Smart TV for Your Motorhome

Adam from Motorhome WiFi Discusses Smart TV and looks at the Best Smart TV for your Motorhome in 2020

If you were purchasing a TV for home, it’s unlikely in 2020 that you would consider purchasing one that wasn’t Smart. In fact, if you specifically wanted one that wasn’t Smart you would find your choice severely limited, however, for 12v TV’s the reverse has been true for some time.

Avtex, to many the undisputed king of the leisure TV market and they, certainly make good TV’s but they’ve been incredibly slow on the update in the area of Smart TV’s although it’s hard to believe that will be the case forever.

You can, of course, make any old TV into a ‘Smart TV’ by adding a plugin dongle provided that the TV in question has at least an HDMI socket for input and ideally a USB socket also to draw power from, although the latter is not essential.

A smart TV is an internet-connected telly that gives you the opportunity to watch on demand content from apps. like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4, access to streaming services like Netflix, and the ability to connect to other wireless devices like smartphones.

An Amazon Firestick is my personal favourite since this is the most versatile device both in terms of available applications and what else can be added by the enthusiast. Roku / NowTV sticks are also popular since NowTV app cannot be officially downloaded for the Firestick, although there is a workaround. Many people swear by Google Chromecast, but this is a slightly different thing that requires your phone to act as the remote and isn’t as flexible as a standalone option.

However, perhaps you’re looking at upgrading the TV in your motorhome and fancy a fully integrated Smart TV so what do you need to look out for?

Each manufacturer will have a different platform on which their Smart TV’s are based, this can mean that there are discrepancies between what applications are available and sometimes delays when one platform gets few features or bug fixes before another. It’s worth checking that the important apps you use are available on the TV of your choice before purchasing.

Most Smart TV’s are WiFi-enabled and in the close proximity of a motorhome, there is likely not any real benefit from running a hard-wired network connection even if you have a compatible router installed.

Don’t forget that you’ll need an internet connection for your Smart TV and it’s unlikely that streaming TV will be possible on campsite WiFi or that a Smart TV could cope with the ‘captive portal’ login page many require to connect.

If you have a SmartPhone and a suitable data plan, you can try connecting the Smart TV to your handset to see how you get on. However, a dedicated 4G system ideally with a roof antenna would likely yield the best results and allow you to use the TV reliably in most locations.

Smart TV’s will also have a regular TV/Freeview tuner to connect to a regular DVB-T aerial so you can watch Live TV without an internet connection.

Here’s a quick look at three different models:

Make: Hitachi
Price: £299-£349
Dimensions: 21.5” and 24”
Model: 22HE4001 / 24HE4001
DVD: No
Freeview: Yes
Satellite Tuner: Yes
Wall Mountable: Yes

The Hitachi is a new product to the UK market and doesn’t have a DVD player which means it’s both thinner and lighter. It’s available in two sizes – 21.5” and 24” meaning tight mounting locations are also catered for. The remote control has direct access buttons for Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime with a further button you can program for an app of your choice which is a handy shortcut. The Hitachi is one of the fastest Smart TV’s I’ve used and the picture is clear with a good viewing angle.

 

Make: Sharp
Price: £249
Model: LC-24DHG6132KFM
DVD: Yes
Freeview: Yes
Satellite Tuner: Yes
Wall Mountable: Yes

The Sharp, with its brushed thin bezel, is certainly punching above its weight and looks wise is every much as premium as the Avtex. It has a DVD player as well, which means if you’d still like the option of putting a disc in then you’ll be able to with this unit. There is only one size available in this range and having a DVD player means its also quite deep so it’s not going to suit everyone.

 

Make: Cello
Price: £199
Model: C24SFS
DVD: No
Freeview: Yes
Satellite Tuner: Yes
Wall Mountable: Yes

Smart TV for your Motorhome

The Cello TV is arguably not the best looking TV on the market and has a bit of a shiny and plasticky feel with a larger bezel than its competitors. However, given it’s one of the cheapest Smart TV on the market this can largely be forgiven.

The ‘Smart’ interface used by Cello has always been a bit quirky in as far as it runs on Android and hasn’t had the same level of customization that most other manufacturers develop for their interfaces – it’s more like using an android tablet or tv box. As a result, it has access to the full Google Play store to download Android Apps and therefore you can download SkyGo – an app that you cannot otherwise easily access on a Smart TV which could be of interest to many. This is something unlikely to be possible on some of the newer models which run the NetGem.TV interface.

MotorhomeWiFI

To discuss other issues about Smart TV in your motorhome visit that specific forum section

This article first appeared in the February 2020 issue of MotorhomeFun Magazine