Dish Or Direct?

 Posted by at 4:03 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 282010

Our plans to play tourist in Washington, D.C. were rained out yesterday. It started raining just after midnight and came down all day long. Not just a drizzle, but a hard, pounding rain that was not fit for man nor beast. So we spent the day in the motorhome at Cherry Hill Park, watching TV, cruising the internet, and being lazy.

I’m pleased that the Winegard Trav’ler automatic rooftop TV dish we had installed on our motorhome last December doesn’t suffer from rain fade nearly as much as the old tripod mounted dish we used to use. I don’t know if that is because the dish is bigger than the old one, but whatever the reason, it sure is an improvement.

Winnie Camping World Robertsdale

A blog reader wrote yesterday to ask me about rooftop dishes, and if there are any major differences between DirecTV or Dish Network. We had DirecTV in our home and during our first few years on the road, before switching to Dish Network. I believe that the programming choices and prices are about the same overall, though personally the Dish support folks have been just a tiny bit more helpful, in my opinion.

I’m curious, what type of antenna do you use for TV reception, and do you subscribe to Dish or DirecTV, rely on over the air programming, campground cable TV, or?

We had a couple of orders to mail out, so about 4 p.m. we left the campground and ran to the post office, then stopped at Home Depot to look for some cabinet latches to replace a couple of broken ones on our kitchen drawers. No luck there, so I guess I’ll have to order original equipment replacements from Lichtsinn, a great Winnebago repair shop and parts supplier in Forest City, Iowa. Winnebago will sell you replacement parts if you go to their service facility in Forest City, but otherwise you have to order from a dealer. Don’t ask me why, because I have no idea how or why any company makes the decisions they do.

Back at the motorhome, it was still raining, so we did the same thing we had done all day. It seemed a perfect day for a nap, so I stretched out on the couch and did just that for a while. I woke up in time for dinner, but I’d have been just as happy snoring away until morning. Rainy days make for good sleeping.

Today the weather is supposed to be a little better, and we hope to spend the day touring the Newseum and whatever else we can squeeze in. We covered most of the major monuments and a couple of the Smithsonian museums during our last visit to Washington, so this trip we want to get to some of the attractions we missed the first time around.

Thought For The Day – If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If life gives you tomatoes, make Bloody Marys.

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Nick Russell

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  27 Responses to “Dish Or Direct?”

  1. I’ve got Direct TV with a dish I need to set up manually. A few years ago I bought a great stand at Quartzsite which makes the set up a piece of cake. Naturally, the guy went out of business so I hold my breath that it won’t fall apart. I’ve had no problems with Direct TV, if you can get a phone number other than the recorded one that goes on and on and on before you can reach a human.

  2. We use two satellite dishes. One is a roof-mounted Trac Star. But, when we are parked with trees blocking the signal we pull our out Winegard Carry Out. This portable device, affectionately named Dome Boy by my DW, has come in mighty handy at quite a few campgrounds. We use Dish Network and have come to discover that it is a refuge for incompetent people with all the wrong answers — or no answers at all.

  3. I have my handy-dandy antenna. If it brings in a signal, fine; if not, shrug. If I’m at a campground with cable TV, I drag out the connector and wallow in channels. So nothing is a given, but there’s no monthly bill either.

  4. We have been Dish Network customers for 12 years. We have a portable antenna for when in woods or have a obstructed southwestern sky. Our Phaeton came with a semi-automatic single LNB Kingdome, which worked well for 5 years. At this year’s Gypsy Journal Rally, Bill and Janet Adams of Internet Anywhere installed a new 3 LNB Winegard antenna, works great!. As said before the “rain fade” that came with the Kingdome, doesn’t happen near as often.

  5. We have a roof mounted Kingdome with Direct TV. The incompetence of their employees is just too sad to describe. We have had the Direct since mid-May, and this is the first month that our bill has been correct. We use the antenna to pick up local chanels for the local weather when possible. We also connect to cable when possible. Our portable dish does not work, so we are going to pick up a portable somewhere along the line.

  6. Correction to George’s statement, we have DirecTv not Dish. And if anyone needs it for DirecTv, 800-769-4635 is their number for RV related issues. The “usual” CSR does not quite “get” TV service in a RV. So somewhere along the line I got a direct number. Whew, much easier to deal with and quite competent I must say. I don’t know if Dish has a similiar contact. But I found it most helpful.

  7. We have Dish and use a Winegard Trav’ler. Once we were set up as a mobile account with Dish life became very easy as we can change our local address as often as we need to.

    We started with a VuQube and had to have it repaired. Last time we tried it, it wasn’t working so we’ll see.

  8. We have Dish Network on a portable tripod. It works great. When we decided to add satellite TV in 2007, we went with Dish because DirecTV wouldn’t deal us because we were in an RV and they said we couldn’t have a DVR because we didn’t have a landline. Dish never blinked an eye about either of those issues. We’ve had great service from them any time we’ve had a problem.

  9. We use Dish network. Used a portable dish on a tripod until this summer when we got a Winegard Trav’ler which is great. Still carry the portable dish in case we end up under any trees.

  10. Nick

    While in Washington don’t miss the Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia.
    It is a little ride from your location but well worth it.


  11. I had Direct at home. When I decided to go full time I had a Winegard Trav’ler installed.
    I have DNS and use my batwing for local channels.
    I have no complaints.

  12. We have Dish Network and a Motosat HD-DP3, have had Dish for 15 years in the sticks and bricks and am very happy with the support when needed.

  13. We have a Motosat antenna for Internet with a bird on a wire to get TV. We use Directv for our television signal.

  14. We have a Kind Dome Air Satellite, which is now back at factory. It is suppose to be in motion but has yet to work. Finally got company to take it back and work on it there. Fortunately we also travel with V-Cube 1000. What a life saver it has been over the last 2 yr. We even use V-cube on the porch at home so we can enjoy outside activities as well. When roof mount dies will go with larger dish as it may give better reception than the dome. Using direct but having trouble getting them to give us Dist. network They denied our application.

  15. We have a Winegard Trav’ler 1000 with Dish Network and one DVR that operates two TVs. Set up is easy since all we have to do is push a button. By the time the motorhome is ready, so is the antenna. We’ve had DISH for many years and are happy with the service most of the town. Just like Dale above, we change our address as we move along a few times a year. This way we have the locals too. In addition we have east coast and west coast feeds. I would say that we’re pretty well set up.

  16. We are not in the majority. We use a portable dish that sits on the ground. No tripod. With a few lengths of heavy duty chain on the base it is good in winds up to 45 MPH.

    I can’t see having an expensive roof mount and then carrying a portable in case trees block the signal. We just set out the portable to begin with.

    We have had Direct TV for our four years of full time travel now, and are happy with it. Our only customer experience was with a receiver that went bad after three years. Direct replaced it with no problems.

  17. We have NetFlix. With sights to see all day and research to do all evening, who has time for TV? 🙂

  18. We have had direct for 6 years and have never had to call them, bill is auto pay. Had a Kingdome on the front of the bus but took it off and put it in storage as most of the time we are in areas of trees so had to use the portable anyway. When we are in Yuma for the winter i have a dish mounted on a storage shed so it only takes me a minute to connect to it. Anybody want to buy a dome? :>)

  19. Canadians we are, so we use a Star Choice, or now Shaw, automatic dish. This gives us all the Canadian channels so we can keep up with what is happening back home and we have chosen to have the Spokane based American networks. Good luck with them so far and the coverage is excellent, Northern Canada right down into Mexico.

  20. I’ve been using DirecTV at home since 2004, and in my motorhome since 2005. Currently I use a Weingard crankup dish. Providing there are no trees, or other obstructions, I can be “online” in about 5 minutes from beginning to end. Rarely ever see any rain fade anywhere in the western half of the U.S. from torential downpours in east Texas to snow in Idaho, and everything in between. I have found their customer service to be exceptional.

  21. We have three ways to get TV we have the dome which we us the most since it is so easy to set up, we also have a satellite inter-net with bird on the wire, which we use when it is raining and the dome washes out and we also now have air since we just put in a new digital HD put in. We have been with Direct way for over 15 years and we have never had any problems with them. We are thinking about adding a HD antenna also.

  22. We’re like MoveableBookLady – we use the Winegard antenna that came with our 5th wheel (though we did upgrade to the Digital version and added the little attachable antenna that boosts reception). If we get a channel, then great. If we don’t, we have DVDs, and better yet – books! Redbox is nice on occasion for newer movies, if there is one in the area ($1 video rentals). And if there is good Internet reception (either our Verizon air card or local WiFi) we might watch a favorite TV show via the computer and direct streaming (this can eat data limits fast, so we’re frugal or wait for free WiFi).

    We like to think we can do without TV. Back in 2003 we went four months without any television at all while RVing. We didn’t miss it until we came home and had cable again. Then we realized how much time we were wasting sitting in front of the TV mindlessly changing channels and started recording select programs we enjoyed and just watched them and the news.

    We’re full-timers now, but we just can’t see the expense of satellite TV and the seeming headache of dealing with DirectTV or Dish Network. From what we’ve seen of the reception at campgrounds that use satellite for their ‘cable’ TV, it’s not that great and very dependent upon weather. In some cases, we unplugged the cable because our antenna got more channels or better reception! We know we’re in the minority, but the antenna works fine for us right now.

  23. How hard is it to set up the portable tripod/dishes? Do you have some sort of signal strength meter or do you have to keep running back and forth from the motorhome to see if you have it pointed in the right direction? Also, I suppose that things like TIVO don’t work when you are running down the road, unless you have one of those fancy shmancy automatic in-motion satellite domes, right? Finally, what the heck is “Bird on a wire?”

    Sorry, didn’t mean to treat this like a forum.

  24. In-motion DirecTV, crank up antenna for local channels, only use campground cable if we find ourselves under trees without good DirecTV reception or if we anticipate rain. We also keep several TV shows stored on our DVR to watch whenever we might find ourselves in rain and no cable. We’re very happy with our set-up.

  25. In an area where i have been before i can usually tell roughly where i need to point the dish and adjust from there. I have a signal meter that you place in-line but found that it was more hassle than it was worth, so i just turn on the tv and receiver and go to the signal meter on them. If i can’t be close enough to the rig to hear it i have my wife tell me when i get a signal and how strong it is. If in a new area i walk around until i find somebody that has a direct dish and see where they are pointed to.

  26. We use the same dish as you Nick – a Winegard Trav’ler. We have DirecTV. In the 10+ years we have been fulltimers we have had both Dish and Direct. The reason we now have DTV is because with the HD service and the satellites being at 99*, 101* and 103* the angle in the sky is narrower and your chances of getting through trees is better. Plus, despite the ads on TV, DTV has more HD stations (that I would watch).

  27. We had Dish Network at home (back when we had a home), but went with DirectTV in the rig because it already had a DirectTV receiver from the previous owner. And we had no problem signing up with DNS (Distant Network Service) to get both east and west coast feeds of the major networks. At the time we decided to enable the service, Dish Network was in trouble with the government for being too lax with their rules for DNS (it’s supposed to be only made available for mobile users). They were handing it out willy-nilly to anyone who asked and the government slapped them down and forbade them from offering it to *anyone*. Don’t know if that’s still the case, but we’re happy with Direct at this point. We use our DVR exclusively and never watch live TV. Love to zip through the commercials. Do you realize that they (the commercial breaks) are now getting up to 4 minutes long sometimes? They are usually at least 3 minutes, but sometimes I have to press the 30-second skip-ahead button 8 times to bypass the commercials. Jeesh.

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