6 Ways to Upgrade Your RV’s Entertainment System
Get More From Your Movies, Music, and Other Media with These Simple Additions
For years, the RV industry has attempted to recreate the feeling of relaxing in your home living room while parked at the campsite. To achieve that feeling, many motorhomes and travel trailers come with TVs, DVD players, sound systems, and other electronic devices installed at the factory. The result is a mobile media center that can keep you entertained even while boondocking at a remote location.
But just like some home entertainment systems, there is often room for improvement. For instance, many RV manufacturers keep costs down by installing lower-end electronic devices, offering a minimal level of performance without the bells and whistles you have back home. These devices work fine, but they aren’t going to blow anyone away in terms of quality.
Thankfully, there are some simple ways to improve the entertainment system in your RV. If you’re looking to make your travels a bit more comfortable and enjoyable, here are some ways you can do just that:
Why Upgrade Your RV’s Entertainment Center?
There are a number of reasons why you might want to upgrade the entertainment system in your motorhome or travel trailer. Perhaps you enjoy watching sporting events while at the campsite or like to host movie nights for fellow campers. While you can probably do that just fine with your factory-installed devices, upgrading them can make the entire experience better.
Keep in mind your RV is your home away from home, and you’ll potentially be spending a lot of time in the vehicle. A high-quality entertainment system will help you relax and enjoy that experience more. This is especially true for full-time RVers who live in their motorhomes all year long. You wouldn’t settle for sub-par performance from your television or sound system at home; why should you put up with it in your RV?
With that in mind, here are a few suggestions on how to get more from your RV’s entertainment system:
Replace Your TV
One of the simplest ways to upgrade your entertainment experience while camping is to swap out your TV with a better model. Many factory-installed televisions are lacking in brightness, color reproduction, and resolution. By updating to a newer model, you’ll often see a dramatic increase in image and sound quality.
Most TVs sold today offer 4K resolutions and high dynamic range (HDR) color. The result is a more vibrant image that makes movies and sporting events pop off the screen. That said, unless you have a DVD player or streaming device that can provide 4K media, you may not be able to take full advantage of these capabilities.
When shopping for a new TV, the temptation is always to go as large as possible. But in this case, bigger isn’t always better. Chances are, you’ll be restricted by the size of the space provided by the RV manufacturer, and you’re better off buying a smaller TV with better specs and performance as compared to a larger model that uses subpar components. In the end, buy the one that looks best to your eyes and meets your budget.
Add a Soundbar
Many RVs come with integrated speakers that are actually quite good. Audiophiles may want to replace them, but for most of us, the sound quality is usually excellent, especially when listening to the radio or a CD.
But if you want to improve the sound in your entertainment system, adding a good soundbar can make all the difference when watching movies or sports. These speakers often support the latest audio protocols—such as Dolby Atmos—and can simulate a surround sound system in your RV. Most of these devices are extremely compact too, so they won’t take up much space when installed.
Go Wireless with Bluetooth Speakers
Bluetooth speakers bring lots of convenience and features that make them a no-brainer for use in and out of an RV. They offer good sound quality and are also highly portable, allowing you to carry the portable sound system throughout your motorhome or outside to the campsite, all without missing a beat. And because Bluetooth is a wireless protocol, you can stream music, podcasts, and audiobooks in seconds.
Some newer RVs already have Bluetooth speakers installed, but adding one to your camper is incredibly easy. There are dozens of models to choose from in a variety of shapes, sizes, and price points. All you have to do is find one that fits your needs and take it with you when you hit the road. No installation necessary.
Install a Better Antenna
If you use the TV in your RV to watch over-the-air terrestrial broadcasts, installing a better antenna can be a significant upgrade. Not only will a new antenna improve reception quality, but it will also often pick up more channels. This can be very helpful for watching live sports or your favorite network shows, but can also keep you connected to the community you’re visiting through local programming.
An excellent example of this type of device is the Winegard Air 360+. This antenna picks up HDTV signals from as far as 55 miles away and receives VHF, UFH, and FM radio signals too. It can also be used to improve the signal strength of Wi-Fi and GPS devices and has the option to add 4G LTE cellular internet service. The easy-to-install antenna is reasonably priced, especially considering the level of functionality that it offers.
Alternatively, you can add a satellite antenna capable of receiving broadcasts from Dish Network or DirecTV. These devices provide access to hundreds of television channels with the same programming quality you would get at home. This type of receiver requires a subscription to a satellite television service, but you’ll gain access to a wide variety of content, including movies, news, and sports.
Most smart TVs have built-in streaming apps that allow owners to connect to services such as Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max. Those streaming platforms offer hundreds of thousands of hours of programming, including television shows, movies, documentaries, music videos, and more.
Alternatively, standalone streaming devices from Apple, Amazon, Google, and Roku turn any television into a smart TV. These gadgets are small, easy to connect, and very affordable. Once configured, they offer access to all of the top streaming services.
The downside of adding a streaming device to your entertainment system is that you’ll also need a reasonably fast internet connection to take full advantage of its capabilities. That isn’t necessarily a problem if you’re staying at a modern campground with a strong Wi-Fi signal, but it could become an issue when boondocking. When you are connected, however, you’ll have an endless supply of content at your disposal.
Get Your Game On
A modern video game system can be a great addition to an RV. A Playstation or Xbox will allow you to play the most recent games and serve as a 4K DVD player or media streaming device for music and movies. This level of versatility makes these devices an attractive option for frequent RVers looking for gadgets that can offer multiple forms of entertainment.
That said, you may need an internet connection to get the most out of these gaming consoles. That may not be much of an issue if you’re staying in an urban campground, but it could limit the device’s capabilities while boondocking. Still, for mobile gamers, it is a great way to have fun while on the road.
These relatively simple upgrades can take your RV’s entertainment system to the next level. Have fun, and don’t be too surprised if other campers keep dropping by to hang out.