When we’re away from home, most of us probably resort to watching shows and movies on our phones. But there’s a better — and decidedly more old-school — approach that’s worth considering. Portable TVs can be a great way to channel surf the local channels, but most of the best options have external ports that are ideal for streaming your favorite content.
What to Consider Before Buying a Portable TV
A portable TV can be a good option for anyone who takes a lot of solo trips, and it can be a good option for any camping enthusiast who still wants some modern entertainment. Plus, options that can connect to local channels can be good options for emergency preparedness. When you think of a portable TV, you might imagine an old school box with a tiny screen. But just like full-size TVs have grown up, so too have portable TVs. They’re available in flatscreen varieties that are easier to pack, and they’re loaded with ports to help you connect to your other external media sources and streaming services.
What We Looked for When Choosing the Best Portable TVs
We focused on flatscreens that would be easier to travel with, and we prioritized TVs that had a variety of connectivity options such as HDMI, USB and AV cables. We also examined factors like power source — do they have a battery, or do they rely on DC power? Plus, we included some alternative options that you may not have considered, such as portable DVD players with built-in screens. Read on for some of our picks for the best portable TVs.
1. Milanix 14.1″ Portable Widescreen LED TV
Milanix manages to pack a surprising amount of features into this small TV. The screen is 14″, making it compact enough to take on the go but big enough to actually enjoy whatever you’re watching. It has a handy kickstand for setting up on any surface, and there are plenty of ports — there are two AV inputs for a multimedia device, HDMI, VGA and USB and SD ports, and there’s a tuner for local channels. There’s even an FM tuner for listening to the radio. You can listen through a headphone jack or the built-in speakers. Plus, it has a built-in battery for truly mobile viewing.
2. Tyler Portable 14″ LCD HD TV Television
This TV from Tyler has a 14″ screen that’s capable of supporting up to 1080p resolution, and the tuners are compatible with ATSC and NTSC for tuning into local channels. There are a variety of connectivity options; options include HDMI, USB and SD, and you can plug in a Chromecast or Roku to stream your favorite media. It uses a rechargeable battery. A handy remote is included as well.
Read more: Best TVs Money Can Buy
3. SuperSonic Portable Widescreen LCD Display
DIFFERENT SIZE OPTIONS
SuperSonic’s convenient portable TV is available in a wide range of screen sizes, between 4″ and 16″. The price shown is for the 9″ TV. The TV features AV, USB and SD inputs, allowing you to load downloaded media directly to the TV, making it a great option for when you don’t have reception. There’s also an antenna.
Read more: The Best 65-Inch TVs Reviewed
4. Milanix MX7 7″ Portable Widescreen LCD TV
For a smaller alternative to the 14″ Milanix featured on this list, consider this super-compact 7″ option. If space is very limited but you still want access to TV, this tiny option can be packed just about anywhere. The digital tuner supports ATSC/NTSC, and you can connect a USB or SD card to this TV.
5. Sylvania – 13.3 Portable DVD Player – Black
A good alternative to a traditional portable TV is a portable DVD player, like this option from Sylvania. It’s easy to take on the go — the player has a clamshell design, similar to a laptop, meaning you can fold it to protect the screen. The screen also swivels, so you can view it at different angles. You can use it plugged in or with the battery, and the DC adapter makes it easy to plug into your car’s cigarette port.
6. Insignia – 10″ Portable DVD Player with Swivel Screen
Best Buy’s Insignia brand is a great place to buy affordable tech. This convenient DVD player has a swivel screen for comfortable viewing. Plus, you can fold the screen, similar to a laptop, making for easier storage and protection of the screen. The portable battery allows for up to 2.5 hours of streaming.
7. Hammacher Schlemmer The Bluetooth/DVD Boombox
Hammacher is known for its quirky lineup of products, and this DVD boombox very much fits in with that ethos. It’s admittedly not actually a TV, but we felt it was too unique to not mention. It features an AM/FM antenna, making it a surprisingly versatile emergency radio. The 7″ inch screen and built-in DVD player means it can be used for watching your favorite movies or TV shows. You can also connect a USB or SD card. You can run it off C batteries or connect it to AC or DC power.
8. Trexonic Ultra Lightweight LED TV
This simple and economical option from Trexonic has everything you need for on-the-go viewing or streaming during a power outage. There are tons of connectivity options; ports include HDMI SD, USB and VGA. Plus, a digital tuner is included for watching local channels through terrestrial television. It utilizes a rechargeable battery.
9. ieGeek Portable DVD Player
A great alternative to traditional portable TVs is a portable DVD player. It might seem old school, but it allows you to watch your favorite movies and TV shows when you’re on the go and don’t have a reliable internet connection. The small 10.5″ screen is a good size for car viewing. And, to make it more car-friendly, it can be recharged using your car’s cigarette port.
10. Insignia – 10″ Dual Screen Portable DVD Player
If you’ve got a carload of kids to keep entertained, Insignia’s two-pack of portable DVD players is a good option to buy. They both have disc drives, so each person can watch DVDs or listen to CDs independently. Or, you can use both devices in conjunction and mirror the screens. The DVDs come with handy carrying pouches, remotes, a variety of cables and an adapter to charge the devices through your car’s cigarette port.