Turn your old TV into a media center!

Is this how your overhead looks in your older RV? Yeah… mine did too!

Old Factory TV
Old Factory TV

Well it doesn’t have to anymore! Here’s how I converted mine into a 21st century media center in just a few short hours!

This is a basic modification, requiring little skill and few tools.

I started by gutting the TV center console. The frame was held in by four factory 5/8″ bolts and four more screws that the last owner probably put in for safety. Once I had the frame off and the TV out, I cut a piece of 1/2″ plywood to fit the back side of the frame and close it off from view, and I spray painted it black. I attached the plywood to the frame with 1″ wood screws every 6″. I then attached a low profile TV mount to the outside of the new frame. (image and link below). Next I attached two 12″ piano hinges to the left side. I also added two dowel pins on the right side, but found out later, they are totally unnecessary. The piano hinge doesn’t budge.

This is a link to the Sanus low profile, 37-80″ TV mount I chose on Amazon Prime for $69.99. Yes, it IS a little pricy, but I did my homework and I wanted the most stable and secure mount I could get… this one won out.

I then added a brass latch to the right side of the TV box. I had to build up the side under the latch, so I traced out the latch on a leftover piece of plywood, cut it out, and then split it to the right width. Plywood is in layers, so you can split it to size with a flat head screwdriver.

National Hardware N216-119 Tight Seal Sash Lock, Solid Brass
National Hardware N216-119 Tight Seal Sash Lock, Solid Brass

This is an Amazon Prime link to the brass latch I used.  $9.17 – I saw it at Lowe’s for $13.00. I Spent a lot of time researching this, and I wanted a latch that would draw the door in tight when locking. When you unlock this latch, it moves forward and then up and out of the way… works perfectly!

For the next step, I bought a Win10 with DVD drive computer and installed it into the empty compartment. I also added a power strip and wireless USB adapter to connect to the Internet. I opened the case to the computer and drilled two holes through the bottom, where I sank two screws into the deck so it won’t move. The computer is a LENOVO M58P C2D 3.0ghz 4GB 160GB Win 10 Pro 64 Bit that I got refurbished on Amazon for $89.00. I bought this computer because of the DP (DisplayPort) AV connector port. Higher quality AV than a HDMI.

Next I had to address all the TV wires in my overhead. I have a King Dome satellite, a 50 mile digital TV antenna and a park cable wire. So I picked up this ABC switch off Amazon and hooked up all three to one box and mounted it to the inside, out of view. The amplifier came with the digital antenna.
Link to digital antenna  $29.99 | Link to ABC switch no longer available

Philmore Deluxe High Isolation 3-Way Coaxial A/B Switch Fully Shielded with Zinc Die Cast Inner Case
Philmore Deluxe High Isolation 3-Way Coaxial A/B Switch Fully Shielded with Zinc Die Cast Inner Case
SAMSUNG 43" LED 1080p 60MR Smart TV (Refurbished)
SAMSUNG 43″ LED 1080p 60MR Smart TV (Refurbished)

This is the final product. I added a Sega video game system and a Samsung Smart TV. This is an Amazon Prime link to the Samsung smart TV I chose, refurbished for $299.00. I chose the Samsung because my cell phone is a Note 5, also made by Samsung. I can screen mirror my phone to the TV. And since I am a Uverse customer at home, I can use the Uverse app on my cell phone to watch all my channels on the road! Paired with AT&T unlimited cell service, we can watch to our heart’s content! 🙂
NOTE: The TV also supports Apple Air Play for iPhone.

Sega Classic Game System
Sega Classic Game System

This entire modification cost me a half day of time and $455.00. The benefits are, well, priceless!!

Happy tinkering!