Good Sam Camping Blog

RV TV Media Choices — Which is Right for You?

Satellite dish with sky on roof of camper van

RV satellite, Wi-Fi, campground cable… cutting through the RV TV media clutter.

With multiple TVs in many of the RVs sold today, travelers have to ponder what service network is best. The first media choices that come to mind are the satellite broadcasters, such as Dish Network, DirecTV, Shaw Direct, etc. WiFi is certainly a popular media choice, with services like Netflix offering ample content. Off-air digital is also being used, albeit many times as an extra media choice for local information. Then there is the tried-and true park-provided cable TV. Often the best pick is determined by the person’s camping preferences.

Comparing these based on cost would quickly show that the satellite TV choice is by far the most expensive. Netflix-like streaming services are very low in cost when compared to any of the satellite networks. Both off-air and campground-supplied cable come at virtually zero cost.

RV Satellite Vs. the Others

So, all that said, why would anyone choose satellite as their TV entertainment provider? To answer that, let’s look at each service’s offerings.

Off-Air — Good quality signal, but much depends on your location. Also can only offer local networks.

Cable TV — Can be analogue or digital. Usually confined to 30 or so channels. Poor reception often experienced with analogue signal in some parks.

WiFi — Campground use is based on the availability of the needed signal band width. Video streaming exceeds the capabilities of some parks, resulting in poor to lost signal. This has forced some camp owners to electronically choke the signal to prevent such use.  While video streaming is available through cellular networks, it is usually price-prohibitive.

Satelitte — Can be used in camp or boon-docking. Offers the ability to use the same receiver and service as home. Able to operate while underway. Excellent reception on all channels. “At home” local channel regardless of your location. Operates independently without the need of Wi-Fi, cable connection or nearby broadcast stations. The cost for this service can range from $40 to $200+ per month based on your program preferences.

Well, there is no question that the satellite service can be quite expensive. However, there is also no question that it clearly delivers the best no-hassle, non-interrupted service of the bunch. The big flat screens in today’s RV’s, whether the pop-up televator type or swing-out exterior entertainment center, are just dark windows without a picture. Select the service of your choice and bring it to life.

Peter Mercer — With The Clear Picture