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Vol. 4 - No. 5

Automatic vs Manual Satellite TV Setup

When deciding to add satellite TV to your RV, there are many options to consider, it can be intimidating for the novice to decide which system best suits their needs.  In this issue we will explore both the automatic dish option and the tripod mounted dish option and discuss the pros and cons of each system.

The automatic satellite dishes have made marked advances in the past several years and now many are available that will support HD TV for DirecTV, DishNet, Bell and other major carriers.  They are easy to use - just press a button (after initial setup) and they automatically seek out and lock onto the correct satellite(s) for your service provider.  Setup couldn't be easier than that.

The main drawbacks are the cost - $1100 - $1400 and higher for in-motion units, and site limitations.  If there is not a clear view of the southern sky where you park your roof mounted unit, you may not get any signal.  Another disadvantage is that satellite technology tends to change quite often and requires new equipment to keep up with the changes.  When upgrading automatic units, the latest technology might not always be available.

The cost of the tripod systems are far less than the automatic units - $50 - $150 + a satellite dish - $15 - $90.   Upgrades to newer dish technology is generally as simple as getting the newer dish or component needed from the service provider.  This is usually at little or no cost to the user.

Mounting a satellite dish on a tripod allows the user the freedom to move it around to get a clear view of the southern sky.  Using any model of the H&G Easy-Aim%uFFFD Tripod System provides a tripod with adjustable legs which makes it easy to attain a plumb mast for easily hitting multiple satellites.  The H&G Easy-Aim%uFFFD Tripod System also makes it easy to aim the dish accurately and be within 2 -3 degrees of the satellite.  While setup is not automatic, it is generally completed in 10 - 15 minutes - start to finish.

So, it is up to the user to determine which system will work best for their needs based on how they travel with their RV.  If they always park in areas with few trees and a clear shot of the southern sky, then an automatic unit might be the way to go.  If some of the parks they frequent have trees that might block the signal, than a tripod system might be the better choice.  For those not limited by a budget, buying both systems might be the best choice.