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Best option for watching network shows


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Both Dish and DirecTV offer DVR options, the thing is you have to be stationary with power available and the dish set up and working at the time the show is broadcast for the DVR to grab it.

An alternative that's becoming practical is to "cut the cord" and watch your shows on the Internet.  You just go to the show's website or to a service like Hulu or Netflix and stream the movie or show when you want to watch it.  All content is available 24/7 so you don't need a DVR.

Devices like the Roku automate the process and let you stream to your TV if it's not set up to do it on it's own. It has a remote control and works like a cable box or DVR, except that you're streaming video from various Internet sites instead of changing the channel. 

You can easily get enough speed on a 4G cellular hotspot to stream HD video, the problem has been finding a monthly plan with enough data at an affordable price to accommodate the amount of video you want to watch.  With the FCC opening more spectrum to the cellular industry, data prices are becoming more affordable, making it practical to stream large amounts of video.

Technomadia's Mobile Internet Resource Center (https://www.rvmobileinternet.com) is a good place to find out what's available in the constantly changing marketplace.  The high bar so far is AT&T's discontinued Connect Car Unlimited plan, which earlier this year offered unlimited 4G data using either an AT&T supplied Mobley device or a vehicle with a built-in OnStar hotspot.  The cost is $20 a month for unlimited data if you were lucky enough to sign up while the plan was available.  Equivalent plans now start at around $40-60 a month.

I'm streaming through the Mobley for my TV viewing, and as long as I'm within cell service range it works well.  If you're way out in the boonies you're limited to using satellite TV or watching a DVD.

Don't expect to be able to stream using RV park wifi.  It uses too much bandwidth and generally it's not practical to build a park system that can support more than a couple of users streaming at once.

Edited by Lou Schneider
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Currently the most practical way to do this is through a satellite TV provider (Dish or Direct TV).  I personally prefer Dish, but either one will work.  It will be no different than being in a home with either service as far as functionality.  However, in order to use a multi-channel DVR, you will have to have a standard satellite dish set up.  This means either a satellite dish on a tripod that you manually set up or a Winegard Trav'ler automatic dish on the roof of your RV.  None of the portable automatic domes will support multi-channel DVR's (recording one channel or more than one channel while you watch another channel).

Dish seams to be easier to change your service address to get the local network feeds when you move than Direct TV, but I believe Direct TV still offers a Distant Network Service that will give you either East coast or West coast network feeds anywhere in the country - which means there is no need to change your service address.

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2 hours ago, Chad Heiser said:

...

Dish seams to be easier to change your service address to get the local network feeds when you move than Direct TV, but I believe Direct TV still offers a Distant Network Service that will give you either East coast or West coast network feeds anywhere in the country - which means there is no need to change your service address.

For completeness, Dish now offers a west coast HD Distant Network Service as well.

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We use Dish Network with the Wineguard Traveler automatic dish.  Many people just buy the satellite dish from Amazon for about $50-$70 an set it up on a tripod, another $50-$100.  The Dish Wineguard Traveler is about $1200-$1250 at Amazon when it is on sale. The Direct TV is more in the $1500-1600 range.

What we like about Dish the ability to change the local channels with just a quick "chat session" online with Dish Network. 

Note: you don't need to change your local channels every time you move.  Just when you move out of the spot beam.  In the western USA the spot beams tend to be huge.  For example the Denver spot beam covers just about the entire state.  Portland, Oregon, covers not only most of the state, but Washington state into the southern part of British Columbia, and about 90 miles into California.

Some folks have mentioned they don't care about local channels while they travel because they don't care about local news, such as who killed whom, or the car accidents.

However we travel to see and learn about the areas we travel in.  There is lots of other info imparted in the local channel news programs.  The nice thing about the DVR is the ability to record programs so you can just quickly skip past what you are not interested in.  Also the local channels generally have some locally produced 30 minute shows, showing interesting and scenic places/areas to visit.  Yes you can find these places on line, but you need to know what to look for. 

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We have the Directv DNS service so we don't need to change our service address and the channel number doesn't change for recording purposes. We do change our service address when we are someplace for a month or so.

We also have a dish on the roof and a tripod in case we need it due to  tree coverage.

I feel the most confusing area of FT is the need for internet and cell phone coverage. There are many blank spots in the US. Generally Verizon and ATT have the best coverage and we currently have a phone on each. Try not to get yourself locked into any contracts until you decide what you really want.

This entire area is dynamic and confusing.

The Escapees have an Escapade(Rally) once a year where there are numerous seminars on numerous subjects. You should consider attending. Lots of info is exchanged.

Just keep asking questions. Someone will answer.

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23 minutes ago, SWharton said:

We have the Directv DNS service so we don't need to change our service address and the channel number doesn't change for recording purposes. We do change our service address when we are someplace for a month or so.

We use Dish's "Seek" feature to record network programs on our Hopper receiver as we move around. The programs are recorded no matter what channel they're on, even from OTA when available.

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I was curious about Allstays not being on Google Play Store since I have it on my Android and also use it on the PC. Google and the developer had a conflict and he left Google. He is updating as much as he can but believes the Android app will slowly die. At least the PC version will continue to work. i generally use the PC version anyway.

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43 minutes ago, SWharton said:

Neat option. Is the OTA wired into the receiver? I'll need to check Directv. We have been with Direct since 2000 or so and are in a rut of using what we know.

Dish offers an optional plug-in USB OTA adapter that adds the OTA channels to the program guide and tunes/records them just like the sat channels. We currently have an older single tuner OTA adapter, but Dish recently came out with a dual tuner version, so we may upgrade to that soon.

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