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DIRECTV has been around for years as a viable alternative to a traditional cable subscription. What many people don’t realize, however, is that the television service offers multiple solutions to stay connected while on the go.
Whether you’re looking for live television content in your car, boat, or RV, the company offers various solutions that allow for a mobile connection. This article will serve as a comprehensive guide on the various options available for DIRECTV service in your RV or mobile home.
By buying the appropriate equipment, you can add on a mobile connection to your DIRECTV plan. There are several different options based on your mobile viewing needs, but for RV service the company gives two different options for purchasing the components you’ll need: Winegard and KVH Industries.
There are pros and cons to each service which we’ll get into below, but everything RV connection related is handled through these two external equipment companies.
Basically, all you need to do to have DIRECTV in your RV is pay a flat fee for the mobile satellite equipment, and then either take your receiver from home or rent one specifically for your RV for a small monthly fee.
You’ll be able to receive over 100 DIRECTV channels while on the go. If your account is specifically activated for just your RV, you can receive Distant Network Service for an additional fee of around $15 a month, which lets you receive broadcast channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC from towers in either Los Angeles or New York (depending on your location).
While these channels won’t be your local broadcasts due to FCC regulations, you can still access the content from these channels while on the go.
Mobile service is viewed as “temporary” or “complementary” to home service, rather than permanent. Service in two homes requires two accounts. Service in your primary residence and mobile access on your RV doesn’t.
Outside of purchasing the necessary equipment, there are no additional fees for accessing your content on the go.
However, if you’d like to receive Distant Network Service, there’s a small additional fee of about $15.
Unfortunately, due to FCC regulations, DIRECTV is unable to provide both local area programming and distant network service. If you already receive DIRECTV broadcast channels in your home, you’ll have to activate a whole new account if you’d like to access these public channels on the go.
Keep in mind, however, that only channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC are affected by this aspect of RV service. You’ll still have access to more than 100 DIRECTV channels with just your home subscription if you can do without the Distant Network Service.
Winegard is the first of two options for purchasing the equipment necessary for mobile RV viewing, and they have a variety of options to choose from to ensure you’ll have a satellite that’s right for your particular situation. In this section, I discuss the features and drawbacks of three of their most popular options.
The TRAV’LER satellite is great for families because of the multiple satellite viewing capabilities. The ability to watch your shows on multiple TVs is the perfect perk to make sure you don’t miss a moment of the action.
A major downside to this option is the sticker price. It will cost around $1500 at most dealers to get the TRAV’LER satellite. While there are really no additional costs after this initial investment, it’s still pretty steep.
The Dish and Tripod Kit from Winegard require that you set it up each time you want to watch TV in your RV, but it’s much less expensive at only $170. While the TRAV’LER DVR has the advantage of multiple satellite viewing, it also can’t be viewed while on the road.
At the end of the day, both options require you to be parked to watch TV. Whether avoiding the repeated set up and watching programming on multiple TVs is worth the price of $1500 rather than $170 is going to be up to the customer.
The Roadtrip T4 is another relatively expensive satellite option. However, it’s actually cheaper than the TRAV’LER model and allows in-motion viewing.
Basically, when deciding between the two high-end models from Winegard, you have to make the decision between watching shows on multiple TVs and watching shows while in motion. Which one is best for your situation will depend on your viewing needs.
KVH Industries produces some high-quality devices for RVs. Cursory research reveals, however, that solutions from the company are often a good deal more expensive than Winegard’s offerings. We’ll take a look at three of the most popular models below and try to give you a sense of whether KVH products are worth the additional price.
The Tracvision R5SI In-Motion System is built specifically with RVs in mind. When compared to the TRAV’LER from Winegard which retails for a similar price, however, it falls short in features. Without the support for multiple TVs, it’s probably not the best choice unless you’re really concerned about the visual impact of a satellite dish. This model definitely looks sleeker than the Winegard alternative, but it has fewer features too – outside of the ability to watch TV while moving.
KVH Industries offers a more premium model for around $1000 more. This model has benefits in that it can still get reception in Europe, but that feature also requires an additional receiver optimized with Europe in mind.
This may be the best option for those who are based in Europe, but outside of that situation there seem to be better options at a lower price point.
The Tracvision A9 has a luxury price tag, but does it live up to the hype? The main attraction behind the model is the low profile, making it a lot less bulky than alternatives. In situations where you’re concerned about the clearance of your RV or if you’re very concerned about aesthetics, this might be a good choice. Outside of that, it features a rather extreme cost with very few aspects that set it apart from the pack.
Giving a definitive answer on which provider offers the best products is difficult because everyone’s situation is unique. With that said, in the vast majority of situations, I feel that Winegard is the superior choice.
With prices that are far more affordable and still get the job done, they generally outclass KVH Industries’ models.
If you’re looking for a sleek design and compact construction, KVH might be a viable option – but you’ll be paying a premium for that convenience.
As with any purchasing decision, there are pros and cons to each choice. Our website has a wealth of information on satellite TV options, but at the end of the day, the best choice is going to be what feels right for you.