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New to Satellite - Upcoming Full-timer


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Later this year we will be selling our house and living full-time in our 5er.  We've always had cable TV in our home so have zero experience with satellite TV so are starting to look into the best options.  First choice is Dish or Direct, is one better than the other for full-time RVing?  From what I've read, it's likely better to have some kind of portable dish instead of a roof mounted since you may be parked under trees, is that true?  Recommendations?  We do DVR a lot so that would be a requirement.  We live in Ohio now but will likely make Texas our domicile state if that makes any difference in this.  Any suggestions or recommendations would be much appreciated!!

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Dish or Directv in my mind there isn't much difference. With Direct you can get National Stations(either E or W, depends where you initiate service). We like that option since then we don't need to change our recording schedule. Dish didn't iff the E/W for many years but now they have W only. We had Direct in our home and wanted the national channels so that is what we stuck with.

Some people like to receive local channels where they are parked. We aren't interested in the local channels and find getting the national is good enough for us.

We used a tripod for many years(yes trees are an issue) but recently had a sat put on the roof. We do carry the tripod setup with us on  the ladder to have with us if needed.

 

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Regarding changing schedules, with the Dish Hopper, the DVR of choice, the Broadcast channels are automatically recorded during the Prime Time Windows (Prime Time and Time).  The only channels that change when moving around are the Broadcast Channels.  Hence there is no need to change any schedules.

We had Dish DNS like DirecTV offers before it went away.  At first we were dis-concerned but now after a couple of years, changing our Service Address when we have to, we prefer the changing of Service address over DNS as DNS is locked to the time zone of DNS (New York or Los Angeles) while changed Service Address is in the time zone you are in.

Dish offers more dish options (roof and ground) in the ability to receive HD programming than DirecTV.

 

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With our Dish Hoppers, we don't use PTAT since there are only a handful of network shows we follow. instead, we use the "Seek" system to set up our recordings. Seek finds and records them by title no matter which channel they're on, so changing locals doesn't make any difference. Seek will even record them from OTA if available.

Edited by Dutch_12078
typo
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We are very happy with our Dish Network service of 10 years and are currently using a Hopper3 fed by a standard 1000.2 dish with an EA Hybrid LNB and the dish is mounted on a surveyors tripod using a mount purchased from TV4RV.com. This setup gives us access to anything Dish has to offer and the Hopper3 allows up to 16 programs recorded at same time.  We no longer have recording conflicts and are heavy DVR users as you say you are. Of course there is a learning curve regarding tuning the actual dish but once you get the feel for it it normally takes only 10-15 minutes and we are up and running. The only devices I use to set up are a cheap compass that came with the mount I purchased and my smart phone.

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To clarify a few things: Dish Network has reinstated DNS (Distant Network Service) - but for Los Angeles broadcast stations only. You have to have an RV/mobile account and be using one of the single tuner receivers (211x series or Wally). Dish offers HD with their single-tuner mobile receivers; from my understanding, DirecTV does not. For a one-time activation fee, you may add a hard drive to your 211x or Wally receiver which turns it into a programmable DVR. We have this to record all our shows to watch at our convenience... and skip through commercials! At this point, we prefer to change our service location when we move to get the locals for the area where we are - and not deal with the time zone differences between L.A. and our current location. Our package - all the channels we want plus locals - is $49/month, all in HD.

There are several options for antennas and they all have their pros and cons. The $1,400 (plus installation) Trav'ler which mounts on the roof is an excellent antenna. If you end up in a tree covered camping spot, however, you are SOL. The various "carry out" antennas give you the ability to move the antenna to a spot where you get a better view of the southern sky and the satellites. The ever-popular Tailgater is a common choice and aims itself automatically. The Wineguard Pathway X2 (our choice) has a larger reflector and thereby brings in stronger signals than the Tailgater. The X2 will also accommodate two receivers, though both receivers have to be tuned to channels coming from the same satellite (there are three satellites on each of the Dish Network Eastern or Western arcs, depending on were you are in the country).

Safe journeys and happy camping!

Rob

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I hadn't planned on commenting. I have never used DirectTV and travel almost exclusively in the Western states so I have nothing to compare against, but Second  Chance inspired me. ;)

I'm running the same with a couple of differences. The $49/mnth Dish plan with a portable Tailgater self aquiring dish, older 211K receiver and... I think it was Dutch(?)... turned me on to the MyBook external drives this past September. I picked up the smallest 3TB model off an Amazon Warehouse Deal for ~$80 and it works like a charm as a DVR after the one time fee.

I very rarely call to get local channels. Typically just during an "event" or such. It's an extremely easy process though and just takes a few mintues.

The things I like most about this setup was that the intial investment was very modest, It's very rare that I can't find somewhere to run the dish to get a signal, HD, and as I don't really watch a lot of TV, I like being able to suspend service for periods of time. Although... now, with the DVR option, I find I watch it more than I used to since I don't have to plan my schedule around a show I actually enjoy watching, but usually miss a few episodes until I would get lost in what was going on and give up (planning to watch the season next year when it comes out on Netflix. :P).

When not attched to the rig I generally use a tripod to keep it up off the ground and, in my own mind anyway, help get a better sight picture of the sky.

Over 4 years and no complaints yet.

 

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Interesting that most of the posts so far have been for DISH. Not so long ago that would not have been the case.

Anyway, I use DISH, too, so keep that in mind as you read. For full timing I used to think it was a horse a piece -- DirecTV had the Genie & DISH the Hopper. These are both their high-end systems -- whole house (or RV) DVR systems. Both systems "slice & dice" and I would recommend them for full timing because of the options they provide. Not that you'll be watching TV all the time, but having flexible recording options is great when you can't go outside (Santa Anna winds, rain, etc). With both of these high-end options (Genie & Hopper), you should install a Winegard Travler on your RV's roof. That's about $1300 (DISH) to $1500 (DirecTV) just for the equipment, not including installation. While you can get by with setting up a portable tripod for a Genie or a Hopper, it's a PITA. I know, I've done it for years.

Keep in mind that there are lesser options from each sat provider that may fit your bill. For example, a popular DISH option is the portable Winegard Pathway X2 ($450) with a single-tuner receiver like the Wally or VIP 211.

That said, I think DISH is the best choice regardless of whether you opt for a low- or high-end system. Why?

DISH has the superior technology. One DISH Hopper 3 has 16 tuners built in, compared with a 5-tuner Genie setup. The Hoppers have a number of built-in apps (Netflix, You Tube, etc) that I believe DirecTV does not provide. Also, DISH now offers (once again) "distant locals" like DirecTV.

Edited by Zulu
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3 hours ago, Second Chance said:

To clarify a few things: Dish Network has reinstated DNS (Distant Network Service) - but for Los Angeles broadcast stations only. You have to have an RV/mobile account and be using one of the single tuner receivers (211x series or Wally). Dish offers HD with their single-tuner mobile receivers; from my understanding,

Rob

To clarify.  Dish DNS is not tied to specific hardware.  Yes you have to prove you have an RV but you can use any Dish receiver/s.

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If you talk to Dish directly, they shuffle you off to their "Rv group" and all they want to do is hook you up with a VP211Z receiver and a Tailgater.  Get a local Dish dealer to install your receiver and satellite dish.  We have a dual input receiver in the living room with a DVR and a Wineguard Traveler on the roof.  We have a VP 211Z with a 1 TB hard drive in the bedroom attached to the roof mounted antenna.  We also carry a Wineguard Carryout G@ to connect when we are under trees.

Ken

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We are also Dish customers and have a Trav'ler on the roof and a ViP 612 DVR (unlike the Hopper, it will only record one program at a time, but that's all we need).

We do not carry an extra portable dish because we rarely park under trees.  We mostly boondock where there are no trees (think Arizona/California LTVAs).  For those rare time when we're in an RV park with trees, we request a site that has access to the southern sky for our front-mounted Trav'ler.

If we *were* to carry a portable dish, I would not get one on a tripod because I don't want to fool around with trying to tune in all 3 satellites.  I'd opt for something like the aforementioned Winegard Pathway X2 that is an automatic domed dish and, as such, can only *see* one satellite at a time (although it can toggle between the 3 satellites as you change channels).  It also has the ability to view Western and Eastern Arc channels if that's important to you (we travel only in the West now since we are no longer fulltimers, just snowbirds).

When we leave a spotbeam, we either call or use Dish's CHAT feature on their website to change our service address to pick up network channels in our current location.  Spot beams in the West are pretty large.  For instance, we can get Tucson, AZ spot beams as far north as Pioche, NV and Boise, ID spotbeams as far south as Schellbourne, NV.

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Fear of aiming a three headed dish is unfounded.  You have one setting related the the triple head and that is the Skew.  You set that before you put the dish on the tripod.  From that point you are aiming just the center LNBF and is no different that aiming a single LNBF dish.

The advantage of a triple headed ground tripod is that you can use all three satellites at the same time and the cost, with good tools is less than any automatic dome.

 

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When trying to aim a 3 LNB antenna on Dish, the mounting post has to be absolutely vertical and plum,  otherwise as you sweep across the area to find the satellite, both the skew and elevation are changing.

Sometimes, I could hit the signal with no problem.  Other times I spent an hour fighting the thing.  I found it was beset to set the receiver on the set up screen to satellite 119 and cover the two outer LNBs with aluminum foil.

Ken

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1 hour ago, TXiceman said:

Sometimes, I could hit the signal with no problem.  Other times I spent an hour fighting the thing.  I found it was beset to set the receiver on the set up screen to satellite 119 and cover the two outer LNBs with aluminum foil.

Ken

There can be bad results covering the 110 and 129 LNBF with foil.  The head of a DPP 1000.2 dish has a multi-switch that allows any of the LNBFs to be electronically attached to any of the three coax outputs.  If the default connection of the coax output you are using is electronically to 110 or 129, you will get no signal. 

Unless you have a meter that can select the LNBF, you should have the dish attached to the receiver and the receiver should be set to satellite 119.

For the record, the default coax connection is satellite 110.

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  • 3 weeks later...

You are in pretty good shape but you might want to add a tripod from TV4RV.com to replace the roof tripod.  The TV4RV.com tripod has adjustable length legs which are a must when setting up on non-level terrain. 

It is critical for the mast to be exactly vertical and with fixed length legs like a roof tripod, you are left with shimming the legs which is usually very unstable.

I use 5 gallon Homer buckets about half full with water for ballast.  Works on concrete where anchors can't be used.  Photos.

Edited by Mark and Dale Bruss
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You will have to decide how important your programming and recording is to you.  I enjoy watching MLB during the season and the DW has some shows that she likes to record and watch later.  

For us when we were previously full time in a fiver the Winegard Travler auto dish on the roof was the only way to go.  I didn't have to take up valuable room in my lower storage hauling a tripod or portable dome around.  Just set up camp and push a button, it raises up and finds the satellites automatically, there you go with HD.  We have always had DirectTV so that is all I am familiar with.

Our current RV came with an in-motion dome that we had them set for DirectTV.  Problem is it only will get SD and not HD.  We never have felt the need to watch TV while driving so we will be adding the Travler soon.  No matter if you get the Travler installed for a Dish account or DirectTV account the equipment is not cheap.  For us it worked extremely well before and we never had an issue with trees being in the way, but I guess you could end up in a site with that issue.

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