The 8 Best Portable Televisions

Updated March 20, 2018 by Ben G

8 Best Portable Televisions
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Having one of these portable TVs means you never have to miss out on your stories again or be forced to buy one of those entertainment magazines at the grocery store checkout counter to find out what happened. Now you can keep up with all your favorite shows no matter where you are, or just keep the kids occupied on road trips. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best portable television on Amazon.

8. Pyle PLMN9SU 9-Inch

The Pyle PLMN9SU 9-Inch can have trouble with SD cards and MP4 files, which is important to know before buying. But if you need something that can let you watch TV on the go and aren't too worried about extra features, it is a solid choice.
  • av input for dvd players and more
  • can plug into car cigarette lighter
  • build quality is not great
Brand Pyle
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Docooler Swivel Screen

The Docooler Swivel Screen supports most analog TV broadcasts, but you'll need to buy a separate receiver to pick up the signal. Once you do you'll have a great little TV and DVD player in one to keep you entertained while on the go.
  • screen rotates 270 degrees
  • multi-language menu
  • doesn't come with a car charger
Brand Docooler
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. SuperSonic Portable

If you live in an area with an unpredictable climate then you'll appreciate that the SuperSonic Portable offers coverage of your favorite shows even during severe weather conditions. The high-quality tuner quickly picks up almost all of your local channels.
  • can play mkv files
  • available in three sizes
  • the screen is fragile
Brand Supersonic
Model SC-2810
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Axess 1703-9

The Axess 1703-9 comes with a mounting bracket for hands-free use but feels equally suited to tablet-style viewing. It features USB and SD card ports and can play a variety of video file types. Unlike most others, it also has an A/V out connection.
  • supports closed caption subtitles
  • can store up to 5 station presets
  • budget-friendly price
Brand Axess
Model TV1703-9
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

4. Tyler TTV703

The Tyler TTV703 has a rechargeable battery that lasts a little less than an hour-and-a-half, giving you enough time to watch the end of a game, a short feature film, or a couple episodes of your favorite show. It also works great in the office.
  • two antennae included
  • usb input for external media
  • comes with a mounting pad
Brand Tyler
Model TTV703-10
Weight 3.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. RCA Digital

The RCA Digital is so small that you may be able to get away with watching a game on your lap at work without your boss ever noticing. And if you hate to pay baggage check fees, this will barely take up any room in your carry-on, too.
  • adapter connects to most antennae
  • accepts micro sd cards
  • excellent picture quality
Brand RCA
Model DPTJ430R
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Naxa Electronics Multimedia Player

The Naxa Electronics Multimedia Player has a built-in antenna and an ATSC/NTSC tuner, so you don't need to buy any extra gear to watch live television. It features a rechargeable battery that allows for an hour-and-a-half of playback time, and includes a DC car adapter.
  • sd card and usb slots
  • extra external antenna
  • flip-out kickstand
Brand Naxa Electronics
Model 0
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Miro by ZBinno

The Miro by ZBinno is a compact and lightweight WiFi model that supports voice control via Google Assistant. It was made with a high focus on sound quality to immerse you in your television shows in a way most other portable options can't match.
  • available in three color options
  • vivid 1080p display
  • android operating system
Model P1
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Your Portable TV In Action

You may fondly remember a time when you had to adjust your TV’s antenna to hone in on the best signal. You’d send the least popular person in the room to complete the task. They’d get it just right, only to let go of the metal rod and cause the picture to degrade. Once you realized that their body was acting as an extension of the antenna, they’d have to stay there in some awkward pose far from the screen until your program ended. In many ways, your friend will be glad to hear, those days are long behind us.

If you’ve recently been receiving your daily dosage of television through a cable box like the vast majority of consumers in America, you’d be forgiven for thinking that TV stations no longer broadcasted their content over the airwaves. The reality is that the heavy hitters who used to broadcast on VHF like NBC, CBS, and ABC, along with all of the basic UHF channels, still put out powerful airborne broadcasts. The only difference is that the data they’re broadcasting is digitally captured, digitally compressed, and digitally rendered by a given receiver.

That’s where your portable television comes in. The options on our list have antennae capable of receiving digital television signals, as well as the processing power to convert those signals into your digital image and corresponding audio. In this sense, they work almost identically to how analog television systems worked for years. What sets this group apart is their portability.

For reasons of size and fragility, TV had never been the most portable means of entertainment. The units on our list don’t rely on glass screens or vacuum tubes of yesteryear, however. They employ much more recent screen technology akin to the screen you’re probably using to read this article.

An added level of portability comes from battery power. A rechargeable portable television can often offer up to 90 minutes of playback, which is more than enough to enjoy an hour-long television program, though it might not serve you long enough for a feature-length film. And since movies seem to be getting longer, you may want to bring your included charging cables along for the journey.

Picking Your Portable With Precision

Making a selection from our list of portable TVs comes down to a few features you can easily qualify about each option. One thing you don’t have to worry much about is resolution. All of the options on our list top out at around the same resolution you’d find on an older analog system, albeit with a progressive scan maximizing the quality.

Consider the environment in which you want to use your portable television. Tied into this question is the number of potential viewers at a given moment. If this is just for you to while away the hours you spend at work in a tollbooth on the NJ Turnpike, then you could get away with a smaller unit. If the television is meant to entertain more than one person at a time–family members in an RV, for example–a model with a larger screen is your best bet.

This line of questioning should also lead you to consider the potential battery power of each model. The longer you can go without having to recharge your television, the better. Of course, a good car adapter can keep your portable TV all juiced up for the duration of a road trip, and most of these models come with just such a power source.

Other tertiary features to keep in mind might tip the scales from one model to the next. For example, some of these televisions include slots for SD or microSD cards. If you have a digital copy of your child’s favorite film or TV show, you can bring it with you on the road. After all, there’s no guarantee that what you find over the airwaves will capture their attention, or even be appropriate for them. These slots can also be lifesavers if you find yourself in an area on the map that doesn’t have a strong enough signal for any channel to come through.

A Brief History Of The Portable Television

While the first portable televisions developed by major manufacturers came out in the late 1950s and early 1960s, these used the term ‘portable’ in its loosest possible context. For the most part, these were just slightly smaller versions of the companies’ household models, with their legs removed and a handle placed on top. They were extraordinarily heavy, comprised completely of wood, metal and glass.

The first pocket-sized TVs wouldn’t see the marketplace until the late 70s and early 80s, and these required that you had some spectacularly large pockets. Even these innovations relied on fragile cathode ray tube displays until the CRT took a backseat to LCD technology in the 1980s.

Portable television screens got bigger, cheaper, and clearer over the next 20 years. The one thing that remained constant was the content delivery system. Advances in digital technology slowly pushed broadcast companies toward digital delivery, and by July 12, 2009, the Unites States had completed its Digital Television Transition. From that day forward, analog television broadcast signals were replaced by their digital counterparts.

One of the biggest positives to come out of the transition was that portable televisions would see a slight increase in their signal strength, and a big increase in resolution. Older analog signals translated in an interlaced pattern, rendering one half of an image every 60th of a second, and the other half the next 60th of a second. Digital signals render an entire image every 60th of a second, offering twice the perceived resolution. The human mind couldn’t see the difference in action, but the resolution looked almost inexplicably better.

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Last updated on March 20, 2018 by Ben G

Ben is a writer from California. He mostly dives into film, videogames, and science fiction literature. Also Hello Kitty. He likes Hello Kitty a whole lot.

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