How to Watch TV in RV without Generator?

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Generators are noisy and consume fuel to keep them going unless they have a battery of their own. Trying to watch a TV with the generator noise is a royal pain. So, it’s worth it to ask how to watch TV in RV without generator?

The answer is that it’s easier when you an RV TV that runs on the 12-volt electric system because it’ll be powered by a coach battery bank. If the TV uses 120VAC (110-120 volts) as a home appliance, then an inverter will be required to convert the energy.

How to Watch TV in RV without Generator?

Watching TV without a generator is peaceful and the best option. To, do so, you’ll either need one or two things:

Shore Power – A 50-amp or 30-amp hookup with the RV park provides sufficient power to run an RV TV and probably a DVD player too.

Coach/House Batteries – These can provide 12-volt power to be fed to an RV TV. However, if you have a 120VAC TV, then you’ll need 120-volts or close to it. If so, an RV inverter is required to convert from 12-volts to 110/120-volts to get your batteries to power your TV.

Read Also: How to Watch TV with a Generator

How to Run a TV on 12 volt?

The TV is either a 12-volt DC-powered TV, or it’s a household model with a 120VAC or 110-volt outlet.

If the TV is 12-volt, then simply plug it into one of the 12-volt outlets in the RV or camper. As long as you’re not driving and watching TV at the same time, then it will run when there’s sufficient juice in the RV’s coach/house deep cycle batteries.

When you have a 120VAC TV, then you’ll need an RV inverter to convert the power from 12-volts to 120VAC to power those outlets. You will need up to 800 watts in most cases, so be sure to get an inverter with 1,000 watts or better to have ample capacity. There’s no getting around the problem otherwise.

Our recommended RV inverter for watching TV:

Read Also: Can You Watch TV in an RV While Driving?

Battery Pack to Run TV

Using a battery pack to run TV and watch your favorite programs is fine. It needs to be separately charged up at home or in an RV campground first though.  

A Jackery or another similar brand will be perfect for this. It will power the TV and a DVD player for several hours on a single charge. These are portable battery packs with outlets built into them to plug a TV directly into it (or another electrical appliance, your laptop, etc.). There are ideal when boondocking or using dispersed camping options to save money on RV parks.

Check out this battery pack to RV TVs:

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000, 1002Wh Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) with 3x110V/1000W AC Outlets

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How to Power a TV with a Battery?

Make sure that the coach batteries are charged up before heading anywhere. While when you’re in an RV park it’s possible to take advantage of RV hookups, that’s not always the case elsewhere. So, charge them up before heading out.

If you have solar power as a backup, that can be useful to trickle charge the 12-volt coach battery to ensure the RV won’t cut out in the middle of your favorite show. Without a generator, that can be your backup option.


Also, ensure that you have the right RV outlets installed first. Check out our “Do RV Outlets Work on Battery?” article for more on that.

RV TV Run Off Battery

Stick with an RV TV rather than one used in homes. While they’re smaller than the expansive widescreen models seen in apartments and houses, you want it to still be running just on a battery.

A larger model will usually utilize 120VAC and so an inverter is needed. Just running the inverter uses precious power from the batteries, and there’s also power conversion loss of around 10% when converting from 12-volt to 120VAC too).

This is our recommended RV TV to run off a battery:

Jensen JTV19DC HD Ready 19 Inch 12V DC RV LED TV with Integrated HDTV and ATSC Tuner (Remote control)

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How to Watch TV without Electricity?

When you’re in an RV and electricity isn’t available through a shore power connection at the RV campground or park, then all other options must be explored.

How to Power a TV Without Electricity?

Certainly, see what charge remains in your house batteries. They mustn’t go below a 50% charge to remain viable, but anything above that could potentially be used for the TV. But don’t get yourself to the point where the LED overhead lights and other systems stop working because you wanted to watch a movie and now the batteries are dead.

Even if you’re asking how to watch TV during a power outage, it’s pretty much the same situation. A Jackery portable battery pack is a great option to have up your sleeve when you find yourself without electricity.

Also, if you have a generator, maybe you can run that to get some power for the TV but be aware of the risks. RV generators are said to deliver dirty power that can hurt sensitive electronics, so running it through an RV inverter is required to be safer.

How to Watch TV During Power Outage?

If you’re wanting to watch an RV TV during a power outage or power cut, there are three effective ways to do so:

  1. Use a Generator: A generator can supply enough temporary power to run an RV TV. However, you’re probably going to need an inverter to convert the power and/or to modulate it. Generators typically produce “dirty power” that can damage sensitive electronics, but when running the power through an inverter, it can make it safer to use.
  2. Use Solar Power: Harnessing the power of the sun can provide sufficient power to run an RV TV. It will usually be fed through to the 12-volt house battery pack first though. This will work if the sun is high in the sky, and the panels are angled well and out of the shade to generate the necessary power required.
  3. Use Coach/House Batteries: The batteries in the main living space referred to as the coach or house batteries store a charge from the alternator, and solar power, if that’s installed too. This is then useable when it’s needed, even if the power outage occurs after the sun has gone down.

As you can see, even when wanting to watch TV in a power outage or after a power cut, there’s usually an option as an RV owner or Van Life enthusiast to do so. And failing that, if you have either a tablet or smartphone with an active cellular connection, you might be able to stream a movie or TV series via Netflix or Amazon Prime. That’s assuming that the power outage hasn’t knocked out the local cell tower too.

How to Power a TV without an Outlet?

When you’re in an RV, trailer, or camper and there’s either no outlet, not a spare one or not the right type to match TV connection (you have a spare 12-volt outlet and it’s a 120VAC TV – or visa versa), then that’s an added wrinkle.

In which case, you might be able to hook the TV up to the RV’s engine (some people do it, but we wouldn’t like to risk that and don’t recommend it). Or carry a portable battery bank that has outlets built into the side or top of the unit. That way, there’s always an outlet to plug the TV into. The portable battery pack will need to be charged up before heading out, but that’s an ideal situation when RV camping with dogs and wanting to stay entertained.

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