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.

I am very glad we did. 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. 

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. 

And they have a special $50 price discount for readers of the RV Lifestyle on a bundled package of the Wally receiver and Playmaker antenna. For more info go to

One more thing: It works with your RV’s Internet network (wi-fi or through a router/hot spot like the Jetpack) to get Netflix and other online streaming services. 

Now, we can watch the big game while camping. Tune into local news channels in the areas we’re visiting. Monitor the weather. And now that it’s getting dark earlier, we often find ourselves watching a movie at night, in crystal clear HD even when we’re boondocking deep in the wilderness. 

We are not and don’t plan to be couch potatoes.  But we have really been surprised at how much we have enjoyed the programming opportunities our DISH system has provided and plan to make it a regular part of our RVing lifestyle.

It’s accurate to now say we are even happier campers with the satellite system.

Here’s a video on the install and how it works:

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