Having an RV can often mean having a hard time finding a good alternative for your TV subscription. While streaming services like Netflix and Hulu can help, they only offer a limited selection of on-demand shows, which isn’t really a decent alternative for all the channels you leave behind in your home.
Satellite TV has gotten much better in the last few years, with many satellite antennas and providers improving their technology and services. DISH is a very popular option for those who are often on the move, and they have partnered with some of the best satellite antenna manufacturers to bring affordable DISH exclusive models to their RV-loving subscribers.
The DISH Playmaker by Winegard and DISH Tailgater by KING are two very popular models to choose from. Here’s what each of them brings to the table.
1. DISH Playmaker: Lightweight and Portable
The DISH Playmaker family or satellite antennas are made by Winegard, one of the most reputable manufacturers of satellite antennas in the world. You can choose between two DISH exclusive models:
- DISH Playmaker Portable Satellite Antenna that supports single-channel viewing
- DISH Playmaker Dual Portable Satellite Antenna that supports dual-channel viewing
Both models are super easy to install, support DISH HD programming and pay-as-you-go services, and have a fully automatic setup so that you can start watching your favourite channels in minutes.
Specifications and Design
The DISH Playmaker is a dome-shaped, fully portable, and lightweight satellite antenna that is easy to install, carry around, and relocate.
- It weighs only 7 pounds, with dimensions of 16 inches in diameter and 13 inches in height.
- It is extremely durable thanks to military-grade aluminium alloy reflector that also improves signal strength by up to 20% when compared to previous models.
- The single-channel model is available in white; and for the dual-channel model, you can choose between two colour variations: black or white.
- The plastic dome covering the satellite has UV protection, keeping all the inner components safe from sun damage and adverse weather conditions.
The DISH Playmaker is intended for use on your RV or for tailgating. You can either mount it onto the roof of your RV, have it directly on the ground, or use it with a compatible tripod to keep it off the ground to get a better signal.
- The DISH Playmakerworks with any DISH subscriptionyou have at home. All you have to do is add the receiver to your account and you will have access to all your channels wherever you go.
- If you don’t have a DISH plans at home, you can choose thepay-as-you-go optioninstead. Meaning you only pay for the months that you use it on the monthly subscription. There are no binding contracts for this option, and no hidden activation, deactivation, or reactivation fees.
- The key point to note here is that the Playmaker supports DISH programming only, and can’t be used for other providers.
- It’s also only intended forstationary use soyou won’t be able to maintain a signal while you’re on the road.
- There’slittle to no maintenance requiredfor this model. Just make sure to periodically wipe the dome with a cloth and warm water to keep it clean off dust and other dirt.
Pricing and Bundles
TheDISH Playmaker is available from $249 for the single channel model, or$299 for the dual channel model.
Both models come with a 25-feet coaxial cable and a hardware bag that includes a handle, two screws, and four tripod adapters. The dual-channel model is available as part of a bundle with the Wally HD satellite receiver starting around $300.
You will get better reception once you lift the antenna off the ground, but additional gear, like tripods or roof mounts, will have to be purchased separately. Compatible gear includes the TR-1518 Tripod Mount and the RK-4000 Roof Mount Kit, both of which are robust and made to withstand harsh conditions.
Note: If you wish to use an alternate cable for DISH Playmaker, use RG6 cables no longer than 50 feet, or you will degrade the signal strength and performance.
Compatible Satellites and Receivers
Both DISH Playmaker antenna models will work with the western arc of DISH satellites. You can receive all channels located on satellites 110°, 119°, and 129° and overall, the coverage is fairly good across the whole of the US.
In order to receive the signal on your DISH Playmaker antenna models, you will need to purchase a compatible receiver. Compatible receivers include DISH Solo HD receivers. Currently, those are all Wally receivers, as well as DISH 211z, 211k, 211, and 411 receivers.
The setup process for both models is easy and straightforward, and you can install and connect the antenna without professional help in as little as 15 minutes.
- Once youunpack the DISH Playmaker, locate the handle and install it. The handle goes to the front of the dome, where you can locate the holes for it under the base. Once you have, slide the handle in place, and make sure not to overtighten the two screws.
- Find a suitable location for the DISH Playmaker antenna. You should have a clear view of the southern sky, free from any obstructions. Avoid areas with too many trees, buildings, or vehicles, as all of them will block the satellite signal from reaching your antenna. The surface you choose should be sturdy and stable.
- Connect the coax cable to the DISH Playmakerand from there to the “Sat In” receiver port. If you are using the dual-channel model, connect the primary port first (labelled MAIN) on the antenna. This port should always be connected to the receiver because it also powers all the electronics through it.
- Finally,connect the receiver to a power supply and finish the receiver setupby selecting the state you are in and pressing “scan.” Once the antenna has located the satellites, you can watch any channel you want!
Note that you will have to repeat the last step of the setup every time you move to a new location. Luckily, setup takes only a few minutes. Once you reach your destination and want to watch TV, simply choose the state you are in and hit the “scan” option to find satellites.
Overall, the Playmaker has improved signal strength and can maintain a stable connection. Most users are very satisfied with this model, and note that the only time they experience signal strength issues is during particularly bad weather, or if they don’t have a clear view of the sky.
Some users have mentioned that they had issues with initial setup and that it took longer. Often, they had to call the DISH support centre several times to help with the setup, and in many cases, the issues were linked to outdated software. Once the software was up to date, the issues were resolved so that’s always something to keep in mind.
2. DISH Tailgater: The Fully Automatic Option
The Dish Tailgater family features five models of DISH portable satellite antennas made by KING, one of the leading manufacturers of satellite antennas in the US. The Tailgater family includes the following models:
- Tailgater 1
- Tailgater 2
- Tailgater 3
- Tailgater 4
- Tailgater Pro
The DISH Tailgater 4 and Pro are the newest models and the ones we’ll be focusing on in this review.
Specifications and Design
The DISH Tailgater 4 is a fully automatic satellite antenna that supports SD and HD DISH programming. It can be used on the ground or mounted on the roof, and it’s intended for stationary use only. It is based on the KING Tailgater model as an economic alternative for those RVers who don’t need more than a single provider and are happy to connect one TV only.
- It weighs 8 pounds and measures 13.5 inches in height, 18.75 inches in width, and 17 inches in length.
- The Tailgater 4 model is only available in white, while the Tailgater 4 Pro model has a black base and features a new sleek design thanks to the clear dome cover.
- It can withstand extreme weather conditions thanks to the weather-resistant cover and materials.
- The Pro version supports multiple TV viewing, but you will require a separate receiver for the second TV.
DISH Tailgater 4 and Tailgater PRO are portable antenna systems intended for tailgating and RV use, and can be used directly on the ground, with a tripod, or mounted onto your RV.
- Both models are intended to work with DISH programming only (SD and HD).
- They support your current home DISH subscriptions.
- You can also use the DISH pay-as-you-go service for ease of viewing without having to commit to a contract.
- Fully automatic: Both models will acquire signals from all supported satellites automatically, and can also automatically switch between them based on your program selection.
- They are built for stationary use only. For in-motion options, you will have to find other models.
- No separate power source is needed – all power requirements go through the receiver.
Pricing and Bundles
You can get theDISH Tailgater 4 for just $299, which is a real bargain price. The package includes the antenna, a 35-feet RG6 coaxial cable that already has pre-installed connectors, as well as a manual and guide. The antenna has a 2-year warranty covered directly by the manufacturer KING that’s activated the day you purchase it.
Note that this model only supports single-channel viewing, meaning you will only be able to connect one TV and watch just one program at a time.
TheDISH Tailgater 4 Pro model starts at $349, making it an affordable option for those who want to have multiple TV viewing options. You will, however, need two receivers for multiple channel viewing, and should be aware that your multiple viewings will still be limited to a single satellite. This package includes the antenna, a 50-feet RG6 coaxial cable, and a manual and user guide.
You don’t get additional gear with the antenna; any types of mounts or tripods will have to be purchased separately. The Quick Release Roof Mount Kit (MB700) is a favourite of many, as it allows quick relocation when needed for frequent travellers. The tripod (TR1000) and Portable Antenna Window Mount (MB500) are other popular purchases for these models.
Compatible Satellites and Receivers
Both models cover all western and eastern arc DISH satellites. This includes satellites 119°, 110°, and 129°. When you connect any model to a Wally receiver, you will have access to 119°, 110°, and 61.5.
DISH Tailgater 4 and Pro are compatible with the following HD solo receivers: Wally, 211z, 211k, 211, and 411. Those located in the northeast of the US will need to purchase a Wally receiver to have full coverage.
The setup process takes less than 10 minutes from unpacking to watching TV, and you can do it without any professional assistance.
- First,unpack your DISH Tailgater. Make sure to check everything is there.
- Next,connect the RG6 coaxial cableto the primary port on the antenna. That port will have a MAIN label on it.
- Find a good, clear spot for the antenna. Making sure there are no obstructions and you have clear skies.
- Now you canconnect the other side of the cable.Connect it directly to the receiver and its SATELLITE IN port, or you can connect it via your RV setup by using the electronic cabinet.
- Next,connect the receiver to the TV, and connect both with a power supply. Note that the receiver needs 110V AC power source to work properly.
- Finally, you should see theSetup Screen on your TV display. From here, just follow the instructions on the screen and the antenna will be ready to go.
The Tailgater is highly praised in the RV community for its durability and overall ease of installation. The only issue that is mentioned with this model is the performance during bad weather when it’s really difficult to get or maintain a good signal. But this is something common with any model due to the way they work.
DISH offers a good selection of RV satellite TV antennas with their Playmaker and Tailgater Satellite Antenna families. Both Playmaker and Tailgater are easy to set up, can be relocated in seconds, and have good signal strength and coverage in all areas. While the Playmaker is a great option at a bargain price, the Tailgater is definitely better suited for power users because of its multichannel support and fully automated setup.
Partnering with some of the best satellite manufacturers has really improved what DISH can offer to their customers, and helps them bring the highest quality technology to RV lovers around the US.
- Winegard. SK-1000 Trav'ler.
- King. VQ4550 Tailgater Bundle.
- Winegard. PA6002R Pathway X2.
- King. VQ4100 Quest Portable.
- Winegard. PL7000R.
- Dish Network. 1000.2.
- Winegard RT2000T RoadTrip T4 In-Motion RV Satellite Dish. ...
- DISH Tailgater Pro 2 Satellite Antenna. ...
- DISH Playmaker Portable Satellite Antenna. ...
- Winegard Pathway X2 Dish Portable Satellite TV Antenna. ...
- Dish Network 1000.2 Dish 110, 119, 129 Satellites High Definition Dish.
Use the DISH Playmaker portable satellite antenna, and whether you're taking a road trip, camping, or tailgating, you'll have access to up to 240+ HD channels, from a lightweight unit that's quick and easy to set up. Pick a pay-as-you-go TV package from with no long-term commitments from $52.99/month.What is the most popular TV antenna? ›
- Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro. Best TV antenna overall. ...
- Winegard Elite 7550 Outdoor HDTV Antenna. Best outdoor antenna. ...
- 1byone Amplified HDTV Antenna. Best budget TV antenna. ...
- Antop AT-800SBS HD Smart Panel Antenna. ...
- ClearStream MAX-V HDTV Antenna. ...
- Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301.
This issue is usually a result of the satellite dish being in a slightly wrong position, damaged or malfunctioning equipment, severe weather, or something blocking the dish's view of the sky. Your signal strength can affect the delivery of your live programming, though with a DVR you can still access recorded content.What satellite does DISH Playmaker use? ›
The Playmaker is a portable dish that supports one or two receiver(s) on satellites 119, 110, and 129. The Playmaker 2 and Playmaker Dual support satellites 119, 110, and 61.5 when running OS 2.1 or later, or when connected to a Wally receiver.Is dish offering free antennas? ›
Customers with qualifying equipment, programming, and location can choose to receive local channels free over the air and save $10 per month on their bill. At no cost, DISH will install an antenna for qualifying customers in CBS markets based on the reception available at their home.Does dishnet offer senior discounts? ›
Does DISH Network Offer Senior Discounts? Yes! Seniors over 55+ can qualify for special discounts as well as other benefits. Give us a call today to find out what promotions and discounts you may qualify for.Is Netflix free with dishnet? ›
Is Netflix Free on DISH Network? Like with any TV provider, DISH customers will have to have access to a Netflix plan and log into it from the App screen or channel 302 to enjoy the seamless transition from DISH TV to Netflix. Netflix currently offers three affordable plans that pair perfectly with DISH programming.How do I get dish to lower my bill? ›
Dish Contract Savings
You can also lower your Dish bill by accepting another contract with Dish. Once your first contract with Dish is up, you go month to month. If you don't play on moving for a bit, you can call Dish customer support to see if they will give you a discount for signing a contract for a year or two.
|Best overall||Antennas Direct 8-Element Bowtie||SEE IT|
|Best for long range||Five Star Outdoor Digital Amplified HDTV Antenna||SEE IT|
|Most durable||Channel Master CM-5020 Masterpiece Series||SEE IT|
- RCA Outdoor Yagi Satellite HD TV Antenna. RUNNER UP. ...
- U MUST HAVE Amplified HD Digital TV Antenna. BEST INDOOR. ...
- PBD Outdoor Digital Amplified HDTV Antenna. ...
- GE Outdoor TV Antenna. ...
- Five Star Outdoor Digital Amplified HDTV Antenna. ...
- PBD WA-2608 Digital Amplified HD TV Antenna. ...
- Antennas Direct ClearStream 4V TV Antenna.
Typically, the higher your antenna is placed, the better your reception will be. That's why outdoor antennas tend to pick up so many channels.Is there a TV antenna that really works? ›
Best TV antenna overall
The Gesobyte amplified TV antenna is an almost perfect choice for anyone who has cut the cord with their cable or satellite provider. It's capable of picking up over-air, digital broadcast channels within a 250 mile range thanks to a signal booster.
We tested antennas near a window and away from a window, near the TV. In the tests near a window, the three indoor TV antennas that stood out for performance were the Winegard FlatWave FL5500A, the Winegard FlatWave Amped Pro TH-3000, and the ClearStream Eclipse Amplified TV Antenna.Is Dish TV losing customers? ›
Satellite TV churn was 1.51% and Dish's traditional pay TV subscriber base is now diminishing at an 8.9% annual rate, the firm said.How can I make my dish signal stronger? ›
- Remove surrounding shrubbery or other obstacles. ...
- Add a satellite in-line amplifier. ...
- Move your satellite dish closer to your home. ...
- Ask your service provider if you need to reposition your satellite dish. ...
- Ask your service provider about switching satellites.
Alternatively; to improve the signal strength of your DTH satellite, use a signal booster for DTH. It is a small device that boosts the signals from your DTH satellite and amplifies them so that they can be received properly by your television set or receiver.Can I use dish playmaker at home? ›
They work the same at home as they do on the road.
You can use your mobile dish while at home, same as you do on the road.
ATTENTION DISH NETWORK CUSTOMERS: NBC programming has returned to your line up.
The Playmaker™ is an automatic portable dish that lets you watch HD TV in your RV. It is built exclusively for DISH and offers quick and easy setup.Are satellite dishes being phased out? ›
The end of the satellite television dish is in sight after Sky said it would start offering most of its services via a set-top streaming box.What comes with the DISH Playmaker? ›
- DISH Playmaker Antenna.
- Dish Wally Receiver (includes remote with batteries, and HDMI/AV Cables)
- 25-foot Coax Cable.
- Printed Documentation.
A parabolic antenna is an antenna that uses a parabolic reflector, a curved surface with the cross-sectional shape of a parabola, to direct the radio waves. The most common form is shaped like a dish and is popularly called a dish antenna or parabolic dish.What kind of antenna do I need for my TV to get local channels? ›
UHF/VHF rated antennas should be used to receive the most important channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc.)What is the number one outdoor antenna? ›
Winegard Elite 7550 — Best attic/outdoor TV antenna
The Winegard Elite 7550 immediately impressed with its ability to pick up more broadcast channels than the competition at higher signal levels. It has a built-in amplifier and performed well on both VHF-High and UHF broadcast bands.
Adding a second antenna can increase the signal path coverage and give you a more consistent signal. To accomplish this you will need a combiner or coupler that can combine the two antennas together. I would recommend that you use two identical antennas. This will ensure a balanced signal path and coverage.Why is DISH losing local channels? ›
DISH has dropped quite a few channels due to unresolved contract issues. These are primarily regional sports channels and some local channels like Bally Sports, and the local affiliates of NBC, CBS, and ABC.Why is CBS no longer on DISH? ›
That's when the DISH's previous carriage contract with CBS expired. The end of the contract left DISH without authorization to retransmit CBS stations. CBS is blocking consumers because they want to raise rates to carry CBS local channels. CBS wants to raise carriage rates even though viewership is declining.What is the price of free dish antenna? ›
Dish TV Antenna, Size: 2 Feet,2.5 Feet at Rs 140/piece in New Delhi | ID: 17019262691.
There are many ways to make a high-gain antenna; the most common are parabolic antennas, helical antennas, yagi antennas, and phased arrays of smaller antennas of any kind. Horn antennas can also be constructed with high gain, but are less commonly seen.How can I get better TV reception in rural areas? ›
If you live in a rural area, you may have trouble getting over-the-air TV channels. The farther you are from broadcast towers, the more likely you are to experience reception problems. If you're looking for a simple, effective solution to this problem, an HDTV antenna is the way to go.What is the best long range antenna for free TV? ›
- Best overall: Antennas Direct 8-Element Bowtie.
- Best for long range: Five Star Outdoor Digital Amplified HDTV Antenna.
- Most durable: Channel Master CM-5020 Masterpiece Series.
- Best value for long range: RCA Compact Yagi.
- Best budget: Five Star Indoor/Outdoor Yagi Antenna.
This issue is usually a result of the satellite dish being in a slightly wrong position, damaged or malfunctioning equipment, severe weather, or something blocking the dish's view of the sky. Your signal strength can affect the delivery of your live programming, though with a DVR you can still access recorded content.What is the minimum signal strength for Dish Network? ›
The player's current signal strength is displayed at the bottom of the screen. Signal strength is measured on a 125-point scale; the higher the number, the stronger the signal. The signal strength should be above 80 for normal audio and video playback to occur.Does a dirty satellite dish affect reception? ›
Not typically. Satellite dishes are built to be outside, so they can handle a buildup of dirt, pollen and remnants of where birds may have used the dish as a perch. A clean vs. dirty dish may boost curb appeal, but it will likely have little impact on your signal quality.Are thicker antennas better? ›
It's about gain.
A bigger antenna, properly designed, will always have more gain than a smaller one. And it will be the best kind of gain, much better than using a small antenna and simply overamplifying it, because a small antenna just won't pull in truly weak signals like this gigantic one will.
In telecommunication, the effective height of an antenna is the height of the antenna's center of radiation above the ground. It is defined as the ratio of the induced voltage to the incident field .Why is a longer antenna better? ›
Longer antennas have lower frequencies and higher bandwidths. This means signals can travel over longer distances. Radio stations operate at lower frequencies and their signals can easily connect to longer antennas.What is good signal quality in Dish TV? ›
Signal strength also depends upon quality of the coaxial cable, good quality cable gives you better signal strength. Now even a 40 to 60% signal strength will give you 100% signal quality. So signal quality matters most. Better viewing with better signal quality.
How Rain Affects Satellite Signals. During a rainstorm, the raindrops can weaken or absorb the signal on its way to a satellite dish. Rain can also cause signal scattering as the electromagnetic waves refract and diffract around raindrops on the surface of the dish.