Originally Posted by Daryl_A
This is a "dome" satellite, you don't actually put a house dish on top of your RV.
Actually, you CAN put the equivalent of a home style dish on an RV, and you get some advantages over a dome.
Originally Posted by Daryl_A
And the dome satellites are automatic. You just flip a switch and it locates the satellite automatically.
Some "home style dish" antennas are also fully automatic, for example the Winegard Trav'ler series. RV Antenna - Winegard Roof Mounted RV Satellite Antennas
There are many options for satellite in an RV. The biggest range of choices revolve around the antenna (aka "dish")
The first choice is between domes and dishes. A dish looks very similar to what is mounted on a house. Once set up and aimed, it stays in one position. If you need to access several satellites, it contains several LNBs (or "eyes") and electrically switches between them instantaneously. You can connect several receivers to a dish, and can simultaneously watch any channel on any receiver.
A dome is generally smaller, and also has a dish that moves inside the dome. With a dime, the actual dish is smaller than a regular style dish, which can make it more susceptible to rain fade (loss of signal during severe weather) especially if the dome is covered in water drops. The dish in a dome can only see one satellite at a time, and if you change to a channel that's on a different satellite it has to physically move the dish and aim at the new satellite, which can take some time (seconds to tens of seconds.) While many domes have outputs for several receivers, they can only see one satellite at a time, so if a second receiver wants to watch a signal that's on a different satellite than the one being watched by the main receiver, the second receiver is out of luck. The same situation applies to the second tuner of a dual tuner DVR receiver. One advantage of a dome is that some of the roof-mounted automatic domes can track a satellite while the RV is in motion.
The next decision is manual or automatic. Domes are usually automatic where you push a button and they automatically find the satellite(s), although they can also be manual where you use a remote control to manually find the satellite(s). Dishes can also be manual, either set up on the ground on a stand, or using manual cranks on a folding roof top dish, or they can be a fully automatic roof top dish (like the Winegard Trav'ler.)
The final decision is portable or roof mounted. Portable requires setting up before use, and require taking down and storing when breaking camp. Roof mounted is more convenient, especially if it's fully automatic, but you can have problems when you are parked under trees, as that will block the signal. A portable dish can be moved around to find a clear patch of sky. Many people with roof mounted domes or dishes still carry a portable dish or dome for when they are under trees. Portable units can be manual (like a home style dish) or portable like a Tailgater or CarryOut dome.
So there are various combinations of the above: Portable manual dishes, roof mount manual dishes, fully automatic rooftop dishes, portable manual domes, portable automatic domes, roof mount automatic domes.
Part of the decision process depends on the type of service you have: DirecTV, Dish Network, Bell ExpressVu, etc. Also, whether you want HD or just standard definition. For example, DirecTV standard definition needs only one satellite, while HD takes a second satellite. Dish Network needs two satellites for standard definition, and three for high definition. If you need more than one satellite, then domes have some limitations because of the need to change positions when changing channels. Domes can be problematic with multiple satellites. Furthermore, if you want DirecTV high definition service, then any dome is out of the picture, since there are no domes that will get DirecTV HD. Domes can get HD with Dish Network. However, if you want to get satellite service while in motion, then only a roof mounted dome will allow that.
Now, once you've decided on an antenna (dome or dish) you will need a receiver or DVR (or multiple receivers.) They will need to be connected to the dish using a quality coax cable. You may be able to use an existing cable TV inlet, but you will have to bypass any amplifiers or splitters, and you may not have a sufficient quality cable. You need a direct run of satellite quality cable directly to the receiver (no amplifiers or splitters.) You will then need to have someplace to put the receiver.
Finally, you need to connect the receiver to the TV. How you do this will depend on what your TV can support, and what your receiver supports. The connection can be HDMI, component video, composite video, S-video, or RF coax. If you have additional TVs, you will need to figure out how to get the signal to that TV, or add another receiver (at which point you will need to get the signal from the dish/dome to the receiver.)
My rig came from the factory with an in-motion dome on the roof. I figured I was home free to get Dish Network HD on my DVR. After a year of frustration and hassles, and off-again on-again poor performance, I gave up on it. So I started using a portable dish which worked just as well as at home, other than it became tedious to set it up and store it each time. I got pretty good at it, but it's still tedious. I finally got a Winegard Trav'ler SK-1000 roof mounted portable dish. This is pure heaven: push a button, and it does it all by itself. Then, it instantly changes channels, and there are no limitations with the DVR: either tuner can watch any channel without worrying about whether the channels are on the same satellite. However, sometimes I'm under trees, so I still keep the portable dish around for those situations.
For a receiver, I have a dual-tuner dual-output DVR. It's mounted up front on a shelf I mounted by the TV. The first TV output is connected with component video cables to the HD front TV. The second TV output uses the existing RF cable connections to send an SD signal to the bedroom TV. The front and rear TV outputs have separate controls, so both TVs can be watching different channels or watching different (or the same) recordings.
It all works very well for me, but it took me a few years of trial and error to get it all working smoothly. It was a learning experience.
So, there are some questions you need to answer and decisions to make:
- What satellite company do you want to use?
- Standard definition (SD) or high definition (HD)?
- Roof mounted or portable (or both)?
- Manual or fully automatic?
- In-motion or stationary only?
- Single tuner receiver, or dual tuner DVR, or multiple receivers?
Based on these answers, you can start to narrow down your options. Note that none of the questions directly ask dome or dish - that will come out of the answers to the other questions.