Streaming TV in Canada for RVers: A Comprehensive Guide

Hitting the open road in an RV can be an amazing way to explore Canada. But one thing that can be tricky is figuring out how to stream your favorite TV shows and channels while traveling. Let me walk you through everything you need to know to stream TV successfully in your RV across Canada.

Getting Reliable Internet Access

The most important factor in streaming TV in your RV is getting a strong, fast, and reliable internet connection. Without that, you won’t be watching anything except the passing landscape! Here are your main options for getting online while RVing in Canada:

Cell Phone Hotspots

Many RVers rely on using their cell phone as a mobile hotspot for internet access. This can definitely work, but coverage and data speeds can be spotty once you get outside major cities. I’ve had many times where my phone hotspot just wasn’t cutting it for streaming video. The bandwidth was too low and inconsistent. Overall, phone hotspots are an okay backup option but not ideal as your main internet source.

Campground Wi-Fi

Some RV parks and campgrounds provide Wi-Fi to guests. But in my experience, the connections are often poor. Maybe enough to check email, but not to stream HD video. The range is limited too. As soon as you walk a bit away from the office, the signal drops. So campground Wi-Fi works in a pinch but isn’t reliable enough for everyday streaming.

Satellite Internet

For consistently fast internet on the road, your best bet is a satellite service like Starlink. I know it seems expensive upfront with the hardware costs, but it’s been a game changer for streaming in my RV. The speeds are great, it works anywhere I can get a clear view of the sky, and the network is improving all the time. I know RVers who’ve tried every option out there and say Starlink blows the rest out of the water.

Public Wi-Fi Hotspots

If you’re stopping in towns and cities, you can often pick up public Wi-Fi hotspots at places like libraries, coffee shops, malls, and RV parks to supplement your main internet source. I try to map out hotspots in advance using apps like Wi-Fi Map that crowdsource password info. Quality varies wildly though, so public Wi-Fi works well for light browsing but not heavy streaming.

Tips for Optimizing Streaming Speeds

Once you have internet access, there are some steps you can take to get the fastest speeds possible for streaming:

  • Position your RV to get the best signal, avoiding obstructions like trees or mountains. You may need to reposition occasionally as you travel.
  • For satellite internet like Starlink, install the receiver at the highest feasible point on your RV for better line-of-sight to the satellites.
  • Use a router with strong Wi-Fi range and external high-gain antennas. I put my router near the middle of the RV to maximize coverage.
  • Connect streaming devices directly to the router via ethernet cable whenever possible, rather than relying on Wi-Fi.
  • Limit other internet usage during streaming, especially bandwidth hogs like OS updates.
  • Set streaming video resolution to auto or lower quality settings to reduce buffering issues. 1080p is plenty sharp on a small RV screen!
  • Use a streaming optimization service like RVStreamBoost that improves video quality and download speeds.
  • Temporarily disconnect from the internet, restart your router and devices, then reconnect to clear any glitches.

With good gear and proper setup, you can definitely get great streaming speeds even with satellite internet’s inherent higher latency. It just takes some tweaking and tech know-how. Thankfully there are lots of helpful online RV communities if you ever need advice.

Using a VPN for Streaming While Traveling

Since you’ll be moving between different provinces and internet connections frequently, using a VPN (virtual private network) is highly recommended for streaming in Canada. Here’s why a VPN helps:

  • It masks your location and IP address, so you can access streaming services from other regions. This is great for accessing content from your home country if you’re traveling from abroad.
  • It encrypts your data and activity to keep you more secure on public Wi-Fi hotspots. Very important for banking, shopping, etc.
  • It allows you to sidestep internet censorship and access blocked streaming platforms from anywhere. Some providers block certain sites.
  • It optimizes video streaming with features like SmartDNS to route only the video data through the VPN tunnel. This avoids VPN bandwidth throttling issues during streaming.

There are a few top VPNs that RVers tend to favor:

NordVPN – fast speeds, works great for streaming, and allows connecting multiple devices. Has specialty servers for streaming.

ExpressVPN – very reliable and secure, offers a dedicated IP option. Excellent speeds and performance.

Surfshark – unlimited device connections, good value, and solid connection speeds.

I personally use NordVPN and find it consistently handles my streaming and downloading needs. The key is finding a VPN that’s fast, secure, with servers in lots of countries. Definitely get one before you hit the road!

Streaming Services Available in Canada

Now for the fun part…what streaming platforms can you actually watch? The selection in Canada is improving all the time as more companies launch here. Here’s a look at the major options:


The old standby Netflix is ubiquitous in Canada, with a huge on-demand library of movies, shows, documentaries, and originals like Stranger Things. Their Canadian library is slightly smaller than in America, but you still get tons of content. Profiles make it easy for the whole family to find what they want. Video quality is excellent and mobile apps widespread.

Amazon Prime Video

Included with an Amazon Prime membership, Prime Video offers a robust selection of movies, shows, and Amazon original content. You can download titles for offline viewing which is great on the road. Fire tablets make accessing Prime Video super convenient. Selection not quite as deep as Netflix but still very good.


Disney fanatics will love having access to everything Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, National Geographic and more in one spot. Disney+ has exclusive new shows and movies plus a huge back catalog. You can even download to watch offline. The library is identical to the U.S. I’m working my way through every Pixar film!

Apple TV+

Apple’s streaming service is newer on the scene but has several hit original shows like Ted Lasso, plus quality movies and docs. Integration with Apple devices is seamless. Still ramping up its selection but has some good exclusives. Video quality is superb.


Crave is like HBO Max for Canada, owned by Bell Media. You’ll find HBO favorites like Game of Thrones, plus Showtime, History Channel, and other U.S./international content. Crave + Movies + Sports bundles give you even more choices. Drawback is its web interface isn’t the best.


Canada’s public broadcaster CBC offers tons of free Canadian TV and movies on-demand via CBC Gem. You can live stream CBC channels and national and regional news. A must-try for Canuck-specific content.

Amazon Channels (StackTV, HBO, etc)

If you have Amazon Prime, Channels lets you add various streaming services to your Prime subscription. StackTV gives access to Global, Food Network, Nickelodeon and more. HBO through Channels carries all latest shows plus classics. Lots of choices!


This lesser-known streaming platform focuses just on reality TV, from Keeping Up With the Kardashians to all the Real Housewives cities. A reality junkie’s paradise! Hayu has pretty much any trashy show you could want in one place.

Pluto TV

Pluto TV is a free streaming service with live linear channels in every genre, from movies to sports to comedy. You can’t pick specific shows but it’s still pretty cool. Supported by ads. Nice compliment to other paid services.


Tubi has over 20,000 movies and TV shows available on-demand for free with ads. Lots of older classics and cult hits. Worth checking out when you want to watch something random. Has content from NBCU, Warner Bros. and more.

CBC News Network & CBC News

Using the CBC News app or visiting, you can live stream CBC News Network 24/7 for free. Plus access national and regional news broadcasts like The National. Essential for keeping up with breaking Canadian news on the road.

This line-up gives you loads of entertainment options while traveling in Canada. With a few subscriptions, you’ll never run out of stuff to watch in your RV!

Accessing Live TV Channels

In addition to on-demand streaming, you may also want to access live Canadian TV channels while RVing:

Over-the-Air (OTA) Antenna

Picking up over-the-air digital TV signals with a good quality outdoor OTA antenna is a great free option in your RV. You’ll get CTV, Global, CBC, CityTV, and other channels in HD quality depending on what’s available in your region. No monthly fees either! Just position the antenna for optimal reception.

Satellite TV

The two major satellite TV providers in Canada are Bell and Shaw Direct. With a satellite dish setup, you can get anywhere from 20 to over 500 channels depending on your package. Hundreds of HD options. Access is consistent across Canada. Downsides are high equipment costs, 2-year contracts, and roof installations. You may need to repoint the dish periodically.

RV Satellite Systems

Similar to home satellite TV, RV-specific satellite antennas like TRAV’LER, Winegard, and King Controls let you access Bell and Shaw Direct on the road. They have lower profiles and power usage than large home dishes. Easy setup and portability. Pricing is still high for equipment and packages.

Live Streaming Services

Options like FuboTV and DirecTV Stream let you stream live sports, news and entertainment over the internet without a long-term contract. Channel packages and pricing vary. Reliable high-speed internet is essential. DVR and multi-screen options available. More flexible than traditional satellite.

So with the right gear and subscriptions, you can definitely catch must-see live events and your favorite channels while RVing in Canada. Just be prepared for some trial and error to figure out what setup works best in your motorhome or trailer.

Tips for Cutting Costs

Let’s face it, all these streaming services, internet plans, and gear can get expensive. Here are my best tips for reducing costs while streaming on the road:

Borrow Streaming Logins from Friends and Family

See if you can “borrow” logins for services like Netflix, Disney+, and Prime Video to avoid paying for your own accounts. Just check that the terms of service allow account sharing first, of course!

Take Advantage of Free Trials

Most streaming platforms offer free 7-day or 1-month trials. Sign up to binge watch their best content, then cancel before the trial ends. Just remember to set a calendar reminder!

Consider an Annual Plan

On services you use frequently, opt for an annual subscription plan rather than monthly. You’ll typically save 10-20% over the year.

Buy Refurbished Gear

Check for refurbished streaming devices and antennas on sites like Amazon Renewed rather than buying new. Refurbs look and work like new but are discounted. Includes warranty too.

Use Public Libraries

Many libraries offer Kanopy, Hoopla, OverDrive and other free streaming services included with a membership. You can even use a temporary digital card when traveling. Worth looking into!

Let Your Home Base Subscription Carry You

If you have streaming accounts tied to your home address, you can often stream while traveling for a couple months before services enforce a new “home area.” Just don’t abuse this!

Share One High-Quality Connection

Rather than each family member having their own streaming plan, share a single top-tier account to save money. Most services now allow you to create multiple user profiles.

With some savvy planning, you can have all the entertainment you want on the road while sticking to your budget. The key is being flexible and resourceful!

Optimizing Your RV’s Streaming Setup

To have the best experience streaming in your RV, you’ll want to optimize how your devices, internet, and displays work together:

Get a Powerful Router

A fast router with strong Wi-Fi range will give you the most reliable signal throughout your RV. Look for a tri-band model with external high-gain antennas. Position it near the middle of the RV.

Use Ethernet Whenever Possible

For stationary devices like smart TVs, use ethernet cables rather than Wi-Fi for faster, more stable connections. This avoids buffering and quality issues.

Connect an External Antenna to Your Mobile Hotspot

Adding a directional antenna to your cell phone or mobile hotspot can significantly boost signal strength when you don’t have Wi-Fi. Well worth the small investment.

Install a Streaming Media Player

Devices like Roku Express, Amazon Fire Stick, or Apple TV seamlessly stream to any TV over Wi-Fi. No smart TV required. Bring your own content anywhere.

Get a Smart TV with Built-In Apps

Today’s HD smart TVs have Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and other apps built right in. No extra device needed! Just be sure to get a model compatible with Canadian streaming services.

Use a Tablet or Smartphone for Personal Viewing

Smaller mobile devices are perfect for streaming while lounging or in bed. Download shows in advance since they use less data. Use headphones to avoid disturbing others.

Extend Your Display Wirelessly

With wireless display adapters like the Chromecast, you can “cast” video from your phone, tablet or laptop to the TV without any wires. Great for ad hoc viewing.

Add an OTA Antenna for Local Channels

Having OTA TV via antenna lets you catch local news, weather, and sports for free. Combine with streaming for the full experience.

Upgrade Your TV Speakers

The tiny built-in speakers on most flatscreen TVs have poor sound. Add sound bar or Bluetooth speaker for bigger, clearer audio.

With the right gear and setup, you can feel like you have a mini home theater in your RV! Enjoy premium streaming sans annoying buffering or grainy video.

Traveling Abroad with Streaming Services

One tricky aspect of RVing in Canada is that some streaming services have different libraries and availability depending on what country you’re in. Here are tips for keeping access abroad:

Use a VPN to Spoof Your Location

A VPN masks your IP address, so streaming platforms think you’re in a different country. Choose VPN servers in your home country to access its regional libraries.

Download Titles in Advance

If you know you’re headed somewhere with spotty internet, download shows and movies to your device while still connected. Then you can watch offline later.

Purchase a One Day International Pass

Some services like Hulu offer single-day access abroad for a small fee. Worth it for keeping up with a favorite series if you’ll be out of your home country for a short time.

Keep Home Subscription Active

Most streamers give you access for a period even outside your home country before blocking. Keep your home accounts active for continuous access when traveling.

Research Regional Differences

Library content can vary quite a bit internationally. Research which services have the best global support and content options for the areas you’ll visit.

With preparation, you can enjoy seamless streaming anywhere your RV travels. Don’t let international borders stop you from watching your favorite shows!

Bottom Line

Streaming TV in an RV across Canada is very doable with the right gear, services, and tricks. While it may require an investment of time and money up front, the ability to enjoy internet entertainment on the go is priceless.

As full-time RVers, my partner and I consider fast, unlimited streaming a requirement wherever we travel. After much trial and error, we’ve assembled the perfect setup of Starlink, a good VPN, streaming devices, and Canadian subscriptions.

Now we can binge our favorite shows anywhere from the beaches of Vancouver Island to the rugged cliffs of Newfoundland. More importantly, streaming TV helps us feel at home each night no matter how far we roam during the day.

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