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Old 05-19-2015, 11:40 AM   #1
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Satellite TV, Dish or Direct?

We have cable tv and internet at home but are away seasonally, about six months each, home and Airstream. Never had satellite tv but we are considering dropping the cable tv (keep the seasonal cable internet at home) and getting satellite tv for home and Airstream use.

Which satellite provider is offering the better overall service for a combination of home and rv use? We do not need the premium movie channels but a variety of entertainment programs, news, weather and sports is good. Our local broadcast reception here is poor primarily because of distance.

Economy, simplicity and reliability definitely matter in our rv decisions as a matter of principle. A simple-to-use satellite dish will also be needed. We are willing to spend up front for this, it is monthly service fees that concern us.

Suggestions will be appreciated greatly.

cheryl
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:52 AM   #2
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We purchased the Tailgater with it's receiver for the reasons you mention...simple to use, and set up, and we like the fact that we can pay for only the months we use it while in the Airstream.

I will not comment on which provider is the best, because this is the only experience we have.
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:55 AM   #3
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We have Direct, had it in a Motorhome as well. We simply take one box from home and that becomes our Airstream Sat connection. Have not used in the new AS yet, but plan on it next week. In the motorhome with a roof mount antenna it was flawless. We did not have local TV, but had everything else we wanted. I think we pay and extra $5.00 a month to use the Direct box remotely, but not sure can check if you need as my finance person does all that (wife).
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Old 05-19-2015, 12:23 PM   #4
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I really can't compare the two satellite providers but I currently use Dish along with the Tailgater unit. The Tailgater unit is self aiming. I have an app with my iPad that allows me to turn on the iPad camera and look to the sky. It will show me if anything is blocking the Dish satellites. Easy to know where to place the Tailgater unit. The benefit for me is as a home Dish subscriber, is the ability to activate the HD receiver that I carry, only when I need it. So for a $7 monthly charge I get all the same programming that I do from home. Dish prorates so if you only need it for a weekend or a week, that monthly charge is prorated. I did buy the Tailgater dish and the receiver so there is that initial upfront cost for those two devices, but I own therm so there is no rental fees. If you have a model 211k or 211z receiver at home, you only have to buy the Tailgater dish itself. I have a Hopper and Joey system at home which cannot be used with the Tailgater dish.

The other advantage is the Tailgater dish can be placed around your site which is an advantage over the dishes mounted permanently on your trailer. This allows you to take advantage of nice sites that may not have a good southwestern exposure where the trailer is parked. Talking to Dish support I was told that the receiver could support at least 150' of 3 GHz rated external cabling. The Tailgater comes with 50' of 3 GHz cable.

The downside is that you are limited on the receiver that can be used with the Tailgater. It has no built in DVR with the pause/stop feature. You can add an external hard drive to record programming, but the unit can only handle one function. So you can't watch one program and record another concurrently. Also be aware that if you have local channels on your home service, once you leave the area serviced by the spot beam handling your home locale, you have no network channels. On the other hand you can change that spot beam if you are traveling by calling Dish. Note however is that if you change the spot beam city to accommodate the area you are camped in, your home Dish service will lose its spot beam reception until you call to request it be set back to your home city. If you have any scheduled recordings on your home DVR, any local network recordings will be unfulfilled.

Another down side is that while the receiver is HD compatible, operating two TV's concurrently is more of a challenge. Obviously as noted earlier, the receiver cannot support viewing two different channels at the same time. The other issue is to even get the second TV working you have to get a connection via a cable from the receiver to the second TV.

I know Direct has a similar system, and if you are interested you will have to talk to them regarding the monthly operational costs and if HD is important, whether their moveable solution like Dish's Tailgater will support HD service.

Finally my experience is as a Dish home subscriber. If you do not have Dish or Direct TV at home, your monthly costs will be more expensive and you may not have the option to turn off the service during the time you aren't on the road.

Jack
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Old 05-19-2015, 01:38 PM   #5
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We have been considering a Winegard G2 antenna because it can be used with either service provider, can be used as a portable or mounted permanent on the Airstream, and it's small. Apparently it can only provide HD tv with Dish service provider though.

Comments?

cheryl
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Old 05-19-2015, 01:45 PM   #6
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Satellite TV, Dish or Direct?

We've had both, and prefer the Tailgater. It's smaller than the Carryout. I have a mast mounted pole mount for it, plus the tripod. Works great, but as you said it's in HD but only gets Dish Network.
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Old 05-19-2015, 01:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckottum View Post
We have been considering a Winegard G2 antenna because it can be used with either service provider, can be used as a portable or mounted permanent on the Airstream, and it's small. Apparently it can only provide HD tv with Dish service provider though.

Comments?

cheryl
Cheryl, that is the major issue with Direct on many of these portable antennas. Apparently Direct's HD satellite is not close to their other standard broadcast satellites. This causes them to need a special LNB which doesn't lend itself well to the size of the dish used in many steerable units.

King antennas makes the Tailgater for Dish. They also have a dual unit that works with Direct or Dish that is the same size and look of the Tailgater. It has the same restriction about not being able to receive HD programming from Direct.

Jack
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Old 05-19-2015, 02:11 PM   #8
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One last item is that if you decide to go with Direct, be sure you understand the "deal" that they offer. Apparently the FTC is asking them to respond to false advertising complaints.

DirecTV charged with false advertising - Mar. 11, 2015

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Old 05-19-2015, 03:09 PM   #9
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Cheryl I have a Dish system. I bought the X1 Dish package. Best price was from Amazon. I will ditto what Jack has written. The X1 gets its power from the satellite coax cable so only one cable unlike the G2 system which also needs a power cable.

I had DirectTV at home but switched everything to Dish since DirecTV doesn't do HD unless you have a manual dish setup or get something like the Winegard Travl'r for the roof of the Airstream. I'd rather put up solar panels and be able to move the small X1 in case of tree blockage. And I can suspend service at any time and it is only $7 per month for the additional receiver.

And you have the HD issue reversed. The G2 will pick up DirecTV but in SD only. It will also work with DISH and picks up both SD and HD signals. If you don't have anything at home now other than cable i would go the Dish route.
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Old 05-19-2015, 03:10 PM   #10
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DirectV used to allow you to turn it off whenever you desired, now called vacation mode and they limit it to one time a year. Dishnet let me turn it off for 9 months, they emailed and said time was up and they would be turning on in two days, their 9 months was only 7 according to my billing, they charged $5 while it was off, but we still had the use of the dvr to watch movies prerecorded and even recorded more from their give away stations.
When we had Directv if we turned it off no charge, but couldn't use dvr as it tried finding signal and wouldn't play anything.
Both now don't seem to mine if you move your system to the rv, if you are staying in one place you can get them to change your locals.
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Old 05-19-2015, 03:59 PM   #11
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I have Directv and us the rooftop mounted Winegard Trav'ler automatic antenna. It works great and I have never had problems with weather or trees causing outage.
Dish uses a smaller dome antenna that loses signal easily when vegetation or rain storms obscure the signal.
The Trav'ler antenna is a full size dish which automatically seeks and finds the satellites when powered up. Once found it tweaks and optimizes the signal. It is compatible with all the current Directv receivers. Provides 5 simultaneous feeds so that you can record on 4 feeds and watch a fifth. Is full 1080p 24fps HD video and 3D TV compatible. I think the Dish HD is more compressed, at least it looks that way when viewed on a large screen.
Directv is also the only provider for NFL Sunday ticket. So if you want to watch your favorite football team while on the road, Directv is the only way to go.
The Trav'ler dish is very large and heavy. It pretty much requires professional installation due to the size, weight, and mounting plate necessary. It is pricey. Probably run between $2500 to $3000 to purchase and have installed.
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:03 AM   #12
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Thanks for the good advice. We decided on neither satellite service for the time being, disconnecting from cable tv (keep internet), ordered an amplified antenna for our house, already have one in the Airstream, and see how we do.

The cost of tv cable and satellite programming has overgrown the quality of content, it seems. We can get at least 5 or 6 broadcast channels in clearer HD, while internet movie streaming or downloading and whatever information we ask from it keeps us informed and entertained.

Perhaps cable/satellite programming quality is reaching for new lows. Nothing against political pundits, red necks and swamp people but that's not what were looking for on news or history channels. We're simply not using it enough to justify the cost.

Wondering if others are watching much less tv these days, especially when on long term travel with your Airstream?

cheryl
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:50 AM   #13
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Satellite TV, Dish or Direct?

One of the reasons for keeping my home service is the portable satellite equipment we can use in the trailer. Prior to digital signaling we lived with analog TV and its snowy fuzzy reception. Once digital came however we found that even with the antenna enhancements we made, digital TV was much less reliable and in many cases campgrounds with decent analog reception became devoid of any reliable signals. As we have all learned you either have reception or you don't. Rural campgrounds seem to only have good reception for PBS stations or religious broadcast stations. A fact since these entities put their broadcast towers where land costs are cheaper and the ground altitude is higher.

I got tired of pictures popping in and out due to wind blowing the leaves on the trees etc. Satellite has pretty much eliminated the guess and efforts to find the local channels and the flakey service. What is also nice for us is that we can travel over 200 miles to the northeast or southwest and still be under the St. Louis spot beam signals. All the channels we see at home, we can get on the road in our regional area.

Jack
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Old 05-20-2015, 11:24 AM   #14
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We have DirecTV. I wish we had nothing. It is too expensive for too many reruns, advertising, and the same program on several channels. 257 channels and there ain't nothing on. If I ever get my wife on board with ditching the dish, we will have no cable or satellite service, but watch free over-the-air TV and internet services like NetFlix and such.
In the Airstream we watch free over-the-air TV and DVD movies.
Too me, camping is about getting away from it all- not bringing it all with you. I would rather walk, build a fire, cook out, ride a bike, etc. Wife doesn't necessarily agree with me-
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