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Vol. 5 - No. 12


When an RVer decides to add satellite TV to their RV they immediately face an assortment of choices, many of which can be intimidating for the novice.  DishNet, DirecTV, standard or high definition, dvr or not ???

This month's issue will help explain and sort out these choices so you can select the service that best suits your needs.  The choices will change, depending upon several variables - Are you a part-time or full-time RVer?  If part-time, do you have satellite TV at home?  The answers to these questions will get you pointed in the right direction.

If you are a FULL-TIME RVer and no longer have a home base, then you first need to decide which satellite TV provider is best for you.  For U.S. customers, the choices are DishNet or DirecTV.  For our neighbors to the north in Canada, the choices are Bell TV and Shaw Direct. (There are several additional providers such as Glorystar and Sky Angel  that offer limited,  religious based programming.) If you are a Canadian customer who wants to receive programming while traveling in the U.S. the only choice is Shaw Direct as Bell's coverage area no longer extends into the U.S.  Choose the provider that best provides the programming you enjoy.   We will discuss equipment options further into this article.

If you are a PART-TIME RVer and already have satellite TV at home, the logical choice will be to stay with that provider, as there will be little or no additional subscription cost to add satellite TV to the RV and you can receive most of the same programming you get at home.   (Local stations may not be available when you travel beyond your coverage area.)

If you are a PART-TIME RVer and do not have satellite TV at home then your choices are the same as the FULL-TIME RVer above but you might want to select a subscription option that allows you to pay-as-you-go on a monthly basis.

Once you select a provider you must decide if you want standard definition or high definition TV.  The equipment used to receive each is sometimes a little different and HD can cost slightly more each month.  Aiming the satellite dish for HD is not much different than SD when using our tripod system, due to the adjustable legs and our eZee-Aim%uFFFD system.  It is more difficult when using a non-adjustable tripod for support.

Another consideration when selecting a provider and system type is the number of cables that will run from the satellite dish to your receiver.   Some systems have just one RG-6 cable from the dish to the receiver, while others require a dual cable to carry the signals.  Most RV's that are pre-wired for satellite TV only have a single connection from the outside to the receiver, so it is important to know what requirements your new setup will use.

Most new satellite receivers will have some digital recording capability.  If so, it usually involves a small additional monthly charge for this service.  Personally, we find it very convenient to use the DVR and well worth the extra charge, but this is another choice the new user will need to make.

Once the RVer chooses to use satellite TV and becomes familiar with the setup at each new site, most are quite happy with their choice.   They are no longer left to watch what is available on the park cable setup or limited by over-the-air stations in that area.

While there are surely other considerations we may not have covered here, we hope this information proves helpful to those who are about to embark on this new RVing option.