Dish vs. DIRECTV for RVs: Which Is Better?

Most RVs come with televisions. But figuring out the best way to watch your favorite shows on the road can be challenging. So let’s compare which is better: Dish vs. DIRECTV for RVs.

Overall, DIRECTV is better for full-time RVers. DIRECTV has a larger number of channels and sports packages available in HD than Dish. However, DIRECTV requires a two-year contract, whereas Dish offers a more flexible package with no fixed contract.

DirecTV also offers national West coast or East coast feeds sent from the regular off-air broadcasting networks.

But there’s more to know.

In this article, we’ll explore the best way to watch TV in an RV and the cost of a satellite dish. But we’ll also look at how to watch DIRECTV in an RV.

Let’s get started.

Dish vs Directv lg

What is the best way to watch TV in an RV?

The best way to watch TV in an RV is by using a Roku ultra with a USB hard drive connected to it. The Roku can be tethered to a phone for internet while driving or connected to a campground Wi-Fi. And the hard drive allows for stored shows and movies when no internet is available.

CLICK HERE to see the Roku Ultra on Amazon.

CLICK HERE to see a compatible hard drive for the Roku on Amazon.

That combo is exactly what I use in my RV (and at my house).

I can download certain shows and movies from Netflix and Prime. And of course, if you still have DVDs, you can burn those and put them on the hard drive also. It’s the perfect way to watch stuff when driving or boondocking if you don’t have internet.

But second to that would be a satellite.

To get a satellite TV for your RV, you’ll need to choose between a portable or a mounted antenna. If you’re planning to RV full-time, a mounted antenna is ideal. But, if you are not, a portable one is the way to go.

But what if you’re already using satellite TV at home? Can you simply continue using the service in your RV? Unfortunately, the answer is no. You can add on a subscription for satellite TV for your RV, but the one for the home is different. Your home is not mobile.

So, the one for RV requires a different setup.

“You can’t use your residential satellite plan in your RV, but you may be able to add on a mobile satellite package.”

While satellite TV is a powerful technology, I’d be remiss if I fail to mention that there are occasions where the signal may be obstructed if you’re in the woods. Building, walls, and scaffolding may also trigger interference.

Rain or heavy wind can also have an adverse effect on reception.

But, if you’re going to be spending a considerable chunk of your time at a campground, streaming is also a great option. Of course, you’ll need to be mindful of data charges.

How much is a satellite dish for an RV?

Satellite dishes for RVs range from $500 to $1800. Some require permanent mounting on the RV, while others are portable and can be placed outside when parked in campgrounds.

There are also a few dishes that sell for less than $500. Like most things, you get what you pay for.

Below is a list of some of the best models out there:

  • Winegard GM-6000 Carryout G2+ Automatic Portable Satellite TV Antenna with Power Inserter – CLICK to see on Amazon
  • KING VQ4500 Tailgater Portable/Roof Mountable Satellite TV Antenna (for use with DISH) – CLICK to see on Amazon
  • Winegard RT2035T RoadTrip T4 In-Motion RV Satellite Dish (DISH, DIRECTV, BellTV) – Fully Automatic RV Satellite Antenna – CLICK to see on Amazon

Thinking of living in an RV full time?

Before you sell the house and say goodbye to civilization, you’ll enjoy checking out a recent article of mine. In it, I offered the unvarnished truth about living full time in an RV. You’ll find the crucial pros and cons.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do I watch DIRECTV in my RV?

To watch DIRECTV in your RV, first purchase a mobile satellite dish. For those who are already a DIRECTV subscriber, simply use the receiver from the house or rent one from DIRECTV for the RV for a small monthly fee.

You’ll be able to receive over 100 DIRECTV channels as you explore America.

Depending on your location, you can also receive broadcast channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC from towers in either New York or Los Angeles for an additional fee of about $15 per month.

Apart from purchasing the equipment you need, there are no other fees to be paid except for the fee to receive Distant Network Service. Distant Network Service is a mobile satellite service that provides ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC.

You’ll need to sign a 2-year agreement for a DIRECTV satellite TV subscription. There’s no PAYG plan.

How does Dish work for RV?

To watch Dish in an RV, a satellite is needed in addition to one of Dish’s subscription plans. But Dish offers RVers a Pay-As-You-Go plan that can be activated and deactivated as needed.

It’s based on 30-day increments and is ideal for part-time RVers seeing as they do not need the service throughout the year.

Dish has great plans for RVs.

To use Dish, you’ll need antennas and a receiver. Fortunately, it offers its own portable satellite antennas. They are technologically advanced with HD on all outdoor antennas and are manufactured by companies it has partnered with.

There’s also a way to record your favorite TV shows.

The antennas can be a tad pricey. But according to its website, what it offers are the lowest-priced antennas, and there’s a fast and easy setup of the antennas.

They also offer a DISH satellite receiver and cellular signal booster that extends cellular signal ranger and enables faster data downloads. The subscription packages are very affordable.

As of the time of writing, if you’re already a customer, you can simply add $5 per month to enable the subscription for your RV. But it’s $52.99 per month, PAYG for the months you’ll be using it.

So, how do you go about getting Dish for your RV? According to its website:

DISH Outdoors In 3 Easy Steps

  • Choose a DISH Portable Satellite Antenna + Wally HD Receiver Bundle. Choose from the bundles below and call us at 1-844-327-0829 to purchase your equipment. …
  • Select your TV Package. New to DISH? …
  • Call to Activate. Call 1-844-327-0829 when your equipment arrives to activate your service.

Have you ever wondered whether living in an RV is cheaper than a home?

I’ve got you covered because this is the theme of a recent article of mine. In it, I explained whether living in an RV saves money and how expensive RV living is. But I also revealed when it makes sense to sell everything and live in an RV.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Does Dish or DIRECTV offer internet for an RV?

Dish offers internet for RVs in conjunction with HughesNet, but DIRECTV does not offer internet. A separate dish is needed for internet with a Dish subscription, but there is one antenna that can be used for both.

Both Dish and HughesNet are actually owned by AT&T, but the TV services and the internet services are separate subscriptions.

Dish and HughesNet allow you to pay for what you use on a month-by-month basis or when you pause your service. But to take advantage of lower costs, you’ll need to be an existing customer.

RVDataSat offers Satellite internet for RVs through Mobile Satellite Technologies. It is expensive as it can cost upward of $400 a month. The start-up hardware cost is also expensive. It can be as high as $6000.

What I do is simply have 30g of mobile data on my phone each month, and then I turn on my mobile hotspot when I need internet in my RV and can’t get it elsewhere.

It works great for the TVs and my laptop, and even after being gone for a month, I never went over my data limit.


In the article, we explored the best way to watch TV in an RV and the cost of a satellite dish. But we also looked at how to watch DirecTV in an RV.

Then, we checked out how Dish works for RVs. Lastly, we found out if Dish or DirecTV offer internet service for RVs.

Photos that require attribution:

IMG_4758 by jalexartis Photography and Tee Vee by Ryan Finnie are licensed under CC2.0 and were cropped, edited, merged, and had a text and graphic overlay added.

Middle Class Dad is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases if you click to Amazon from my site and choose to make a purchase. This is no way increases the cost to you.

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