Satellite TV is a great option for the home, but it really shines on the road. Because the TV signals for satellite are beamed from space, they’re available anywhere with a clear view of the southern sky—no cables or other clunky infrastructure necessary. This makes satellite TV an ideal choice for when you need something portable and can’t plug into a standard cable outlet, such as when you’re tailgating, camping, or RVing.
There are a lot of satellite dishes and antennas on the market, though, and figuring out what exactly you need for your RV and tailgate can be tough. To help you out, our team at CableTV.com rounded up the best TVs and satellite dishes that work with DISH and DIRECTV.
Recommended Satellite Dishes and Antennas
|Satellite||Available For||Best For|
|Winegard SK Series||DISH and DIRECTV||Overall Satellite Dish|
|KING VQ Series||DISH and DIRECTV||RV Satellite Dish|
|Satellite Oasis Satellite Tripod Kit||DISH and DIRECTV||Portable Satellite Dish for Campers and Tailgaters|
|Satellite||Winegard SK Series|
|Available For||DISH and DIRECTV|
|Best For||Overall Satellite Dish|
|Satellite||KING VQ Series|
|Available For||DISH and DIRECTV|
|Best For||RV Satellite Dish|
|Satellite||Satellite Oasis Satellite Tripod Kit|
|Available For||DISH and DIRECTV|
|Best For||Portable Satellite Dish for Campers and Tailgaters|
Best Overall Satellite Dish
The Winegard SK Series satellite dishes are designed for folks who want the best of the best—and they’re priced to match. These powerful dishes are loaded with features to provide you with a full range of channels, including automatic satellite tracking, support for multiple TVs and receivers, and the ability to receive signals from several satellites at once.
What’s its best feature of all? One-button operation. When you want to watch, just hit a button and the satellite dish will find and lock onto a satellite signal for the best possible picture. When you’re ready to hit the road, hit the button again and the dish automatically lowers and stows itself in a safe position for driving. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Something to keep in mind is that this a big, heavy dish, so it’s not super portable—it’s meant to be installed on the roof of an RV and kept there. As with the other dishes on this list, there is a slight size and weight difference between the DISH and DIRECTV models, but they both offer the same features. Finally, this satellite dish is one of the best ways to get DIRECTV for RV owners because it supports DIRECTV’s HD signal—not all dishes do.
Best RV Satellite Dish
When it comes to satellite TV for RVs, the versatile VQ Series antennas from KING make great choices. These are domed antennas, which means the satellite receiver dish is protected by a rounded cover. This allows them to be used while driving, unlike the Winegard SK dishes.
The KING VQ antennas feature automatic satellite tracking for a crystal-clear picture, and they support up to two TVs if you just can’t decide on what to watch. Another key selling point of the KING VQ is the portability. You can take them camping or tailgating with no problem—they’ll fit perfectly in the back of a pickup truck.
The domed design does come with a disadvantage: it prevents the dish from catching an HD signal with DIRECTV. HD still works with the DISH version, though, making this hands down the best DISH antenna for RV owners.
Best Portable Satellite Dish for Campers and Tailgaters
If all you need is a no-frills, portable satellite dish that you can grab and go, the Satellite Oasis Tripod Kits are an excellent choice. These dishes come with a carrying case, tripod, and everything you need to hook them up. They won’t do any fancy automatic tracking, but they also won’t cost you several hundred dollars.
Whether the convenience of automatic tracking is worth the extra cash depends on how often you use the dish—if it’s only occasionally or always in the same location (so you can point the antenna in the same direction), then you should be fine with the Satellite Oasis Tripod Kits.
It’s only natural that you’ll need a TV to pair up with that snazzy new satellite dish. Here are a couple of our favorite options for taking on the road.
Best TV for RVs
When choosing a TV for an RV, the most important thing—apart from picture quality—is size. You need something small enough to fit in an RV comfortably but still large enough to provide a good viewing experience. The Samsung UN32J5003 (what a mouthful!) offers just that. At 32 inches, it strikes a perfect balance between portability and screen size, and the 1080p resolution is ideal for the size.
Best TV for Campers and Tailgaters
When you’re planning for tailgating, portability becomes even more important than picture quality—that 4K OLED monster isn’t much good if you can’t get it where you’re going. Another thing to consider with camping and tailgating is the likelihood that the TV will get damaged, either by the elements or by a rowdy football fan. For those reasons, we like the Samsung UN24H4000: it’s a reliable, portable, and affordable 24-inch TV. The LED screen only has a resolution of 720p, but on a screen this small, you’re unlikely to notice much of a decrease in quality. Just throw in a tripod stand, and you’ll be set!
Recommended TV Packages for Travelers and Tailgaters
Without a satellite TV plan, the most powerful antenna in the world won’t do you any good. This is because the antenna just catches the signal, but you’ll need a compatible receiver from a satellite TV provider to decode the signal into something your TV can understand. The choice of satellite providers in the US is between DISH and DIRECTV.
Should you choose DISH or DIRECTV?
Both DISH and DIRECTV have their pros and cons. Basically, the difference comes down to whether you want a better sports package (DIRECTV) or a better DVR (DISH). DIRECTV has NFL SUNDAY TICKET, which is amazing for football fans and exclusive to the network. The DISH Hopper DVR, on the other hand, is one of the most powerful DVRs on the market, while the DIRECTV Genie falls a little short but is still good overall.
What should I look for in a portable satellite dish?
You’ll probably get a free satellite dish when you sign up for a plan with a satellite provider. However, these dishes are generally meant to sit on the roof or side of your house and not be messed with much. If you want to take your satellite TV on the road, you’ll want something more portable.
There are a few features that stand out in a portable dish: automatic tracking, support for multiple TVs, and a domed antenna.
Automatic Satellite Tracking
Automatic satellite tracking means the dish will locate and point itself at the satellite with the strongest signal—all without you lifting a finger. Dishes that lack automatic tracking have to be manually aimed at the satellite, which can be frustrating at best.
Support for Multiple TVs
Most satellite dishes can split the signal out to more than one TV. Some can handle two, while others can power as many as four TVs. If you want to watch on more than one TV, you’ll need a dish with this feature.
Domed Antennas or Open Antennas
- Domed Antennas are satellite dishes with round covers over them. The advantage of a domed antenna is that it can be used while driving, since the cover protects it from wind and other interferences. The disadvantage is that they aren’t compatible with DIRECTV’s HD signal. HD signals from DISH still work, though. If you’re planning to use your dish on a moving RV, it might be worth choosing DISH as a provider for this reason.
- Open Antennas: An open antenna is the traditional saucer-shaped satellite dish you’re probably used to seeing. These work with any type of signal, so DIRECTV fans can use them to watch in HD with no problem. They aren’t resistant to the elements, though, so you’ll have to stow them away before driving.
Do you have experience using satellite dishes and antennas for RVs? Let us know in the comments.