For caravan or motorhome owners, having a good quality TV setup is a must-have. Caravans and motorhomes are designed for long usage – they are made to be lived in.
With all of the time people spend in these moveable homes, it only makes sense to have some form of television setup.
Finding a good TV setup can be as easy as buying a little television set and drilling it to the wall. If you want to make the most out of your television, there’s an array of ways to make your setup really worth it. This ranges from streaming services, aerials, and a good speaker system.
Television services and setups have come a long way since the days of small portable DVD players, so it is fortunately easy to find a good TV setup to make the most of your mobile home.
We understand the importance of feeling at home, whether it is in a mobile home or a house, so here are our best products and tips for the best TV setups for caravans or motorhomes. We have also included a FAQ section at the end.
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Aerial vs Satellite
Before we look at anything else, let’s look at the difference between aerial and satellite. These are commonly also referred to as Freeview or Freesat.
As I’m sure you are all aware, Freeview is received through an aerial and Freesat is received through satellite. So, which is best?
Freeview is the most common form of digital service in UK homes, and all it requires is a paid TV license.
It is also the most common choice for a TV setup in a mobile home, as almost every model of portable television will come with Freeview, or at least a Freeview box.
However, if your caravan or motorhome has an old analogue TV, there is a chance you may struggle to find a Freeview box to work with it.
One of the biggest problems people encounter with Freeview is that they may not have the best signal where they have decided to park.
If you are in a designated caravan park, there’s a higher chance of better signal as these places are made for multiple caravan users who will need signal. If you are in a motorhome, chances are you may struggle to find a decent signal in some places.
If you want to look for a Freeview box, we recommend the woeita Freeview Indoor TV Aerial. This box simply needs to be stuck to a flat surface such as a wall near the TV, and connects to the screen with a USB cable.
It is thin and lightweight, and not a huge eyesore, so it can fit on any type of surface without falling. As this aerial is situated indoors, it will not be physically obstructed by the British weather. The connection may vary depending on the weather conditions, but this is unfortunately unavoidable.
This TV aerial can receive signals from up to, and sometimes more than, 50 miles from the nearest broadcast tower. Obviously the placement of the aerial is peretive to finding the best signal, so fortunately the cable can reach up to 12 feet.
Each time the antenna is moved, you will need to scan each television channel. This shouldn’t take too long as long as the aerial is receiving signals!
As an added bonus, this portable aerial can be used in your own house if the signal in your bedroom is particularly poor. It’s a win-win!
If you choose to use Freesat, you will need a satellite dish.
Some motorhomes have integrated satellite dishes built-in to the roof, which is a bonus, as it will lower itself when the motorhome is driving and rise when in use, automatically turning to find the best signal.
Most people prefer satellites if they are visiting the UK and want to watch British television, or if people want to watch Sky TV from the comfort of their mobile home.
Permanent satellite dishes can be costly, so it is more common for people to purchase portable dishes. There are multiple satellite dishes to choose from on Amazon, but be aware that they are often low in stock due to their popularity.
With satellite dishes, there are several things to consider. The main issue you will need to consider is that satellites require a clear area – this means it cannot be disrupted by tall trees or buildings.
This also sometimes goes for Freeview boxes, as sometimes foliage and trees can be disruptive to the connection. Other caravans or motorhomes can also be a disruptive blockage.
Another issue people will encounter is the glorious British weather. Whether you are in north Wales or the southeast of England, high winds will almost definitely affect satellite dishes. This is one of the main reasons people generally prefer to go with Freeview instead.
One way to keep satellite dishes safe in extreme weather is to invest in guy ropes. These ropes work to keep the dish in place, and are a great purchase to make if your dish doesn’t come with them already.
We recommend the SSL Satellite Dish Kit, a satellite dish that offers everything a caravan or motorhome owner will ever need. The design itself is compact and sturdy to battle British winds, and is prepared to take on extreme rain also as it fights for clear definition against all elements.
This is an ideal satellite dish kit for anyone on a budget, as it has an easy installation and great delivery for both audio and visual. This also doesn’t necessarily require a Freesat box, though you will need to tune all of the channels manually if you don’t get a box.
It will work with all UK Freesat applications, including others such as Hotbird, Astra, and Polesat Reception.
Smart TVs and Non-Smart TVs
It’s more likely that people are going to want to watch a film or television show rather than the evening news, which is why streaming services are much more popular for caravan or motorhome owners.
The whole point of having a TV setup in your mobile home is to be able to choose your favourite film to snuggle up to, you can browse through channels in the comfort of your own home. This is essentially a mini holiday or weekend away, after all!
Despite this, it’s much easier to stream services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime from the comfort of your own home than in a caravan or motorhome.
This is because it all comes down to how to get suitable internet connection and how to set up a television that supports these streaming services.
Smart TVs or Non-Smart TVs for Caravan or Motorhome?
There are several differences between both smart TVs and non-smart TVs, but fortunately they both have their benefits and can be used in the same way.
Generally speaking, smart TVs are more expensive than regular televisions. This is because they simply offer more, but this does not mean their benefits cannot be replicated in a non-smart TV system (which will explain later).
More affordable smart TVs will offer basic streaming services such as Netflix or YouTube, which is good if that’s all you are wanting.
However, they will not offer an expansive range of apps that more expensive smart TVs do offer. It’s sort of a go hard or go home situation – if you are prepared to spend more, you will get more.
There are a bountiful amount of smart TVs on the market, but you will need to be aware that not all of them will offer every single app that you may want. Some smart TVs may not update automatically, either, which is really important for some streaming services and apps. This means the apps may stop working.
If you are looking to purchase a smart TV, take inspiration from the LG 32-inch Ready Smart LED TV. With built-in WiFi, this TV can stream BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime, 4OD, and ITV Hub.
As well as this, it also has Freeview to watch channels in live time. This television can be wall mounted and offers an excellent high definition display.
Given the obstacles that smart TVs face, we actually recommend buying a normal non-smart TV and buying the added accessories that mimic a smart TV.
Not everyone is going to spend their time inside their caravan or motorhome watching television shows or films, so spending a large amount of money on a television that offers everything can seem a bit redundant.
We recommend looking for a high quality television that offers a great definition and resolution. The picture quality is much more satisfying than a smart TV that streams a lot more but doesn’t actually look that good.
Firesticks and Chromecasts
If you have a non-smart TV but you want all the streaming service benefits from a smart-tv, you are in luck!
Chromecasts are a Google device that connects to your television, and a Firestick is the Amazon equivalent. Both are great for streaming on non-smart TVs, but there are notable differences between them both.
Firestick pros and cons
An Amazon Firestick looks a little like a normal memory stick, as it simply plugs into your television’s HDMI port.
This Firestick turns your ordinary non-smart TV into a smart-tv. It is controlled by a separate remote control, and does have the option of voice control if you have an Alexa device.
These are ideal to use in a caravan or motorhome as they are so small and therefore virtually non-disruptive in a smaller space, and instantly turn your motor home into a smart home. They are incredibly fast to set up – all you need to do is plug it in and put some batteries into the remote, connect it to your WiFi, and set it up on the television.
We will discuss WiFi options for a caravan or motorhome later!
The remote itself is very simple to use. Minimal buttons means minimal chance of getting confused, which is always a bonus! Not only this, but the voice control makes it stand out for easy usage. Just be careful not to lose the remote control!
If you have a video on your phone or something you want to transfer onto the big screen, Firesticks can also connect to mobile devices. The quality won’t be fantastic, but it’s still a useful feature.
It is important to bear in mind that Firestick is an Amazon product, meaning it can only be used for Amazon apps. This includes YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and of course, Prime Video.
Here is the Amazon Fire TV Stick. This impressive device is constantly updated to achieve more power compared to previous models. It can stream YouTube, Disney+, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Prime Video, ITV, All4, and more.
As well as streaming channels on demand, you can also watch British television channels in real time. This remote features an Alexa voice control, which is ideal for those who struggle with typing out show or film names with the remote.
Chromecast pros and cons
A Chromecast works in the same way as a Firestick in that it plugs into a HDMI port in your television.
However, it is developed by Google and does not require a remote control. Instead, this device is controlled by your smartphone. If you do not have your own smartphone device, this may not be the best option for you.
In terms of setup, the installation is very quick. You will need to plug the device into your television, and download the Google Home app. From there, you will be able to set up the Chromecast from your phone.
Though the Firestick does have options to connect to your phone, this is a permanent feature for a Chromecast. This means you can stream services directly from the app, as well as show your own apps and social media onto the screen.
This is incredibly useful if you happen to be working on the road, as you can use the television as a large screen to look at your work! This also makes using the Chromecast incredibly quick, as some may find a remote control slightly slower to use than using your own touchscreen phone.
Chromecasts are also able to connect with Google Home devices, so if you have one they can be linked up to offer more features.
Here is the Google Chromecast Smart TV Streaming Stick. As well as connecting to your smartphone, it can also be connected to your laptop or tablet device to stream videos or music on the television. It is designed with convenience in mind, and certainly is worth considering before looking for a smart TV.
There are some unfortunate dangers to consider if you choose to stream with an unprotected device.
Regardless of whether you use a Chromecast or a Firestick, unprotected streaming allows your internet service provider access to your data, and then legally have the right to sell that information.
Whilst this may sound intimidating, this is the same for the majority of technological devices, even including social media.
The best way to protect yourself against this is to use a VPN system. A VPN can be installed on your streaming device, and works to protect your internet data and what is sold to potential advertisers and more. This is not necessarily a necessity, but is worth considering.
Internet Connection for Caravans and Motorhomes
It often isn’t possible to have internet connection in caravan parks, regardless of how many caravans the site can hold.
Likewise, the same goes for when you park up your motorhome in a designated spot. This is because rural areas offer slow broadband speeds, making WiFi a rare commodity. Unfortunately, WiFi is fairly necessary for some TV setups.
Our first tip to finding WiFi for your caravan or motorhome is to ask the site owner. This may seem like a slightly obvious one, but it’s always worth asking! The speed may be slow depending on where the site is located, and you may be charged more for using a certain amount of data.
If the site does have WiFi, you may be in a rush to connect all of your device, but this will actually make the connection even worse. In the case of a Chromecast for example, you will need WiFi for your smartphone to work the Google Home app.
Instead, the best way to connect all of your devices to the WiFi is to create a WiFi hotspot. Just make sure that your smartphone has this WiFi hotspot feature and that your provider allows it in your phone’s contract!
4G and Data Networks
Before we go into how to get a form of WiFi, you will need a form of WiFi for both a Firestick or Chromecast, and for a smart TV. This is because none of the streaming services can perform well without WiFi, or with poor data.
More often than not, your best bet for using good WiFi in your caravan or motorhome is a portable router. The TP-LINK Portable Travel WiFi Hotspot, for example, is an ideal purchase for using a data device for your TV setup without having to rely on your smartphone’s data.
This portable travel WiFi hotspot can connect up to 32 devices (which you probably won’t need to do in a caravan or motorhome, but it’s still impressive), has a download speed of 600 Mbps, and lasts up to 15 hours without charging.
This is a worthy purchase for mobile home owners regardless of the TV setup, as you can take longer weekend or week-long breaks without having to connect to dodgy WiFi or lose all of your personal data.
Can I use my phone data?
If you have a good data plan, and especially if your phone has a hotspot feature, you can definitely use your phone data! If you have a Chromecast, Firestick, or a smart TV, then you will definitely require data or some connection to a network.
Fortunately, most mobile home owners don’t tend to spend most of their time inside the caravan or motorhome as opposed to how much time is spent outside, so WiFi isn’t the be all and end all – unless you really want a TV setup.
Streaming services and data usage
Firestick, Chromecast, and smart TVs all require connection to the internet as streaming services take up a lot of data. An unlimited data deal is vital if you do not have other access to WiFi, because otherwise your streaming will eat up your data very fast.
Netflix states that one hour of streaming takes up 1GB of data on average, though this figure could vary. If you want a higher quality, that will take up more data.
The best way to combat this would be to buy a WiFi hotspot or to consider an unlimited data plan.
So you have a high definition visual quality for your TV setup, but the sound is a bit off. Unfortunately, small televisions don’t offer the best sound quality simply because the speakers are smaller and aren’t designed to sound brilliant.
The best way to enhance your TV setup is to invest in some separate speakers. You’re in luck, because speakers don’t necessarily have to be huge and expensive to work. It’s easy to find portable speakers and wall-mounted speakers that don’t take up precious space in your caravan or motorhome.
The Saiyin Wireless Bluetooth Sound Bars are ideal for a caravan or motorhome TV setup. These sound bars are thin and wall-mounted, so they take up virtually no space, whilst providing all of the benefits of a good sound system.
They feature 4 speakers, a good bass quality, and can connect to your TV via Bluetooth or by standard audio cables. It can be controlled by a remote.
However, not all TV systems have the Bluetooth connectivity option, and if you are unsure of how Bluetooth works, there are other options available.
The Logitech USB Stereo Speakers can be easily plugged into your TV with a USB cable, so you don’t have to worry about connecting it to Bluetooth. Just make sure that your TV has the option to connect a USB plug!
These speakers are lightweight and easy to set up as well as move around, and also come with a headphone jack if you want to watch a film quietly whilst others are asleep in your mobile home.
With speakers that aren’t wall-mounted, just be cautious of the space they will take up. Sure, they aren’t huge, but it might be worth looking into a shelving unit.
Motorhomes and caravans aren’t the smallest of homes, but space and storage can certainly be an issue. For a TV setup, a wall bracket and mounting system is pretty much a necessity.
The Invision Ultra Slim TV Wall Bracket Mount is a great example of a television mount for a caravan or motorhome. This bracket mount can hold 24-55 inch LED television screens, and has a handy tilt and swivel feature.
This feature is vital for a mobile home, as it means you don’t have to limit the placement of the television to one particular wall. If you want your TV to face your bed, you can easily swivel and tilt it to your liking.
Wall mounting brackets are also much safer for your television than placing the TV on a shelf. Your mobile home will most likely be in motion, especially for motorhomes, so mounted brackets work to keep your television securely in place whether it is in use or not.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get WiFi in my motorhome?
WiFi can be achieved by either a WiFi hotspot, connection to a network, or through mobile data.
If you are in a caravan site, you can always ask the site owners if they have access to WiFi and how much data you can use from it.
A WiFi hotspot is probably the best way to bring WiFi to your mobile home, or an unlimited data plan on your smartphone.
What direction should my antenna point in a motorhome or caravan?
This all depends on where your motorhome or caravan is. You will need to rotate your antenna until you find the best signal.
In rural areas, signals will be harder to find. Sometimes signals can be disrupted by large trees, buildings, or other mobile homes.