Not so long ago, watching TV while you were camping was a novel or even a luxury option, if possible at all. Today, people expect to be able to tune into their favorite shows, sports games, and news shows at any time, no matter where they are. And yes, that means while camping. One way to achieve this is through an RV satellite dish.
Let’s learn more about RV satellite dish options for travelers who want to take their TV on the road!
What Is an RV Satellite Dish?
An RV satellite dish is a portable antenna that can travel with RVers. It usually comes in an enclosed glass case to protect it from the weather.
RVers can permanently mount these satellites to the roof of their rigs or keep them portable with a tripod. Once they arrive at the campsite, they set out the antenna, and it automatically connects via a satellite company like DISH, DIRECTV, or BellTV.
What Satellite Service Is Best for an RV?
Currently, three primary satellite services work well for RVers. Starlink provides internet via satellites, so Starlink users can log in to their streaming services to watch TV. DISH offers the best flexibility in contracts with a pay-as-you-go option. For RVers who don’t travel full-time, this is a huge money saver.
Finally, DIRECTV typically offers the best channels and choices. No matter where RVers travel, they’ll have access to the best entertainment package. This includes numerous sports packages for RVing tailgaters.
5 Best RV Satellite Dish Options for Watching Television
Below are five excellent options for RV satellite dishes. Other than Starlink, they’re similar but offer unique features to help RVers determine which one is right for their travel lifestyle.
Because Starlink costs $599 upfront for the hardware, it’s best for full-timers who have to work on the road daily. The other services and products are good options for weekend travelers.
1. Starlink Satellite Internet Service + Streaming Services
About: RVers have been waiting for a service like Starlink to provide internet connectivity virtually anywhere. Where cellular service is unreliable, RVers can connect to the internet via satellite. Starlink costs $599 upfront for the hardware, then it is $135 per month. Travelers must also pay a $25 premium fee each month for portability and are also subject to slower speeds in areas with network congestion
Even in the middle of the ocean, boaters can have internet access if there is a clear view of the sky. Travelers can also pause and unpause service, which is terrific for RVers who don’t travel full-time.
In 2022, they even received clearance from the FCC to provide satellite internet in motion.
Our Favorite Features: As Starlink grows and develops, internet connectivity will become seamless and reliable everywhere. Areas that had no cell service before now have access to satellite internet as long as you have a clear view of the sky.
And not just internet service, but FAST internet service! Many Starlink for RV users experience download speeds between 50 Mbps and 250 Mbps, and 5 Mbps and 15 Mbps when uploading.
We also love the pause capability when you don’t need the roaming feature.
Best For: Due to its wide service area, particularly in remote places that didn’t use to have cell service, Starlink is best for RVers who enjoy boondocking and getting away from it all. It’s also best for people who need fast, reliable internet for work, video conferences, or other large data functions.
Additionally, Starlink requires a clear sky view and is only as good as your location. If you camp in forests or campgrounds where sites are close, you may not get the clear view needed. However, if you camp in open spaces, you won’t have trouble connecting to one of the satellites and streaming your favorite shows.
Pro Tip: We took a closer look at everything you need to know about Starlink to help you decide if it is the right choice for you.
2. Winegard GM-6035
About: Many newer RVs come with a Winegard satellite dish on the roof. However, to operate the satellite, owners must have a subscription to DISH, DIRECTV, or BellTV.
The Carryout G2+ model includes a power inserter, with no need for a power cable. This model also allows owners to switch providers from inside the RV.
- New Power Inserter - Powered through coax cable. Compatible with...
- Satellite Providers (subscription required) - DISH (Standard &...
- Easy Setup - 100% automatic, setup in just a few minutes. The...
Our Favorite Features: Although mounts sell separately, you can place the Winegard in the best possible location. From tripod mounts, side or window mounts, to ladder mounts, there are many options. Quickly switching providers is also a plus for the Winegard Carryout G2+ model.
Best For: RVers who like having options will appreciate the Winegard’s versatility. It’s also great for travelers who may not camp in perfect conditions. The glass-infused base and brass hardware protect the Winegard and increase durability.
3. KING VQ4500 Tailgater
About: One of the cheapest options is the KING VQ4500 Tailgater. Choose from clear, black, or white colors and a dual or single output. This only works with a DISH service, but it covers all 48 of the lower states. It’s also HD and SD compatible.
- Portable satellite TV antenna for DISH service. Sign up for...
- Use as either portable antenna or roof mounted (mounting feet...
- Supports multiple TV viewing with the built-in dual coaxial...
Our Favorite Features: Like the Winegard, the Tailgater can move positions, or it can permanently mount on your roof. Sit it directly on the ground or buy a tripod. Plus, the automatic-aiming antenna is easy to set up.
Best For: If you already have a DISH service at your house, it’s affordable to add the service to your RV satellite dish. If you don’t travel full-time, the pay-as-you-go option is ideal. Weekenders will appreciate paying for a couple of months during camping season and canceling during winter.
4. KING KOP4800 One Pro
About: Another RV satellite dish by KING is the KOP4800 One Pro, which is considerably more expensive than the Tailgater model. It comes in gray or clear only. It also has 50 feet of RG6 coax cable.
- Premium Satellite Tv Antenna For All Providers: Directv Sd, Dish...
- Automatically Configures For Us Satellite Service—No Dip...
- Patented Self-Leveling Design
Favorite Features: Like the Wingard, the KING KOP4800 One Pro can operate with DISH, DIRECTV, or BellTV. This is why it’s more expensive than the Tailgater model. It has an automatic-aiming antenna, which locates the nearest satellite within minutes so you can start watching your favorite shows shortly after setup.
Best For: For RVers who like versatility and options, the KING KOP4800 One Pro is an excellent choice since it works with DISH, DIRECTV, and BellTV. It’s best for full-time travelers because of the upfront expense. Weekend travelers can get by with the Tailgater.
5. Winegard PL8035R
About: Like the Tailgater, this model is only compatible with DISH. It comes with the Wally DISH HD Solo receiver. You can also add your hard drive as a DVR service with no monthly fee. You would pay a one-time $40 fee. It also comes with 25 feet of coax cable.
- Fully-Automatic – 100% automatic and self-installs quickly....
- Multi-TV Viewing – Two coax outputs allows you to add an...
- Watch TV Anywhere – Perfect for the RV, camper, motorhome,...
Our Favorite Features: Adding a DVR service without paying a monthly fee is a nice feature of the Winegard PL8035R. You can go on a hike or paddle down the river without missing your favorite TV shows. It’s the comfort of home in your RV.
Best For: RVers with DISH service at their residences can save big by adding another line. Plus, the upfront hardware cost is one of the cheapest.
Pro Tip: There’s lots to learn about satellite internet for RVs. Find out exactly What You Need to Know before you invest in this option to stream your favorite TV shows.
Is an RV Satellite Dish Worth It?
If watching your favorite shows while camping is valuable, then an RV satellite dish will be worthwhile to install. If you love tailgating and gathering with friends to watch football games every weekend, it’s also worth it.
However, if you like to get away from technology, the internet, and TV while weekend camping, then an RV satellite dish probably isn’t a reasonable expense. It all depends on your camping style.
So what kind of camper are you? Will you purchase an RV satellite dish? Tell us in the comments!
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