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The basics of RV TV reception options

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We'll explore the world of television inside your recreational vehicle (RV), and discuss the choices that are available for service reception. It's not your parents' RV any more: things have definitely gone high tech with regard to television.

The living room in your RV will definitely be equipped with the latest in television technology, just like your home. You can expect to find large, high definition, flat screen TVs inside of the newer RVs on the market. Surround sound systems to augment the viewing experience are also generally available. You won't have a 60-inch screen in the RV like you may have in your home, but it will be more than large enough for the smaller space of the RV. RVs typically have two televisions, and can be configured to either watch the same or different channels.

There are three ways that you can receive a television signal inside your RV.

You can use a satellite dish with a subscription service provider. With satellite service, when you travel approximately 100 miles from the hub of your service area, you will lose reception of your local network channels, meaning CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX. The loss of your local channels is due to you leaving the footprint of the satellite that serves your home area. When you are settled in a new area with the RV, you can call your satellite provider and have them change your home area so that you can receive the network channels in your current location. There are a couple of alternatives in satellite dish types to be considered.

1. A dish could be mounted on the roof of the RV. A roof mounted dish could be auto-adjust, meaning that it would automatically locate the satellite when activated. Some of the auto-adjust dishes are also what is known as in motion dishes. The in motion dishes will track the satellite while the RV is moving, allowing passengers to watch television during a trip. A roof mounted dish could also be self-adjust, where you would have to manually adjust the dish to establish a satellite connection.

2. A dish could be portable and sit on the ground next to the RV. A portable dish gives you flexibility in where you place it so that blocking trees can be avoided. Again, a portable dish will have to be self-adjusted to point at the satellite. You can check the web page of your service provider to find the coordinate settings for the dish at the zip code where you are currently located.

Cable television reception will obviously not always be available where you are camped with the RV. To get cable television, you will need to be in an RV park that offers cable TV. Always have a connector cable on hand to connect the park cable system to your RV.

RVs are equipped with a crank up antenna for reception of channels via the free airwaves. You will need a digital converter box now if you use this method of TV reception. This is a good option for receiving local channels of your current area.

Many RVers use a combination of the three methods for TV service at various times, depending on what is available in their area. We've been known to have satellite service on one TV and cable service on the other one at the same time.

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