Mounting a TV in your RV can add a layer of luxury without stealing valuable real estate from the limited space. Unfortunately, we have seen too many RV owners who do not know how to install a flat screen TV in an RV, treating it similarly to an in-home installation. This can lead to not only a faulty mount but also possible damage to your RV.
Depending on the style of RV, you may have several TV mounting options available. This article will detail those installation options to ensure a smooth, secure setup without the added potential for harm.
How Do You Mount a TV in an RV?
Some RV models are equipped with a TV box for deeper tube TVs. With a few adjustments, these can become handy mounting points for a newer flat screen. However, mounts can be versatile, and you may find that a wall or under-cabinet setup works better. Let’s look at each option and detail how you can execute a clean, secure installation.
Installing a Flat Screen in a TV Box
- Clear the TV box and measure the depth needed for the wall mount. Mark this point on the inside wall of the TV box with a pencil.
- Add 1.625” to this measurement and mark this point on the top and bottom of both walls.
- Measure the height of the box. Cut two pieces of 2x4 to that length for the vertical supports.
- Place the vertical supports inside the box, one on each side, with the broad sides against the wall. Align the support edges flush with the pencil marks.
- Attach the vertical pieces to the box with 2.5-3” wood screws, using four per side.
- Measure the width of the TV box. Cut two pieces of 2x4 to that length for the horizontal supports.
- Measure the desired height of your TV mount and position the horizontal beams on the vertical supports, with one horizontal support stacked directly above the other. Use two 3” screws on each side (four screws per support) to secure the horizontal beams to the vertical supports. Pre-drill these holes to avoid splitting.
- Measure to the middle of the horizontal supports and mark the position for the mount. If the TV mount has three holes, the side with one bolt goes on the bottom.
- Pre-drill holes for the bolts with a ¼” bit and attach the wall mount.
- Install the TV on the wall mount according to the wall mount manual.
Installing a TV on an RV Wall
If you do not have an available TV box or you just have a more desirable location on the wall, you may have the option to secure the TV the traditional way.
- Determine the best position for your TV on the wall. Having someone hold the TV in place while you sit in your preferred viewing position is helpful.
- Use a stud finder to pinpoint the wall studs and mark it with a pencil. If studs are still difficult to find, you can try knocking on the wall or, if all else fails, contacting the RV manufacturer for a diagram of stud locations.
- Using a level to keep it straight, hold the TV mount to the wall and mark the spots for the holes. With a masonry bit, drill pilot holes for the bolts.
- Attach the mounting bracket to the pre-drilled holes with its included hardware.
- Secure the back plate to the TV and hook it onto the TV mount.
Installing a Flat Screen Under a Cabinet
Installing a TV under an RV cabinet is simple with an under-cabinet mount. Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions and attach the TV to the mount.
Benefits of Using a Flat Screen TV in Your RV
Being able to swap out an old CRT for an upgraded flat screen in the RV is a great idea for numerous reasons. Here are some benefits of installing a newer TV model:
- Lightweight: Flat screens are far lighter than their CRT counterparts. A 28” CRT may be awkward and heavy for one person but a flat screen version can be lifted with one hand.
- Easy installation: Smaller TVs ideal for RVs have universal mounting capabilities. You can use any style of mount for fast installation on nearly any flat surface.
- Clarity: The lifelike clarity and vivid color provide a much more appealing and immersive viewing experience.
- Affordable: Since they have been on the market, the cost of 4K TVs has plummeted, bringing 1080p models down even further. With smaller TVs for compact spaces like an RV, 1080p models can often get the job done for a little over $100.
Can You Use a Regular Mount in an RV?
You can technically use any mount in an RV. However, depending on your layout and viewing position, certain styles will be better than others.
- Fixed mounts: These are the cheapest, simplest mounts available. They stay close to the wall for the most space efficiency. If you are sitting directly in front of the TV at all times, this mount will suffice. However, the low profile makes hookups in the back more difficult to access and the limited motion is not ideal for multiple viewing angles.
- Tilt mounts: Slightly deeper than fixed mounts, tilt mounts make access to hookups slightly easier. The tilt feature is ideal if the TV is mounted above eye level and it can also be adjusted to reduce glare.
- Adjustable mounts: These are the deepest mounts, capable of tilting up and down and swinging left and right for limitless viewing positions. Unfortunately, the free motion arm needs to be locked while the RV is moving. Opt for an RV specific model that has built-in locking features to reduce the risk of damage.
For a look into the best RV TV mounts on the market, check out this top 5 list.
What Kind of TV is Best for an RV?
Any TV can technically work in an RV. However, special RV TVs are designed to last longer and perform better, with stronger components to reduce wear and handle vibration, shock and temperature fluctuations. Read up on picks for the top RV TVs on the market.
Consider the following factors to choose the right TV for your RV:
- Size: Always measure to see what size TV will fit the space. RVs can usually fit a 19-40” TV. If you can go larger, the optimal TV size is based on 10” of diagonal screen size for every two feet of viewing distance. For example, if you sit six feet away from the TV, a 30” screen is an ideal size.
- Weight: The lighter the better. Weight is magnified when the RV is moving so mounts have a harder job keeping the TV secure.
- Power usage: 12-volt TVs are an easier setup for the stock power options in an RV but most are limited to 24” and under. The best bet is to find a TV with the right Smart features for your preferences and use a 120-volt inverter.
You are now all set to boost the entertainment value of your RV. Get your measurements, choose the best TV with your favorite features, follow these mounting guidelines and get your new rolling cinema on the road.