New To Satellite?
Satellite television for the RV market has changed drastically since its inception in the 1990's. Technology has advanced significantly from the initial satellite systems that were used by RVers to enjoy their satellite television programming while away from home, traveling in their RV. The frustration has been removed from fumbling with proper Zip Codes to acquire the correct Azimuth and Elevation positions needed to either set up a tri-pod (external antenna) or the original crank up antenna systems found on the RV roof. Now you have a choice. You can still manually point your satellite antenna to receive either DishNetwork or DirecTV programming or just hit a button and let the automatic antenna do the work for you.
Satellite Television 101-How Does It Work?
In order to receive satellite television signals successfully, your antenna must point with great accuracy (normally within 1 to 2 degrees) to a satellite that is over 22,000 miles away. Satellite television for your home is fairly straightforward as the antenna is pointed once and it stays in that same location, (barring any unforeseen environmental changes from weather or growing obstacles) but satellite on an RV is ever-changing due to the vehicle not staying in the same location. On an RV, the antenna must first find the satellite with every new location (for a stationary antenna) or find and maintain the lock as the vehicle is moving (for an in-motion antenna) to ensure television reception at all times (except when physically blocked). The automatic antenna achieves this feat through the use of sophisticated mechanics, sensors and software.
What Has To Happen For Your Satellite TV To Work In A Mobile Application?
The communication satellites (KU and KA band systems) typically used in Direct To Home (DTH) television applications are large, generally weighing several tons and comparable in size to the standard SUV can be found in geostationary (fixed) orbits approximately 22,000 miles above the equator. Ground stations broadcast TV programming to these satellites, which in turn relay the signals to the earth below. Due to the signals' short wavelength, (known as Microwaves) they are line of sight energy and cannot travel around curves. This means that your antenna must have a clear line of sight to the appropriate azimuth and elevation in order to receive the signal. This is an important fact to consider when using a satellite TV antenna on top of a vehicle, as near by tree tops or building may block your antennas view to receive the signal.
Domed Automatic Antennas, whether a Stationary or an In-Motion System, are designed with a parabolic (elliptical in shape) reflector, generally equivalent to a 16" focal point (area where the signal is captured and returned to the LNB for program reception). The Open Faced Antenna will vary in focal point size from 18" to 24" and vary in shape from round to elliptical allowing for greater reception opportunities during inclement weather, geographical location and higher signal strength. The subscription for programming broadcast by the satellite and shown on your television, cost roughly the same amount as home cable service with variations based on selected channels and packages (e.g., movie channels, sports channels or HDTV packages). If you have the same satellite TV service in your home and you wish to use it in your RV as well, there are two ways you can accomplish this. You may take one of the existing receivers from your home and carry it with you in the RV or purchase a separate receiver and pay an affordable annual fee to "mirror" the existing account and leave the new receiver in your RV.
In the early 1990's, the satellite TV industry changed forever, following the launch of the DirecTV satellite, using high powered satellites for signal transmission. DishNetwork and Canada's Bell Express Vu were not far behind. These KU band signals were strong enough to be received by a dish as small as 18" radius (or 16" focal point) making the DTH satellite TV service practical not just for home users, but for the mobile application as well.
The Selection of Stationary vs. In-Motion Systems:
This is not always an easy decision. Most people automatically think that they will not use or do not want the TV on while the vehicle is in motion. There are many facets to making the decision of whether to have an In-Motion System or not. An In-Motion System is not only to view satellite programming while the vehicle is moving, but you can also be recording (with the use of a DVR receiver) a program that may be airing during your travel time so that you can watch it later. You may also use the in-motion function to view current weather conditions while you are traveling to assist you in the decision to continue into an area that may be experiencing inclement weather, tracking a moving storm cell or keep abreast of current news conditions. When parking in an RV Park or campsite, the In-Motion System takes the "guess work" out of determining if buildings or trees near your site are blocking your signal.
The Selection of Open Faced vs. Domed Systems:
The choice is yours! Open faced antennas, will provide you with a greater reception opportunity for programming in DishNetwork, Bell Express Vu or DirecTV programming. If you currently have DishNetwork Dish500 or Super Dish, Dish HD or DirecTV HD satellite programming, this requires an antenna to have multiple satellite LNB's for your programming to come in simultaneously, you can only achieve this with an open faced antenna. If you use a domed antenna with this type of programming package, the antenna has to "toggle" between the two different satellite locations and can only truly support one (1) satellite receiver for proper functionality. If you select DishNetwork lower end programming package or DirecTV non HD programming packages, the domed antenna will serve you well for single, DVR or multiple receiver applications. With the open faced antennas, you do have to remember when breaking camp and preparing to move the RV that the antenna is stowed, whereas with the domed antenna, you can just drive away.
At Sats2Go, we pride ourselves in customer satisfaction and are happy to assist you in your antenna and satellite service provider selections. We are an authorized dealer for both Dish Network and DirecTV. Our staff is well educated on the "how to" of satellite television reception for the mobile market and look forward to welcoming you to our customer base.