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Satellite vs OTA vs Streaming


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I've followed the recent thread on 'TV options for full timers' - as always, great info sharing.

 

I understand that one solutions options vary due to a few variables:

- Unlimited Streaming is and option for some with grand fathered plans

- Many also seem to take literally hundreds of DVD's with them, to cover TV watching

- Some are set up with newer HD OTA Antennas, and frequent locations with good coverage

- And Dish vs Direct vs SD vs HD all kinds of different mixes

 

Over a year ago we scrapped our SD In Motion KVH (which we had never used, after purchase of the coach). We're doing the research now on how we're going to support TV watching while traveling.

 

Please give me a ballpark of your viewing habits, in some sort of percentages.

 

Like:

OTA = 30%

Dish/Direct = 50%

Streaming = 20%

(Of course, your percentages would be updated above:)!)

 

I'm leaning towards a solution for us, but curious how well this fits with what works in reality for others.

 

Currently thinking:

 

-RF Mogul with Direct TV

-Upgrade our OTA to HD capability

-Streaming (We use this now, with unlimited data from Verizon. Of course, dependent upon signal strength. Use rooftop antenna feeding Sleek today, but in the group waiting for Gord's and Maximum Signal's new amp system.)

 

I was not currently planning for a separate portable dish for in tree situations, but will have this prepped out as we make the above mod's. (On the fence with this, as another part of me say's just do the portable and scrap the RF Mogul. But, I feel the RF Mogul should cover us 75%+ of the time.)

 

TIA for info sharing your percentages of source for TV Viewing.

 

Best to all,

Smitty

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If you are usually close to metro areas OTA works fine and there is no upgrade needed as long as you have a HD TV, your batwing will work fine. Downside you are limited to OTA stations. A Wingman will help, but beware: I added one and the crossbars caught on a tree limb (antenna folded on roof) and broke the base of our batwing. Did not put the Wingman on the new batwing!

 

We have a Winegard Trav'ler with Dish Network and have been very happy with it. Just push one button and it goes up and locks on all three satellites. in 4 plus years we have been in two spots where it was blocked by trees. Most often we just crank up the batwing for locals, but if we are staying in one place for a while we change our service location with Dish to get the locals so we can use the DVR.

 

Never tried streaming, but if you have the internet connection and data available it should work.

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IMHO the problem with your questions is that the answers depend very heavily on what type of content you like to watch. For example, my wife and I only watch the news and a handful of network and premium channel TV shows. We usually don't watch sports. Since we have an unlimited Verizon plan we can stream as often as we wish and we have found quite a few foreign TV series we enjoy watching. We have no need to watch OTA channels since we have DNS plus locals at our winter place. We use a Winegard Trav'ler on the roof; I used to carry a tripod dish but I'm selling it (or throwing it away). If we can't get satellite, we'll just stream what we want/

 

I haven't analyzed it in detail but I'd say our usage is close to a 50/50 split between DirecTV and streaming.

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I haven't analyzed it in detail but I'd say our usage is close to a 50/50 split between DirecTV and streaming.

 

I don't think the takeaway from your "50/50 split" should be that others could do the same (depending, of course, on how much video is watched).

 

On another forum you indicated that you occasionally use 100GB/month. That much data would cost $750/month on Verizon (your network).

 

I'll take a SWAG and say that that is much more than an average RVer could afford.

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I don't think the takeaway from your "50/50 split" should be that others could do the same (depending, of course, on how much video is watched).

 

On another forum you indicated that you occasionally use 100GB/month. That much data would cost $750/month on Verizon (your network).

 

I'll take a SWAG and say that that is much more than an average RVer could afford.

 

I'm not hiding the fact that we have an unlimited plan. Smitty asked a question; I gave him answer. I don't see how that's anyone's concern.

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OTA - 0% (in 10 yrs my OTA antenna has never been raised. not needed with SAT service)

Streaming - 0% (only practical for the few with unlimited data)

DirecTV SAT - 100% (SD)

 

For the 1 or 2 times a year my dome is blocked by trees, I carry a spare VuQube and extra cable

No I don't want or need HD, perfectly happy with SD

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I'm not hiding the fact that we have an unlimited plan. Smitty asked a question; I gave him answer. I don't see how that's anyone's concern.

 

Nothing personal, Joel, just underlining your unlimited plan. Trying to point out that your "50/50 split" would probably not work for most folks.

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After ten years of full timing and a variety of experiments, we've settled on DTV as our only source for TV in the RV. With DNS for locals (both coasts) we have all the network stations and we can get local news/weather on the internet if we want. We have a rooftop dish and carry a portable and tripod since we tend to spend six months a year in state parks or wildlife preserves with lots of trees. We're both moderate internet users with a Verizon 30GB plan, but don't really care to use it for TV watching. With 500 hours of DVR capability, we always have a large library and many times don't even raise the dish while traveling.

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Thanks gang. I understood the caution about streaming and data usage, and as noted, we too are grandfathered in (for now) with Verizon unlimited data.

 

Quality of picture is important to us (well, me). I've noted with with some disgust, the year by year degradation of the HD feed to our Sticks & Bricks vacation home via Time Warner Cable (In the San Diego area, with copper cable on the poles that is going on 60 years old now.) We get better picture quality via Roku streaming over our cable service (Also Time Warner Cable, but we do pay for a stream of data.). I'm also amazed at how many shows are stepped back to old Dolby Pro Logic, vs say 5.1. All so they can slice up the pipeline to provide more services such as phone and home alarm, as well as rebroadcasting 100's of channels in spanish.

 

Direct TV, according to neighbors that have it, is usually better HD then what our cable service provider delivers to our neighborhood. Hoping to get the same results with the RV's system.

 

Best to all,

Smitty

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Quality of picture is important to us (well, me).

 

I assume you realize that most, if not all, the major streaming services use dynamic bandwidth control which matches your resolution with the bandwidth of your internet connection. I have a son employed with one of the "cutting edge" providers of this technology so I can get more detail about this than I can understand if I ask for it. :D The bottom line is that the intent is to move from stepwise bandwidth management (which is pretty much what we have today) to a gradient approach where the changes are so small you'd hardly notice them. The bottom line is that you probably have fewer "rebuffering" or "loading" delays than you used to but with a cellular connection you rarely see full HD resolution.

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For us, 99.9% Direct TV, with the tiny remainder OTA stations.

 

In the past few years we were hesitant to mess around with changing our service address, so relied on OTA stations for local news. But this winter we decided to change the service address to our location (simple and took about 2 minutes), so we're getting locals over the satellite as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Please excuse my vast ignorance as I'm not familiar with all the RV life acronyms.

My husband and I are setting out for our full time adventure this year. We do not have unlimited plans, just the Walmart Straight Talk for our one cell phone. We have Direct TV in our current house, which works just fine.

 

We are avid TV/movies watchers. I have Fibromyalgia so I have days where all I can do is watch TV. I was thinking about getting an unlimited cell plan and streaming Hulu or Netflix but from what it sounds like, that's not really a wise choice.

 

It sounds like most of you have satellite. Do you use mostly roof mount of the one you have to set up each time?

Thanks,

Christine

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OTA = .50% Even though at my winter spot I get around 24 stations. Summer spot only 1. :(

Usually only watch some of the evening news 5-6:30PM

And sometimes local NFL games if not on any DirecTV E&W DNS or ESPN's

Direct = 98.5%

Streaming = 1% only on my Sprint iPhone 6 Plus with its unlimited data or Free campground WiFi.

iPhone also for radio data when doing my daily walk.

And use my Smart 46" TV on Free campground WiFi. I don't download any movies as my Genie has more on it then I can keep up with.

 

For DirecTV I use a Trav'ler SWM on the roof. Quick set up. Push one button. :)

 

I also have Satellite Internet but it is too slow at downloads to do any streaming and not much data allowance per day to do that.

Unless you want to stay up from 2-7AM for the unlimited data time. I only do that with big MS PC updates.

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We are avid TV/movies watchers. I have Fibromyalgia so I have days where all I can do is watch TV. I was thinking about getting an unlimited cell plan and streaming Hulu or Netflix but from what it sounds like, that's not really a wise choice.

 

 

 

There's nothing wrong with streaming on an unlimited plan except for the fact that neither Verizon nor AT&T will sell you one. Sprint and some of the other smaller carriers may have some unlimited plans but their coverage is far less than the other two.

 

As for satellite TV we have a roof mount and wouldn't want anything less. They're not cheap but push a button an 5 minutes later we have TV.

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Picking a roof mount or ground tripod mount satellite antenna or having both is always a question of your choices. We had a tripod, we were cheap where possible and a $20 tripod sounded great compared to a roof mount system. Another factor we found out early on was that a roof mount wouldn't work for us at a lot of the places we liked to camp, trees in the way, and we'd need the tripod anyway.

 

We got a decent meter to use to aim the dish so we weren't yelling back and forth between the TV watcher and dish pointer. We'd often be close to 200 feet from the RV before we found a hole in the trees at our favorite spots.

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100% of whatever is FREE!!

 

Right now, we're in a park that has free cable. That's what we use for most of our tv watching with the occasional movie or DVD that gets stuck into the DVD player.

 

I am tempted every so often to sign up for dish or directv but then start looking at the monthly rates after the initial teaser months and I always end up in plans that cost more than I really want to spend.

 

The last place we were parked, it was strictly the batwing and it didn't really bring in a whole lot of channels. But we survived just fine.

 

When there is sufficient bandwidth in a free wifi system, I might stream something to watch. I do have 30GB of data on my Verizon account each month but that goes pretty quickly for just general computer stuff, certainly not enough to really "watch tv". If there is something special and specific, maybe, but not usually. RV park systems vary considerably. I've found myself in places where they have fairly decent internet but with all of the people using it, streaming just wasn't a good thing to even consider. I've also seen some of those same parks with only 2 or 3 campers where the bandwidth was capable of supporting anything I'd ever want to stream and way more. I don't have any reservation about using it in those circumstances. Right now, our current rv park is having issues with their internet connection. But when they do get it resolved, there are only 2 or 3 campers here and it's a cable connection capable of handling quite a lot of data. In slow times without many people in the park, I wouldn't feel bad about doing some Netflix of YouTube.

 

I do have a satellite dish in the basement that I get out on occasion. It's a free-to-air dish and there are a few channels up there that really are free. (It's not stealing anything.) Most of the English content is religious programming, some home shopping, a couple of news channels, and maybe a few more. Used to be Spike and RTV were up there for free but it's been a while and I know things come and go in the free satellite world.) I also need a new motor for it. It turns the satellite dish through the arc which is helpful because all of the free channels are not on the same satellite. It's probably more of a hobby than serious television watching but it's one option that fits well for me. Right now, it's tucked away in the basement and with the weather we're having and where I'm parked, it's gonna stay there for a while.

 

And when there is no tv... there's always a game of Solitaire waiting for me on the computer. ;)

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Picking a roof mount or ground tripod mount satellite antenna or having both is always a question of your choices. We had a tripod, we were cheap where possible and a $20 tripod sounded great compared to a roof mount system.

You are not going to be very successful with HD systems with a $20 tripod. The HD systems require a VERY stable mount and the ability to adjust in very small increments. MOST of the trouble I see people having with HD systems on a tripod can be directly attributable to a poor tripod. Get a quality tripod and the right tools and tuning in HD is not too bad. Cheap out and pay the price in frustration and signal stability.

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I made my tripod that we used for years, $20 worth of parts made for a pretty stable one, if I was buying one then I'd expect to pay more. With a tripod you want to be able to get the antenna mast plumb, you want it stable and most important you want it to resist toppling if you get a wind gust.

We used a surveyor's tripod for our Hughes system that is far bigger, heavier and pickier about pointing than HD TV reception, I think the tripod was about $50 and only needed a square 1/4 inch piece of aluminum and a few bolts & nuts added to attach the antenna mount. This photo was our Hughes dish, rigged for high winds, the wood base keeps the legs from walking when a gust lifts the tripod off the ground. This setup survived several hours of winds gusting to 70, we were in worse conditions and added a third water can and did fine until the antenna slipped on the mount and we lost lock.

 

 

img0163_v1_zps544d285c.png

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Interesting question because I'm on the fence now about getting into HD for the RV. Quite frankly we're late comers into the HD area, we just upgraded at home to finally getting a DVR with HD from Direct. I've had and used the same antiquated Datron SD system in the RV for the last 12 years or so. With this past "Black Friday", I put a 50" HD TV in the MH and now I tend to look for OTA signals in order to get the HD experience but were still at about 95% Direct SD. I'm thinking of a basic tripod system to use for Direct HD rather than spending the big bucks on a roof top Wineguard system. I actually dug out a 5' intact tripod from a CG trash last year thinking it might be good enough for the extra weight of a HD dish?

 

Anyways to answer the question, we are still at about 95% Sat SD but as noted because of OTA HD signals, I'm always looking for that. Streaming is not even in our equation!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I made my tripod that we used for years, $20 worth of parts made for a pretty stable one, if I was buying one then I'd expect to pay more. With a tripod you want to be able to get the antenna mast plumb, you want it stable and most important you want it to resist toppling if you get a wind gust.

 

We used a surveyor's tripod for our Hughes system that is far bigger, heavier and pickier about pointing than HD TV reception, I think the tripod was about $50 and only needed a square 1/4 inch piece of aluminum and a few bolts & nuts added to attach the antenna mount. This photo was our Hughes dish, rigged for high winds, the wood base keeps the legs from walking when a gust lifts the tripod off the ground. This setup survived several hours of winds gusting to 70, we were in worse conditions and added a third water can and did fine until the antenna slipped on the mount and we lost lock.

 

 

img0163_v1_zps544d285c.png

X2 same setup

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You are not going to be very successful with HD systems with a $20 tripod. The HD systems require a VERY stable mount and the ability to adjust in very small increments. MOST of the trouble I see people having with HD systems on a tripod can be directly attributable to a poor tripod. Get a quality tripod and the right tools and tuning in HD is not too bad. Cheap out and pay the price in frustration and signal stability.

Although I agree with the stable tripod and tools (meter etc) I'm not so sure they need to be as "dead on" as one might think. The reason I say this is that I also set this up as precisely as possible but we have been here for quite awhile and I noticed yesterday with all the wet weather the tripot/mast has sunk somewhat and it definitely NOT plumb yet we still have a good HD with no dropout. I don't know if the actual signal(s) are as strong as when originally setup.

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The initial cross-polarization test to bring a system on line is much more stringent than the ones run automatically in the background so an installed and operating system has a lot of slack compared to an initial setup.

 

If you look at the internal modem data you should be able to see your last crospol test results and the data rates your system is working at, the rates tend to sag as the crospol drops.

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The initial cross-polarization test to bring a system on line is much more stringent than the ones run automatically in the background so an installed and operating system has a lot of slack compared to an initial setup.

 

If you look at the internal modem data you should be able to see your last crospol test results and the data rates your system is working at, the rates tend to sag as the crospol drops.

Ah-ha...learned something new today

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You are not going to be very successful with HD systems with a $20 tripod. The HD systems require a VERY stable mount and the ability to adjust in very small increments. MOST of the trouble I see people having with HD systems on a tripod can be directly attributable to a poor tripod. Get a quality tripod and the right tools and tuning in HD is not too bad. Cheap out and pay the price in frustration and signal stability.

 

I paid $23 for the roof mount tripod that I modified with about $20 in additional hardware to make it an easily set up and leveled no tools needed portable tripod. My typical setup and aiming time is about 15 minutes using a Dish 1000.4 triple LNB dish that's also been modified for a no tools setup and adjustment. The combination has withstood 60 mph wind gusts with no signal loss. Really, it can be done fairly inexpensively...

 

OdpsRKtl.jpg

 

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