Can I Use My Home DirecTV Receiver in My RV?

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Traveling across the map in your RV is exciting and adventurous till you’re under the dark and vast sky with nothing to do. 

For most RV owners, a TV is a must. The loneliness and boredom can really get to you. Plus, you need to stay in touch with what’s happening around you with news channels. 

This is why having some TV to watch is a smart idea while you’re driving through the country. But what do you need to do to have a TV connection in your RV? Can you use your home DirecTV there?

Here’s a complete guide that answers these and other related questions. Read on! 

How to Use your Home DirecTV Receiver in your RV

If you already use DirecTV in your house or apartment, then yes, you can use it in your RV as well. While you may not need a different account for your RV, you do need separate equipment. 

Your home or primary DirecTV subscription can easily be used in your RV with a few steps. Even though DirecTV doesn’t allow you to use the same account in two different non-moving locations, you can use the same account in your RV. 

However, there are some drawbacks to this that we’ll discuss later on.

Gathering the Equipement 

Here are all the things you need to set up DirecTV in your RV.

Receiver 

First off, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll have someone using DirecTV back home while you’re away or not. If you do have someone at home using DirecTV, you’ll have to buy or rent out another receiver for your RV.

If no one’s going to be home, you can take the main receiver and hook it up in your RV – you won’t need a separate receiver.

Dish 

Sadly, you can’t rip off the dish from the roof of your house and plant it on top of your RV (wouldn’t our lives be so much easier if we could do that?)

You need to buy a separate dish for your RV. But which type of dish should you get? This entirely depends on how much you’ll be moving around in your RV and your preferences.

For instance, if you’re going to be on the move most of the time, and you have people who need entertainment during the long journeys, then an in-motion satellite dish will be your best bet.

This means your dish will automatically point towards the right direction as you keep moving, so you will get uninterrupted signals no matter where you go.

The second type is roof-mounted, which can only be used when your RV is in a stationary position. You can put these back in before hitting the road, so they don’t get damaged.

Lastly, you can get a simple tripod to support a portable satellite dish. You don’t mount these on your RV’s roof; rather, you’re supposed to bring it out in the open and pack it up when you’re done watching TV.

The last one is the cheapest option. However, the second and third types of dishes are only good for those who aren’t always on the move. 

Setting the dishes at the correct angle every day can prove to be quite a nuisance. Also, you won’t be able to watch anything while driving. Hence, it’s best to invest in an automatic dish that lets you watch anything, anytime, anywhere. 

Some of the best dishes are available from Winegard, KING, and Signalconnect.

Other Tools 

Cables and mount brackets are other things that you need to fix your dish on the roof of your RV. These things are usually included with your satellite dish. 

Power Source 

You obviously need a power source to get the whole set up to work. While you can use your RV’s battery, it is a good idea to buy a dedicated power source like a battery or a generator. 

This way, you can watch TV for more than just a couple of hours and also save your RV’s battery. 

DirecTV Subscription

Lastly, but most importantly, you’ll need an active DirecTV subscription. Whether you’re using your home package or a separate account for your RV, depends on you. 

Setting up DirecTV in your RV

Once you have all the components, get ready to set up the whole thing on your RV. Here are the directions:

  • If you have an automatic or another type of roof-mounted dish, then go ahead and clean the roof of your RV. 
  • Follow the instructions here to install the dish on top of your roof for a secure fit. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, then it’s best to call in a professional.
  • After your dish is set, connect it to the receiver at the ‘satellite in’ socket using a coaxial cable. 
  • Next, connect your TV to the receiver at the appropriate inlet. 
  • Now, power up your generator if you’re using one. Connect your TV and receiver into your power supply. 
  • After this, switch on your TV. At the main screen, click on Menu>satellite>view signal strength>signal meters.
  • Using this meter, you can set your dish at the correct angle for maximum signal strength. 
  • Once you get a strong enough signal, you can start watching your favorite channels! 

Is Using Your Home DirecTV Account Worth It? 

Now that you know how to set up your home’s DirecTV in your RV, you need to weigh your pros and cons to decide if it’s worth it or not. 

With a home subscription, you get 185 channels. However, once you’re outside your local area, you won’t be able to watch any local channels. 

These include Fox, ABC, NBC, etc. So if you need to watch these channels, you need to subscribe to their DNS (distant network service) for a small additional fee. 

However, these local channels are from either NY or LA, so keep that in mind. In a nutshell, it depends on whether you’re okay with not having local channels or not. If you are, you’re good to go with your home’s DirecTV! 

If you’re not, though, you can subscribe to the DirecTV RV package with DNS (more on this later.) 

Are There Any Additional Costs? 

If you’re using your primary DirecTV account in your RV, you won’t be charged any additional charges for this. The only cost you’ll have to bear is buying a separate dish and a receiver if you need one. 

Unfortunately, you can’t use your home’s DirecTV and DNS together. So if you want to use the DNS to access more channels, you’ll need to have another account and subscribe to a whole new package. 

Alternatives 

Don’t think using your home’s DirecTV account in your RV is worth it? Fret not, we have an extensive list of alternatives for you below that will help you decide which one is best for your trip:

DirecTV RV Subscription 

If you don’t like the idea of not watching any local channels, then the DirecTV RV subscription with DNS will be the best option for you. 

With this package, you have almost all the channels you get with your home subscription, although local channels are not included. 

But wait! With a small additional fee, you can access the DNS and watch broadcast channels like NBC, ABC, Fox, and more, from NY or LA. 

There are some drawbacks with this package as well. For instance, you don’t get seasonal packages for sports channels. You also don’t have the option for pay per view in the RV package. 

Otherwise, DirecTV’s RV package, especially with DNS, is a good choice for you if you’re planning to travel long distances across the country. 

Streaming Services 

If satellite TV isn’t what you’re looking for, you can use the numerous streaming services available (that need an internet connection, of course) to view your favorite shows and even live TV! Here are a few of them:

Amazon Prime Video 

For a small fee, you can subscribe to Amazon Prime’s monthly or annual package. This unlocks tons of original shows, movies, and events that you can watch anytime and anywhere. 

You also get access to a library of millions of free songs, and more, with a 20% discount. Moreover, you can download movies and shows on tablets or phones for offline viewing. 

This is especially useful for RV’s. If you’re getting weak signals and can’t stream in peace, you’ll have your downloaded movies and shows to enjoy your leisure time.

Netflix 

How could we not include Netflix? If you want unlimited access to literally tons and tons of original shows and movies, this option is for you. 

With a Netflix subscription, you won’t spend your nights flipping through channels, searching for something good to watch on your TV. You’ll probably be hooked on one of their shows for days! 

For a small monthly fee, you and your family can spend those long road trips streaming some incredible content. 

YouTube TV and Hulu

With streaming services like YouTube TV and Hulu, you can view around 100 live channels. These include sports, entertainment, and broadcast channels. 

HDTV Antenna 

Don’t want to spend money on satellite TV or internet streaming services? No worries! Buy yourself an HDTV Antenna. 

You can easily install this readily available and cheap antenna on the top of your RV whenever you want to watch some TV. All you need to do is fix it at the correct angle for strong signals. 

With this, you can watch many local channels, like NBC, Fox, and many more (depending on your location) for free! 

Which Option is Better for Whom? 

If you’re confused between DirecTV and the streaming services we just mentioned, don’t worry. We’ve sorted it out for you below:

For Long-Distance Travellers 

If you’re on the move in your RV for several months at a time, then you may want a DirecTV RV subscription, along with one of the many streaming services available. 

Watching local news is important when you’re traveling for months at a time so that you can keep in touch with the world. Hence, a satellite dish with a DirecTV RV package plus DNS is a must (you can’t rely on HDTV Antenna everywhere!) 

And of course, to stay on the grid, you’ll need to have an internet connection. Since you’re going to have an internet connection, you may as well subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, or any other such service. 

Having something different and exciting to watch for a change can feel good, especially if you’re away from home for long periods, and especially if you have other members of the family with you. 

However, a DirecTV RV subscription with DNS does cost more, not to forget the added cost of your internet plan. 

For Quick Trips 

If you’re traveling in your RV only for a few days or a couple of weeks, you are good to go with your home DirecTV subscription. You can even make do with an HDTV Antenna if you don’t want to spend money on a dish and other equipment. 

Although you won’t get to watch the local news with your home account, you can try catching up using an HDTV Antenna (even though it will be tiresome work setting your dish and this antenna each time.)

For Entertainment Without DirecTV

If you’re not interested in the local news and other channels, especially for short trips, you’re good to go with an internet connection and any streaming service. 

Even Youtube will be just fine if you’re only traveling for a few days and don’t need to watch TV. Keep in mind, though, you won’t be able to catch up with the local news that is often important. Also, cellular internet is often not reliable in remote areas. 

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

Before you go ahead in your RV using your choice of TV and internet service, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You will need to make sure you have an unobstructed view of the southern sky for satellite TV. Also, be ready to set it each time at the correct angle if you’re using a manual dish. 
  • Make sure you waterproof your set up on the roof of your RV while installing it.
  • For satellite internet, you will have to install an additional dish. This may not give you fast enough internet, but it can work in remote areas, given that you have a clear view of the sky. 
  • Cellular data using a hotspot device is a good idea for those who need fast internet. However, this may not have wide enough coverage. 

Final Thoughts 

You may have some idea about DirecTV packages, satellite dishes, and other sources of watching entertaining stuff in your RV by now. Choose the one that fits your needs the best, and you’re good to go on your trip!