People sit under an awning and watch TV on RV entertainment center

How to Create the Ultimate RV Entertainment Center

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Ahhhhh. Nature. The slow, peaceful connection to Mother Earth makes the RV lifestyle worth it. Breathing the fresh air, feeling the slight breeze, the refreshing taste of a homemade Arnold Palmer, seeing the kids play in analog mode, hearing…WAIT…THE GAME’s ON! Where’s the clicker?

Traveling in an RV makes the lifestyle worth it, but the indoor living experience is usually the deciding factor for RVers. That’s why manufacturers sink so much money into them. There are travel trailers with the best living room and ultimate RV entertainment centers that fit different budgets and towing options. 

Join us as we show you what makes the best travel trailer entertainment center, explore the RV entertainment center upgrade choices, and walk through some excellent examples that feature the ultimate RV entertainment centers straight from the factory. 

Finding and Creating the Best RV Entertainment Center

As you explore the various floorplans of your favorite RV brands, you’ll find that the coaches have some type of living room space for a TV and a built-in media sound system, but the RV may emphasize another section. For example, some feature a big bathroom, large kitchen, a master bedroom suite, or something else. 

If you look at the model code, you’ll see a 2-3 digit number and some letters. Usually, the 2-digit number represents the length, and the 3-digit number refers to the square footage. Manufacturers aren’t required to adhere to this method, so it’s not always true, but most do stick to it. The letters represent the emphasized feature of the RV itself. So if you’re looking for an upgraded living room or entertainment center, look for these model codes: 

  • FE: Front Entertainment Center
  • RE: Rear Entertainment Center
  • LE: Large Entertainment Center
  • FL: Front Living Room
  • RL: Rear Living Room
  • GE: Grand Entertainment Center
  • RS: Rear Sofa

Today’s towable RVs come with built-in RV sound systems that tune into AM/FM radio and have multiple input/output connections to work with the TV. Your particular unit may come with exterior speakers and an LED TV. If not, the manufacturer did prewire the coach and reinforced the wall to mount a TV. If you want to upgrade your RV’s entertainment center, the experts have some recommendations and tips.

What’s the Best TV to Use in an RV Entertainment Center?

Traditional laminated or conventional RVs of all sizes use regular LED TVs. We recommended using a TV that fits inside the indented space the RV manufacturer provides because it’ll hold your screen in place while you travel. 

Behind the wall of the TV space is a thick board that can hold the TV’s weight and mounting bracket/arm. Check your owner’s manual for its weight or TV size limit. You’ll find a sticker on the wall that indicates the location of another reinforcement behind the wall. Unless the bunkhouse has an entertainment center TV space, these reinforced wall areas are best suited for smaller LED TVs.

If you like to boondock and primarily rely on generators or solar systems, you may want to look into 12-volt TVs for RVs. These DC-powered LED TVs use less energy and can take more road punishment than their AC counterparts. Sizes range from 7-32 inches, and a significant portion has DVD players built-in. When plugged into shore power, many come with AC plugs, so they are adaptable. Some of the higher-end versions are SmartTV capable.

When you shop for them, you’ll find that their price tag is higher, and 32-inches is the biggest screen. Yet, if you’re using a 12-volt TV in a smaller RV interior, you’ll want something that doesn’t overtake your space or suck up too much energy.  

What is the Best Way to Watch TV in an RV?

  • Antenna: TV antennas became standard equipment during The Classic Era (1971-1989) with some exceptions. After the FCC changed over-the-air broadcast television to digital, RV manufacturers switched to digital antennas. 
  • Satellite: Satellite for RV trailers and motorhomes is another option. Once the various providers realized that the RV community was a significant customer base, they developed portable satellite dishes and omnidirectional rooftop in-motion satellites for RVs. You can purchase the equipment from a specific provider or use a third-party satellite that adapts to all service providers.
  • Cable: The 1990s introduced the RV coax cable port to the utility bay. Today, you can watch cable TV for free at many campgrounds. It’s a great way to see what’s happening in the local area without dealing with slow data connections. During your trip planning phase, use Campground Reviews to learn how to get cable TV while camping.
  • Streaming: If you have your data plan and RV wifi system in place, streaming your binge-worthy shows and movies from your favorite streaming services can liven up the dreariest rainy day, even if you’re remote camping. Make sure you have your data booster hooked up to avoid buffering at the best part.
  • Game Consoles: Game consoles have evolved for those of us who leveled out at Super Nintendo or Playstation 2. Some come without disc drives. Games, movies, and TV shows work on a streaming service variation. Those with a disc drive act as a DVD, Blu-Ray, or backward-compatible game player.
  • Peripherals: To keep it simple, you can bring your DVDs, Blu-Rays, or even your VHS tapes with you to enjoy on your RV trip. If you want to see the latest and greatest, you can always find the Redbox near you along the way. However, be careful if you’re using your VHS tapes; since Funai made the last player in 2016 and the last VHS tape came out in 2006, your video cassettes have collector value.

If you have a Keystone RV, their KeyTV Multi-Source Signal Controller makes connecting all your TVs to the various input sources easier. The antenna, satellite, cable, or other services plug into the controller as a single access point. All TV ports come prewired into the controller, so the master bedroom and bunkhouse TVs can automatically access the service. In addition, the KeyTV works with all service providers and automatically switches to shore cable when connected. 

RV Sound System Upgrade Options

You can upgrade the built-in wall-mounted RV stereo that comes with your coach. Most RV Brands use the iRV Technologies, Furrion (now a division of Dometic), or Jensen models. You can widen your search to include Boss Audio, Helmer, and Magnadyne

You want to look for a long list of wired and wireless input/output connections for the best audio and video performance:

  • HDMI
  • USB
  • File Formats: MP3/MP4/FLAC
  • Bluetooth
  • Screen mirroring
  • RCA A/V inputs
  • AM/FM tuner with many station presets available
  • Video receiver peripherals (DVD player, Blu-Ray, etc.)
  • Audio equalization preset options and customization
  • Surround sound speaker connectivity
  • 2-zone RV stereo or more (zone 1 is inside, zone 2 is outside) 

Is it Hard Replacing RV Speakers?

RV manufacturers install good-quality speakers both inside and out. If you do want to replace the speakers, make sure you buy the right ones. Outdoor speakers range from 60-300 watts and resist most weather conditions. Before you purchase something comparable to an outdoor arena, remember, you’ll have campground neighbors. Yes, it’s excessive if the people 5 rows back can make out the lyrics.

Travel Trailers With the Ultimate RV Entertainment Center Systems

Here are 8 RVs with the ultimate RV entertainment centers.

1. Palomino Puma XLE Lite 22FKC

  • Length: 26 ft.
  • Dry Weight: 5,133 lbs.
  • CCC: 1,500 lbs.
  • GVWR: 6,633 lbs.
  • Sleep: 2-4

A common misconception is that only the full-length luxury towables come with the best RV entertainment centers. If your SUV can tow a travel trailer under 6,500 pounds, the Puma XLE Lite 22FKC gives you the best RV entertainment centers in the mid-length category. 

You and your loved one can watch your favorite movie while sitting comfortably close or laying together on the jackknife sofa. The multi-source wiring and the large TV reinforcement allow you to build up your RV entertainment center bigger than what you’d see in most RVs of this length. 

2. CrossRoads Cruiser Aire 28RKS

CrossRoads Cruiser Aire 28RKS RV entertainment center
CrossRoads Cruiser Aire 28RKS entertainment center. Photo from CrossRoads RV.
  • Length: 32.11 ft.
  • Dry Weight: 6,369 lbs.
  • CCC: 2,684 lbs.
  • GVWR: 9,053 lbs.
  • Sleep: 2-4 (6 w/ trifold sofa and dinette)

Another myth-busting possibility is a midsize travel trailer with an extra-large TV. The 28RKS is the only model in the CrossRoads Cruiser Aire trailer series with an optional 50-inch TV. The RV TV lift cabinet with an electric fireplace comes with mood-setting blue LED lighting. You can opt-in for a wine fridge on the end cap at the end of the kitchen counter that borders the RV entertainment center. Finish the entertainment experience with the powered theatre seating that includes heated massage.

For a similar experience at the movie theatres with a meal, an adult beverage, recliner seats (without heated massage), and snacks, you could end up paying the same amount as your monthly RV loan payment just for one movie. For what you’re already paying, you have a mobile movie theatre with your favorite food, drinks, and atmosphere and a king-size bed on the other side of the pass-through bathroom. 

3. Heartland North Trail 33BHDS

  • Length: 37.75 ft.
  • Dry Weight: 8,015 lbs.
  • CCC : 1,553 lbs.
  • GVWR: 9,600 lbs.
  • Sleep: 5-10

The Heartland North Trail 33BHDS is a bunkhouse travel trailer with 2 bathrooms. The wide diagonal wall that separates the second bathroom from the living room holds an upgraded RV entertainment center designed for the whole family. Connecting the 2-zone RV stereo to a mounted 50-inch LED TV would make roadschooling presentations easy to see from the dinette.

For family RV situations, the main TV is more than an entertainment device. Video conferencing with loved ones, board games that use DVDs, learning, and even karaoke make the RV living room and entertainment center the focal point for family gatherings. When everyone needs to separate, both the bunkhouse and the master bedroom have TV hookups if needed.

4. Ice Castle Fish House Eagle EXT – Fish House

  • Length: 28 ft.
  • Dry Weight: 9,080 lbs. 
  • CCC: 1,000+ lbs.
  • GVWR: 10,500+ lbs.
  • Sleep: 5-7

Fish house RVs are useable all year long. During the regular camping season, RV-level fish houses have all the necessary features to spend some time at your favorite campground. They’re good for boondocking, but the suspension is mainly designed for pavement, maintained dirt roads, and ice.

Ice Castle Fish House’s most popular model is the Eagle EXT. You can sit on the 6-person sofa/dinette or lay on the power lift queen bed and watch your favorite football team win the day. A second TV prewire can be added in the front V-section for the twin-size bunks and kitchen area if your using one of the 9 fishing holes up front. 

You can read more about the fish house travel trailers in our discussion about them.

5. Coachmen Chaparral Lite 284RL

Interior view of living area of Coachmen Chaparral Lite 284RL
Coachmen Chaparral Lite 284RL. Photo from Coachmen.
  • Length: 34.2 ft.
  • Dry Weight: 8,908 lbs.
  • CCC: 2,592 lbs.
  • GVWR: 11,500 lbs.
  • Sleep: 2-6

You’ll want to use your half-ton truck to haul this 5th wheel. Of course, make sure you have the heavy tow package for this Coachmen Chaparral Lite fiver. You might like the carpet in the master bedroom and dual slideouts. The walk-in residential pantry comes in pretty handy, and the upgraded Thomas Payne Collection furniture with powered theatre seats is a nice treat.

For those looking for the ultimate RV entertainment center, how about an optional 55-inch LED TV inside and a 50-inch outside in the RV outdoor kitchen? 

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the 50-inch TV that comes standard inside, but the 284RL is the only model with these mammoth indoor and outdoor TV upgrades. The wall-mounted RV stereo has AM/FM/CD/DVD and Bluetooth connectivity that fully takes advantage of the built-in speakers’ performance. Oh yeah, the fridge can be upgraded to a 10.7 cubic foot from an 8 as well.

6. Keystone Montana 3760FL

  • Length: 41 ft.
  • Dry Weight: 14,240 lbs.
  • CCC: 1,560 lbs.
  • GVWR: 16,800 lbs. F-350, non-dually
  • Sleep: 2-6

When the front living room fifth wheel floorplans first came out, people complained that they had to crouch due to the low ceiling. Keystone was one of the first RV manufacturers to solve the problem. With a few adjustments to the floor and ceiling, people over 6-feet tall no longer had a problem with their front-end fivers.

When you sit down and relax in the Thomas Payne Collection powered theatre seat recliner, the televator behind the faux fireplace reveals a standard 50-inch television that’s connected to a 3-zone RV stereo sound system with AM/FM/DVD/USB and Bluetooth connectivity. The theatre quality surround sound from the roof-mounted speakers rivals some of the best residential home systems on the market today.

If you’re lot docking at a commercial parking lot for the night but need to watch something to relax from the road, Keystone now offers the SolarFlex 200 as standard equipment on all their 2022 models. 

For something as big as the Montana fifth wheel, you have the option of upgrading to the 400i or 1200i-L package. With the most extensive option, you get 1,200-watts of solar panels, a 2,000-watt inverter, and two Dragonfly 540 Ah lithium-ion batteries. Using the 1200i-L package could give you enough power to enjoy your favorite show without sacrificing dinner or breakfast preparation. 

7. Grand Design Solitude 345GK

  • Length: 37.2 ft. 
  • Dry Weight: 13,320 lbs.
  • CCC: 2,480 lbs.
  • GVWR: 16,800 lbs.
  • Sleep: 2-4

Solitude 345GK is one of the best fifth wheel RVs with office space. The full-size rear desk gives you plenty of surface and storage space to complete your work with a computer, peripherals, and any other equipment you need.

Once you finished working, the commute to your favorite reclining theatre seat is less than 20 steps away. Don’t worry about the hassle of multiple remotes because Grand Design includes an extra-large LED SmartTV above the wide fireplace. You may get a couple of extra steps in as you veer towards the residential refrigerator for your favorite beverage to bring with you. After all, between the stress of office politics and your commute, it’s been a long day (insert ironic sarcasm).

8. Genesis Supreme 36CK

  • Length: 39.10 ft.
  • Dry Weight: 10,980 lbs.
  • CCC: 3,180 lbs.
  • GVWR: 15,000 lbs.
  • Sleep: 2-6

Since fifth wheel toy haulers have heavier gross weights, RV experts recommend using a 350/3500 pickup truck to avoid towing capacity limitations. Yet, Genesis Supreme RV builds toy haulers for full-size SUVs, half-ton trucks, heavy-duty pickups, and medium-duty semis. So, if you already have one, a 2500 can pull a toy hauler like the Genesis Supreme 36CK. For example, the Silverado 2500 has a maximum towing capacity of 18,500 lbs with the heavy-duty tow package.

The Genesis Supreme 36CK uses two-thirds of the coach as the garage space. The main 40-inch LED TV sits next to the entry door and kitchen space. The ceiling-mounted speakers produce excellent sound quality for your TV or music from the media system. 

An optional 32-inch TV fits on the off-door wall close to the fold-out sofas at the rear of the RV. Two movable captains chairs come with the toy hauler for comfortable seating, and you can add an optional slideout sofa on the off-door wall.

How Do I Update My RV’s Interior and Entertainment Center?

While everybody’s buying the latest and greatest motorhome and travel trailer, you decide to spend less than $30,000 on a 1997 Fleetwood Pace Arrow that runs great and has some minor wear and tear issues from over 20 years of use. As you drive away on your first RV vacation, you wave to your neighbors who are in their fourth month of waiting for delivery on their RV.

After a few trips, you decide that it’s time to glam up this old doll, but you don’t know where to start. We’re here to tell you that your Neo-Classic Era (1990-2007) gem has tons of potential. Plus, the upgrades are simple enough for you to do yourself! Replacing the tube TVs with LED flat screens and the other entertainment center components are some of the easiest examples.

The experts at the RV Life Network are here to help with ideas, DIY how-to articles, and many other solutions. Your first stop is the website whose name says it all: Do-It-Yourself RV. As you look through the many articles, remember to pace yourself and prioritize. You should also check out Camper Report, Camper Smarts, and RV Life Magazine. The great thing about our network is the many ideas and sources we publish every day. 

You should also look into the RV Masterclass: “Mobile Internet Explained” if you need some help understanding the various components, how to set it up, and what mobile data internet system you actually need. For example, if you’re looking to stream your favorite shows without the buffering circle constantly popping up, you don’t need something that mimics a federal agency’s mobile headquarters.  

So, from our RV family to yours, safe travels, and we’ll see you down the road!

4 thoughts on “How to Create the Ultimate RV Entertainment Center”

  1. You may have an outdoor entertainment center. If so, *please* remember your neighbors, especially when it is open-window season.
    Although these outdoor systems seem like a great idea, we have had to close our windows and/or had to turn our sound up because our neighbor’s system is very loud, so they can hear their game through all the cheering!
    Thank you for remembering your fellow campers!

  2. Theodore Fitzgerald

    My version. TV, on the wall, at the foot of the bed. A stack of extra pillows, so you can sit comfortably, and watch TV. Then when you get tired, turn off the TV, toss the extra pillows, turn out the light, and go to sleep. K.I.S.S. means, Keep It Simple Stupid. Don’t need to spend mega bucks just to watch a boob tube.

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