Can you watch DIRECTV in your RV while it’s moving?

This is a question we get a lot at The Solid Signal Blog. Why? Well, we’re the leaders in RV satellite service. No one activates more satellite accounts for RVs than our parent company, Signal Group. Our Signal Connect division helps RVers get the service they deserve. That starts with answering a few questions, like the one above.

It’s a little more complicated than you think.

Satellite technology isn’t really well designed for moving vehicles. The entire system was designed to work on homes where the dish could be precisely aimed. But, over the years manufacturers have found a way around this problem. Companies like Intellian have created satellite systems that measure signals several times a second and constantly move the dish on three axes so that there’s always a perfect aim. The first systems were designed to track one satellite at a time. It’s a little easier than tracking three satellite locations at the same time.

Single-satellite systems are still out there, and they still work. The Intellian i3 is the perfect size to be mounted on the top of an RV. You may have a similar system on an RV you bought second-hand. Systems like this let you track DIRECTV’s standard-definition channels, even if you are moving. You don’t have to do anything but turn on the TV, receiver, and satellite hardware. The system does the rest, and you just sit back and enjoy.

What about high-definition?

That’s where it begins to get a little more complex. There are a few high-definition channels that may be available on the satellite at DIRECTV’s 101 location. But, that’s the only location that the satellite dish can track. Most of the high-definition and 4K channels are on satellites at DIRECTV’s 99 and 103 locations. These locations use a satellite technology that isn’t compatible with single satellite dishes.

In order to view programming from those other satellites, you need a bigger dish. Intellian’s auto-aiming dish is simply too big to put on an RV. You’d need to put it on a roof and you’d risk knocking it off when going under an overpass.

Another option is Winegard’s Trav’Ler SK-SWM3. This dish will auto-aim and will give you all the channels you want. But, it only works while you’re stationary. There isn’t enough room to put self-aiming equipment into it and still keep it small enough to go on the roof of the RV. The Winegard dish folds down so it stays out of the way while you’re driving. This keeps it protected and improves your gas mileage.

So what can you do?

If you want to watch great DIRECTV programming while your RV’s in motion… (driven by someone else of course!) there is an option. The free DIRECTV app for devices is available for iOS/iPadOS and Android devices. You log in with the same credentials you use at DIRECTV.com, and you can watch over 120 channels of live TV plus over 10,000 free on-demand programming through your phone or tablet. If you have an AT&T unlimited plan, you can watch as much as you want and never worry about data overages!

Get more information

Don’t just shop online. Get the information you need from the experts! Call Signal Connect, the activation arm of Signal Group, and we’ll treat you right. We can recommend the right equipment and even help you find someone locally to get it installed. Once everything’s ready, we’ll take care of the activation part super quick so you can get on the road!

When you work with Signal Connect, you will work with the same expert from beginning to end. They’ll get to know your needs and will take care of you the way you deserve. Start with a call to 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours. If it’s after business hours, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you, usually within one business day.

You love the RV life… let us take care of the rest!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.