There’s nothing like hopping into your RV and hitting the open road. Just imagine all of the sites you can see like the national parks and breathtaking scenic locations. But it’s still nice to have some home comforts too, like watching TV.
Whether you use cable or satellite, most campgrounds offer cable TV and satellite connections at each parking area. But how does it work? Is your RV Satellite/Cable TV ready?
Fear not, just follow our tips and steps in this article to find out how to hook up cable TV in an RV.
Things You Need Before Hooking Up to Satellite/Cable TV in Your RV
- Find out if the campground offers either satellite or cable hookups. Any RV park worth their weight will have these hookups available.
- Locate your cable and satellite connectors on your RV’s TV. Be sure to inspect the connectors before your trip to have any issues fixed before you leave.
- Coaxial cables. It’s smart to always keep or purchase a few coaxial cables of different lengths to bring along with you.
How To Hook Up Satellite/Cable TV in an RV
Connecting your TV to the campground’s hookups will be relatively easy as long as you follow these steps.
Locate the RV Antenna Booster Switch
- The antenna booster switch tells your TV what type of signal is going through it, such as cable or satellite. Most RVs have this switch built in.
Connect the Park’s Cable to Your RV
- The cable hookup from the RV park now needs to be hooked into your RV from the outside jack.
Configure Your TV
- Attach a short (maybe one foot) cable from the back of the TV to the antenna booster switch.
- Turn everything on and use the TV remote to start searching for channels.
Tips When Configuring RV Satellite Service System
Satellite service for your RV depends on the system you have or want to use.
- This is a broad term used by dealers. It means the RV has the internal and external wiring and jacks ready for hookup, but no other equipment. You will provide the rest of the equipment.
Independent Satellite Systems
- This system doesn’t necessarily rely on connections from a park or campground in order to get service. It normally relies on third party dealers offering the service and equipment. Setup is very easy, similar to home satellite service.
- Many Third party providers offer these portable or even fixed services in a bundle, some including dish and receiver.
What Kind of Satellite Antenna Will Be Good for Your RV?
Depending on how you use your RV will determine the kind of antenna will best fit your situation.
- If you use the RV to travel frequently, you’ll need a portable antenna. You will also need a WiFi extender for tapping into public hotspots. This will give you internet access.
- If you’ve converted your RV to live in permanently but don’t use it for traveling, then you should go for a mounted antenna. This will let you choose a satellite plan with internet service just like any other home.
Can I Use My Home Satellite or Internet Service When Traveling in the RV?
That depends on your provider.
This is because most home based satellite antennas are designed to scan from one fixed point for the service satellite, so the setup is quite simple.
A portable satellite antenna is always scanning because your RV’s location keeps changing as you move down the road, so it can be difficult for it to lock on to a single satellite.
Fortunately, some home internet and satellite providers are now offering additional services or bundles that will give you the ability to extend your home satellite services to nearly anywhere for an extra fee. You will still need a portable antenna to do this.
Do You Need a Cable Box for Smart TV?
Yes, this is recommended. Although many services are moving to a streaming platform, so far a cable box gives a better experience whether using a Smart TV or not.
How Do I Set Up Cable Channels on My TV?
With the cable connected to your TV and the power turned on, you simply press the “Menu” button on your TV remote. Press “Settings” then “Channel Setup”.
Then select “Scan”. The TV will complete the rest.
Can You Plug Cable Directly Into The TV?
It’s not recommended because you will need a cable box that converts channels so the tv can “see” them.
Do I Need a Special TV for My RV?
It's always wise to get a TV that’s rugged and stable enough for RV life. RV Expeditioners has a fantastic article about the right type of TV to consider.
Traveling in your RV doesn’t have to mean going without creature comforts. Hopefully our guide on getting your RV connected to cable and satellite services will give you the confidence and know how to make your RV life more enjoyable.