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TV's Are Not Created Equal

Updated on March 27, 2013

While it is true that not all TVs are created equally, it is true that most liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs are very similar. They are similar in that most all have A/V, coaxial and HDMI inputs. Many these days also offer USB inputs and an Ethernet jack for connection to your local network and internet. Wow, now that’s a TV!

“So what’s the big deal, I just wanna go camping and watch TV” many will say. On the other hand there are many people looking for all the extra bells and whistles a manufacturer can cram into one TV. For some less is more and we all get that, less to learn and less that can go wrong.

How can USB input benefit me? If your LCD TV is going into a bus, coach, caravan, travel trailer, motorhome or other RV having options which allow for internet connection might not be so important while an RV TV with USB and SD card inputs may be very beneficial. Many TVs include a built-in DVD player but it’s not the best solution to be toting a stack of DVDs all around the country with you while traveling. This is especially true for tour type busses and similar services.

When your TV will accept burned movie formats from SD cards and USB thumb drives, you can backup many movies to just one SD or USB device. All those movies can be played back via the TV remote control and on screen index. This helps reduce time between features, the risk of “misplacing” all of your DVDs, and is just all around much more convenient.

Many RV TV's offer built-in DVD and USB and SD card inputs

There is a nice selection on the market of TVs designed specifically for use in an RV. So what’s the difference between an LCD TV for the home and an LCD TV designed for RV’s? Not much. Most RV TV’s are built to the same standards as any other LCD. The major difference is that home TV’s include only one power cord that plugs into the wall outlet 110V power. The RV TV’s include, or have available for purchase, a 110V cord for home use and a 12Volt power cord for use with 12 volt dc applications.

Another great difference is in the warranty coverage. In most cases with warranty on a home TV the company never asks where the TV was being used. But when it does come up that a TV sold for use in the home was used in an RV it can turn into a situation of non-coverage due to unintentional use.

There are some slight differences between the construction of RV TVs between the various manufacturers. Jensen leads the industry in both quality and performance but brands like Skyworth and Naxa are working hard every day to bring the latest and greatest technology to your motorhome or travel trailer. RCA is even getting into the mix now with their very own line of TV’s designed for installation in RV’s.

In what climates can we use the 12 Volt TV in our RV and in what climates should an LCD TV not be used? Many people have heard a story that you shouldn’t let your LCD screen freeze or the unit will suffer irrevocable damage. And these stories are nearly true. Since most TVs are made in China they began their life with a non-climate controlled voyage across the open ocean with temperatures from very hot to very cold. They all still work fine when they arrive on our shores.

The trouble comes when a device is cold and begins to warm; moisture will often collect on the TV’s inside and outside surfaces. Making sure there is no moisture before powering the TV on will prevent damage. Just be sure the TV has warm dry air moving over and around it for a period of time sufficient to warm and remove moisture. Normally an hour or so will do.


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