How to Get Satellite Internet and TV On Your RV

Ever dreamed of climbing into your RV and making the open road your home? Many of us have made this dream a reality.

At least, it’s a dream until reality comes crashing through the door, and you can’t get an internet signal to save your life.

The good news is, you’ve got a few different options for getting satellite internet and TV on your RV. The bad news is, some are more costly than others. Let’s take a quick look at your options, then dive into the details.

What kind of satellite antenna should you get for your RV?

If you want to get satellite TV in your camper, you’ll need to choose between a mounted antenna or a portable antenna.

As for internet, you can also get mounted or portable antennas, but you’ll have a couple extra options as well, like cellular hotspots and Wi-Fi extenders.

The prices and capabilities differ between all these options, but here’s what we generally recommend:

  • If your RV is your permanent home: Choose a mounted antenna and get a backup cellular hotspot for your internet service.
  • If you use your RV for trips, but you mainly live in a stationary home: Grab a portable antenna and, if you mostly travel in populated areas, add on a Wi-Fi extender to connect to public Wi-Fi with.

Can I use my home satellite internet or TV plan on my RV?

But wait, what if you already subscribe to a satellite internet or satellite TV provider like DISH, DIRECTV, or Viasat? Can’t you just use your current satellite plan to get TV and internet on your RV?

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

Sadly, no. The thing is, your home’s satellite internet or TV plan uses a dish that scans the sky for a satellite to connect to. And for your home, that’s a simple setup because your home doesn’t move.

But a portable satellite dish mounted to your motor home needs to scan the sky constantly, and to do that it needs your location coordinates. If you’re in an RV, those coordinates are constantly changing!

However, some satellite service providers offer add-ons to your residential service plan so you can bring your satellite internet and TV with you. You’ll still need to purchase a satellite dish for your RV though.

Satellite TV for your RV

DISH is likely the cheaper and easier option than DIRECTV, but you’ll miss out on gems like NFL SUNDAY TICKET.

Does rest and relaxation sound like wide open spaces and catching up on Better Call Saul at the same time? We’re right there with you.

As far as satellite TV goes, you’ve got two choices for your RV: DISH or DIRECTV. DISH is cheaper, but it doesn’t compare to DIRECTV if you want sports coverage. The good news is, whichever satellite TV service you choose, you’ve got options for how you get it.

How to get DISH satellite TV on your RV

If you’re a fan of DISH satellite TV, we’re happy to tell you that DISH makes it easy to bring your TV programming with you in your RV.

The satellite TV provider offers DISH Outdoors, which gives you a choice between four different DISH satellite antennas and Wally HD receiver bundles. Then you pick your DISH TV package—or you can add DISH Outdoors to your existing account—and call to activate.

The DISH satellite antenna and Wally receiver bundles start at $348 for all your equipment. Here’s a look at some of the differences between each bundle.

DISH Outdoors satellite antenna and Wally receiver bundles
BundleNumber of TVsSignal acquisitionMounted or portableDetails
DISH Playmaker and Wally HD Receiver1ManualPortableView Bundle
DISH Playmaker Dual and Wally HD Receiver2ManualPortableView Bundle
DISH Tailgater and Wally HD Receiver1AutomaticMounted or portableView Bundle
DISH Tailgater Pro and Wally HD Receiver2AutomaticMounted or portableView Bundle

Data effective 2/27/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

We mentioned earlier that you can’t use your residential satellite TV plan on your RV, but you can add a special RV package to your residential plan. DISH Outdoors gives you the option to add on to your current plan. You can also purchase a DISH Outdoors package if you don’t already have a plan.

We’ll be totally up front with you, though. Your DISH Outdoors package will cost more per month compared to if you just bought a residential DISH package. (You can also add it on to your existing residential service for $7 more per month.) But keep in mind, that extra cost covers your connection to satellites in multiple locations as you take a months-long road trip through the American Southwest.

DISH Outdoors packages
PackagePriceChannelsDetails
DISH Outdoors add-on to existing plan$7/mo. extraDepends on your residential planView Plan
DISH Flex Pack$42.99/mo.50+View Plan
America’s Top 120$84.99/mo.190View Plan
America’s Top 120 Plus$89.99/mo.190+View Plan
America’s Top 200$99.99/mo.240+View Plan
America’s Top 250$109.99/mo.290+View Plan

Data effective 2/27/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

How to get DIRECTV satellite TV on your RV

Unlike DISH, DIRECTV directs you to third-party suppliers when it comes to finding a compatible satellite antenna and a receiver. This is an extra hassle in our opinion, but if you need your NFL SUNDAY TICKET on DIRECTV fix while RVing across the country, this is a hassle that might just be worth it.

DIRECTV satellite TV packages for RVs

Pricing and satellite dish features will vary depending on which supplier you contact. But to give you an idea of the cost and available DIRECTV packages, we grabbed some details off the Winegard site.

Winegard DIRECTV satellite antennas for RVs
ProductPriceSignal acquisitionMounted or portableDetails
TR-6018 antenna$179ManualPortableLearn More
Carryout G3 antenna$449AutomaticMounted or portableLearn More
Roadtrip T4 antenna$1,499AutomaticMountedLearn More
Trav’ler Slimline$1,999AutomaticMountedLearn More

Similar to DISH, the price you’ll pay for RV-ready DIRECTV programming is higher than you’d pay for DIRECTV at home. Again, this is likely because you’re paying extra for access to satellites across the country and not just at one location.

Here’s what Winegard offers for DIRECTV packages—order a CHOICE package or above and you’ll get a free season pass for NFL SUNDAY TICKET. Score!

DIRECTV RV programming packages from Winegard
PackagePrice*ChannelsDetails
ENTERTAINMENT$101/mo.160+Learn More
CHOICE$115/mo.185+Learn More
XTRA$124/mo.235+Learn More
ULTIMATE$134/mo.250+Learn More
PREMIER$187/mo.330+Learn More

Data effective 2/27/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*In certain markets, a Regional Sports Fee of up to $9.99/mo. will be assessed with CHOICE Package and above.

How to get internet in your RV

We always recommend having a primary internet connection and a backup internet connection in your camper.

One of the first things experienced RVers will tell you about getting internet in your RV is that redundancy is key. A combination of two or more internet services will ensure you can get online to check your bank account—even if a stray tree branch bent your satellite antenna during a storm and you can’t get a signal.

Here are some of the ways other RVers hop online while working or surfing the net from the middle of nowhere.

Satellite internet for RVs

Satellite internet is likely your best option if you’re camping in no man’s land because it uses satellites that can beam down an internet signal almost everywhere.

(Of course, if you’re traveling anywhere near the Earth’s poles, like Alaska, you may find it’s harder to latch onto that satellite signal.)

But satellite dishes that connect you to broadband global area networks (BGANs) work great in most remote places. We will say, though, that some satellite dish-plus-BGAN combos tend to be a lot pricier, so we only recommend throwing down that much cash if you’re a full-time RVer.

That said, here are some of the most popular satellite internet options seasoned RVers use.

Satellite internet antennas and hotspots for RVs
ProductPriceNetworkSignal acquisitionDetails
Iridium Go! 9560 Satellite Terminal$694*InmarsatAutomaticView on Amazon
iSavi ISatHub Satellite Hotspot$1,199*InmarsatManualView on Amazon
Hughes 9450TW BGAN$5,795InmarsatAutomaticLearn More
RVDataSat 840$6,995iDirect Internet AccessAutomaticLearn More
RVDataSat 960$15,995iDirect Internet AccessAutomaticLearn More

Data effective 2/28/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*Amazon.com List prices of $694 and $1,199 (as of 02/28/2020 11:37 AM MST). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Reviews.org utilizes paid Amazon links.

But hey, how do you get access to those BGANs? Well, you’ll need a SIM card. Similar to how your phone hops onto a cellular network, a SIM card will tell your satellite antenna which satellite network to connect to.

The cost of a SIM card will vary based on which BGAN you use and how much data you need. To give you an idea of what you can expect, here are some options from Inmarsat, including information on how much data you get with each type of SIM card and how long that data is good for. (Yes, it expires! Womp womp.)

Inmarsat BGAN SIM card prices
BGANPriceInternet speedsData/days validDetails
Inmarsat$397*Up to 492 Kbps (0.492 Mbps)54 MB/180 daysView on Amazon
Inmarsat$525Up to 492 Kbps (0.492 Mbps)100 MB/90 daysView on Ground Control
Inmarsat$1,660Up to 492 Kbps (0.492 Mbps)1 GB/mo.View on Ground Control
Inmarsat$4,555Up to 492 Kbps (0.492 Mbps)UnlimitedView on Ground Control

Data effective 2/28/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*Amazon.com List price of $397 (as of 02/28/2020 11:57 AM MST). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Reviews.org utilizes paid Amazon links.

Cellular hotspots and Wi-Fi extenders for RVs

We mentioned backing up your main way of connecting to the internet, but the cost of doubling up on a BGAN plan and satellite antenna is probably overwhelming just to think about.

Some more cost effective ways to double up on your internet connection options are cellular hotspots and Wi-Fi extenders. Both work great for both part-time and full-time motor home enthusiasts, so don’t overlook them.

Cellular hotspots and Wi-Fi extenders for RVs
ProductPriceNetworkDetails
ZTE Velocity$42.97*AT&T or T-MobileView on Amazon
Verizon Wireless Jetpack 8800L$179.98*VerizonView on Amazon
NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot$323.85*Unlocked (best on AT&T or T-Mobile)View on Amazon
Winegard Connect 2.0 4G2 Hotspot and Wi-Fi Extender$369AT&T or VerizonView at Winegard

Data effective 2/28/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*Amazon.com List prices of $42.97, $179.98, and $323.85 (as of 02/28/2020 12:22 PM MST). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Reviews.org utilizes paid Amazon links.

The downside to using a cellular hotspot is that you’re limited to the coverage area of the provider you buy a SIM card from. Right now, the company with the best cell phone coverage is Verizon. So that’s your best bet for getting a signal in the middle of the desert.

You’ll also need a SIM card that’s compatible with your hotspot device, plus a data plan to get your devices online. You might be able to add this onto an existing plan, or you can check out some of the best prepaid cell phone plans and shop around.

And don’t forget that if you use your Wi-Fi extender to lock onto a free public Wi-Fi network, you’ll want to make sure you keep your connection secure.

What to look for when getting satellite for your RV

Some features, like automatic signal acquisition, can make or break your TV and internet experience while RVing.

Not sure where to start when it comes to buying an internet or TV satellite dish for your motor home? We totally feel you.

Along with a pretty hefty cost, satellite terminology can be confusing. We broke each term down to help you figure out which features are must-haves—and which ones you can tell your wallet to forget about.

Mounted or portable

We won’t beat around the bush: roof-mounted satellite dishes are not cheap. We’ve seen them run anywhere from $700 to upwards of $5,000.

But if you call your RV home, the up-front cost of a mounted satellite dish can be a good investment. Many mounted satellite dishes also automatically acquire a satellite signal, which makes it much easier to connect to a satellite every time you move to a new location.

Portable satellite dishes aren’t permanently attached to your RV, so you can move them around to try to get the best satellite signal. They sit on a tripod similar to the one professional photographers use to support their camera.

These tend to be a bit cheaper—the Winegard TR-6018 costs $179. That lower price makes portable satellite dishes a friendlier option to your wallet, especially if you don’t use your motor home that often.

Stationary or in-motion viewing

Want to take a break while someone else drives for a change? If your satellite TV antenna has in-motion viewing, you can catch up on the latest episodes of Outlander while on the way to your next destination.

Sounds awesome, right?

Well, compared to stationary viewing, which lets you watch satellite TV while your RV is parked, in-motion viewing can be expensive. We saw price differences up to $500 just to get the in-motion viewing feature. Yowza.

Automatic or manual satellite signal acquisition

We think automatic satellite signal acquisition is a must-have feature. Otherwise, if you’re stuck with manual acquisition, you might spend hours fiddling with your antenna to try to find a strong signal.

That does not sound like a relaxing getaway to us.

Number of satellites tracked at a time

If you’re big on catching up on the news back home or just want more channel options, an antenna that can track more than one satellite at a time might be up your alley.

This means your antenna can track multiple satellites, allowing you to watch programming available to more than one satellite at a time.

Number of receivers supported

If RVing is a family tradition, you can make your kids or relatives more comfortable with life on the road by grabbing a satellite TV antenna that supports more than one receiver.

This means your teenage daughter can DVR her favorite show in her room while mom and dad watch the news in the living area.

Internet, cellular, and TV providers supported

Make sure you grab a satellite dish that’s compatible with the service provider you’re signing up with.

Most dishes work with multiple providers, like the Winegard Roadtrip T4, which works with both DISH and DIRECTV. But we’ve seen some in the past that work with only one provider, so it’s worth checking.

Similarly, cellular hotspot devices will likely be limited to certain providers. The ZTE Velocity, for example, works with only GSM providers like AT&T or T-Mobile. So no, you can’t get internet access on your Velocity if you have a CDMA provider like Sprint or Verizon.

Now that you know how to get satellite on your RV, check this out next.

Check out the top satellite internet providers for life off the grid.

THE BEST SATELLITE INTERNET PROVIDERS

Or view the best prepaid cell plans for hotspot coverage while you camp.

THE BEST PREPAID CELL PHONE PLANS
  • 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.

    • http://dev-reviewsorg.pantheon.io/ 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???