The days of huddling around a 13-inch black-and-white television and tweaking a rabbit-ear antenna to catch a glimpse of one of four available channels are long behind us. Home theater is taking the consumer market by storm, and has worked its way into the RV fabric as well. The problem is, we’re being bombarded by so much new technology that it’s difficult to decide where to begin. That’s why we’ve gathered some basic information that should get your movie mojo running in no time.
Before deciding on the size and type of television you want, measure the intended mounting area to make certain there is adequate space and ventilation. Although conventional tube TVs are still the most common sets included in new RVs today, the trend is to thinner, lighter alternatives, namely LCD and plasma monitors. Typically, most TVs run on 120-volt AC power, meaning an inverter is in order for all but the most primitive (and some smaller) sets, if campground hookups or an AC generator are not available. Selecting the proper inverter is critical to maintain the overall performance of your components Never has the home-theater market been so successful as since the advent of Digital Video Disc (DVD). With DVDs, high-quality pictures, sound and special features can all be included on a single disc.
In order to enjoy DVD-quality sound and video, naturally, you need a DVD player. DVD players have come down in price considerably over the years, with a perfectly capable player running as low as $30. However, lower-priced models not only lack the features of bigger-bucks units, they also tend to come up short in the areas of picture clarity and sharpness. The majority of your viewing pleasure will likely be television, meaning a competent and consistent satellite provider should be in your sights. Satellite companies such as DirecTV and Dish Network offer mobile packages that are ideal for RVers. High-definition programming is available from these providers, but does require a compatible TV. To combat weight and pricing issues of purchasing components separately, home-theater-in-a-box systems are ideal for RVs. They generally feature an AM/FM radio, CD/DVD player, audio receiver and speaker setups. Making the leap into home theater is sure to bring a smile to your face — and some extra visitors to your trailer.
Pick up the September 2005 issue of Trailer Life to read more about RV home-theater technology — then subscribe to Trailer Life, so you can stay informed on all the latest technical and RV-lifestyle information, plus tests, previews and tow vehicles.