32v: TV



Our RV did not come with a TV, which I was actually happy about.
I preferred to pick the type/size/mount, in case we wanted something different from the default.  Plus I’m cheap.  I figured I could get a non-ruggedized (is that a word?) unit for a whole lot less.  Who knows?  Maybe after a few seasons on the road I’ll change my mind in favor of something built for RVs. 

In any case, we bought this TCL 43″ because the size seemed a decent fit for our coach.  It is a Roku TV, which we use at home so it is a consistent viewing/operating experience (not learning new navigation habits and what-not).  We also use YouTube TV so all our recorded shows, watching habits, etc transfer to the RV.

We bought a swivel wall mount rated for MUCH higher weight (5x, I think) than the TV weight because the movement of the coach is additional stress over just static weight. 
I wanted one that would span multiple studs and be fully adjustable. We keep it on a constant tilt (make sure it clears your slide!) and swing it out when watching.

RV TV swiveled to viewing position
Rear view of RV showing mount details

This picture seems a bit unnecessary, just a closer view of the mount and how we ran wires.  
It does bring up one interesting note though – there is an audio cable you can see running from the TV headphones (audio out) jack. 
That cable connects to the factory Jensen JWM70A stereo, and can be seen in the next picture.  This allows us to listen to the TV audio over the RV speakers, instead of relying on the TV speakers or a separate sound bar.

Original RV TV wall
RV HDMI connection wall plate

I replaced the factory 3-post AV (RCA type) wall plate (the wall plate seen at the bottom of the three plates in picture to the left) with this HDMI plate.

The reason I replaced it:  There is an HDMI port on the Jenson audio head unit in our trailer.  You have to pull the radio out to find it — looking down on the stereo it is located on the left side, near the back of the unit (and therefore inside the wall when the unit is mounted).

Ok, so maybe most people won’t actually see the difference in quality between the RCA and HDMI, but if the much better option is there, why not use it?  =)   

     (See below for a better reason)

I notched the side of the face plate to accommodate the audio out cable from the TV (headphone jack) instead of adding another wall plate just for a small thing like that. 

After passing through the HDMI plate via this notch, the audio cable drops down through the wall and into the radio space, where I then routed it out below the radio.  In the picture below you can see it hanging out of the bottom right side of the radio.


Jensen RV stereo head unit

The picture to the left is the TV audio cable mentioned above.  I use velcro to tuck it back behind the wood trim when not in use so it’s not just hanging there. 

When it is to be used (to listen to the TV over the RV speakers), we just plug it into the audio-in (aux) jack seen in the lower right corner of the radio.

In addition to higher video quality, another reason we switched from the RCA jacks to HDMI is the ARC function in the Jenson stereo HDMI port.  With ARC (Audio Return Channel) the audio signal sent from the stereo (e.g. watching a DVD through it) is sent out to TV over HDMI, but also returned to the stereo over the same cable (for output to the RV speakers).  This cuts down on the number of cables required, increases sound quality, and reduces latency of the signal.

We found that we couldn’t hear the TV when the AC kicked on (and no wise-cracks about my age!), and I am pretty sure our neighbors don’t want to hear our TV.  So instead of turning it up to ridiculous volumes, we added speakers closer to our seats.  These are 7″ car stereo models and I wired them to the unused “A” zone on the RV head unit.  Why “A”?  Because it was unused, and because I can opt to boost the sound by running it through A and B both, or just cut to the A zone alone.  I placed the speakers here by the couch so that it was as close as possible to our ears, allowing us to keep the volume down.

I built the speaker boxes out of the Lauan from the kitchen shelves I replaced.  This kept the boxes very light and somewhat match the interior.  I used a plastic wire channel to help hide the wires. 

The wires I ran through an existing hole in the floor, through an existing wire loom under the slide out, and up through another existing hole in the floor behind the stereo cabinet.

The black plastic trim pieces around the speaker cabinets were necessary because I didn’t like the edges where the Lauan came together-  it was pretty darn ugly!

RV speaker box

The back of one of the speaker boxes, with the rear panel removed.  In this view you can see the 1×1(?) strips I used to hold the box together.  Those are cut from the supports used to hold up the original kitchen shelves.  The are lightweight and the perfect size for this application.

We then glued heavy duty Velcro strips to the back panel of the box (as well as running screws through them to attach the back panel to the speaker box).  Matching Velcro was glued to the walls so I can remove these if need be and without mounting hardware needed.

Brenda found this shelf to hold remote controls, her phone, etc.  It adheres to the wall with adhesive strips (included) and seems to be a nice fit.

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