The Complete Guide to Getting Satellite Internet and TV on Your RV

Once you have your home away from home, one of the first items you’ll want to add is a satellite service for TV and even internet. Finding the right combination of equipment to suit your needs may seem daunting, but we’re here to help. Many of the major providers including DISH, DIRECTV, HughesNet, and RVDataSat offer an on-the-go service. This guide will help you understand what it will take to set up through each company.

The right equipment

DISH and DIRECTV do not actually offer an antenna (dish) that can be used on the road. And before you ask, they said no—you can’t yank the dish off your roof and take it with you. This means you’ll need to purchase a dedicated unit from one of their partner companies such as Winegard, KVH, or KING.

If you would like to add internet options there are a few available, but you’ll need a proprietary dish for your mobile internet unless you pair DIRECTV with an RVDataSat system. In each scenario, you’ll need a dedicated receiver box as well.

Choose an antenna

There are a few key items to look at when shopping for your dish antenna. The least expensive and simplest form is a tripod mounted dish that is set up and manually aligned to the satellite at each stop. The next step up will be those mounted to your RV and typically autofind capable, which means that it automatically points to the satellite signal. The best are slim profile antennas which not only autofind the dish, but also offer in-motion viewing.

RV satellite TV antennas
ModelDIRECTVDISHIn-motion use
King QuestYesCan be upgradedNo
King – TailgaterNoYesNo
Winegard – Carryout G2 + Power InserterYesYesNo
Dish PlaymakerNoYesNo
Winegard – Pathway X1NoYesNo
Winegard – Pathway X2NoYesNo
KVH – Tracvision RV1YesYesYes
KVH – Tracvision A9YesYesYes

Choose a DIRECTV or DISH Receiver

DIRECTV receivers
ModelDVRHigh Def
H25 HD ReceiverYesYes
DISH receivers
ModelDVRHigh Def
WallyUpgrade availableYes
DISH Solo HDYesYes
ViP922 HD SlingLoader DVRYesYes

The right TV service

If you’re already a DISH customer, you’ll simply need to purchase a mobile satellite and receiver and add pay-as-you-go service. This will extend your existing service to your mobile unit. The fee is a very fair $7.00 per month paid in advance, but it is also subject to proration. The DISH pay as-you-go system has no contract so it can be used as seldom or frequently as you like. If you are not already a customer, you can still use the pay as you go program, but the monthly service fee will need to include a full programming package.

The mobile service offered is completely separate from your home service. It is possible to pause or suspend service on both home and mobile accounts with DIRECTV for up to six months of each calendar year. The suspension can be done in one billing cycle increments. This will also pause the expiration of your two year service agreement extending it until you have reached a full two years of service.

If a user pauses service every year for the full six months this would double the duration of the agreement. Unless you are a traveler who spends exactly six months per year in the RV and six months per year at home, you’ll wind up paying both bills for a period of time each year. Since you have the service active anyway, why not power up the camper and make it a backyard getaway for movie night?

Still trying to decide between the two? Check out our comparison here. 

Shop for satellite internet companies

HughesNet and Viasat (formerly Exede) are your best options for satellite internet. To choose which one is best for you, see our full review hereRVDataSat is the only real competition to HughesNet and Viasat with comparable monthly rates but drastically higher equipment costs (as in, around $6,000).

Choose the best combination for you

Power User: RVDataSat

The best of the best in all categories is RVDataSat’s 840 Antenna with optional second LNB for DIRECTV Choice programming (which currently includes NFL SUNDAY TICKET at no extra cost) and the Entertainment internet package. Hardware will cost $6,894.99 without shipping fees or setup costs and the service will run $454 per month (including current promotional pricing for DIRECTV service). This is also the only way to get both internet and TV from one dish antenna.

Frugal Friendly: DISH NETWORK

Your best bet is to be a DISH customer at home and simply add a mobile package, then add a Viasat dish and plan.

Best All-Around Option: Winegard Carryout G2 

The Winegard Carryout G2 + Power Inserter is a few bucks more up front, but you’ll never need to buy another dish. The power inserter allows the user to switch between DIRECTV and DISH with the flip of a switch. If you have no allegiance to either company, try out the DISH pay-as-you-go option, then switch to DIRECTV if you’re ready for a two year commitment.

Find the best internet providers in your area.

  • Kirk Williams

    Just to keep all of the facts straight, the fully automatic satellite Internet antenna without TV kit is $6,495, and the broadband Internet services start at $79.99/per month. Adding a DIRECTV subscription along with unlimited Nightshift™ Netflix™ downloads raises the price to the amount mentioned in the article.

    • Trevor Wheelwright

      You are correct, we will be updating the article to more appropriately reflect that breakdown and continue making pricing updates as they come through.

      Thanks for your input, Kirk!

  • Kinny

    I’m really beating my head against the wall and I’m pretty sure I’m asking for the impossible,, I am a mobile supplier that covers a good portion of northern Indiana a lot of my week I have very little to no phone service, most aggravating is majority of my route is spotty at best great at dropping calls internet is even worse but lots more important, I have so many instances where I have to deny credit cards and if I need to make a phone call I need to drive 5 miles out into the country where there is one little Mound on some lonely Gravel Road were you can just get enough cell service to get about 3 minutes of talk time,,,, I have a new truck coming and I’m just trying to figure some options what really stinks is im always on the move take for instance tomorrow,,, I have 29 stops in 8 towns covering Three Counties then I’ll finish my day with several hours working in my truck and this weekend I’ll have several hours of work,,,, the phone issue I’m not too overly concerned about I have learned in my three years in business that I simply need to pick up a Sprint plan and between Sprint and Verizon I’ll cover 85% of my rought with at least some kind of coverage,,, internet on the other hand is a huge issue I am very internet dependent I rely on it for material online bookkeeping and most importantly credit card sales I have several towns that has absolutely no internet Cellular basis of any kind and I covered too large of an area to try to get lockdown with a specific company,,,, FINALY I’ve always dreamed of having satellite TV on the truck with dish since im currently a Dish Network customer,,,, if I read all this the best solution for me is listed above it actually covers everything perfectly ill just have to switch to DirecTV,,,but I just spent the last hour and a half reading every scrap of information right down to the safety stickers printed on the dish I have two huge concerns for one they do not recommend using below 32 degrees Fahrenheit,, I can’t really take 4 months off of work just because it’s too cold, my second concern is it takes anywhere between 5 and 35 minutes of accusation I’m going to have a dozen stops tomorrow that I need internet that I don’t intend on spending more than 2 minutes at and there in small towns where I’m severely struggling for cell service now,,, so if I read all this correctly my next option is to stick with my Dish service and install two antennas like Winegard that can be used in motion problem is you’re getting into a tremendous amount of money the antennas are several grand a piece with the two systems completely separate meaning to completely separate monthly charges and two separate power sources meaning more power usage,,,, thoughts or ideas would be appreciated my forehead is getting quite sore beating it against the wall

    • Sailingsoul

      Are your customers w/o phone and internet service too? Can you call your customers before you get there, process their credit card payment before you get there and/or adjust the charge after the service/fact? many rv’er have cell phone boosters that do work where normal cell sig are to weak. not 100% but it does help some places where they normally would be w/o. just some thoughts

  • Sailingsoul

    Exactly why can’t one use a home mounted satelite antenna on an RV, if it was set up after each move? $6,000+ for equipment is insane. ($3,000+,- ebay)

  • Layla OBrien

    I’m actually at a site with hughesnet; trying to figure out how to get a streaming TV service that is compatible…this is so confusing!

  • Luke Lennon

    I just purchasd a Tiffin Allegro Red with an “In Motion” satellite already installed. I have ordered a Solid Signal #HR-24 receiver. I am a Direct TV residential customer.
    Not sure how to hook it up in my RV?? Also not electronically savy.
    Please advise

  • Faith Berrier

    We have Dish at our home now and pay $7 to have it also in our permanently set RV in another city. Soon we will sell our house, live in the RV for 6 months or so and travel the other months in our smaller Coleman Camper. To add to the confusion, we are going to move the “permanent” RV to a different permanent location and NOT take the Dish Satellite but want to purchase a Wingard or Wally. That item will travel with us along with our receiver as we travel in the Coleman. So, question is: which model should we get? We get conflicting information from Dish reps. and cannot figure out which model we need. Do we have to buy it from Dish or can we buy via Amazon?

  • Tom Albert

    I have a Tailgator Dish and the 211 receiver. The receiver goes thru an “update” process every nite and then requires a complete re-setup each morning to get it going again. But, If I am connected to a metal dish on a tripod no re-setup is required. I have talked to both Dish and the Tailgater manufacturer and they have no explanation or “fix”. I read on another site that the receiver must shut down to upgrade the programming guide but it doesn’t work that way on the metal antenna???