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12V TV LCD Flatscreen

Updated on March 18, 2011

We Test A 12V 15 inch LCD TV With Built In DVD Player & Freeview

A real world test of a 12V LCD TV

Why did we test such a TV set? We wanted to see if there was any difference between a 12v unit and a regular or equivalent 240V AC counterpart. Our findings are quite encouraging.

This little set is an 15 inch true widescreen 1440x900 Akura. It arrived within 24 hours via a reliable courier mail-order in quality packaging and was supplied with a good quality user instructions and crucially a 12V DC power cord (even though the set is also 240V AC). Setting up took just a few minutes using the built in 'self set up' / channel seek system. The Freeview digital channels are fine with all the regular BBC and ITV digital channels and of course bags of the more obscure freeview ones including digital radio channels.

This cute little TV looks quite grown up with its highly polished Piano Black finish. The viewing angle is adequate for most situations unless used in larger rooms where one may try to view from outside of the ideal viewing angle. The DVD slides into the right hand side of the set, and will play DVDs (of course), CDs, MP3s, and just about anything else, including a beer mat (only joking). Even with a CD inserted, this function must be selected via the remote control in order to operate / play.

Picture quality is exceedingly good with colours being sharp, fast and vibrant and crucially black being 'jet black'; this ensures crystal clear imagery and good definition when objects are in motion.

Our main criticism would be regarding the sound quality which is actually fairly typical of small flatscreen TV sets with a rather 'small' portable radio type sound quality. This can be easily addressed by adding extra speakers or a nice quality amplifier and speakers (which can also be acquired in a 12v option).

Overall, we were very impressed with this little set. Everything works exactly as it should and the remote controller is fairly responsive. A minor criticism would be that the supplied DC power cord is a little short but it is very easy to extend by a few meters if need be using some quality cable & connectors (be very careful of polarity if doing this).

In summary:

Living in an Off Grid scenario, an opportunity to test out this little beauty came one evening when a very large 'power outage' meant there was no domestic power available for miles around. How marvellous, we all said out loud! We were the only property to be fully illuminated both in and out for miles - tee hee. OK then, lets hook up our newly acquired 12 volt flatscreen to the auxiliary 12v sound system and large speakers (for extra effect and atmosphere) and watch one of our favourite films ever - Green Mile staring Tom Hanks; a brilliant film I have to say. The result was absolutely magical and of course the film was moving (almost as good as I remember the last time I saw it on a very large set).

All things considered, the purchase price of £190.00 is very reasonable and does represent truly good value so 10/10 from us!

So, here are the all important POWER stats for those who want to know! Used as a regular digital TV, it uses around 1.4 to 1.5 amps (around 18 watts) depending on your battery voltage which could be anywhere from 13V to 12.2V for a rested battery. Warning: If you battery is much lower than 12.2V and it's your Cars main starting battery you had better shut everything down or you will have precious little power left to start your car later.

OK, moving on, the set uses around 1.7 to 1.8 amps (around 22 watts) when watching a DVD. If left in the Standby mode, it will consume about 50 milliamps (half a watt); not much but you may as well unplug to save unnecessary battery drain.

New generation 12v TV equipment is so cool
New generation 12v TV equipment is so cool

12V Television has come of age!

Like eveything else, top quality equipment to use via our 12V DC supply is now available

Even 10 years ago a quality portable TV was something of a novelty. Of course, almost all sets were of the regular 'Tube' style and were a pain to handle and or store when not in use.

Happily, twelve volt television systems are now available which would please even the most hardened aficionado. Screen sizes are available from tiny little sets of just a few inched right the way through to HD ready widescreen systems of 24 inches and more!

See the pictures on the right of how 12 volt television used to be (cringworthy!)

Small colour set with manuel chanel selection / tuning - whoooa!

Smart little 15" LCD lightweight, quality picture and plays your DVD's - say no more!

Knowing the luck some of us get when deciding to holiday within the UK (either caravanning and camping), a nice quality little 12V LCD TV / Freeview / DVD combo will be an absolute saviour!

12V Amplifier and compact HiFi speakers sound really great with your 15 inch flatscreen TV
12V Amplifier and compact HiFi speakers sound really great with your 15 inch flatscreen TV

Is it possible to get a better sound quality from a small flatscreen tv?

Bone crunching bass, spine tingling high notes anyone?

OK, we never expected a smallish flat screen TV to have the very finest audio going did we? Well no. The trouble is that such tiny speakers are employed within the limited space available; flat screen sets are very slim which certainly restricts internal speaker placement and choice. Sound reproduction is crisp and clear with no distortion, wooliness, vibration, hum or other unwanted artifacts; perfectly acceptable for typical small space living.

However, there is another way! Delightful little 12v amplifiers are available at such low prices almost bordering on comical. It is possible to add a nice quality pair of speakers along with your dedicated 12v amplifier and have digital sound quality the envy of a large format set!

We put this to the test and were blown away! Simply plug your 'amp' into the audio out on your 12v TV, position your hi fi or quality external speakers for best effect and be prepared to be surprised.

Old style 12v battery
Old style 12v battery

Will a 12v TV set / DVD combo Eat My Battery?

I don't want to end up in the dark or worse...

Not too much of a worry here! A LCD flatcreen TV, utilises high efficiency cold cathode backlighting so does not present a significant power drain. Regular power consumption is quoted as being around 25 watts which is around 2 amps.

For caravan use with a dedicated battery (which is auxiliary charged from your vehcle), one would get several days of use before flattening the battery. If used from the main vehicle battery one will need to consider the full current being drawn if using several items including lights, etc.

When using as a regular digital TV, at moderate volume levels, we recorded around 24 watts. However, when using the built in DVD to view a pre-recorded film, this goes up a little.

Find out how much power you have available from your battery

It is quite simple to caculate your available battery capacity and have peace of mind!

The only word of caution will be to look out for the combined or total power consumption when using several 12V items together such as a room lighting, TV / DVD combo and add on amplifier unit. This can start getting up to around 50 watts or more which could quickly flatten a small battery within an hour or two. Of course, if you have a generous battery this will not be such a concern.

How do I know how long my battery will last using my 12v TV / DVD and amplifier; especially if I have some room lighting on the go also?

Add up all the 'watts' to make a total. For example TV / DVD + Amplifier + 2 Lights may equal around 60 Watts total. Now if you are using a battery in good condition of say 40 amp hour capacity this means it has a watt hour capacity availability of around 500 watts when fully charged (12.7 volts X 40 amps). If you consume 60 watts for 3 hours you will have removed around 180 watts of your available 500 watts reserve.

Special MARINIZED TV Sets for use onboard boat are available

Quality 12V Digital TV to purchase at eBay UK - Digital Freeview, HD, DVD and 12V Ready!

How can you go wrong? All you need to do is decide what screen size you need and bid! Items are covered by full warranties and money back returns as a rule.

We are! We have a completely off grid ready 12 volt circuit ready to power just about anything imaginable and we love it! Working directly with 12v systems for probably best part of 30 years means we are nuts about using 12 volt power!

Why not tell us about your experience with such items, we would love to know what you have to say.

Reader Feedback - Are you interested in 12V products?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great lense!

    • profile image

      outsource123 7 years ago

      Great lense guys!

    • Kyecerulian profile image

      Kyecerulian 7 years ago

      Great thought! I used to have one of those old portable DC TV's (so old it was B&W). It's amazing to see how far it has come. A flatscreen is so much easier to pack and it's a great luxury to have while travelling.