The 5 Best Portable Televisions

Updated July 11, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

5 Best Portable Televisions
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 33 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. You'll never have to miss out on your stories and be forced to buy one of those magazines at the grocery store checkout counter to catch up. Now you can keep up with all your favorite shows no matter where you are, or just keep the kids quiet on road trips, with one of these portable TVs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best portable television on Amazon.

5. Axess 1703-7

The Axess 1703-7 comes with a mounting bracket for hands-free use, but feels equally suited to tablet-style use. 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
  • speaker volume doesn't get very loud
Brand Axess
Model TV1703-7
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Envizen Digital ED8850B Duo Box II

The Envizen Digital ED8850B Duo Box II is a portable TV and DVD player in one. It accepts multiple inputs, including USB and SD card, and offers 2.5 hours of playback time on a single charge, so it should get through your entire movie before dying.
  • intuitive control interface
  • comes with car headrest mount
  • included antenna isn't very powerful
Brand Envizen Digital
Model ED8850B
Weight 3.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. RCA DHT235A

For those who care more about portability than screen size, the 3.5" RCA DHT235A is small enough to fit inside a purse or large pocket. It also weighs an astonishing 2.5 ounces, making it the smallest and lightest model on our list.
  • shows signal strength in real time
  • built-in kickstand
  • bilingual english-spanish menu
Brand RCA
Model DHT235A
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Envizen Digital ED8890A

If the ED8850B's 7" screen just isn't quite large enough, but you liked the idea of having a portable TV with a built-in DVD player, the 9" Envizen Digital ED8890A is probably just what you are looking for. Conveniently, it comes with both a car and AC adapter.
  • swiveling hd screen
  • integrated sd card reader
  • includes a carrying bag and remote
Brand Envizen Digital
Model ED8890A
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. RCA T227

The RCA T227 has a 7" display and weighs a touch under one pound, giving it the perfect balance of portability and watchability. It has both an ATSC digital and NTSC analog tuner, and comes with a detachable antenna, allowing it to pick up a wide range of stations.
  • parental control settings
  • speakers and a headphone jack
  • rechargeable battery
Brand RCA
Model T227
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

How Does A Portable TV Work?

Portable digital TVs work by detecting signals from local television towers and adjusting its reception to the local broadcast frequency. This simplifies things and generally receives a better transmission than the original analog portable TVs. The digital signal uses up less bandwidth than an analog signal meaning that it can use the remaining bandwidth for other things such as interactive technology.

Digital TVs create a clearer picture and sound than you would find with the average analog TV. The electric current used by the digital TV produces sharper images and more accurate colors.

Just like the portable analog TVs, digital TVs can be taken anywhere you plan to go and will easily pick up local stations transmitting in the area. Many of them now have remote controls and built-in DVD players so you have convenience and any movie or show you want to watch while you're on the go.

Some of these digital TVs have cable connectors to be hooked up to your cable or satellite dish at home. The larger, less compact versions can do anything that the average television can do while operating on battery power and away from home. They even have HDMI cable ports so you can hook up your computer and work while you're on the go.

What Do I Need to Know Before I Buy?

There are several factors you will want to consider before making your final choice on a portable television.

First, think about size. Are you needing a decent sized television for your RV, cabin, vacation home, or tailgating party? If so, you might want to go with one of the 13 to 36-inch portable HDTVs. If you are needing something you can toss in a bag for a road trip or watch in the tent while camping, one of the small portable TVs will suit your needs just fine.

Second, think about the power options. Do you need a TV that can operate on an AC adapter or 12-volt socket when it's not running on battery power? Many portable TVs require that you recharge the batteries while some models (like the RCA DHT235A) run on regular batteries. Let's face it: Having a TV that needs recharged in the middle of a power outage sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

Finally, consider the amenities you need. Do you want a portable TV with all of the bells and whistles that you can use to watch DVDs and play your favorite video games? If so, you will want to go with a portable TV with USB, SD card, HDMI, and other ports. Or are you just needing something simple that you can watch a few DVDs on and pick up the local news now and then? If that's the case, a small portable TV with a built-in DVD player is likely the right choice for you.

Take your time and consider all of your options before making your purchase. Consider where, when, and why you plan to use a portable television, then take another pass at the top six products featured on this page. You are sure to find the perfect one to fit your needs.

History of the Portable TV

The first portable television was marketed by Philco Safari in 1958. It weighed approximately fifteen pounds and cost $250. It soon sparked the production of many smaller, easier to transport handheld televisions that operated on analog and radio frequencies.

In the 1960's, Sony produced the world's first transistorized television. It operated off of radio frequencies and was designed for individual television viewing. It had a large screen making it easy to view favorite shows. It was a popular choice for children or families who traveled frequently. The shape of this television even inspired Sony's current logo.

In the 1970's, Panasonic and Sinclair Research released and marketed portable TVs that were finally small enough to fit into a large pocket. In 1982, Sony produced a "Watchman" which was their visual version of The Walkman.

There have been many large portable and handheld products in between in the last half a century. Smartphones and tablets have changed the face of portable television integrating many of these features into one.

However, many consumers prefer the simplicity and convenience of an average portable television without the added cost of streaming television subscriptions and data and cell phone service plans.

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Last updated on July 11, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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