The Best Small Portable TVs For Tailgate Parties Reviewed

If you want the best of both worlds, you probably wish you had a TV in your pocket, could double up, watching games in the parking lot while you play those games, chomp on those ribs and swill that cool amber liquid.  Elsewhere, I have written out the ‘how to’ list for getting a signal anywhere you travel by investing in a satellite dish and all that goes with it.  But here are some small, almost pocket sized screens – personal televisions – that will keep you in touch with the crucial touchdowns, goals and points.  Some can be hooked up to your vehicle with a car charge but these are almost always an optional accessory.

I’ve checked them out from the smallest screen ie. phones, to medium (3.5”) to the larger ones 7”.  All can be classed as pocket TVs and as a way of catching up with away games when you are in the home parking lot tailgating, most are effective in different ways and OK as backups for emergency power outages.  You don’t need to miss a game ever!

Watch TV on a phone’s tiny screen?  Everyone does that these days! Or, do they?

1. Siano Meron Mobile TV Tuner for Smartphones & Tablets. Supports DVB-T and ISDB-T

Siano Meron Mobile TV Tuner for Smartphones & Tablets. Supports DVB-T and ISDB-T, White

TV Tuner for Smartphones & Tablets

No need for an internet connection but with this gadget you can use your Android or Apple device to watch TV anywhere.

Well, anywhere in Europe, Asia and Africa using DVB-T. Also Japan and South America using ISDB-T. Sadly,  USA, Canada, Mexico, Korea or China are out in the cold and not supported so forget this for tailgating.  A free SianoTV application from Apple App Store or Google Play lets you to tune in and enjoy your favorite programs. Video:

Pros: The box plugs in and you can follow the video for instructions on setting it up.  Simple.

Cons: NFG for USA, Canada, Mexico, Korea and China.  What, no tailgating there? Not even for soccer and baseball? Needs a top of the range Apple or Android to device to run it.

Bottom Line

Forget this one for USA/Canadian tailgating.

In New York, there’s Aereo OTA TV delivered to your Smartphone but that’s still not generally available in the USA.

Watch this space for new updates as Aereo is expanding in the coming year. Oh, and start saving now for a whopping big data plan if you want to watch games on your phone.

The alternative is one of the small, pocket size portable TVs.

2. Belkin Dyle Wireless Mobile TV Receiver for 30-Pin iPhone and iPad in Select Coverage Areas

Belkin Dyle Wireless Mobile TV Receiver for 30-Pin iPhone and iPad in Select Coverage Areas

Belkin Dyle Wireless Mobile TV Receiver for 30-Pin iPhone and iPad


There are other actual OTA alternatives to the Aereo service.  From Belkin Dyle come these  two interesting dongles that plug into the power ports of an iPhone or iPad.  These are a real TV tuner as well as a telescoping whip antenna, the Escort Mobile TV Receiver and the Elgato EyeTV Mobile TV Tuner.  Both use Dyle’s mobile TV app.  and both are fully supported by broadcasters.  They will work wherever you can receive OTA television and the impact on your data plan is minimal. But of course, you are watching teams running around on a tiny screen.  Still, it keeps you in touch with the game-plays.  Check to make sure that your tailgate party will be held in the coverage area.


You have a couple of gadgets hanging off your phone whenever you want to watch TV.

Small screen viewing.

Suited to limited areas only. Be sure to check coverage.

Does not work with Lightning connectors.  Is designed for the 30 pin plug on older Apple devices.

No rechargeable battery and short battery life.

The Bottom Line

For using in the parking lot at tailgate parties, it just may not have the channel choices you need.  Do you homework and contact the company prior to purchase. And make sure also that it is compatible with your phone.

3. RCA DHT235A 3.5-Inch LED-lit 720p 60Hz TV (Silver)

RCA DHT235A 3.5-Inch LED-lit 720p 60Hz TV (Silver)

RCA DHT235A 3.5-Inch LED-lit 720p 60Hz TV (Silver)


3.5-Inch Bright LED Backlit LCD Display

Receive Free off-air DTV RF Channels

Operate with AA Batteries (X4) or AC Adaptor(opt.)

Real Time Signal Strength Displayed

Weight: 5.6 ounces

VIDEO MPEG-2 video decoding MP at ML, MP at HL ATSC 18 formats.

Audio decoding Digital multi-lingual.

Terrestrial ATSC 8VSB Terrestrial NTSC CH2 – CH69 Embedded Monopole Antenna.

AV OUT Headphone and built-in speaker for audio output and headphones give clear sound.

Receive Current Analog  NTSC Channels

Instructions included.

Runs 2 hours without battery change. (use recyclables and keep a stash in the tailgate party kit.)

Digital Closed Captioning complies with E1A-708B.

Additional Features, on-screen program information display.

Direct channel changing DRF

Menu languages English and Spanish

Real-time signal strength display

Auto time setting

Auto channel scan

Channel editing

Time zone setting


If you use it a lot you can get the AC power adapter or 4 AA rechargeable batteries and a small charger for about $15. But if you use it in an emergency you’ll need to keep some alkaline batteries and hope that the TV stations are still transmitting!

On board antenna is quite fragile. An external antenna can be fitted and you can get around 70 channels.  That’s pretty good.  Just the antenna is hard to source so you should probably order one at the same time as the TV.

Quite a small screen but then people watch movies on phones so ….

The Bottom Line

Great for picking up different games when say, you are tailgating in one parking lot and you have an interest in another game somewhere else that is being broadcast.

Also it is invaluable as a news gathering source in emergencies, such as Hurricane Sandy.  Keep a ton of batteries in your kit1

Watch the game in the parking lot on this color LCD 3.5-Inch Diagonal, 320 x 240 digital RGB resolution that will pick up channels anywhere. AUDIO Dolby Digital Portable and modern, this lightweight TV operates on 4 AA batteries or AC.   Batteries on this one can be replaced so that you don’t need to miss the game due to recharging requirements.

Offers high quality reception, signal strength display, on-screen program information and channel displays.

Even though it is small, it is powerful and very useful.

4. Digital Prism 3.5 in Handheld Digital Lcd Tv

Digital Prism 3.5 in Handheld Digital Lcd Tv

Digital Prism 3.5 in Handheld Digital Lcd Tv


Integrated tuner receives all digital broadcasts.

Has a car charger as well as built in rechargeable battery – this sets it apart somewhat.

Simple little controls.


Small (3.5”) but maybe you could say ‘compact’ instead.

Battery doesn’t last more than an hour.

Can’t be hooked up to external antenna.

Signal strength is very dependent on location.

The Bottom Line

It’s probably OK as an emergency backup TV for communication in a disaster but won’t see you through a game if you’re tailgating.  There are others with a lot more oomph.

5. Sungale ITV430 Kula 4.3-Inch Internet TV

Sungale ITV430 Kula 4.3-Inch Internet TV

Sungale ITV430 Kula 4.3-Inch Internet TV


Will theoretically work all over the world.

Is ‘Internet TV’ in an early iteration.


Was released in 2010 and technology has marched on.

4.3”  – low res so is really hard to watch compared with other models reviewed.

Plays video but with no fast forward or replay.

Channels are not updated and so this means that many cannot be reached.

The Bottom Line:

Pay a little more and get a lot more oomph!

6. Eviant T4 4.3″ Portable Color Digital ATSC NTSC LCD TV DTV

Eviant T4 4.3

Eviant T4 4.3″ Portable Color Digital ATSC NTSC LCD TV DTV


4.3 “ screen

16:9 ratio

Weight = 7.4 ounces

Portable Color Digital ATSC NTSC LCD TV DTV


Has a headphone jack.  You can listen while you are flipping those ribs!

Charges with a USB connector. 5 V mini – such as a phone charger.

2 hour battery life

Picks up many TV channels with a scan

Great little backup TV for emergency use in power outages (keep it charged up).

Very inexpensive.

Clear English instruction book for setup supplied

1 year warranty


2009 technology.

External antenna supplied but you cannot hook up a ordinary coaxial cable to it as the jack is a mini size.

Very small screen.

Shipping availability   – Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.

You cannot hook up a DVD player to this unit.

Sound is not great but is OK with a set of iPod headphones or similar.

3 hour recharge required after battery depletes.

Need to rescan to find channels – can’t manually add them.

Only NTSC – not PAL or SECAM so not good for international travel.

If you move the unit, the aerial may re-select channels or lose picture.

Bottom Line:

As somewhat dated technology, it is competing with the Smartphones but is a very cheap option as something to keep in the tailgate party kit or as emergency backup.

7. RCA DPTM70R 7-Inch 60Hz 480 x 234 LED-Lit TV

RCA DPTM70R 7-Inch 60Hz 480 x 234 LED-Lit TV

RCA DPTM70R 7-Inch 60Hz 480 x 234 LED-Lit TV


First internet TV – no subscription required for TV channels.

Large 7” screen

LED Backlit LCD Display

Hundreds of channel organized by country, language subject or genres,

Built-in 2 G memory.

Receive Free off-air DTV Channels

Receive Current Analog NTSC Channels

SD Flash Drive and USB supports Jpeg, MP3, MPEG 1,2,4, Divx

Rechargeable non-standard battery included

USB connection – many phone connectors will fit.

480×272 pixels – quite a clear picture for the size.

Comes with a 100-240 vac plug in adapter

Most cable boxes are compatible. Check specs. before buying.

2.5 hours battery life.  3 hours to recharge.

Has a tiny remote

Has a small stand built in

Has coax cable connector space at top left

Card reader slot.

Can be hooked up to DVD


Small screen

Does not connect to car power input (though may connect to USB cable in modern car).

Not HD

For optimum use, an external antenna will enhance viewing choices. See DTA206 Portable Mini Digital TV Antenna.

The Bottom Line

Value for money, on the market since March 2012 so is already discounted as ageing technology compared with Smartphones and tablets. The RCA 7-Inch ATSC Portable Digital TV is quite pleasant to watch. Football games can be seen end to end on the 16:9 screen.  With an embedded ATSC and NTSC hybrid tuner you can enjoy a wide array of live TV plus video.  Two built-in stereo speakers, button navigation, and an on-screen menu display are enhance your experience, along with digital closed captioning, parental controls, and a built-in rechargeable battery. As an emergency TV, if you are without power, you need an inverter of some kind to recharge in the car.  Effectiveness of channels will depend on your area or you can connect to a satellite box but most users report that they can find a broad selection of channels easily.

8. Supersonic 7″ Portable LCD TV with ATSC Digital Tuner

Supersonic 7" Portable LCD TV with ATSC Digital Tuner

Supersonic 7″ Portable LCD TV with ATSC Digital Tuner



16:9 (see the whole ground for games!)

Earphone jack.

Full function remote

Power: UL Approved Adapter:AC 100-240V, 50/60Hz & DC 12 Volt Compatibility

Maximum Power Consumption: 18 Watts

Input Terminals: Component, Audio/ Video/ Audio Headphones

Accessories: Remote Control, AC Adapter, Car Cord, A/V Cables, Rod Antenna and Instruction Manual

Maximum Power Consumption: 18 Watts


Supplied antenna is fine, no need to buy an additional one.


Weighs 2 pounds

Takes 2 hours approximately to charge but battery will burn out if you leave it on charge for more than 3 hours so take care!

Some people have had issues with picking up channels but it seems to work fine.

The Bottom Line

This is a good little unit for using to watch games – it will pick up channels using the external (included) antenna.  Good picture and great as an emergency backup in power outages.  Nice sized screen for a personal TV.  Battery just lasts the length of a game and I would turn it off in ad breaks.

9. Axion AXN-8706 120 Hz 7-Inch Widescreen Portable LCD TV

Axion AXN-8706 120 Hz 7-Inch Widescreen Portable LCD TV

Axion AXN-8706 120 Hz 7-Inch Widescreen Portable LCD TV


7” LCD Widescreen is a good size for watching games at tailgate parties from the parking lot.

Built-In rechargeable Li-polymer battery

Built-In ATSC tuner and digital media player.

Has a headphone jack to maximize a lite audio output.

Great reception, color and picture.

Inexpensive. Good for tailgate parties as well as emergencies involving power outages.

Has a little remote.  Not really for fat fingers, but does the job  OK.

Equipped with USB port and a SD memory card slot plus MP4 capability.

Good in static conditions as the antenna must be attached to a metal surface (magnetic base)


Broadcasts in 480 only which is low res but pretty much standard for 7” screens.

Car charger  not supplied (you can buy one that fits though).

Battery only lasts 2 hours and needs a long charging (overnight).

Can’t use in a travelling vehicle.

The Bottom Line:

Picks up local channels and networks OTA (NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC etc.) rather than cable and 7” is a good, workable size for watching sports from the parking lot while enjoying tailgate parties and this one seems to be less flimsy than most similar small units in this low price range.  Nice to have as a backup, too, for emergencies as you can getadditional 12 volt power packs to provide DC power if AC power is out and the battery is flat.  Plus you can buy a car charger as an accessory and run it from the cigarette lighter.  Very handy unit.