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DISH vs DIRECTV For RV Cable: What’s Best?

Published on May 13th, 2022 by Jennifer Jennings

Couple sitting in an RV watching TV as shown through an RV window
With satellite TV for your RV, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite shows and sports anywhere you take your RV.

What’s Better For RV Cable: DISH TV Or DIRECTV?

Living the RV life doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice watching your favorite shows and sporting events. With satellite TV from DISH or DIRECTV, you can get hundreds of channels and watch your favorite teams play. But when comparing DISH vs DIRECTV for RV cable, which provider is the best?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each service individually. Then we’ll decide the verdict on which is better for RV cable.

DISH vs DIRECTV for RV cable: Pros and cons

No matter which provider you go with, getting satellite TV for your RV comes with some costs and commitments. You’ll need to buy or rent a satellite antenna, pay for the service and any premium channels, and in many cases, you’ll be committed to a two-year contract.

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With all that in mind, you want to be sure you’re choosing the best provider for RV cable. First, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of DISH for RV cable

Pros and cons of DISH for RV cable

Overall, DISH is the more affordable option, while still being a great service. But there are a couple of major drawbacks, especially for sports fans. 


  • DISH is cheaper than DIRECTV by $10 to $40 per month (depending on the plan). Unlike DIRECTV, the amount you pay won’t increase in the second year, making it even cheaper than DIRECTV in the long run.
  • For those 55 and over, DISH offers “DISH 55,” a special offer providing free service visits, identity theft protection, and a free On-Demand movie rental each month.
  • In addition to a two-year contract option, DISH offers a pay-as-you-go-plan that you can activate and deactivate as needed. This is especially handy for part-time RVers; if you’re not on the road, you can deactivate the service, then reactivate it for your next trip.
  • While both DISH and DIRECTV offer DVRs, DISH’s Hopper DVRs are the definite winner between the two. The Hopper 3 Smart HD DVR stores 2TB (almost 2,000 hours of content), and it can record up to 16 shows at once, compared to only 1TB and 5 shows for the DIRECTV DVR, the Genie.
  • RVers can contract directly with DISH, rather than going through a third party like with DIRECTV. 


  • Although it still has a decent sports lineup, DISH definitely lags behind DIRECTV in sports coverage. Most notably, DISH doesn’t offer NFL Sunday Ticket, which is currently a DIRECTV exclusive.
  • DISH offers a maximum of 290 channels, compared to DIRECTV’s 330, with many of the missing channels being sports related.
  • The only premium channels included in DISH’s various packages are STARZ channels; if you want other premium channels such as HBO or SHOWTIME, you’ll need to pay extra, usually $10 to $15 extra a month. 

Pros and cons of DIRECTV for RV cable

DIRECTV is overall the more expensive option, but it’s also a more premium service as well. That higher price gets you more channels and better sports coverage, but the price difference can be significant. 


  • With 330+ channels included in its most expensive package, DIRECTV offers the widest selection of channels available. And unlike DISH, the more expensive packages include a wide spread of premium channels, such as the whole family of SHOWTIME channels. 
  • DIRECTV has great sports coverage, and most notably, they’re the exclusive home of NFL Sunday Ticket. 
  • DIRECTV offers way more HD and 4K channels than DISH. If high fidelity is your thing, DIRECTV is hard to beat.


  • To get DIRECTV in your RV, you’ll have to go through a third party. Specifically, you’ll go through King or Winegarden to get your antenna and set up your service.
  • DIRECTV only offers a two-year contract; there is no pay-as-you-go option. 
  • After the second year of your contract, the price of your subscription will increase by as much as $60 more per month.
  • DIRECTV’s exclusivity deal for NFL Sunday Ticket is set to expire after the 2022 season, and it’s unclear if they’ll still be the home of NFL Sunday Ticket in the future. Since they require a two-year contract, if you sign up for DIRECTV now, you might find yourself stuck without NFL Sunday Ticket for the 2023 season.
  • Unlike DISH, DIRECTV’s cheapest basic package doesn’t include ESPN.

DISH vs DIRECTV for RV cable: Which is better?

So, in the battle of DISH vs DIRECTV for RV cable, who ultimately comes out on top? When it comes to DISH vs DIRECTV for RV cable, DISH is the clear winner.

Both services have their advantages. DIRECTV is the clear winner in the sports category, for example, while DISH has DIRECTV handily beat on price. But overall, there is a clear winner in this fight, and it’s DISH. 

DISH has better prices than DIRECTV, and unlike DIRECTV, their prices won’t suddenly increase on you in the second year. Plus, DISH is the only service offering a pay-as-you-go subscription that you can activate and deactivate whenever you need it. And for the senior RVer, there’s even a special offer for customers 55 and up. 

DIRECTV is really only recommended if you’re a big fan of sports or high fidelity TV. Otherwise, you should take advantage of DISH’s low-cost, high-quality services for the best RV cable option available. 

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.

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21 thoughts on “DISH vs DIRECTV For RV Cable: What’s Best?”

  1. You information is somewhat dated.

    First, DirecTV now maintains prices for two years. After that, all you need to do is call and negotiate. In the seven years I have used them my price has increased a total of $20. Second, Dish does not offer several major channels that DirecTV does in their lower tier packages. Anyone considering a satellite service needs to compare the specific channels in each package to make sure the required channels are included.

    If you are a homeowner with Dish at home, you can transfer your equipment to your RV and continue paying your home rates. You do not need to have two accounts, one at home and the second in your RV with Dish. This is a great deal and DirecTV does not offer an equivalent opportunity.

    I am in the process of moving into a new house, after which I will sell my RV. I took a hard look at DirecTV, Dish, and Spectrum (Charter) Cable. DirecTV came out a little lower than Dish for the channels I wanted. Spectrum was way more expensive and did not offer any price guarantees. Local cable customers complain that their prices go up several times each year and their really isn’t an opportunity to negotiate.

  2. Starlink mobile is $150/ month with YouTube TV at $69.95/ month

    Gets you everything, satellite television is a dying option

  3. I have been a Dish customer for several years, when we started to travel I purchased an Tailgater Pro and a Wally receiver from my Dish guy. It only cost an additional $5.00 per month on my bill to have the Wally. I just align the satellite antenna and start the Wally. No phones calls, no internet sign in, start up and enjoy. I don’t subscribe to the local at home so I use my over the air antenna for locals. I believe if I wanted local channels it would be just a phone call and pay the additional charge for the month. Call them when we’re done and the charge for locals stop.

  4. Only Dish has PAC-12 Network!! Can’t get my Arizona Wildcats on DirecTV. Local channels are a breeze to set-up every time I move from location to location using the MyDish app, no reason to call the HelpDesk anymore. I was a long time DirecTV customer (all the way back to PrimeStar) but for fulltime RV use Dish is the only way to go (IMHO).

  5. I checked into Directv when we became full time rv’ers and was told that to get the HD service I would have to get the permanent rooftop mount dish and pay the same price as a business ($700 per month) as it was not an add on to a home account. I wanted a portable dish as there are always tree issues so I declined of course.

  6. I have Direct TV at home since cable is the only other option in our neighborhood (Sun City).
    The RV is just another bedroom on my plan.

    I did have to get a Traveler to get the HD channels. That is one advantage of Dish since their HD channels are on the same satellite with SD. Direct HD is on a separate satellite. However the programming cost keeps going up every year.

    As to local channels, I either use the cable at the park if they have it or the over the air antenna. I always want local channels for weather.

    I have several local apps to keep up with what is going on back home via WiFi.

    I am a sports “junkie”. For me the games are the real reality shows on TV.

  7. I have had Dish for decades. I have a dish hopper in my 5th wheel RV that I pay 5 dollars a month for. So I have the everything package at home and that goes to my RV receiver as well. The Winged satellite auto acquisition antenna is a must if you can afford it. Everything is just push button and it does the rest. Can’t imagine why anyone would go with Direct TV for just the NFL stuff. Unless you are a Pro Sports fan. I have not watched pro sports in decades. I love college sports and I can get local channels on my Dish Satellite which is huge for us.

    Very informative and a great article. Thanks for the great information. It helped me to appreciate Dish all the more looking at pro’s and con’s of the two.

  8. To be clear, the DISH55 plan mentioned in this article is NOT free, it requires a $10.99/month service plan add-on. You do get one PPV movie a month and service visits included in the package, but $11 a month is not “free”.

  9. Dish might not be your first choice for many readons but… To get your local channels changed when you move Dish takes just a phone call. You provide them the zipcode and RV park address and the loca station will show up in about 10 minutes.

  10. unless things have changed beware of Direct-TV. only certain satalite dishes with (open face not ecclosed) will allow you to get high def channels . while Dish will allow you to get HD chanels. most of the repsenatives from Direct will not tell you that info. I found out the hard way and got locked into contract and Direct did not help at all after finding this out

  11. One important thing you neglected to assess is Local Channels (over the sat service). Dish Network is the clear winner, particularly since AT&T bought DirectTV. If you move from one locality to another, which is why most of us have RVs, you can either go online and change the Service Address yourself, or call Dish Network & they willing will make the change. Direct TV isn’t so willing, and many have not been able to get them to change the Service Address. With Dish Network Hopper, besides all the channels you can record, they automatically map each Local Channel Network. This allows you to set up recording, or just tune into the program without having to know what channel each Network is on – if your favorite show is on CBS at 8:00PM, for example, you need only tune to CBS without concerning yourself with what channel it is on in that locality. This is extremely useful for recording shows, since you don’t tell it to record Ch 13 @ 8:00, and then the next locality have to find what channel the show on – you simply tell it to record ABC @ 8:00.

  12. I have compared these two services at nauseum. I have DirectTV thru ATT at home and use Dish on the road, because…you can start/stop the service as needed, with “credit” applied when you re-start. You failed to mention this. This used to be $35/month when I first purchased my “Tailgater” portable dish with the “included” Wally receiver in a “bundle” from Campers World in TX for around $350 as I recall. I asked the technicians there, which they recommended and both of them told me Dish because of the flexibility. You are not required to pay monthly; only for the “month to month” usage, but….you can turn off/on as needed, with unused credit applied when you turn on. I sometimes go for a week or so, then I call and shut off my service. May go a month or more before turning back on…they will apply my unused credit when i turn back on. Thats a big deal! Oh, and there is NO contract needed! Only thing is, now the rate has jumped to around $45 each month of use, depending on if you want more staions, which you can add…like specific sports channels.

    By the way, the only reason i still have Dish, is when I moved they somehow got me into a new 2 year mandatory contract…I am dropping them in July when it is up. I will go to streaming only at home now.

    • I mis-spoke in my last statement ending…The only reason I still have DirectTV, is when I moved they somehow got me into a new 2 year contract…I am dropping them in July at home, and will go streaming only. I will continue to use Dish for my Airstream when on the road due to the cost and flexibility! On when I want; credit when I turn off, applied next trip! Hard to beat that deal!

  13. I bought my portable satellite dish antenna used for very little. I also just pull a Directv receiver box from one of our TV’s to take with us in the camper. I pay no extra fees over what I already pay for home use. I also get all the channels just as I do at home. (including our local channels)

    • I have Direct TV at home. What are the set up procedures for my RV when I remove one of my receivers from home and buy the portable satellite didh.


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