What’s the best option for DIRECTV Satellite service in your RV? (2019 Edition)

Satellite TV is going strong! No matter where you are this spring and summer, you’re going to want access to your favorite programs. Satellite is still the best bet, with far far more live content than you’ll get from streaming providers. It’s the perfect way to relax and unwind with confidence.

Streaming is great too, but…

Hey, just like you I stream a lot of content. But when I’m on the road, it’s not always reliable. Even with AT&T’s legendary coverage map I can’t be sure that the signal I want will be available when I want it. Not only that, there are limitations to unlimited plan. Most unlimited plans actually throttle back the quality of the video you stream. On a phone or tablet this makes sense because you won’t see the quality difference on such a small screen. If you’re trying to stream to a larger TV in the RV, you’ll notice it. Why put up with lower quality when you don’t have to? Satellite TV is in brilliant high definition.

Your options for satellite TV in 2019

The landscape for satellite TV has changed since the last time you looked at it. Starting about four years ago, AT&T aggressively moved to eliminate standard definition hardware. This was good for them because probably 98% of people didn’t want SD and were ready to move on. However, for RVers, this became a challenge.

Things were just so much easier with standard definition

Standard definition dishes for RVs were easier to hook up. They were also smaller. This made working with them much more preferable for RVers. Today, the options have changed.

Option 1: SD dish… for now

This Winegard dish is small and easy to set up. You put it on a level surface, connect it to a receiver and it does the rest. It will work with the HD hardware that you can get from DIRECTV… as long as you choose the H24 receiver (pretty much your only option.) It will receive standard definition national channels… for now. Those channels are scheduled to go offline sometime during 2019. Even if the schedule is pushed back as far as it can be, expect that programming to become unavailable within the next two years. That doesn’t sound like a good value for the money.

Option 2: Completely manual HD dish

Another option is this portable dish kit for DIRECTV. It comes with everything you’ll need including a dish, tripod, cables, and the power inserter. With this setup you can do anything that your home setup can do. You can record, use Genies, pretty much anything. Not only that it’s the least expensive option for RVers.

You’ll save money but that comes at a cost. This dish needs to be set up and aimed manually. It’s not that hard, just find a flat level surface and you can use the receiver as a satellite meter. It’s time consuming, and if you want to save time you’ll want a satellite meter like this one. With the right tools and a little bit of practice you should be completely up and running in 15-30 minutes

The right choice: Winegard Trav’ler SK-SWM3

Winegard’s Trav’ler is the dish you really want, let’s be honest. It mounts permanently to the RV and folds down when it’s not in use. It aims itself with no extra effort from you, usually in under 10 minutes. In fact it can take far less time.

This is not the least expensive option. I totally hear you there. But it is really the right one. SD service from DIRECTV isn’t coming back and you’ll need an HD-capable dish to get practically anything fairly soon. There may be some version of the future where you can get the content you want with a round dish, but that’s far from certain. Don’t let other blogs fill you with hope about that.

With a dish like this one, you’ll have everything you need not just for today but for the future. It supports everything but 4K… and it could be 20 years before you have to worry about HD being replaced. In the meantime you can be enjoying the programming you want without worrying about aiming a dish manually.

Questions? Need help?

If you’re looking for more information, fill out the form below or call the experts at Signal Connect at 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours. They can help you find the right choice for your RV, home, business, or anywhere you want great TV!

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.