Adding Satellite TV to the RV

 Adding Satellite TV to the RV

Let me first say Jennifer and I are not big TV watchers. Maybe some news. The Weather Channel during weather events. A movie now and then.

In the RV we now have, we have two televisions, one up front, the other in the rear lounge. It came that way. A switcher in the entertainment cabinet will let you watch different channels on each set. There’s also a DVD.  I bet in the almost seven months we’ve had it now, we’ve turned the TV on just a few times.

That’s probably because we never really got a solid signal or good coverage, especially when we were far from civilization off boondocking in the wilderness. 

So when DISH Outdoors became a new sponsor on our RV Podcast and sent us a special new RV system to check out so we would know what we were talking about, we agreed to install it and give it a try.

Instead of one of those big, hard to store antennas that had to be strung outside and pointed just so, DISH sent us the new Playmaker Antenna, a small dome-shaped antenna that weighs just seven pounds. We also got a roof mount and I had my local installers at Radios, Knobs, Speakers and Things in Pontiac, MI do the mounting for me because, well, if you are a regular reader, you know I’m a pretty unhandy handyman.

The compact little Wally Receiver they sent, which doubles as a DVR, fit in the same cabinet as the switcher that came standard with our Leisure Travel Vans FX RV. When Mark, the RKST installer, was up on the roof, we found that Leisure had already run two coax cables up there. We attached one to the Playmaker DISH antenna, the other to a new weBoost cellular antenna we also installed up there. I’ll have a separate review on the booster in a few weeks.

Both of those cables had connectors inside the entertainment cabinet. It couldn’t have been more convenient.

The whole system is automatic. I turn on the Wally and it sends a signal to the Playmaker on the roof and it immediately searches for and locks on the strongest satellite signal. The only requirement is you need to have a relatively unobstructed view of the southern horizon. That can really be a pain sometime. And even when it does find a satellite, the system can take up to five minutes to lock on

The best part about the DISH system is that you are not locked into long term commitments or being in one location. You can subscribe for just a month at a time if you want, with channel lineup packages starting at about $38. 

I don’t see the satellite TV system changing our habits that much.

We are not and don’t plan to be couch potatoes.  But there is a lot of programming opportunities on satellite and for those who really do watch a lot of TV, I suppose its accurate to say that they would probably be even happier campers with a satellite system.

Us? I don’t know. We need some more experience with it.

Mike Wendland

Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, kayaking, video editing, and all things dealing with technology and the outdoors. See and subscribe to his RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube, where he has hundreds of RV and travel related videos. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations.


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