| Articles | Resources | Tips | Guides |

Campervan TV Systems – 4 options that won’t break the bank

So, you’re looking into campervan TV systems? I can understand why. After a day exploring in a campervan, I think we’d all agree that it’s nice to be able to put your feet up and watch the TV, or a DVD box set or film.

Nowadays there are many different ways of watching your favourite shows – even when you’re parked up in a campervan in the middle of nowhere! We’re lucky that we live in an age where it is easy to consume media on the move, whether it’s on your phone, tablet, or laptop.

However, with all the choice that’s available, finding the right campervan TV system can be tricky. It’s very easy to suffer from tech jargon overload!

So in this article, I’ve done the research for you, and have selected 4 different campervan TV systems that I think are worth considering.


Campervan TV System – for under £25

USB Freeview PC TV Tuner 

 

If you take a laptop away with you, then not only can you use it for watching DVD’s (like we do) you can also use it to watch and record TV. How? With a USB Freeview tuner such as the August DVB-T202 USB Freeview PC TV Tuner. Best of all you don’t need an internet connection with this sort of device. With an August DVB-T202 USB Freeview PC TV Tuner connected to your laptop’s USB port, you can watch, record, and pause, digital Freeview TV.

The hardware

The August DVB-T202 has a standard aerial connection, which is a great feature. This means that you can connect the device to an external aerial to maximise reception and pick up more Freeview channels. If you’re staying on a site with good TV reception, then the supplied portable antenna should prove adequate. A mini remote control is also included, as is a software CD and user manual.

The software

The software that comes with the August DVB-T202 is compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista and XP. (There is also Mac version available.) Setting up the device is pretty straightforward according to August. Load the software and drivers from the included CD, or if your laptop doesn’t have a DVD drive then you can download the software from the August website. Once the software is installed and the aerial attached, the DVB-T202 will scan for available channels.

The software for the DVB-T202 comes with an electronic program guide (or EPG) to help you to organise and plan your TV viewing. You can record TV (both in real time and scheduled) using your laptop computers hard drive. This then gives you the option to transfer the recordings to DVD if your laptop has a DVD burner.

The software also comes with a Time-Shift feature. This enables the viewer to pause and rewind live TV. You also have the option to show subtitles if they are available.

 

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • No internet connection required
  • You can watch, record, pause, and rewind live Freeview TV
  • Windows and Mac compatible 
  • Tiny – only 5.4 cm x 1.3 cm x 2.2 cm and weighs just 9.07 g

Cons: 

  • Not HD (there is a more expensive HD version available)
  • A little bit of technical know-how is required to set it up
  • A good aerial is recommended to get the best out of it
  • The software is not great. 

 

Conclusion:

For the money, the August DVB-T202 USB Freeview PC TV Tuner seems an absolute bargain. Though from what I’ve gathered by reading through the Amazon reviews, it seems it doesn’t work for everyone. Some people have experienced problems with the software, either finding it a bit clunky to use, or experiencing compatibility problems. Whereas others have had no problems at all! (That’s computers for you, I guess.)

The advice given to overcome the software usability issue, is to just use the hardware. Then use your own software such as Windows media centre or Mediaportal. (You will still need to install the device drivers for it to work.) And to overcome the compatibility issue, the advice is to download the latest drivers from the August website rather than installing the software on the supplied disc. One other suggestion: to get the most out of the August DVB-T202, use an external or a powered aerial.

My score: 7 out of 10


Campervan TV System – for under £150

10″ Portable TV with HD Freeview

If you’re looking for a simple plug-in-and-watch TV for your campervan that doesn’t take up too much room, then look no further than the feature-packed August DA100D, 10″ portable TV.

 Versatility

The one word I would use to describe this little digital Freeview TV, is versatile. It can be powered by mains, AA rechargeable batteries, or a 12v charger, making it ideal for use in a campervan.

Using the latest technology, the sleek looking DA100D has an impressive 10″ HD LCD screen. There is also a built-in memory card reader and USB port, so you can record directly to a USB stick, or watch films, view photos, or listen to music that is stored on the drive.

 Portability

The DA100D is totally portable. You get around 4 hours of playback when using good quality rechargeable AA batteries (like 2500mAH Duracell batteries). So you could even take this little TV with you to the beach if you wanted (consider buying the optional carry case if you’re going to do this).

 Features

The DA100D incorporates features that you would only expect to see in high-end personal video recorders, such as pause and rewind live TV, access to red button content like teletext for checking the weather forecast, etc, real-time and scheduled recording, plus subtitling. Much like a home set-top box, the DA100D has a 7 day EPG (electronic program guide) to help you organise your viewing and schedule recordings. Another useful feature is the HDMI and AV in. This means that you can use the TV as a monitor for game consoles, digital cameras, etc.

 

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Great HD picture quality
  • Built-in card reader, USB slot, HDMI & AV in
  • Can be used with mains, 12v, or AA batteries
  • Low power consumption 
  • You can watch, record, pause, and rewind live Freeview TV
  • Can be used as a monitor for gaming etc
  • Small size 262mm x 170mm x 30mm

Cons: 

  • The sound is a little thin 
  • May need to use a better aerial or booster if in weak TV signal area
  • Some people found the EPG frustrating to use
  • User manual could be improved

 

Conclusion:

If you’re looking for a super portable, versatile and feature-rich HD TV that you can take anywhere, then I think you’d be hard pushed to find one better than the August DA100D, 10″ portable TV. Most people who have bought one seem to love it! Check out the Amazon reviews and see for yourself.

My score: 8.5 out of 10


Campervan TV System – for under £170

20″ CELLO C20230F 12v LED HD Freeview TV with built-in DVD player

The next TV on the campervan TV systems list, is the British made, (no that’s not a typo, I did say British made!) 20″ Cello C20230F LED HD Freeview TV with built-in DVD player. The slimline, dual voltage (240v AC & 12v DC) TV, only uses 16 watts of power, making it a perfect choice for use in a campervan. The TV comes with two power adaptors. One 240v standard 3 pin, and one 12v cigarette lighter power adapter. This allows the TV to be used in the home and on the move.

 Features

The Cello TV has a sharp 20″ 1920 x 1080p LCD screen and two three-watt speakers. For enhanced sound, external speakers can be connected to the TV using the headphone socket. There is an integrated DVD player, which is great for watching movies or DVD box sets. The TV also has a built-in digital Freeview receiver with a 7 day EPG (electronic program guide). With a USB flash drive connected to the TV’s USB port, you can record, pause and rewind live TV using the TVs remote control.

 Connectivity

At the rear of the TV is an HDMI port, which is useful for connecting a games console, satellite box, etc. There is also a SCART connection, a VGA connection (so the TV can be used as a computer monitor) and a USB port so you can play media such as films, music, photos that are stored on a USB flash drive. The TV also has a standard aerial input.

 Wall mounting

The Cello C20230F has 100 x 100 VESA standard mounting points on the back, making it compatible with many TV mounting brackets. So, mounting the TV on a wall is an option here.

 Dimensions

The TV measures 463 mm wide x 275 mm high x 50 mm deep, and with the stand fitted it measures 463 mm wide x 310mm high x 172 mm deep.

 

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Sharp HD picture quality
  • Built-in Freeview
  • Built-in DVD player
  • Dual voltage 240v and 12v 
  • Low power consumption, 16 watts
  • Good connectivity with HDMI, USB, VGA & SCART connections 
  • Can be used as a monitor for gaming or PC connection
  • Can be wall mounted
  • Good price

Cons: 

  • The sound quality is average
  • The stand doesn’t just clip on, it is screwed on
  • No aerial included

 

Conclusion:

If you’ve got the space in your campervan, then the 20″ Cello TV must be a serious contender. It is definitely close to the top of my campervan TV systems list. The fact that it can be used on 240v and 12v and has low power consumption, is what sells this TV to me. The built-in DVD player is also a very good feature, so is the fact that you can record straight to a USB flash drive. The only downside to the TV seems to be the average sound quality. Some people have found that the volume is just a little on the low side for them. However, this is easily fixed by connecting an external powered speaker to the headphone socket, or a Bluetooth speaker via the USB port. All in all, this TV offers good value for money, plus it’s made in the UK!

My score: 8.5 out of 10


Campervan TV System – for under £250

19″ HD Ready LED Travel TV with built-in DVD, Satellite and Freeview, 12V & Mains

An all-in-one campervan TV systems solution

Whilst browsing Amazon for campervan TV systems, I found this travel TV. It is very similar in features to the 20″ Cello TV, dual voltage (240v & 12v), low power consumption (15 watts), integrated Freeview tuner and DVD player, etc. However, this travel campervan TV also has a built-in DVB-S2 digital satellite receiver. Just plug in a satellite dish (not included) to receive satellite channels. This is a great feature, especially if you’re parked up in an area which has a poor TV signal and you’re having trouble picking up channels with your conventional digital TV aerial.

The slim, lightweight HD digital TV has a 19″ LED screen giving excellent picture quality and viewing angle. Connecting a USB flash drive to the TV allows you to pause and record live TV, and also play media stored on the drive, such as movie and music files.

 Connectivity

Inputs at the rear of the TV, include: HDMI, PC, AV, SCART and Mini YPbPr. The TV also has headphones and Coaxial outputs.

 Wall mounting

The TV comes with a stand which is attached with four screws. There are also 75mm x 75mm VESA compatible mounting points on the back (for wall mounting).

 Dimensions

With the stand fitted, the TV measures 438mm wide x 164mm deep x 273mm high. Without the stand, the depth shrinks to just 53mm.

 

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Excellent picture quality
  • Built-in Freeview & satellite receivers plus DVD player
  • Dual voltage 240v and 12v 
  • Low power consumption, just 15 watts
  • Good connectivity with HDMI, USB, VGA & SCART connections 
  • Can be wall mounted
  • Good build quality

Cons: 

  • The sound quality is a bit thin
  • The stand doesn’t just clip on, it is screwed on
  • Need a satellite dish to take advantage of the built-in satellite receiver

 

Conclusion:

This 19″ TV is the Swiss-army-knife of travel TVs. It has everything you’re likely to need, built into one compact unit, making it ideal for travelling. It is the most expensive in my list of campervan TV systems and to take advantage of the integrated satellite receiver you will also need a satellite dish (like this one). However, for under £250, this TV still offers real value for money. The only negative is the thin sound. This seems to be a recurring theme with most TV’s of this size and is simply down to the physical size of the speakers. (If you did find you needed a bigger sound, just connect an external powered speaker system.) If you want satellite TV on the move, then this TV is well worth considering. Check out the Amazon reviews.

My score: 8.5 out of 10


Best campervan tv aerial for under £50

Now a TV without a good aerial is not going to be of much use.  So I set about tracking down which is the best campervan tv aerial, and one make kept coming up.

The Avtex STH3000 suction mounted 12v / 24v boosted TV Aerial

The high gain 20db directional Avtex STH3000 TV aerial is an ideal choice if you need a powerful digital TV aerial for your campervan but don’t feel comfortable drilling holes in your pride and joy to fit one. Using the suction mount, the Avtex STH3000 can be mounted on the inside or outside of your campervan: so there is no need to mess around with erecting a cumbersome TV pole.

The high-performance Avtex STH3000 TV aerial incorporates a 12v/24 signal booster, which is powered by a 12v DC power plug. This will significantly increase your chances of getting channels in poor reception areas. The Avtex STH3000 will work in any country and is, without doubt, one of the most popular campervan TV aerials out there. Some users have even found them so reliable they have stopped using their satellite systems.


In summary

There you have it – four campervan TV systems, in three price ranges. Hopefully one of the options will work for you. To get the most out of the TVs, a good digital aerial like the Avtex STH3000 will really help, especially in areas where the TV signal is poor. For improved sound quality, connecting a powered external speaker will make the world of difference.

Which one would I choose?

Well, due to limited space I’d have to go for the 10″ August DA100D portable TV. Compact, great picture quality, and totally portable – you could watch TV anywhere with this little guy!


Another article you may find useful

What size solar panel do you need to charge a 12v leisure battery?

Share this post: