LOOONG camping and road trips help us get away from the daily hustle and bustle.
However, this doesn’t mean YOU have to miss or leave your favorite shows (or the Superbowl!) at home.
In this article, we’ll share our favorite, EASY options, including tips and everything you need to know on how you can get reception for your trusty RV TV.
At the end of this article, you’ll be sure to find the best option for you!
4 Simple Ways to Get You and Your TV Connected
Whether it’s a months-long trip and you simply don’t want to miss your favorite shows (FOMO, anyone?) OR if your RV is basically your home, there are a number of ways you can choose from on how to get reception for your TV.
Who says you can’t get the best of both worlds?
Be ready to go camping, get some peace and quiet while enjoying your favorite show.
Option 1: Streaming Services
As more satellites and infrastructures are built across the country, internet signal is available even in remote areas.
In effect, streaming platforms are getting more and more accessible even in faraway areas or private campgrounds.
One of the easiest ways to get connected is through streaming TV in your camper.
If you have a TV that can connect to the internet, you can set this up within minutes.
Among the multitude of streaming platforms available today, here are our FAVORITE options below:
Don’t want to miss out on your live TV shows?
Sling TV is your go-to!
This streaming platform allows you to stream cable channels and watch live TV. Monthly subscription starts at 25 USD.
What we like about Sling TV is you can customize the channels you want to access. In addition to personalizing the content, this feature also allows you to control the fees you get billed monthly!
Got the whole family with you?
You might also want to consider Disney Plus. You have Marvel and Star Wars franchises for dad, while mom and kids can enjoy the Disney Classics, in addition to the classic series offered on this streaming platform.
Disney Plus also offers bundle packages where you can avail of a subscription to HULU or ESPN+ for a small additional price.
Needless to say, Netflix is one of the streaming platforms with the most number of movies, series, documentaries, and original content.
What we like about Netflix is you can download content which you can view OFFLINE.
As much as Netflix is already a mainstream option for many, it’s still worth keeping in case you feel like re-watching your favorite shows and even some classics!
Take note: Netflix is constantly updating its catalog of movies, so it’s worth the spend!
If you have a mobile device with you that is compatible with the mirror screen with your TV, you can watch your downloaded files without worrying about Wi-Fi connection.
That said, if you want to control your data usage or you anticipate having no stable Wi-Fi connection in the next few days, you can easily choose and download movies and episodes you want to watch and connect it to your TV.
It’s that simple!
Last on our list of top favorites is Roku Express.
If you need a VARIOUS variety or WIDE selection, Roku is the way to go. For only 30 USD, you’ll have access to a number of free content and centralize your paid channels or streaming platforms such as Netflix, HBO, or Apple TV.
The good news? It only requires a one-time payment! No monthly fees for its free channels! If you need light watching or regular TV content (TV Player, Deezer, BBC Sports, Sky News, and Red Bull TV), this is perfect for you.
REMINDER: Make sure your TV has an HDMI or USB port to use Roku Express.
Other Awesome Streaming TV Alternatives
Other options you can explore include subscribing to a Hulu, SHOWTIME, HBO, or an Amazon Prime account.
These platforms contain both original content (exclusive series or movies), as well as classic and selected recent movie or series releases.
Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Cube, or Apple TV are great alternatives as well to Roku Express.
GREAT OPTION if:
- You prefer having a variety of selections for TV shows, movies, and series
- You prefer having the flexibility to cancel – you can opt to just subscribe for one month then cancel it the next!
- You have multiple TVs. You can easily stream movies from 2 or more devices depending on your subscription type
- You’re a part-time camper! If you have an existing account at home from any of these platforms, you can also stream while on the road.
SKIP this if:
- You foresee not having a stable or reliable Wi-Fi connection (RV parks, remote deserts or forests, boondock)
- You don’t have unlimited data OR want to skyrocket your data plan
- You don’t want to pay monthly subscription fees if you periodically leave or are gone for months
- You want a simple installation. Some streaming services require attaching equipment (Google Chromecast, Roku). Some people might find this a hassle since you need to make sure the equipment is charged and/or connected to the TV before you can stream TV in your camper
Option 2: Satellite TV for RV
Don’t want to leave your TV reception to chance?
Worry not as you can always choose to install or mount a satellite TV for your RV!
You won’t have to worry about wobbly internet connection OR if your regular TV cannot connect to the internet OR you don’t consider yourself to be tech-savvy.
Satellite TV is probably one of the easiest and best option to watch TV in your RV.
Apart from the variety of shows and movies you get, if your main motive for TV is to watch sports games or access NFL Sunday Ticket, your best bet is dish satellite antennas.
Some RVs have built-in satellite equipment – which only requires you to choose a service provider.
However, if you don’t have this yet, don’t fret as you can easily purchase satellite TV antennas.
Popular and trusted manufacturers of satellite antennas are King and Winegard.
- You may want to check the Dome portable satellite dish from Winegard as it comes with a compact case – which you can easily bring anywhere. Plus, you can opt to upgrade it to an HD service!
- Meanwhile, King also carries crowd favorite satellite dishes. Notable mentions for satellite options are the Dome and Flex.
If the only thing you need is a satellite provider, we’ve identified two reliable options: DISH and DirecTV.
DISH Satellite TV Provider
The cheaper version between the two, DISH is a reliable satellite TV service that offers channels and a variety of shows to keep you company during your months-long road trip.
DISH also offers the option to cancel subscription or stop service on months when you don’t see yourself traveling. This Pay As You Go can help you save on fees, especially for seasonal travelers.
Moreover, if you have an existing plan or DISH service at home, you can just easily top up or add the RV DISH Outdoor package to allow you to get access while on the road!
DirecTV Satellite Service
DirecTV is a tough satellite TV competitor for DISH because it offers access to NFL Sunday Ticket.
This, plus DirecTV packages that cover a number of sports games, are the main differentiators of DirecTV from DISH.
If your trip will coincide with your favorite sports games, this satellite TV service is for YOU.
Reminders When Choosing a Satellite TV:
- Check if the satellite dish can support the service provider you plan to sign up with. There are some satellite dishes that only support one service provider so be sure to confirm if it’s compatible.
- It’s also good to know the states or locations where your satellite antenna has strong satellite signals to ensure a smooth and seamless streaming TV experience.
- There are times you have to put your satellite TV dish outdoors to get better reception.
GREAT OPTION if:
- You spend most of your time on the road
- You want to access all TV channels
- You settle in camp grounds with little to no stable internet connection
- No need for extra connection or charging of equipment
SKIP this if:
- You want a variety of content to include on-demand shows or series
- Your destinations cover heavily forested areas or during months with inclement weather as these affect reception of satellite TV antennas
- You don’t want the hassle of having to put the dish outdoors when in remote areas
- You don’t want to rack up expenses. Each premium channel corresponds to an extra cost
Option 3: Antenna TV
Need a simple and budget-friendly option to get your TV up and running?
TV antenna is your best option.
For those who are not picky viewers, you can satisfy your screen time with just a TV antenna to help you get reception for over-the-air channels.
Most RV units now come with HD TV antennas. Otherwise, you can try online or go to the hardware or electronics store to purchase one. Last thing to do is to set it up on your TV.
Geographical location can affect the channels your TV antenna can reach. If reception becomes unstable, you can easily reset the channels by scanning. This process will only take 10 minutes tops.
Over-the-air channels normally include:
This means your TV antenna should be able to give you access to news, TV shows, and local stations.
Changing location would affect access to some channels.
For a list of available channels for each zip code, you can refer to this TV Channel guide. This contains the channels available in each location, but again – reception would depend on the placing of your TV antenna and signal strength.
There are two popular options for campers: portable antennas or mounted antennas.
A mounted antenna is fixed on your RV’s roof. This means you won’t have to allot space for the antenna inside the camper.
A portable antenna can be placed inside the RV or mounted on top as well. Sometimes, you might have to put the antenna outside or on top of your RV to get the best reception.
However, don’t forget to put the antenna back once you’re back on the road or your portable antenna might fall off or get damaged!
Whichever you choose, if reception is still unclear or you don’t have many channel options, you can try raising or rotating your antenna until the picture quality improves.
GREAT OPTION if:
- You’re traveling on a budget
- You don’t want to incur monthly fees for TV reception
- You don’t have constant or stable internet access
- You are not following any particular series or movies
- Your need for TV is minimal. You’ll be able to stay connected as you’ll get to watch the news, local channels, and shows
SKIP this if:
- You’re a picky viewer
- You don’t want to spend minutes zeroing in the location to get the best reception
- You don’t want to leave your reception to chance
Option 4: Cable TV
The last option on our list is Cable TV.
More and more private campgrounds offer cable in their package rates or charge a small fee on top of the nightly rates.
This option works best for RVs with pre-installed cable. You just have to look for a cable hookup or the park’s electric box and ta-da, you have reception.
Normally, you’d be able to access 10 to 30 channels through the park’s box.
You won’t have to worry about the additional cost on your monthly bill or pesky reception when utilizing cable TV. Moreover, a lot of RV parks even have access to premium channels such as ESPN!
GREAT OPTION if:
- You want to skip monthly fees! Pay only when you need to connect
- You want to watch live cable or TV channels without worrying about installation or setting anything up
- You need minimal or essential TV screen time
- You are not following particular shows or series
SKIP this if:
- You want to listen or passengers want to watch TV while on the road
- You plan to go off-grid or to many parks for your trip. There are only a limited number of parks offering cable TV hookups
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best TV Service for RV?
The best TV service is entirely up to YOU. For example,
- If you and your group prefer or follow particular shows, series, or movies, it’s best to get a satellite TV or subscribe to a streaming platform. These streaming TV options offer more variety and the option to watch live games and TV shows.
- If you just need TV to keep yourself updated with news, watch live tv shows from time to time, and to keep you company after a long day of driving, your best bet would be cable or antenna TV.
You won’t have to worry about monthly plans or shelling out too much money for any equipment versus streaming TV platforms.
There are downsides or limitations to each option, so be sure the source you pick is compatible with the destinations or locations you plan to go to.
Can a Regular TV Work in an RV?
Definitely! You can bring a regular TV with you in your RV to watch shows or news. You only need to make sure it is compatible with one – your SOURCE and second – the VOLTAGE.
By source, we are referring to the options listed above. You can get regular TVs to work by connecting them to an antenna, cable, or satellite dish.
For those who prefer to stream, you’ll need smart TVs. However, not all smart TVs are created equal.
Here’s what you need to remember:
- First – make sure it can connect to the Wi-Fi.
- Afterward, check which streaming options or applications it can load or support as there are some which only support selected platforms.
- The other thing you have to consider is the TV’s voltage. Check your RV’s voltage and your TV’s voltage – whether or not you’ll need an adapter.
How Does a TV Work in an RV?
There are 4 main ways your TV can get reception. You can choose to hook it up to cable, satellite, antenna, or subscribe to streaming platforms.
Depending on your TV, you may opt to connect it to an internet and stream – like how you would in TVs in a residential or stationary home.
For those who have trouble finding WIFI connection, you may want to opt for the other 3 options.
Depending on your show preferences, there is an option for you.
For a wider variety of options, go for satellite TVs. For essential news programs and regular TV shows, your best options are antenna and cable TV.
How Much Data Do You Use When Streaming?
You can adjust the settings on your streaming platform to control the data usage. A standard definition (SD) video takes up about 1GB of data per hour to stream.
How to get internet for your RV
TV, Get Set, Go!
Watching TV in your RV has never been so easy!
Whether you want to spend most of your day in front of the TV screen with your favorite show or simply want to keep up with today’s news, there’s an option that would fit your lifestyle and itinerary.
Let us know your favorite in the comments section!