Tip Improving the Home Theater in my Newmar Motorhome

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Jul 27, 2019
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
RV Make
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
2017 Chevy Colorado
If you have a Newmar pre-2018 such as my 2017 Newmar Ventana Class A motorhome you may be lucky to have a real home theater setup. Newmar went to soundbars in 2018 probably because their setup was just not right in the prior model years and was all wired as analog vs. using HDMI connections through the AV receiver. Home theater is complicated and one I struggle with time after time to get right and probably never do get it right. I really enjoy my home theater at my S&B and with Newmar's 5.1 home theater configuration in my 2017 VTDP then why not make it great too.

I've been through several iterations of some of the components mainly the sub-woofer replacing the JBL wall mount (in the televator) to a Pioneer compact sub with amp (can't remember which size I used) and that was AMAYYYYZING but with my office desk setup that sub had to go so I switched to something that could all be contained inside the televator area. Details on that below.

The first thing I did was lose the Sony receiver Newmar provided. It actually is NOT a bad receiver but I needed something with more HDMI ports and more control via the menus for my always complicated home theater config. I am a Yamaha receiver fan (previously Onkyo Integra) as they have great IoT (Internet of Things) setup and really have come along with their receivers as I used them long ago then switched to Onkyo. But they didn't have anything recent or on par in the slim line (half height) receivers at the time (2017) so I went with Marantz. I have not researched what is available today but I can tell you I've been thrilled with the Marantz in every aspect from home theater to menu control, HDMI pass thru for the external TV, etc. The Marantz I bought which was the latest back then was the NR1608. The latest today is now the NR1710 which I'd probably get today as I prefer the newest but I don't see too much different warranting $300 more over what I got back then.


The next item to change are the small square speakers Newmar users to something real that can sound great and be ceiling mounted. I went with Polk ceiling mounted speakers (4) and a center channel speaker. I went with Polk RC80i for the four speakers and then at Polk 255C-RT for the center channel. If I did it over again I would go with a 6 or 4 inch speaker instead of the 8 inch RC80i but it sounds great.



The next element of the home theater is the sub-woofer. Like I mentioned above the Pioneer 8 inch I used which fit perfectly in the floor "notch" under the jack knife sofa and sounded amazing! But I had to remove it when I replaced the Jack Knife sofa with an office desk. The JBL compact sub-woofer Newmar wall mounted in the televator bay I think just didn't work probably as it either wasn't configured right or wired right. I learned during my replacement how these sub-woofers turn on/off either via a sense wire from the dash radio or a 9-12V power signal. I was able to wire in to the televator controller 12V supply so my sub is essentially always on now as I could not get it to work properly otherwise. I went with the sub-woofer below which has a self contained amp whereas the Pioneer used a separate 1100W amp which was amazing too. The pioneer was a better setup but I don't have the space for it and am just sticking with this for now and calling it done. I went with a highly reviewed Rockville RW10CA 10" 800 Watt Slim Low Profile Active Powered Car Subwoofer Sub.


Newmar included two monster HDMI splitters as they did not route everything through the central AV source - the AV receiver. Maybe there is merit to their setup for their intended use but in my case and theory all home theater components (DVD, Apple TV, SAT, etc.) should connect into the receiver, then the receiver HDMI OUT goes to the TV's. I've been through several variations of HDMI splitters but ended up now using this 4-way 4K splitter. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HR1WD4S/?tag=rvf01-20


Finally, I really like the Logitech Harmony universal remotes that I use at home (S&B) but also have a smartphone app to control the home theater as well.


I'm late to the game with some things and Apple TV is one of them. I never had an idea of what it was, how it works, what does it do for me? Well, I love it and highly recommend it. I have one both in the front zone and bedroom of my coach. The Apple TV allows you to watch any of your streaming services that support Apple TV (Netflix and YouTube are what I use most) but there are apps for Apple TV just like smartphones. You can also send photos or videos from an Apple device such as iPhone or iPad to your TV connected via Apple TV. I actually have a slingbox at my S&B so I can watch anything from home (Verizon FIOS) in my coach assuming I have a half decent Internet connection. I then use the the slingbox app on my iPad to "AirPlay" to my Apple TV and then the audio/visual from home is on my home theater in my coach! I really don't even need DISH in my coach as I can watch cable TV from home as well.



In summary, just because it's a motorhome doesn't mean your movie watching etc. can't be great too. I'd love to hear of anyone that improved their soundbar setup with a surround setup, etc. for the newer coach configurations. I'm extremely pleased and enjoy my RV lifestyle the same as if being at home when it's time to disconnect the brain and watch a movie, etc.

WARNING: Any time you are cutting the ceiling panels you must carefully inspect for wire runs and cross braces! Use a dental mirror and inspect carefully prior to any cuts!
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