TV for the van

We don’t have a TV in the Van, and we don’t miss it.  When we are away we tend to be out and about or, if we are in for a while, we read quite a lot.  But it would be nice to occasionally watch something.

Samsung Tab A 10.5

I have recently bought another tablet, a Samsung Tab A 10.5.  I bought from Amazon as “renewed” for £145.  It looks brand new  to me.  My other tablet, a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1,  is still working very well but many newer apps won’t work on the older operating system.  

So I looked at the possibility of downloading programs or films from our streaming services (BBC Iplayer, Netflix, and Amazon Prime) to look at in the Van.  

Firstly a needed to see how much memory I’d need.


As a guide, file sizes are:

High Quality (encoded at 1500kbps):

  • 30-minute programme: 315MB
  • 60-minute programme: 630MB

Standard Quality (encoded at 800kbps):

  • 30-minute programme: 160MB
  • 60-minute programme: 320MB

From BBC player info

Iplayer does not allow storage on SD card. (Why??) The internal storage currently has around 10GB spare.


Watching Netflix

1GB per hour (standard definition)

3GB per hour (HD)

According to ASDA

Netflix does allow storage on SD card. The current 32GB card has around 22GB to spare but the tablet can take up to 400Gb.

Prime Video

Under Download Options, choose among four different files sizes:

  • Best: 1 hour of video uses approximately 0.46 GB of data and storage.
  • Better: 1 hour of video uses approximately 0.33 GB of data and storage.
  • Good: 1 hour of video uses approximately 0.27 GB of data and storage.
  • Data Saver: 1 hour of video uses approximately 0.14 GB of data and storage.

From lifewire

Prime does allow storage on SD card.

So if we assume 1Gb per hour worst case, I can store around 10hrs from Iplayer and currently 22 hours on the SD card.  This could be upped to 400hrs with a 400Gb card which costs around £20.

But we are very unlikely to use 22 hours of video so I’ll stick with the 32Gb SD card for now.  

Some downloads have time limits, so we can’t really save for posterity.  BUT there is one way we can!

We have an oldish Humax PVR.  The “oldish” is important because on more modern versions recordings are encrypted and can only be played back on the machine they were recorded on. On ours they can be downloaded via USB.  I can download live TV to a computer then save to the SD card.

Screen Size

The screen measures 22.5cm by 14cm – pretty small. But we watch it when it is on a lap and it is only around 45cm from our eyes.  That is the same as a 55″ TV 2.3 meters away which, coincidentally, is the recommended viewing distance.

The audio is fine at that distance, but we can also use Bluetooth to send it to the van radio and out through the speakers at the front and back.