Right up my alley!! I apologize in advance for the length of my reply, but I do know where of I speak in this field and will be as brief as I can while giving you as much good information as I can. Just remember to breathe and blink occasionally !!
Before you ask which service provider to use ask yourself these questions...
1. Do you want to change channels watching different programs on different TV's at the same time? i.e. You watch football in the living room while someone else watches a craft show on the bedroom TV or is your traveling companion going to be forced to watch football because that's what you're watching.
a. Ask your service provider - Can each person watching TV in different rooms at the same time each change channels to what they each want to watch?
2. Do you want "in motion" viewing? i.e. Does your traveling companion, or kids, want to watch TV while you're driving to your destination.
a. This is a personal choice and if you want it ask your provider if they provide â€œin motionâ€ viewing.
3. There can be an interruption of service with Satellite and Dish services due to weather, planes flying in the path of the satellite, trees where you're camped, etc. How often and for how long interruption occurs varies.
4. If you do chose Satellite or Dish you'll need to aim the dish at the satellite and will that be done manually, get out and try to find the signal yourself, or automatically at the push of a button inside your RV?
5. If you chose cable you won't have the more frequent interference issues like Satellite or Dish. However; there is something called Sun Outages, but that's a very minor, if at all, kind of occurrence (seriously, you may never experience it). Quick definition geostationary satellite signals cause interference from solar radiation due to the sun's radiation overwhelming the satellite signal. Generally, sun outages occur in February, March, September and October.
a. You should be able to ask your cable service provider to give you a little extra coax to get you from your Georgie Boy to the utility hook-up. Would think asking for up to 100' should be free. Make sure they put the connector ends on .
b. When you store this piece of coax Iâ€™d suggest protecting the connectors with something (piece of plastic taped over) to prevent dirt from getting inside and damage the fiber optics.
6. Doesn't matter which service provider you chose while each will have their own channel lineup the programming may be different in different areas of the country. i.e. Your favorite sitcom is on Monday 7:00pm in say Kentucky, but in Nebraska it's on Thursday 4:00pm and it could be a different channel kind of thing.
7. Check out the service levels of each service provider and their promotions.
a. Do you want every possible channel offered or just the minimum or something in between?
b. Do you want HD programming? Word of caution here and that is some will boast they have more HD channels than their competitor. Ask the service provider EXACTLY WHICH HD CHANNELS THEY CARRY AND HOW MANY ARE REPEATED!! Then compare this service provider to that service provider.
c. Are the premium movie channels, HBO, MAX, STARZ, etc. important to you? Again, if the service provider boasts of having the most premium channels ask the service provider if they are East and West coast feeds? i.e. Service provider boasts having 8 channels of HBO only the movies on channels 1,2,3,and 4 are the exact same as channels 5,6,7, and 8. The difference is 1,2,3,and 4 are on the East coast feed while 5,6,7,and 8 are the West coast feedâ€¦THE DIFFERENCE IS TIME ZONESâ€¦THATâ€™S ALLâ€¦SAME MOVIES REPEATED IN DIFFERENT TIME ZONES SO THEREâ€™S REALLY ONLY 4 CHANNELS!!
8. Doesnâ€™t matter which service provider you pickâ€¦ Do you have to have a receiver /converter /cable box (whatever you want to call it theyâ€™re all the service providers own unit).
a. How much does the service provider charge and is that per box?
9. Does the service provider require you to sign a contract? If yes, what will it cost you should you break the contract?
a. Regardless if you break the contract or carry it to term youâ€™ll need to return their equipment. Where /how does the service provider want you to return their equipment? KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS TO PROVE THE EQUIPMENT WAS RETURNED!!
10. Antenna... It's your basic national broadcasting channels floating in the air, so to speak. If TV isn't all that important to you this could be the most cost effective way to go.
11. IMPORTANTâ€¦IMPORTANTâ€¦IMPORTANT!!! WHENEVER YOU SPEAK WITH A SERVICE PROVIDER TO SIGN UP FOR SERVICE MAKE NOTE OF THE REP YOU ARE SPEAKING WITH, THEIR ID #, WRITE DOWN WHAT THEY OFFER YOU, DATES THE PROMOTION BEGINS /ENDS, WHAT PRICING WILL BE DURING THE PROMOTION AND AFTER THE PROMOTION, AND LASTLY â€“ CHECK YOUR STATEMENT CONFIRMING IT MATCHES WHAT YOU WERE TOLD!!!
a. In this day of e-mail ask the Sales Representative to e-mail you exactly what it is they are selling you â€“ in short â€œthis package includes such â€˜n such channels and it costs $XX with a promotion ending on such â€˜n such a dateâ€.
12. For a quick overview of products /pricing check out the RV America 2011 RV Accessories catalogue. I found pages 362 and 363 the most interesting and what I would consider - below not in any order of preference and Iâ€™m leaning towards # d 12â€ ROADTRIP SDi/SD SATELLITE TV ANTENNAS.
a. TRAVâ€™LER DIRECTV SLIMLINE â€“ KU/KA: Fully automatic, one button on/off antenna, receives programming from all five DIRECTV satellites at the same time for maximum HD and standard DIRECTV coverage.
b. TRAVâ€™LER DISH 1000/BELL TV: Dish used for home systems. Automatic, one button on/off antenna views all satellites at the same time for maximum reception performance. Receives all DISH Network standard and HD programming. Receives all Bell TV standard and HD programming.
c. TRAVâ€™LER DIRECTV TRIPLE LNB: Not HD. Automatic one button on/off antenna views all DIRECTV KU-band satellites.
d. 12â€ ROADTRIP SDi/SD SATELLITE TV ANTENNAS: Ideal for RVâ€™s with height restrictions. One button operation, DVB technology for fast and accurate satellite acquisition. Antennas receive programming from a single satellite at a time and automatically toggle between multiple satellites depending on the provider. View standard programming for DIRECTV, and standard and HD programming for DISH Network and Bell TV. Not compatible with DIRECTV KA-band satellites. Supports two receivers so you can watch different programs on the same satellite.
13. Now for the $64,000.00 questionâ€¦ Have you figured out which internet provider youâ€™ll use?
a. Your TV and internet service providers may, or may not, be one in the same.
Hope you're still breathing and blinking after all of that !!
Ken Will probably give you the best advise, But IMHO, I would look at the space provided for the TV. ( you did not mention model or yr of RV) Buy an HD tv that fits and can be mounted easily. I would put a "Jack" omni directional vhf antenna on the exist antenna mount. You will only pick up broadcast signals but they are free and are HD. For us TV is not that important. You can usually get the news and basic programing near any mid size city. If you are in the mountains or in the boonies, You get nada....but my guess would be that if you went to the boonies, you don't want tv that bad.
The Omni directional antennas do not have to be pointed very acurately and pick up more stations without having to change the direction of your antenna.
In this scenerio you can watch different programing in each TV.