Vol. 3 - No. 4 

Part-Time Satellite TV Service

We often get calls from RVer's who need part-time satellite TV, just for the time they are using their RV. They have another form of TV service at home (usually cable) and don't want to switch services.

Until now, they have been limited in their options since the main U.S. providers, Dish Network and DirecTV, both required a 2 year contract and full-time service agreement to get their programming.

Recently, Dish Network started a program that allows RV users to purchase their own equipment, and pay for satellite service on an "as needed" basis.  You are required to purchase your own equipment; however, you don't have to purchase it from Dish Network if you can find better pricing elsewhere.

You will need a receiver - Dish Network recommends model VIP211K, which receives both standard and HD signals and has been designed in a low profile shape to fit into RV cabinets and confined spaces for better heat dissipation.  Dish Network sells them for $149.00, but I was able to find this one on for only $115.00 with free shipping.  Please note: If you purchase a used receiver from a private party (Craigslist, eBay, etc.), be sure there is no outstanding balance remaining on the account.  If there is a balance on the account you will be required to pay it before you can reactivate the receiver.  To check before you purchase - - get the Model number, Serial number and Smart Card number for the receiver.  Then call customer service at Dish Network with this information. They will tell you if there is an outstanding balance on the account.

If you want DVR capabilities, you will need to add a hard-drive.  DishNetwork sells the Hitachi 500GB External Hard Drive for $78.99.  However, I found one for as little as $47.99 at another vender, so it pays to shop around.   Dish does charge a flat $40.00 one-time fee for DVR addition, but no monthly DVR charge.

You will need a satellite dish to get the signals to the receiver.  Dish Network offers a variety of options, ranging from $129.99 to $699.99.  I recommend picking up a used Dish 1000.2 (for HDTV) or a used DishPro 500 for SDTV on Craigslist, eBay or some place similar.  You should be able to get a dish for $20 - $75 depending on SDTV or HDTV.

The basic programming packages start at $44.95 a month and go up from there.  You only pay for as many months as you need, but not less than a month.  So, if you were only going off for a one-week trip, you would be paying for a month's worth of TV.  So, this program might not be for everyone, depending on your RVing style.

If interested in learning more about this program or to sign up, visit this website.   The website has an informative video to walk you through the steps.