Comparing TV Services for Your RV: Which Is the Best Fit?

So you’re hitting the open road in your RV, ready for adventure. But one question is burning in your mind: How will I watch TV?

With the right setup, you can enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and sports from anywhere your RV takes you.

Over-the-Air Antenna

The simplest way to get free TV in your RV is with a good old-fashioned over-the-air (OTA) antenna. Just like at home, an OTA antenna picks up signals from local broadcast stations.


  • 100% free: No monthly fees whatsoever. Just a one-time equipment cost.
  • Access to major networks: You’ll get CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, PBS and more in HD quality.


  • Local channels only: No cable channels or regional sports networks.
  • **Signal issues:**Reception quality varies; may struggle in remote areas.

An OTA antenna is ideal if you:

  • Want free, basic TV while camping close to cities.
  • Don’t care about cable channels or sports.
  • Are fine with only getting a few channels.

Antenna Recommendations

  • Winegard Sensar III: Compact, easy to mount antenna perfect for RVs. Runs about $40.
  • Winegard Flatwave: Thin, flexible antenna that sticks right to your RV. Around $90.
  • Winegard Carryout: Portable, detachable antenna for $60.

I installed a Winegard Sensar III before my last trip. It was super easy to set up, and I got crystal clear reception at most campsites near cities. But once I ventured farther into the mountains, even it struggled to pull in signals.

An old-school antenna is handy for basic network TV. Just don’t expect tons of channels or reliability out in the sticks!

Satellite TV

For the widest channel selection on the road, satellite TV is tough to beat. DISH and DIRECTV are the two major providers RV travelers turn to.

How it Works:

A satellite dish mounted on your RV points skyward to receive signals from orbiting satellites. This dish connects to a receiver inside your rig to deliver programming.


  • Hundreds of channels: Access to major networks, sports, movie channels and more.
  • Nationwide coverage: Get the same TV service wherever you roam in the US.
  • No internet required: Satellite signals work anywhere with a clear view of the southern sky.


  • Pricey: Hardware, installation, and monthly fees add up fast.
  • Upfront commitment: Long contracts (2 years) are usually required.
  • Large equipment: The dish is bulky and takes effort to set up.

Satellite TV works well if you:

  • Demand a lot of channels and sports programs.
  • Regularly camp off the grid with no internet.
  • Don’t mind dedicating roof space and effort to a dish.

Key Differences Between Providers:


  • Cheaper packages start under $100/month.
  • Slightly lower overall customer satisfaction.
  • Weaker sports offerings compared to DIRECTV.


  • Packages start around $120/month.
  • Better sports coverage, including NFL Sunday Ticket.
  • Marginally higher customer service reviews than DISH.

Equipment Packages

You’ll need to purchase special RV equipment upfront to access either provider’s satellite service. Major equipment brands include:

  • Winegard: DISH/DIRECTV dishes starting around $2,500 installed.
  • King Controls: Partner with DIRECTV for dishes starting around $2,000.
  • Signal Connect: Reliable DIRECTV equipment packages for $2,000+.

The install process takes several hours, since the dish needs to be mounted securely and aimed properly. Many RV dealerships can handle satellite installations if you don’t want to DIY.

I tried out a King Controls DIRECTV setup last season, and it performed like a champ on my cross-country trip. Having Sunday NFL games was clutch, even while boondocking off-grid for weeks in the Rockies!

Live TV Streaming

Live streaming apps like YouTube TV and Sling TV mimic a traditional cable TV package over the internet. Could they eliminate the need for bulky satellite equipment?

How it Works:

Streaming services distribute live channels and on-demand shows via phone, tablet, or smart TV apps. An internet connection is required.


  • No contracts: Most services allow month-to-month or annual subscriptions.
  • Mix and match: Customize your channel lineup on the cheap.
  • Available anywhere: Use the same apps at home or on the road.


  • Need internet access: No signal without reliable Wi-Fi or LTE coverage.
  • Channel limits: Plans max out around 100 channels typically.
  • Cost adds up: Once you add packages and equipment fees.

Live streaming shines if you:

  • Have no contract commitments or equipment to maintain.
  • Prefer flexibility in services you use from month to month.
  • Regularly stay at campsites with hookups or Wi-Fi.

Top Streaming Services

YouTube TV

  • $65/month for 85+ channels
  • CBS, FOX, ESPN, AMC, Food Network, and more
  • Unlimited cloud DVR included

Sling TV

  • Starts at $35/month for 30+ channels
  • Add Orange or Blue package for $15/month to hit 50-60 channels
  • Sports Extras available for $11/month

Hulu + Live TV

  • $70/month for 75+ channels
  • Includes ad-supported Hulu on-demand library
  • Available regional sports networks

I gave YouTube TV a test drive for a few months last year. It worked well at campsites with decent Wi-Fi, but I still missed having major sporting events on DIRECTV. And the video quality suffered when connectivity was shaky.

Streaming TV feels like the future, but satellite has a edge for extensive channel lineups and reliability. For now at least!

Hybrid Solutions

Many RVers adopt a hybrid approach, blending an OTA antenna, streaming apps, and satellite for maximum flexibility.

With this setup, you could:

  • Use antenna for local channels around the city.
  • Stream news or shows when campsite Wi-Fi allows.
  • Switch on the satellite when boondocking or needing sports.

It takes extra effort to set up and manage, but provides the best of all worlds. An integrated RV entertainment system like Winegard ConnecT makes it simpler to access multiple TV sources from one central hub.

ConnecT integrates OTA, satellite, and streaming:

  • Built-in Wi-Fi and LTE modem
  • DISH & DIRECTV coax input
  • Antenna coax input
  • Apps like Netflix and Sling TV
  • Single interface to access everything

RV tech supplier MORryde also offers the Rayzr automatic HD antenna that combines satellite and OTA. It automatically switches between sources for the strongest signal no matter your location.

Blending OTA, streaming, and satellite gives maximum flexibility for RV TV entertainment. With smart technology like ConnecT, it’s easier than ever to enjoy this hybrid setup.

Key Takeaways

  • An OTA antenna is best for free, basic network TV while camping near civilization. Just manage expectations on channel selection.
  • Satellite pulls in the most channels and works anywhere, but requires bulky equipment and expensive service. DIRECTV is tops for sports.
  • Streaming offers flexible packages, but depends on finding adequate campsite internet coverage. YouTube TV has the widest channel selection today.
  • A hybrid of OTA, streaming, and satellite gives the most versatility. Products like Winegard ConnecT integrate everything through one central entertainment hub.

No single solution is perfect or available everywhere. Mix and match options to construct your ideal RV TV setup! What works for a weekend trip might differ from extended off-grid excursions out west. Figure out your viewing priorities and travel plans, then pick the services that align best.

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